2. German and Italian expansion: Videos and activities
On this page you will find some suggestions and links to videos as well as teacher notes with suggestions as to how the videos can be used with students.
Questions for each video are also on separate worksheets that can be handed out to students.
1. Road to War: Italy
This gives a solid overview of Mussolini's quest for a major role on the world stage and the resulting clash with the other European powers. It has interesting interviews with Italians who played key roles in Mussolini's state.
It is probably best shown in sections as per the headings below, or as a revision video at the end so that students can see the whole overview of Mussolini's aims and actions. The type of questions that students could focus on while watching this video could be as follows. We would suggest stopping after each section to discuss the questions.
Background: 2 to 6.45
Mussolini in power: 6.45 to 17
The move to militarism: 17 to 23.30
The war in Abyssinia: 23.30 to 33.30
Alliance with Hitler 33.30 to end
2. Road to War: Germany
Again this video gives a good overview of events leading up to World War Two with some excellent interviews from people who were part of Hitler's government. The first 15 minutes focuses on Hitler's Germany. We suggest starting at 15.28 when the video begins talking about Hitler's moves to war. A good strategy here is to use this as an introduction to Hitler's foreign policy and to get students to write down the key dates and events of Hitler's actions in paving the way for war domestically and his actions on the international stage.
3. Summits by David Reynolds
This is an excellent video on the lead up to and the events that took place at the Munich Conference in 1938. It is actually 1 hour 30 minutes long so you can either show in sections with discussions in between or you could show the last part on the Munich Conference. This video is best shown after students have already studied the key events so that they can fully appreciate David Reynolds' take on the events, not to mention in acting out of the conferences! They should make notes on Reynolds' arguments regarding Munich. The video is also interesting in pointing out that this was the first of the 20th century summits.
Timings of the video as follows:
Introduction: 0.00 - 21
- This section makes interesting judgments on both Chamberlain and Hitler and the fact that this was the first 'summit' and thus a new type of diplomacy.
- It also covers the background to the Sudeten crisis and a discussion on Chamberlain's family background along with the fear of air warfare and the power of the German air force which could have influenced his actions with regard to Hitler.
The Berchtesgarden Conference: 21 - 40
- Hitler's surprise at Chamberlain's summitry and how Chamberlain compromised his original position.
- Chamberlain's report back to the cabinet and changing mood within Britain.
Bad Godesberg; 40.30 - 1 hour
- Hitler's new demands and the consequences.
- Divisions within the cabinet.
Munich Conference, 1 hour - 1.21
- Hitler's decision to call for another summit.
- Chamberlain's hopes, Mussolini's role and the events surrounding 'peace in our time'
Hitler's repudiation of the Munich Agreement and the end of appeasement and the (wrong) lessons that Hitler drew from Munich, 1.21 - 1.24
Conclusions about Chamberlain's actions: 1.24
4. Peace in our Time
This is another excellent video, again with strong opinions about Chamberlain's role in the crisis. It was made in 1988 and the sound track is very dramatic - by Eric Clapton. Students need to be aware that this is a very one-sided view of Chamberlain's actions; it would be good to follow up with a debate on both sides, or students writing a review of the documentary in which they put forward the opposite viewpoint. The questions that students could answer while watching this video are attached. Or they could watch the video just to focus on the one-sided nature and pull out the language, music and structure that help convey the intended message.
The video is only in sections on YouTube. The link above is for section 6 as it is probably enough to start watching the video from the meeting at Bad Godesberg. This is also where the questions below start (also on a PDF below)
5. Did we have to fight?
This is another video on the issue of appeasement which gives a good overview of the steps leading up to the outbreak of World War Two with the focus on Britain's actions.