Monday, September 27

My Long List of Impossible Things + Post-War Germany

Germany suffered total defeat at the hands of the Allies in World War 2.  Upon the war's end the three largest Allies - United Kingdom, United States, and Soviet Union - had to agree on how to handle a broken and defeated country...

Early in 1945, before the war ended, Hitler committed suicide and many of the generals surrendered to the Allies.  Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin held the Yalta Conference to determine Germany's future.  They agreed to split it into four occupation zones, controlled by the Soviet Union, America, Britain, and France.  The German capital, Berlin, was seated inside the Soviet zone, but the city itself was split into four pieces.  The goal was to prevent Germany from ever starting a war in Europe again.

The Soviet portions of Germany fell under Communist rule, while the Western-controlled regions began rebuilding and instating Capitalistic systems.  Regardless of where they lived, no German citizen was allowed to have arms, and the German military was disbanded.  Displaced concentration camp survivors, and forced laborers and prisoners, were trying to find their place inside Germany or their way back home.  German POWs were kept as forced laborers for several years to help restore the countries Germany had devastated during the war.  It was a time of gloom and chaos for the country.

In 1949, Germany officially became two separate states.  The German Democratic Republic (GDR) is what we commonly know as East Germany, and was ruled by the Soviets.  The Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) is what we know as West Germany, and was ruled by the western countries.  It wasn't until 1961 that the Berlin Wall was erected, separating the city in two.  The capital city was a stark display of the contrast in the lifestyle differences for citizens between Communist and Capitalist countries.  The wall did not come down until 1990, when Germany was reunited.

You may also like the study on McCarthyism.

Our spine read for this unit is:
  • My Long List of Impossible Things  
    • The arrival of the Soviet army in Germany at the end of World War II sends sixteen-year-old Katja and her family into turmoil. The fighting has stopped, but German society is in collapse, resulting in tremendous hardship. With their father gone and few resources available to them, Katja and her sister are forced to flee their home, reassured by their mother that if they can just reach a distant friend in a town far away, things will get better. But their harrowing journey brings danger and violence, and Katja needs to summon all her strength to build a new life, just as she’s questioning everything she thought she knew about her country.  Katja’s bravery and defiance help her deal with the emotional and societal upheaval.  But how can she stay true to herself and protect the people she loves when each decision has such far-reaching consequences?

Get the ENTIRE UNIT in Twenty-Three Reads Bundle - for someone who wants a little bit of everything! 

It includes twenty-three unit studies covering a wide range of topics. Each unit has introductory text, which will give the student basic background information about the topic at hand. These studies are directed toward upper grades students, but some have resources for younger students so that the whole family can work together.
  • There are photographs and illustrations, and we have also included primary documents when available.
  • After this text, there are featured videos, which augment the background information and help make the topic more accessible for more visual students.
  • You will also find a short list of reading books, including a featured novel that the unit builds upon.
  • There are vocabulary words, places, and people to identify.
  • Reading comprehension, critical thinking questions, and writing assignments are included.
  • We add fun with hands-on activities and extra videos to watch that will bring the era to life.
  • Language Arts
    • Finding Langston & the Poetry of Langston Hughes
  • Geography
    • Anne of Green Gables & Canadian Provinces
    • Stowaway & Antarctica
    • Julie of the Wolves & Alaska
    • Blades of Freedom & the Louisiana Purchase
    • The Avion My Uncle Flew & France
  • History
    • Zlata’s Diary & the Slavic Wars
    • Freedom Summer & the Summer of 1964
    • Treasure Island & Pirates of the Caribbean Sea
    • Farenheit 451 & Types of Government
    • Red Stars & Russia in World War 2
    • The Great Gatsby & the Roaring Twenties
    • The Long List of Impossible Things & Post-War Germany
    • A Tale of Two Cities & French Revolution
    • Witch of Blackbird Pond & Salem Witch Trials
    • The World Made New & Early Explorers
    • Stitching a Life & Jewish Immigration
  • Life Skills
    • Teetoncey & Lifesaving Skills
    • Freak of the Week & Disabilities Awareness
    • Island of the Blue Dolphins & Sailing
  • Science
    • The Science of Breakable Things & the Scientific Method
    • Frankenstein & Human Anatomy
    • Charlie Thorne and the Last Equation & Albert Einstein

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