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Teaching Guide: Exploring Women on the Home Front During World War II

This teaching guide helps instructors use a specific primary source set, World War II: Women on the Home Front, in the classroom. It offers discussion questions, classroom activities, and primary source analysis tools. It is intended to spark pedagogical creativity by giving a sample approach to the material. Please feel free to share, reuse, and adapt the resources in this guide for your teaching purposes.

Discussion questions

  1. Select three to five items in this set and use them to describe the diversity of the roles women played on the home front during World War II.

  2. Refer to the interview with Pearl James Hill, the pamphlet called Women Come to the Front, the letters from Beth Puckett, the photograph of a group of women knitting and sewing, and the photograph of two Japanese internee women to answer the following question: How did racism and sexism influence the participation of women in the war effort on the home front?

  3. Using the items in this set, explain in what ways the actions of women on the home front debunk stereotypical myths about women’s roles during the era.

Classroom activities

Take on the role of a Caucasian woman, African American woman, or Japanese woman during the war. Based on the primary source documents in the set, write a letter to your World War II soldier-husband about your experiences on the home front.

Alternatively, assume the role of your gender. Male students should write to a wife/girlfriend/sister/mother at home asking questions about home and work during World War II. Female students should write a letter to a boyfriend/husband/brother/father explaining their jobs/home life during World War II.

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