APWH: World War II and the Power of Propaganda/Practice DBQ

Posted on April 22, 2020


As an introduction, please view the following Crash Courses:

World War II marks the near-midpoint of the 20th Century with one of the most atrocious periods in World History. It’s almost unfathomable to us today what a strain on resources, lives, and economies a total war like WWII was, but even deeper than that, it brought out the worst in human nature. The Japanese army committed atrocities such as the Rape of Nanjing and rampant human experimentation on Chinese civilians. Germany used what they had learned from cooperating with the Ottoman Turks in World War I to do the same scapegoating routine on Germany’s Jewish population, which lead to between five and six million of Europe’s Jewish population being murdered, and five to six million other people – LGBTQ individuals, communists, Jehovah’s Witnesses, the mentally and physically handicapped, among others – to be murdered in concentration and work camps across Eastern Europe.

The German people let this happen because of a desperation of spirit and a need for easy solutions. It’s easy to sit by while atrocities happen as long as they don’t happen to you; and it’s easy to justify them when the people committing them have “fixed your country.” Every step Hitler took in violating the Treaty of Versailles helped him commit a genocide like the world had never seen before.

But not everyone sat by. It’s important to remember those who fought against Hitler in Germany, and many of those were students your age. Sophie Scholl, who founded the White Rose Resistance, was one of them.

There is an excellent film (German subtitles) about her and your brother that I suggest that you check out. It’s available on YouTube.


I have made “Assignments for 2020 Practice Exam 1 FRQ” available for practice for you in AP Classroom. ONLY DO THE DBQ FOR PRACTICE. I will grade what is submitted to me. Please note that it’s not the same rubric as the AP exam will be scored on, but it’s what I have to work with right now.