The Events Leading 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. Terms to know: 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?


  • 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 students 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. 

  • Have students present their finished comics to the class.


  • Allow students to use the speech-to-text feature.
  • Allow students to use the voiceover feature to read their comics aloud.
  • Allow students to work in pairs or groups as needed.
  • Display comic expectations for independent work.


  • Comic to print or display

Suggested Story Starters: