WWII Stories Questions

Comparative Cultures

Pearl Harbor

  1.  How would the events of WWII be different if Japan did not attack Pearl Harbor?  Use specific events and factual support to back up your argument.

Desmond Doss

  1. Desmond Doss believed that killing was wrong but he saved people so they could kill.  Was this breaking his belief? Explain.
  2. How has Doss influenced society with his religious beliefs?
  3. How can a strict belief system lead to mistaken judgments and actions?

Albert Goering

  1. We hear a lot about Nazi activity in Germany during World War 2, why don’t we hear much about anti-Nazi movements in Germany?
  2. Considering how much help Albert got from Herman’s influence, do you believe he should still get recognition for his actions?
  3. Why do you believe Germany did not recognize Albert’s actions after the war? Was it more about his actions or his brother’s?
  4. What does Germany’s treatment of Albert show about German culture after World War 2?
  5. Who is more representative of German culture during World War 2, Albert or Hermann? Why?
  6. How did Albert’s efforts change the lives of hundreds of Jewish citizens?
  7. Albert promoted small amount of sabotage against the Nazi’s. Why would he do this?
  8. How did Albert’s story change your perception on powerful German figures, during WWII?
  9. How does recognition after death help with reconciliation?
  10. If you had to choose between what you believed and and your family, what would you choose?

The Final Solution

  1. What were the effects of the Final Solution?
  2. How was the Final Solution organized?
  3. How is the effect of the attempted extermination of the Jewish people still felt in today’s culture?
  4. What were the different types of actions taken by the Nazis to torture Jews?
  5. Why would Nazis possibly need to turn towards concentration and death camps?  Was stripping the Jews of their rights not enough?


20th Century

Hitler’s Master Race

  1.  What was Hitler’s theory of the master race?
  2. How was social Darwinism a major part of this story?
  3. How do you think Hitler would react if he had a disabled child?


  1. During the battle at Omaha beach, many soldiers were sent in to fight in the first wave. Most generals knew that 90% of these soldiers would be dead by the end of the battle. However, their sacrifice did give the second wave the opportunity to storm in and eventually force the Nazi’s to surrender at the area. Do you think sacrificing soldiers on a suicide mission like this is right, even it is required for a victory in the battle?

2. Would you consider the Nazi soldiers that were defending the beach as the “villains in this battle”

3. Should the government have programs that help soldiers adjust to non combat environments?

4. What are some ways we can help war veterans that suffer from PTSD

5. Before the allies invaded normandy, the Germans were in an ongoing war with the USSR and were slowly being pushed back after suffering heavy losses at Stalingrad. Should the allies have left those two nations to fight it out and avoid suffering casualties from their own side? Or was it necessary for the Allies to invade in order to ensure a German defeat.

Anne Frank

  1. How big of a role did the media have in dehumanizing Jewish people?
  2. How did the policy of appeasement contribute to the occurrence of World War 2?
  3. To what extent can “just following orders” can be used as justification for the genocide?
  4. Why did Anne Frank’s diary have an impact on the world after the war? No one had thought to consider that Anne Frank and other Jews were human and they have their own lives so why did that impact the world after and her death?
  5. Why did Germany think they were racially superior?

Code Breaking

  1. Poland mathematicians worked as spies and managed to find the exact wirings inside the ENIGMA machine. Eventually, Britain’s Government Code and Cipher School (GC&CS) tasked themselves for breaking the ENIGMA. However, they intentionally used the ULTRA (the computer that decrypted the ENIGMA messages) sparingly to avoid German suspicion. Do you think it is ethical that Britain let many soldiers and civilians die just to ensure that the Germans do not realize that ENIGMA has been broken?
  2. To prevent further hostilities and to prevent Germany from claiming that they were unfairly beaten, the secrets of ULTRA was kept hidden until way after the war. The Allied nations also delayed the rise of encryption by limiting the size of the key that can be used for encryption (making it easier to just brute force attack the key. Brute force means that they try all combinations of the key. The smaller the key, the easier it is) The implications meant that consumer data used by businesses were vulnerable to telegrams and information could often be leaked. What were the ethical problems with this?
  3. The US decided that encryption should be weakened to prevent terrorists and cybercriminals from using the information. However, this also puts normal citizens’ data at risk. Furthermore, the NSA forced companies into giving information out to the government without the user’s knowledge. In 2013, Edward Snowden leaked the information about how the NSA was misusing the data. This led to a conundrum: Should encryption be allowed or not?
  4. If encryption is allowed, should the government be given the “master keys”, knowing that hackers could use it?
  5. ENIGMA was not the only encryption that was broken. Japanese ciphers were also broken. The US, knowing that they would win in a war, decide to use Nuclear Weapons anyways. Do you think that it was ethical for the US to use nuclear weapons to attack Japan? (Keep in mind that US, at this point, was not aware about the impact of nuclear weapons. Instead, keep in mind that the bomb was dropped on civilian cities and mostly affected civilians. How ethical is that? Do you think that US should have attacked Japan without attacking civilians?)

Charles Upham


2. Why is the Victoria Cross so honored?

3. Propose a situation in war where someone would deserve a Victoria Cross.


The Louis Zamperini Story


1. Japan during WW2, was operating many POW Camps, many of which subjected the prisoners to cruel treatment as Louis Zamperini faced. However, the Geneva Convention already outlined the correct way to deal with POWs. Write 3 points from the Convention that contradict the way Japan was dealing with POWs.
2. Despite agreeing to the Geneva Convention, Japan grossly violated it’s terms. Give evidence for any reparations Japan gave, if they did. If not, should they have to pay reparations?
3. Japanese POW camps were often brutal and cruel. To what extent do you think the culture, and viewpoints, in specific, ideas about honor, played a role in this?
4. POWs Camps were a dark stain in Japanese history. Many of the victim suffered long after the war. However, in 2009, the Japanese government issued a formal apology and even started a “POW Friendship and Remembrance” program a year later. Why do you think programs like this, and reconciliation in general is so important?
5. Many of the POW camps, involved forced labor, for Japanese companies who would pay a small fee to the Imperial government to use the POWs. However, only one company has apologized so far. Do you think these companies owe reparations to the victims?

Irene Sandler

Q1. Describe how the Nazis used fear to rule during their occupation of Poland.

Q2. What was the Warsaw Ghetto?

Q3. Through what actions did Irena Sendler show courage?

Q4. What was Zegota?

Q5. How was Irena Sendler’s story discovered?