World History

Suffering and Recovery | Wide Angle

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Nearly a million people died in the Rwandan genocide and it has been left to the survivors of one of the most brutal events in world history to heal a nation. This video segment from the Wide Angle film "Ladies First" presents the role of a local Catholic church and priest in bringing members of the Hutu and Tutsi tribes together.

U-Boat Wolfpacks | Nazi Mega Weapons: Hitler's Killer Subs

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In this clip from Nazi Mega Weapons: Hitler's Killer Subs, learn more about Germany's "wolf-pack" U-boat strategy. Designed to disrupt British convoys, these groups of U-boats devastated Allied forces.

Last Men in Aleppo | Lesson Plan Clips

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Syria has always been at the heart of the post-World War II struggle for the Middle East. Prior to the start of the Arab Spring in 2011, however, it was viewed as one of the more stable countries in the region, with a strong, autocratic and youthful leader, President Bashar Al-Assad. That mask of stability has slipped and today, after seven years of violent conflict that has left hundreds of thousands of Syrians dead, the country is at the nexus of every tension in the region: Iran versus Saudi Arabia, the United States versus Russia and even Islamist extremism’s resistance to secularism. Add the historical legacy of colonialism, as well as complex political systems that encompass tribal allegiances, monarchies, dictatorships and nascent democracies, and the complexity and horror of the ongoing war in Syria demands an examination of the ways in which policies play out in the real world.

Among current policy considerations for the countries bordering Syria, and increasingly nations farther afield, including the United States, are the ethics and efficacy of responding to atrocities committed in other countries and the challenge of absorbing millions of refugees. At the same time, nations are confronting the challenge of getting accurate information in an era of actual and imagined “fake news.”

This lesson combines these global and media studies concerns by using clips from Last Men in Aleppo to deepen students’ media analysis skills. It asks students to grapple with multiple types of news and information sources, including an examination of the ways in which documentary films can humanize statistics, policy statements and news reports.

Jefferson: The Bolsa Familia

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The favelas of Brazil are cramped shantytowns overrun by crime and gang violence. To help the children of favelas, the government has implemented “Bolsa Familia,” a program that provides impoverished families with stipends as long as their children attend school. In this video from Wide Angle, learn about the obstacles a child of the favelas must overcome to stay in school.

Cold War End

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Learn about the dwindling U.S. support for Liberian leader Samuel Doe after the Cold War in this clip from the WGBH production, Global Connections: Liberia.

The Storm Makers: Aya Tells Her Story

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Aya describes her situation in Malaysia, where she was held prisoner by her boss and raped by a stranger when she tried to escape.

More than half a million Cambodians work abroad, and a staggering number of those become slaves. Many are young women, held prisoner and forced to work in horrific conditions, sometimes as prostitutes. A chilling exposé of Cambodia’s human trafficking underworld, The Storm Makers weaves the story of Aya, a young peasant sold into slavery at age 16, with that of two powerful traffickers.

Settlers and Black America

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Learn about the Black America that colonizers and settlers were determined to create in Liberia in this clip from the WGBH production, Global Connections: Liberia.

Underwater Suicide Missions: The Kaiten | Nazi Mega Weapons: Axis Weapon - The Kamikaze

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Learn about the Japanese suicide submarines. The Japanese naval engineers developed this revolutionary suicide weapon, known as the Kaiten, from an existing torpedo known as the type 93. It had over one and half tonnes of explosives in its war head. Historian Tosh Minohara explores the island of Ozushima where the Japanese developed this revolutionary weapon and trained the pilots to drive them. The first ever Kaiten attack sinks the fuel supply ship USS Mississinewa.

Battle of Aachen After D-Day | Nazi Mega Weapons: The Seigfried Line

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Learn about the battle of Aachen, the first major German city battle of the war. On October 2nd, 1944, American troops launch their attack north of the historic city of Aachen. The Americans are expecting a weak and broken Nazi Army, but Model has rallied and focused his troop at Aachen and increased the fortification around the town. More than 10,000 American and German troops are killed, wounded, or missing in action. 80% of the historic city of Aachen is destroyed.

Cameraperson | Lesson Plan Clips

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How many of your students are seemingly attached to their smartphones? How many use their phone cameras to take photos and video that they share online via social media? And how many think of themselves as media makers or journalists, governed by the ethics and standards of those professions? If you’re like most educators, you answered the first two questions with something like “lots” or “all of them,” and you answered the third question with “none.” 

The fast pace of changing technology has placed a tool in students’ hands that allows them to record and share images with billions of people in mere seconds. Yet very few receive any type of guidance to help them reflect on the implications of their choices. This lesson begins to fill that gap. 

Using clips from veteran cinematographer Kirsten Johnson’s memoir, Cameraperson, as prompts, students will discuss the complex issues of whether and why those who take pictures (or video) of others need to obtain the consent of their subjects. They’ll use what they learn from that discussion to develop a “pledge” to govern their own use of cameras.

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