The Events Leading Up to WWII

Subject: Social Studies

Lesson Length: 55 - 60 mins

Topic: The Interwar Years and the Events Leading to WWII

Grade Level: 7

Standards / Framework:

Brief Description: Students will investigate key events during the interwar years that indirectly or directly lead to World War II.

Know Before You Start:

  • It helps for students to have an understanding of the effects of WWI. 

  • Remind students that the “interwar years” means the period of time between WWI and WWII. 

  • Vocabulary e.g., League of Nations, Treaty of Versailles, Great Depression, reparations.


  • Ask students to remember and discuss a significant event in their lives. 

  • Introduce the expression “hindsight is 20/20” and discuss with students how they might change the course of that event after looking back at what happened. 

  • Lead this into a discussion of how historians view the interwar years. 

  • Read and discuss the sample comic.

    • What might have prevented an evil leader such as Hitler from coming to power?

    • Could anything have been done during the interwar years to prevent his rise to power?

Activity: It’s time to describe historical events in a comic.

Assign each student a significant event from the interwar years (1920-1939). Events may include:

  • Benito Mussolini becoming Premier.
  • The Beer Hall Putsch.
  • The Munich Pact.
  • Stalin takes control of the Soviet government.
  • The Locarno Pacts.

Using the sample comic as a guide, have them create a two-to-three-panel comic describing this event. Comics should include:

  • The significance of the event and its connection to WWII.
  • The date of the occurrence.
  • The important people and/or places that played a role.


  • Have students create a class timeline using their printed comics or simply write the name of the event on a timeline on the board. 

  • You may choose to have students present their finished comics to the class.


  • Students can work independently or in groups.

  • Display comic expectations for independent work.

Resources: Comic to print or display: Comic.

Suggested Content Pack(s):