Subject: American History
1. Topic-
Was World War II the "good war"?
2. Content-
Some historians argue that, given the historic tensions between the United States and Japan, the two countries were bound to go to war sooner or later. Others believe that the war might have been avoided had the United States chosen different foreign policy options.
3. Goals: Aims/Outcomes-
1. Students will be able to list and explain the issues that divided the United States and Japan in the fall of 1941.
2. Students will be able to articulate the reasons why Japan chose to go to war against the United States.
4. Objectives-
1. Students will practice skills in making inferences and drawing conclusions and evaluating arguments.
2. Students will practice skills in negotiation and debate.
3. Students will practice skills in the importance of collaboration and teamwork.
5. Materials and Aids-
News reel clips of Japan's war with China, Japan's occupation of French Indochina, it's alliance with Nazi Germany. Hand out giving background information behind the embargoes against Japan. Video clips of the attack on Pearl Harbor and FDR's address to the congress asking for the declaration of war.
6. Procedures/Methods-

A. Introduction-

1. Ask students, Why do you think the U.S. entered World War II?
2. Was the U.S. to blame for us getting into World War II?
3. Has this happened in recent history?

B. Development-

1. Write the answers to these questions on the board?
2. Have the students write them down.
3. Have the students revisit them after the lesson is done.

C. Practice-

1. Deliver packets in sealed envelopes.
2. Students will pair into groups of four.
3. Then have two students pair together to assume the role of Japanese diplomats, the other two students paired together to assume the role of American diplomats, as marked on the packets.
4. The students should be cautioned, however, that under no circumstances should the Japanese diplomats be allowed to see the U.S. Diplomats instructions and vice-versa.
5. Advise students that they are to view the video that is posted on line for the instructions on what to do with the packet and have them read the instructions at the top of each section.
6. Students are to read these documents thoroughly to prepare for there conference the next day.
7. They are to be treated as "Top Secret" materials!

D. Independent Practice-

1. At the end of the of the negotiations, reconvene the class and ask if any managed to reach agreements?
2. If so have any pairs share the terms that they reached.
3. Ask if everyone held true to their instructions?
4. Ask those who were not able to reach a settlement why they found it difficult to do so?
Were there any issues in doing this?
6. Did the November 29th deadline play a role?
7. Reveal that the U.S. was not ignorant of the deadline and that they had broken Japan's diplomatic code.
8. What role would this have played, if any in the discussions?

F. Checking for understanding-

1. At the end of class have the students reflect on what they experienced with this activity.
2. Have them revisit the answers they gave earlier to the questions in the opening.
3. Have the students explain in a paragraph how their view has changed, if any and what they now understand as the reason for the attack on Pearl Harbor.

G. Closure-

1. Do you feel that there may have been other options to have tried between the U.S. and Japan? if so, what could they have been?
2. Even though diplomacy is usually the way to go in these instances, is it always the "only" way to go?

This Lesson Plan is available at (