Hello world, welcome back to another amazing blog post. Today, I’ll be summarizing and reflecting on my latest Humanities project, the “Hidden Chapter of History”.
In this project, each of us created one episode of the podcast based on our topics of interest that relates to WW2, and in our episodes, we answered the driving question that was guiding us through the project, “How might we use stories to better understand the causes and consequences of WW2”.
Before diving into our topics we first need a big picture of the war. So In the first couple of weeks, we spent most of the time building our knowledge, such as learning the important terms of WW2, Canada’s role in the war, and different causes and consequences of WW2. We took notes as we were watching the WW2 videos, and had an interview with a Lady that knows a lot about Camp X.
Meanwhile we were taking notes and absorbing new information at school, we also read WW2 books at home. There were four book options for us to choose from “The Cage”, “Salt To The Sea”, “All The Light We Cannot See”, and “Maus”. Me, Dries, Jonathan, Eliot, Ethan, Josh, and Liam were reading Maus. Each week we would have a book discussion to summarize what happened and think of some interesting discussion questions about the book.
The book Maus has an interesting plot, it tells a story of a Jewish person that lived in Poland, and his personal experience through the Holocaust. The main character Vladek had his own business and a wealthy family. But everything went south after the rise of the Nazis in Germany, he was drafted as a soldier and caught as a prisoner of war. Ever since Poland was invaded, his life was going downhill to a point that he could barely survive. So this got me wondering, what led to the invasion of Poland? and why did the war start in the first place?
As we came close to the end of the books, we started looking for our topics of interest and made connections between our books and topics. I was more into the causes of the war because I was curious about how the war started. I finalized my topic to be based around the Failure of Appeasement, as it’s one of the main causes that led to the war. I researched my topic and found a lot of useful sources. I find it interesting how most of the WW2 appeasement articles are from the UK, but they built up my understanding of my topic.
Sources (Click here)
Spiegelman, Art. Maus I: A Survivor’s Tale: My Father Bleeds History. Pantheon, 1986.
Marshall Cavendish. “https://www.lcps.org/cms/lib/VA01000195/Centricity/Domain/10599/Causes%20of%20WWII.pdf” website accessed 9 march 2022.
History Matters. “https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hzomi4RNtiE” website accessed 9 march 2022.
Sky History. “https://www.history.co.uk/history-of-ww2/appeasement” website accessed 9 march 2022.
Imperial War Museums. “https://www.iwm.org.uk/history/how-britain-hoped-to-avoid-war-with-germany-in-the-1930s” website accessed 9 march 2022.
quickly after the research phase, I started writing my script for my podcast. In my podcast episode, I tried my best to make reasonable connections to my book as well as to have an entertaining main story. After writing a solid story, we critiqued each others’ work and started recording. Along the way, we created our intro music and thumbnails for the podcast. Through class voting, we finalized on using Jordan’s song, and Ethan’s poster. Both of them have their unique taste, and overall they fit the mood of our podcast perfectly.
Final script (Click here)
-You're listening to a PLP Podcast. my name is Randy, your host for the third episode of the WW2 series “The Failure of Appeasement”.
Over the past few weeks in the Performance Learning Program, the grade 10 cohort has investigated the Second World War. Through collaborative novel studies, we've considered individual topics of interest and asked "How might we use stories to better understand the causes and consequences of WWII?
I’ve been reading a WW2 book called “Maus”, it’s a comic book that tells you a personal story of a Jewish person during the Holocaust. Vladek, the Main character of Maus was living in Poland with his wife and his millionaire father-in-law. Everything seemed to be going great until Germany started invading Poland. Vladek was drafted as a soldier and caught as a POW. So after all, what led to the invasion of Poland? And why did the war start in the first place? Well today, I’ll be going over one of the causes of WW2, the Failure of Appeasement.
Now you may ask, what is appeasement? Appeasement is a political strategy to avoid conflicts/wars by offering territories or benefits to an aggressive power. Britain and France tried to Appease Germany, to stop them from conquering more land, but in the end, it didn’t work out.
Appeasement was a popular political strategy for several reasons in Britain. British people were desperate to avoid another bloody world war, and as neither Britain nor France was ready for any military actions, appeasement was their only solution. During the 1930s, politicians in Britain and France believed that the treaty of Versailles is unfair to Germany, and made up their minds that Hitler’s actions were understandable and justifiable.
In 1935, Hitler publicly announced the conscription for Germany, which was forbidden by the treaty of Versailles. Britain didn’t stop them right away, Britain and France thought a stronger Germany would stop the spread of Communism from Russia, so instead, they demanded Germany to limit the size of their navy.
In 1936 Germany remilitarized the Rhineland, which was also forbidden by the treaty of Versailles, but again, Britain and France couldn’t do much about it.
In March 1938, Germany annexed Austria. It didn’t take Germany that long to absorb Austria as a province since Austria and Germany pretty much sees each other as cousins. It was obvious that Germany’s next target would be Czechoslovakia.
On September 29, 1938, British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, Mussolini, Hitler, and the French Prime Minister Eduoard Daladier held an agreement that Czechoslovakia would cede the Sudetenland that Germany would not conquer the rest of it. This was known as the Munich agreement, appeasing the axis power by letting Germany occupy the german speaking part of Czechoslovakia. France and Britain weren’t dumb to just give away Czechoslovakia, they knew they weren’t ready for a war, so they needed to make sacrifices to buy time so they could rearm themselves.
In 1939 Hitler broke his promise and annexed the rest of Czechoslovakia, and six months after, he invaded Poland. Britain and France underestimated Hitler’s ambitions, so they had to start a war with Germany.
The appeasement was seen as a complete failure since its intention was to avoid another world war.
Giving away a part of Czechoslovakia didn’t necessarily prevent the war from happening, but it did leave some time for Britain and France to rearm themselves. The war was inevitable because of Hitler’s great ambition. The Nazis proceeded to expand within Europe, and people suffered because of the war.
The Failure of Appeasement was doomed, the allies knew Hitler wouldn’t be full from eating countries. He always wanted more, not just Germany but also Italy and Japan. The axis powers were fully militarized, they wanted to expand so they must invade more territories to get the resources they need. Britain and France definitely could’ve defeated Hitler, but they had many problems within their own countries, and they were unable to take a lot of military actions. From the story Maus, I was able to learn the causes and consequences of WW2 through its imaging and storytelling. Such as the rise of the Nazi party in Germany and the invasion of Poland caused Jewish people to be massively murdered in concentration camps. From listening to my podcast, you get to learn the reasons why the appeasement failed, and through my vocal explanation, you got a good understanding of how the war started.
Thanking you for listening to this episode of the PLP podcast, don’t forget to check out the other episodes!
In conclusion of my episode I wrote “From the story Maus, I was able to learn the causes and consequences of WW2 through its imaging and storytelling. Such as the rise of the Nazi party in Germany and the invasion of Poland caused Jewish people to be massively murdered in concentration camps. From listening to my podcast, you get to learn the reasons why appeasement failed. Through my vocal explanation, you have a new perspective on the war and got a good understanding of how the war started. ” I would say the driving question is a bit harder to answer this time, but in conclusion, to tell a descriptive story to people, it’s important to have a good flow in your story, so it’s easy to follow and understand. It’s also important to have multiple perspectives in your story, such as some personal opinions, or some books you’ve read, to enhance the writing by making it more relatable. It’s easy to just write about facts and talk about them, but in order to let people have a better understanding of something, you will need techniques to make the story more engaging for people to read or listen to. In my episode of the podcast, I only went over one aspect of the war but it connects to a bigger picture. After listening to 29 episodes of our podcast, I’m sure you will understand WW2 completely.
Our class podcast:
Things I wish I did, and some reflections:
Our podcast is like a puzzle, you can’t just complete it with only one aspect, you will have to piece together all the causes and consequences together to form a bigger picture. If I was given the chance to redo this project, I would research deeper into the reasons why Hitler wanted to conquer the whole of Europe, and what happened in France and Britain that stopped them from taking military actions earlier. I will try to improve my storytelling skills because compared to those professional podcasters my story doesn’t sound very engaging. It will be a long-term practice, but if I keep trying, I will reach that level.