Kickoff March 20-21: Spring Break

anna mariaThis kickoff is extra credit.  It is not required.   Write a 100+ word blog post about your plans for spring break – or any topic you feel would make a good blog post.   3 Quarters down, 1 to go.  See you on Tuesday, April 1.  Have a fun and be safe.

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USH Kickoff March 18-19: HUAC

huacDuring the “Cold War” between the U.S. and the Soviet Union, many Americans lived in fear of Communists living in the U.S.  This fear led to wrongful accusations and smear campaigns against innocent people.   Use 18.3 – online here – pgs. 617-610 for help with this kickoff.

<copy/paste these questions to a new blog post and bold your answers>

1.  What was the HUAC?

2.  Give an example of a person who was accused of being a Communist by the HUAC.

2a.  What happened to that person?

3.   Imagine one of you best friends was accused by HUAC.    Write a brief speech you would deliver to the HUAC in defense of your best friend.

150+ total words.  Proofread and a relevant photo.

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USH kickoff March 14-17: Cold War timeline

Stalin, Truman and Churchill at Potsdam

Stalin, Truman and Churchill at Potsdam

Cold War timeline – the early years.    Fill in a date and brief description (in bold) for each event.    Use “The Americans” 18.1 click here – or other sources.   *Use quotes and page numbers when citing the work of others.   <copy/paste these items to a new post>

The United Nations (U.N) is created – June 26, 1945 – delegates from 50 nations sign the charter creating the United Nations.

Harry Truman elected President – 

the Potsdam conference –

Stalin’s speech –

“containment” policy –

Churchill’s “Iron Curtain” speech –

the Truman Doctrine –

the Marshall Plan –

the Berlin airlift –

the U.S. joins NATO –

150+ words total.  Include a relevant photo.

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USH kickoff March 12-13: “42” Jackie Robinson – part 2

Robinson and Pee Wee Reese

Robinson and Pee Wee Reese

After we finish the film, copy/paste these questions to a new blog post. Please bold your answers.

1.  After facing racism from fans and teammates, list three examples of white teammates supporting Jackie Robinson.

2.   List three examples of racism that JR continues to face from opposing teams and fans.

3.  What do you learn about JR at the end the movie?
4.  What do you learn about Rachel (Rae) Robinson?

5.  Would you recommend this movie to your friends?  Why or why not?

200+ total words.  Spellcheck and include a relevant photo.

Box score from Brooklyn vs. Pittsburgh – Sept 17, 1947

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USH kickoff March 10-11: “42” Jackie Robinson

Branch Rickey (far left) and Jackie Robinson signing his Dodgers contract

In 1945, Jackie Robinson signed a minor league contract to play for the Montreal Royals, a Class AAA affiliate of the Brooklyn Dodgers.

This kickoff was done on-paper, in class.  You do NOT have to make a new blog post.   3rd period is exempt from this kickoff.

42” is the story of Jackie Robinson, the first black player in Major League Baseball.

Jackie Robinson – he was a 4-sport star at UCLA and a veteran of WW2  before becoming a player in the Negro Leagues with the Kansas City Monarchs.
Rachel Robinson – she met Jackie while they were students at UCLA.  After Jackie’s baseball career she became a Professor of Nursing at Yale University in New Haven, CT. Jackie’s wife.  She continues to manage the Jackie Robinson Foundation.
Branch Rickey – General Manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers who was determined to bring a black player to the professional baseball, due to his religious beliefs and because he thought it would make money for him and the team.
Wendell Smith – a reporter for the Pittsburgh Courier, a prominent Africa-American newspaper at the time, who travelled with Robinson during this career.

While we watch the movie “42” , you will answer the following questions:

1.  When the movie opens, what plan does Branch Rickey tell his assistants he has come up with?

2.  What do you learn about JR’s personality in his game with the Kansas City Monarchs?

3.  How does JR react when told he can’t use the “white” bathroom at the gas station in Missouri?

4.  What was JR court-martialed for while in the military?

5.  April 28, 1945 – Why do you think Branch Rickey is hard on JR when they first meet?

6.  What does JR ask Rachel on the phone after this meeting?

7.  How does the ticket agent react to Mrs. Robinson using the “whites only” bathroom in the New Orleans airport?

8.  Who meets the Robinsons when they step off the team bus in Daytona Beach, FL?

9.  How does Jackie Robinson answer the following question from reporters?

9a. ” Will you have a problem playing with whites?”
9b. ” What will you do if a pitcher throws at your head?”
9c.  “Is this about politics?”

10.  How does Branch Rickey react when “Hop” calls JR a “nigger”?

11.  Sanford, FL – How does the crowd react in JR’s first at-bat?

12.  What happens in JR’s first at-bat?

13.  What happens once JR gets on base?

14.  A local white man makes a threat against JR.  How does Branch Rickey react?

15.  Deland, FL – What happens after JR scores in the game?

16.  What does JR hear from Branch Rickey after this game?

17.  Jersey City, NJ – What happens in JR’s first at-bat?

18.  Panama City, Panama – Spring training 1947:  What do learn about Leo Durocher during his late night call with Branch Rickey?

19.  How do JR’s teammates react to playing with him?

20.  How does Leo Durocher react to the revolt among the white players on the team?

21.  What does Wendell Smith make JR realize during the conversation in the car?

22.  What happens to Leo Durocher just before the start of the 1947 season?

23.  Opening day – Brooklyn, NY:  How do JR’s teammates react when he shows up for opening day?

24.  How does the crowd react when JR takes the field?

25.  What happens in JR’s first at-bat?

26.  How does Branch Rickey convince Burt Shooton to be the Dodgers manager?

27.  How does JR react to the racial taunting from the Philadelphia manager Ben Chapman?

28.  How does JR’s teammate come to his defense when the taunting continues?

<to be continued>


The box score of JR’s first game:

JR’s career stats:

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Treatment of Japanese-Americans during WW2

Reminder:  the persons of Japanese ancestry enduring civil rights violations in the 1940s are mostly American citizens.   This wasn’t the first time, and won’t be the last, that civil liberties were violated under the justification of national security during a time of war.

Japanese Relocation filmStep 1.  Watch this video – click here – and answer the 2 questions below.  Source: This film was produced by the U.S. government’s Office of War Information (propaganda) to put a happy face on the treatment of Japanese-Americans (JAs) living and working on the west coast.  This was created before television was in widespread use.

1.  What reasons are given for the necessity of relocating JAs? (list 2+)

2.  How does the film show the U.S. government “helping” the JAs “relocating”?  (List 3+)

Step 2.  Read “The Munson Report” Source: In 1941 Pres. Roosevelt ordered the State Department to investigate the loyalty of Japanese Americans.  The investigation was carried out in October-November of 1941.  State Department employee Curtis Munson presented the “Munson Report” to the President on November 7, 1941 – exactly one month before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, HI.

There is no Japanese ‘problem’ on the [West] Coast.  There will be no armed uprising of Japanese.  There will undoubtedly be some sabotage financed by Japan and executed largely by imported agents… In each Naval District there are about 250 to 300 suspects under surveillance.  Privately, [the U.S. Intelligence Services] believe that only 50 to 60 in each district can be classed as really dangerous.  The Japanese are hampered as saboteurs because of their easily recognizable physical appearance.  It will be hard for them to get near anything to blow up if it is guarded.  There is far more danger from Communists…than there is from Japanese.  There Japanese here is almost exclusively a farmer, fisherman or small businessman.”

3.  What is the only possible justification given by the Munson Report for the “internment program”?

Step 3.  Read “Americans in Concentration Camps”  Source: This is an excerpt of an editorial that appeared in “The Crisis” in September 1942.  “The Crisis” is one fo the oldest black periodicals in America dedicated to promoting civil rights.

“Along the eastern coast of the United States, where the numbers of Americans of Japanese Ancestry is comparatively small, no concentration camps have been established.  From a military point of view, the only danger on this coast is from Germany and Italy… But the American government has not taken any such high-handed action against Germans and Italians – and their American-born descendants – on the East Coast, as has been taken against Japanese and their American-born descendants on the West Coast.  Germans and Italians are “white”.  Color seems to be the only possible reason why thousands of American citizens of Japanese ancestry are in concentration camps.”

4.  What double standard is recognized by the editorial?

Step 4.  Read:  Supreme Court Ruling “Korematsu v. United States”  Source: In 1944, a JA convicted of evading internment, brought his case to the Supreme Court.  In a controversial ruling, the Court decided that national security outweighted Korematsu’s individual rights and upheld the constitutionality of Executive Order 9066.  The excerpt below (edited for clarity) is from the Court’s majority opinion written by Chief Justice Hugo Black.

“We uphold the order… In doing so, we are [mindful] of the hardships imposed by it upon a large group of American citizens… But hardships are part of war, and war is an aggregation of hardships.  All citizens alike, both in and out of uniform, feel the impact of war.  Citizenship has its responsibilities, as well as its privileges, and in the time of war, the burden is always heavier.   Compulsory exclusion of large groups of citizens from their homes…is inconsistent with our basic governmental institutions.  But when our shores are threatened by hostile forces, the power to protect must be commensurate with the threatened danger.

To cast this case into outlines of racial prejudice merely confuses the issue. Korematsu was not excluded from the Military Area (the West Coast) because of hostility to him or his race. He was excluded because we are at war with the Japanese Empire, because the properly constituted military authorities feared an invasion of our West Coast and felt constrained to take proper security measures, because they decided that the military urgency of the situation demanded that all citizens of Japanese ancestry be segregated from the West Coast temporarily, and finally, because Congress reposing its confidence in this time of war in our military leaders… determined that they should have the power to do just this.”

5.  What reasons are given in the Court’s majority opinion in upholding the “internment” as legal?

6.  Imagine you are writing a dissenting opinion.  Under what constitutional basis would you argue this is not legal.  (e.g. – which amendments are being violated by the “internment” program?)

Step 5. “Personal Justice Denied” Source: In 1980, Congress established the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians to investigate the detention program and the constitutionality of Executive Order 9066.  Their report was released on February 24, 1983.

“The Commission held 20 days of hearings in cities across the country, particularly on the West Coast, hearing testimony from more than 750 witnesses: evacuees, former government officials, public figures, interested citizens, and historians… An extensive effort was made to locate and review the records of government action and to analyze other sources of information including contemporary writings, personal accounts and historical analyses…

…Executive Order 9066 was not justified by military necessity, and the decisions which followed from it – detention, ending detention and ending exclusion – were not driven by analysis of military conditions.  The broad historical causes which shaped these decisions were race prejudice, war hysteria and a failure of political leadership.  Widespread ignorance of Japanese-Americans contributed to a policy conceived in haste and executed in an atmosphere of fear and anger at Japan.  A grave injustice was done to American citizens and resident aliens of Japanese ancestry who, without individual review or any… evidence against them, were excluded, removed and detained by the United States during World War II.”

7.  What factors did the commission blame for the illegal detainment of JAs?

8.  What compensation do you think would be fair to victims of “internment”?

9.  In 100+ words, write a letter to your member of Congress, explaining why you believe (or don’t believe) that JAs are entitled to compensation for their “internment” and loss of their property?


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USH Kickoff March 6-7: Internment of Japanese-Americans

Link to OLD book 17.4 –  click here

Historical Perspective pg. 595 #4.  Do you think the U.S. government’s policy of putting Japanese-Americans into “internment camps” was justified on the basis of “military necessity”?  Why or why not?

Look for info on page 594-595 AND page 596-597 “Korematsu vs. Uunited States” to support your opinion.  Use “quotes” when using words straight from the book.  150+ words.  Spellcheck and add a relevant photo.

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Kenji – Fort Minor (music video)

thanks MK (3rd period) for the heads-up about this song and its connection to our current unit.

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USH kickoff March 4-5: WW2 timeline


Hiroshima, Japan after the atomic bomb.

For today’s kickoffs, you and your team will create a timeline of U.S. involvement in World War 2.   Use Chapter 10-11 of the new book, or Chapter 17 of old book.

Your timeline should list ten events that start with the attack on Pearl Harbor, HI (Dec 1941) and end with the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan (August 1945).

Your timeline should include five different geographic locations (I’ve already given you two).   It should include at least two relevant photos and have 100+ words.

Spellcheck and proofread your finished post before you publish.

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About Oskar Schindler

Poldek Pfefferberg (Leopold Page) and Oskar Schindler

(from the Bonus Features on the DVD)

For years the world took little note of Oskar Schindler.  Although film documentaries were made of his life, Schindlers’ story was mainly kept alive in the memories of the Schindlerjuden, who took turns supporting the post-war bankrupt businessman in his declining years.  Schindler had been dead for six years when a broken briefcase and an Australian credit card lifted him from the shadows of history.

In October 1980, Australian novelist Thomas Keneally brought his briefcase into a Beverly Hills luggage shop owned by a man name Leopold Page.  Years before, as Poldek Pfefferberg, Page had been one of the workers on Schindler’s list.  During their 20-minute wait for telephone approval of Keneally’s credit card transaction, Page told the author the entire story.  He had recited it many times to various writers and producers over the years, but in Keneally he finally found a kindred spirit.

Oskar Schindler was born in 1908 in the small industrial town of Zwittau, in the Sudeten region, which was then part of the Austrian empire.  His father owned a farm machinery plant and Oskar was trained to be an engineer.  Although raised as a Catholic, Oskar was not religious and as a child played with his Jewish neighbors.

A racing enthusiast, Oskar built and raced his own motorcycle.  At the age of 20 he married Emilie, the quiet daughter of a farmer.  Soon after their marriage, he was called into military service.  Upon his release, he returned home and began working for his father.  But their factory fell victim to the depression of the 1930s and Oskar moved into a job as a sales manager for an electrical company.  He enjoyed his new career, the traveling, meeting new people – especially women.  To help him secure orders, he joined the local Nazi party.

schindler with nazi in krakowIn 1939, when Germany overran Poland, Oskar set out for Krakow to find his fortune in the very profitable business of war.  Through local Nazi connections, he took charge of a confiscated enamelware factory that made mess kits and field kitchenware for the German army.

Oskar settled quite comfortably into life in Krakow.  While his wife remained in Moravia, a series of mistresses kept him company.  He also prospered in Krakow, making the most from his friendships with district heads of various Nazi security forces and Amon Goeth, commandant of the nearby slave labor camp, Plaszow.  The contracts he obtained through Nazi connections brought him huge profits.  Oskar quickly learned how to work inside the corrupt and savage system the Nazis operated and knew how to manipulate it to his own good fortune.

His accountant, Itzhak Stern, encouraged him to employ Jewish workers and his personnel grew from 45 workers to over 250 as Army contracts poured in.  His affinity with the Nazi party waned as he continued to witness the sporadic raids and killings that the Jews of Krakow were subjected to.

march 1943 krakow liquidation

Most brutal was the Nazis’ liquidation of the Krakow Jewish quarter, where Schindler saw soldiers drag families from the apartments and shoot on anyone who resisted on sight.  The Nazis sheltered no one from witnessing these sidewalk executions, including a little Jewish girl dressed in a scarlet coat.  Watching these killings, Schindler realized that if they were content to commit their crimes in full view of children, then they must have planned to murder the witnesses as well.

Schindler then worked with Stern to protect as many Jews as possible.  The workforce at “Emalia”, as his factory became known, burgeoned triplefold, and whenever a work worker at Plaszow was put into direct peril, Schindler gave a black market item for their transfer.

When the Nazi “Final Solution” took another step and threatened Emalia itself, Schindler used his wealth to buy over 1,200 workers, moving them to the relative safety of Brinnlitz, where he and his workers waited out the war.

Everything Schindler possessed at the end of the war he lost.  He was penniless.  He never prospered again.

After the war, he and his wife immigrated to Argentina, where we took up farming.  After ten unsuccessful years, he abandoned Emilie and returned to Germany.  For the remainder of his life he was cared for by his “family”, the Schindlerjuden.

Yad Vashem holocaust memorialIn 1961, Jerusalem’s Yad Vashem Museum complex, which commemorates the Holocaust, honored Schindler with a tree planted in his honor in the Avenue of the Righteous, dedicated to Gentiles (non-Jews) who helped Jews during the Nazis’ reign.  His wife, Emilie, was recently bestowed with that honor and the tree planted in his honor now also bears the name of his wife.

Schindler died in 1974.  According to his wishes, he was buried in Israel, in the Catholic cemetery on Mount Zion in Jerusalem.

– originally posted April 20, 2008

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