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        Minnesota | Activity 10.2: The Atlantic Charter’s Impact on Minnesota

        Students will read the Atlantic Charter (the Anglo-American Pact of 1941), a joint declaration between the United States and Great Britain setting forth US-British war aims and a vision for the post-War world and international relations. Students will then answer questions related to the effect of this pact on Minnesotans.

        Lesson Summary

        Students will read the Atlantic Charter (the Anglo-American Pact of 1941), a joint declaration between the United States and Great Britain setting forth US-British war aims and a vision for the post-World War II  and international relations. Students will then answer questions related to the effect of this pact on Minnesotans.

        This lesson is part of "Great States: Minnesota | Unit 10: World War II and Minnesota", an investigation of how Minnesotans, both serving in the military and on the home front, supported their country during WWII. 

        Time Allotment

        30 minutes

        Learning Objectives

        Standards: 

        6.4.1.2.1: Pose questions about a topic in Minnesota history, gather a variety of primary and secondary sources related to questions, analyze sources for credibility, identify possible answers, use evidence to draw conclusions, and present supported findings.

        6.4.4.21.3: Create a timeline of key events leading to World War II; describe how Minnesotans influenced, and were influenced by, the debates over United States involvement.

        6.4.4.21.4: Identify contributions of Minnesota and its people to World War II; describe the impact of the war on the home front and Minnesota society after the war.

        Supplies

        Directions

        1. Distribute the Atlantic Charter (Anglo-American Pact of 1941) handout to students. Explain that the Atlantic Charter was created in joint leadership between President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill in response to World War II. Written in 1941, the policy statement was important to the war effort because it defined the goals of the Allies of World War II (US, Britain, France, China, and others) for the outcome of the war. Ask students if it is a primary or secondary source [primary]. 

        1. Give students a few minutes to read through the charter, directing them to take notes on the handout, and circle or underline important names, types of government, materials, and proposed actions. 

        1. Allow 5–8 minutes for students to answer the questions on the worksheet. 

        1. Reconvene to discuss the Atlantic Charter and the correct answers. 

        1. Discuss with students the main points of this pact and how it affected Minnesotans as well as all citizens:

          1. Freedom from outside threats

          2. Continued protection of sovereign rights and self-government

          3. Access to raw materials

          4. Economic benefits (improved labor standards, social security)

          5. Established peace

          6. Safety: proposed use of no force 

        1. Explain to students that FDR hoped the charter would encourage the American people to support US intervention in World War II, since many were initially opposed. Some people rallied together in organizations such as America First Committee (AFC) in strong opposition to any involvement in World War II. However, many people considered views against America’s WWII involvement to be anti-Semitic (define for students). Jewish people were facing persecution and death at that time in Germany, and by not taking a stand in World War II, it would seem the United States was allowing this persecution to continue. One of the notable members of this non-interventionist movement was Charles Lindbergh. While he was born in Michigan, Lindbergh actually grew up outside of Little Falls, Minnesota. He spoke widely against WWII involvement, and many believed that several of his speeches had an anti-Semitic tone to them. While anti-Semitic feelings contributed to isolationism during this time, there were many reasons why people did not feel it was America’s place to get involved in the war.

          Explain that public opinion about the United States’ World War II involvement was largely swayed after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. After the attack, many Americans supported the country’s involvement in WWII as a means of protection from global threats.

        2. Explain that World War II had an economic impact on Minnesotans as well. Many companies throughout the state, including 3M, General Mills, Hormel, and others, switched production to help the war effort. New products were used in aviation and food rations. 3M began to make strips of sandpaper that were used on the edges of plane wings and ambulance runners to reduce slipping. General Mills processed ration food and made tools such as gun sights. Hormel sent food and supplies to allies through the Lend-Lease program. The Cargill Corporation, which had specialized in food before the war, built eighteen ships for the US Navy. The USS Wassica was one of them.

        Answer Key

        1. Franklin D. Roosevelt and Churchill or the United States and the United Kingdom

        2. Self-government

        3. Raw materials

        4. Freedom from fear and want

        5. All men (people)

        6. No future peace can be maintained with the abandonment of force or even the threat of it

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