Pearl Harbor and America's Response


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Writing a Document Based Essay

A Document based question is an essay question that requires you to interpret primary source documents.
Historical Context
by Robert D. Schulzinger

Origins of World War II World War I left a legacy of bitterness in many European nations. In
the years after the war, European and Asian nationalist leaders gained popular support by promising
to restore their nations’ glory through military conquest. In the 1930s Fascist Italy attacked
Ethiopia, Nazi Germany defi ed the Versailles peace treaty of 1919 by rearming and annexing
Austria, and Japan attacked China. The League of Nations did little to stop this aggression. When Adolf Hitler demanded
that the northern portion of Czechoslovakia be ceded to Germany in 1938, British and French leaders sought to appease the
Nazi dictator to avoid war. But appeasement failed, and in September 1939 Germany launched a blitzkrieg against Poland.

American Neutrality Many Americans regretted their country’s participation in the Great War and vowed to remain
neutral in the face of new threats to peace. President Franklin D. Roosevelt sympathized with the victims of aggression and
with Britain and France, but he wanted to avoid arousing a popular backlash among isolationists. He declared his goal of
making the United States the arsenal of democracy, and he coordinated diplomatic and military policy with British prime
minister Winston Churchill.

The United States Enters World War II War came suddenly to America on the morning of Sunday, December 7,
1941, when Japanese planes bombed the U.S. Navy’s Pacific fleet at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

(Holt American Anthem Teacher's Edition)

Task:

Using information from the documents and your knowledge of American history, write an essay in which you answer the following question:

How did Americans react to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor?

  • Compare the primary sources describing the attack on Pearl Harbor to the images of the attack. What information do these sources convey about the attack.

Directions:

Using the information from the documents provided and your knowledge of history, write a well-organized essay that includes an introduction, a body of several paragraphs, and a conclusion. Use examples from at least five documents in the body of the essay. Support your response with relevant facts, examples, and details. Include additional information from your text.

Guidelines:

  1. Read the question carefully -- Circle key components -- Pay attention to what is being asked -- Are there dates involved? -- Is change over time a possible factor?
  2. Accurately analyze and interpret at least five documents.
  3. Consider the question and formulate your thesis statement. Your thesis statement should respond directly to the question being asked.
  4. Incorporate information from the documents and the text in the body of the essay to support your thesis.
  5. Identify the source of the document. Different sources or P.O.V. will give you different perspectives on an issue.
  6. Cite documents when referencing evidence - example: (doc.1) (doc.2)
  7. Use a logical and clear plan of organization.
  8. Write a conclusion analyzing your thoughts on America's response to the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Assessment:

Daily class activities and discussion will be assessed
Final DBQ will be used as test grade for the chapter





Pre-Assignment

Day 1 Activities
Lesson Objective
Students will:
  • constrast the U.S. policies of Isolationism and Interventionism
  • analyze a political cartoon
  • determine if President Roosevelt balanced American Isolationism with the need to intervene in the War

Day 2 Activites
Lesson Objective
Students will:
  • demonstrate their knowledge of the policies leading to U.S. involvement in WWII
  • examine their test taking strategies
  • identify the causes and effects of the Japanese attack at Pearl Harbor
  • evaluate the American response to the attack on Pearl Harbor analyzing primary source documents


Day 3 Activities
Lesson Objective
Students will:
  • demonstrate their knowledge of Americans' response to the attack on Pearl Harbor
  • examine their test taking strategies
  • analyze and interpret primary source documents to write their DBQ


Day 4 Activities
Lesson Objective
Students will:
  • analyze and interpret primary source documents to write their DBQ
  • write a rough-draft of their DBQ

Post Activities
Students will pair/share and revise their DBQ
Final DBQ will be completed


Works Cited