World History

French Conquest of Indochina | ​Ken Burns & ​Lynn Novick: The Vietnam War

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Learn how France colonized Indochina, installed puppet governments, and spread its culture there.

Archdukes, Cynicism, and World War I | Crash Course World History

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John Green teaches you about the war that was supposed to end all wars. Instead, it solved nothing and set the stage for the world to be back at war just a couple of decades later. As an added bonus, World War I changed the way people look at the world, and normalized cynicism and irony. John will teach you how the assassination of an Austrian Archduke kicked off a new kind of war that involved more nations and more people than any war that came before. New technology like machine guns, airplanes, tanks, and poison gas made the killing more efficient than ever. Trench warfare and modern weapons led to battles in which tens of thousands of soldiers were killed in a day, with no ground gained for either side. World War I washed away the last vestiges of 19th century Romanticism and paved the way for the 20th century modernism that we all know and find to be cold and off-putting. While there may not be much upside to WWI, at least it inspired George M. Cohan to write the awesome song, "Over There."

Geneva Conference Accords | ​Ken Burns & ​Lynn Novick: The Vietnam War

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Learn about the international conference that settled the future of Vietnam, splitting it into north and south. The agreement did not satisfy the Vietnamese, France, China, or Russia and sewed the seeds for future violence.

Heaven on Earth | Wide Angle

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This video from the Wide Angle film "Crossing Heaven's Border" offers a look inside North Korea since the 1994 ascension to power of “Dear Leader” Kim Jong Il—a dictator whose brutal and often incompetent policies resulted in an economic collapse and the subsequent "Great Famine" of the mid-90s, and whose secret police continue to suppress dissenters. In contrast, South Korea represents "heaven" to North Korean defectors, who seek to find there a "first world" standard of living and political freedom.

Russia, the Kievan Rus, and the Mongols | Crash Course World History

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John Green teaches you how Russia evolved from a loose amalgamation of medieval principalities known as the Kievan Rus into the thriving democracy we know today. As you can imagine, there were a few bumps along the road. It turns out, our old friends the Mongols had quite a lot to do with unifying Russia. In yet another example of how surprisingly organized nomadic raiders can be, the Mongols brought the Kievan Rus together under a single leadership, and concentrated power in Moscow. This set the stage for the various Ivans (the Great and the Terrible) to throw off the yoke and form a pan-Russian nation ruled by an autocratic leader. More than 500 years later, we still have autocratic leadership in Russia. All this, plus a rundown of some of our favorite atrocities of Ivan the Terrible, and a visit from Putin!

The Dreyfus Affair

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This video from the PBS series The Story of the Jews examines the Dreyfus Affair—a trial that began in 1894 that shook the French population and had a lasting impact on Theodor Herzl, an influential Zionist leader. Alfred Dreyfus, a Captain in the French Army, was accused and convicted of sending military secrets to the Germans. As a Jewish officer, he became a convenient scapegoat for a crime another had committed. This event exposed the growing antisemitism in 19th-century France.

War and Nation Building in Latin America | Crash Course World History

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Join host John Green to learn about nation building and nationalism in Latin America. Sometimes, the nations of Latin America get compared to the nations of Europe and are found wanting. However, this comparison doesn't quite work as the rise of democratic, economically powerful nations in Europe came about under a very different set of circumstances than the way nations arose in Latin America. Naturally, the regions are very different. But why? John will explore ideas, including whether or not a lack of international war could have impeded Latin America's growth. On the surface, this may not sound plausible, but tune into this episode of Crash Course to hear a lively discussion on the topic!

The Rise of ISIS: How the Syrian War Impacted ISIS

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Discover how the Syrian War, and the United States’ policy decisions regarding the conflict, advanced the trajectory of ISIS in these two short videos excerpted from FRONTLINE: The Rise of ISIS. In 2011, the United States pulled its troops out of Iraq; some argue this allowed Al Qaeda-linked militant groups to increase their power. In the same year, the Syrian civil war broke out, and the group that would become ISIS spread to Syria, taking part in the Sunni rebellion against the Assad regime. This resource is part of the FRONTLINE Collection.

Mature Content Advisory Note: These videos contain footage of rebel groups holding and using guns and other weapons (no target shown). Given the topic of the videos and the content covered, the images allow students to have a more accurate portrait of the intensity and viciousness of the rebel groups and the ongoing conflict.

Teacher Support Materials for this resource, including Teaching Tips, a Student Handout, Vocabulary and Terms, and a video transcript are available for download: Teacher Support Materials Package.

Press Coverage of Vietnam | ​Ken Burns & ​Lynn Novick: The Vietnam War

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In the tradition of previous wars, most press coverage of Vietnam was upbeat. However, a handful of young reporters began to share a different perspective of the war.

The Gifts of Life | Wide Angle

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Ahmed Khatib, a Palestinian boy living with his family in the Jenin refugee camp in the West Bank, was killed by the Israeli army in 2005 when soldiers thought the toy gun with which he was playing was an assault rifle. In this video segment from the Wide Angle film "Heart of Jenin," Ismael Khatib, Ahmed's father, decides what to do with his 12-year old son's organs and highlights the reactions of Druze, Bedouin, and Orthodox Jewish families who received them.

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