Homework: World War II and the Holocaust


Hey, there.  Since our schedule today (and for the next few days) is rather messed up, second period doesn’t have much time in class to work on their infographic, which means they’ll need to focus on that for their homework tonight (5/2).  Thus, I would like you to complete the assignment below by the start of class on WEDNESDAY (5/4), rather than the start of class tomorrow (5/3).  Sorry for the confusion, guys– I wish I’d known about the bell schedule for today in advance, but I didn’t. :/

This evening, please review the following material on the Holocaust (or Shoah) as a continuation of our study of World War II:

World War II and Society

After reviewing the material above, please listen to the following radio broadcast by journalist Edward R. Murrow on the liberation of Buchenwald in April of 1945. You will find that the sound quality is far from perfect– there are lots of hisses and pops and the whine of interference, as this is the actual recording from 1945. If you would like to, you can follow this transcript of the broadcast while you listen– but please do listen. Sometimes the tone of voice is just as important as the words themselves:

Liberation of Buchenwald, 15 April 1945, reported by Edward R. Murrow (CBS News)

In a thoughtful comment, please respond to the following prompts:

  • Describe the events in Germany beginning in 1933 which led to the Final Solution. What was their purpose? How did these actions normalize discrimination?
  • What were the conditions like in Buchenwald when Murrow and the American troops arrive? What sort of men did Murrow encounter in the camp? What do you think shocked Murrow the most about the experience? What shocked you the most about his description?
  • At the end of the broadcast, Murrow tells his audience that “if [he] has offended [them] by this rather mild account of Buchenwald, [he’s] not in the least bit sorry.” What is Murrow’s tone when he delivers this line? (That is, how does he sound?)
  • Murrow, as a journalist, believed that it was his job to make an argument– NOT to be a mere reporter of facts. What argument is he trying to make through this report? What does he want his listeners to feel, learn, and believe as a result of his work? Do you think that he achieved his goal? Why or why not?

Remember, normal commenting rules apply: one thoughtful comment which addresses all of the discussion points thoroughly will receive up to 95%, while you must comment and leave a response on someone else’s comment in order to earn full credit.

Bonus Film Opportunity: Third Time’s the Charm!

Are your essay grades less than desirable? Do you need to do some grade repair?

Then you need to complete the Real to Reel assignment by May 16th!

As we discussed in class, remember that this assignment is NOT a simple bonus assignment– your work needs to be thoughtful, reasoned, and polished, and address all of the requirements described in the assignment sheet above. Poor quality work will be graded as such. This is, however, an optional assignment– you are not required to complete this review, and if you choose not to submit one, you will simply be given an exemption.

In order to help you make your selections for this assignment, I humbly present the original trailers to all of the films listed below:

Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India, dir. Ashutosh Gowariker (2001)

Paths of Glory, dir. Stanley Kubrick (1957)

Modern Times, dir. Charles Chaplin (1936)

***NOTE: This is a silent film. I know. You’ll live.

Casablanca, dir. Michael Curtiz (1942)

Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, dir. Stanley Kubrick (1964)

Charlie Wilson’s War, dir. Mike Nichols (2007)