These pages contain flexible educational materials intended for use by educators and their students, roughly grades 9-12, who seek to discuss and analyze primary sources related to life on the World War II Home Front. All materials are drawn from a large archive of oral history interviews collected by Washington College faculty and students at the Starr Center for the American Experience.
The classroom oral history guides below consolidate interview excerpts into broad thematic categories, allowing students to connect the intimate memories of World War II survivors to larger themes in World War II history. Students are able to hear first-hand accounts of what life was like on the American Home Front, from participating in scrap metal drives to witnessing the atomic bomb. Furthermore, working with oral history interviews allows students to tangibly assess and evaluate primary source materials, to consider the differences between primary and secondary sources, and to practice employing primary source evidence in the development of arguments.
Invites analysis into the contrasting emotions surrounding the end of the war and the atomic bombs.
Offers insight into the wartime experiences of children and youth, especially school and play, which may resonate powerfully with high-school age students.
Explores a facet of underrepresented World War II history, complicating narratives of patriotism and a united Home Front in support of the war.
Utilizes our wealth of regional interviews to unpack the transformation and continuity of the wartime years in the local area, inviting students to take an interest in the effect of war on their state or hometown.