This unit is part of the 11th grade U.S. History program. It is intended to last eight weeks and will be offered during the final quarter of the year.
Week 1 - Introduction
This week should include an introduction to the concept of foreign policy. Students should understand that traditionally America’s policy was isolationist; they should understand why it was that way and how this policy began to change in the late 19th century.
Three additional topics to cover this week would be a review of the U.S. geographical position in the world, the industrial changes evident at the turn of the century and different pressures which attend the assumption of world power.
Week 2 - Imperialism
This week should include an explanation of imperialism and a close look at America’s introduction to it: the Spanish-American War. The debates over imperialism and the responsibilities of world leadership are usually interesting to students who like to discuss what the government should have done in situations such as the rebellion in Panama which led to the U.S. acquisition of the Canal Zone. The terms of the present treaty with Panama can be traced back to those days. The central U.S. personality to study is Theodore Roosevelt.
Week 3 - Return to Isolationism
This week should cover the years between 1900 and 1914 when, for the most part, the U.S. tried to stay out of world affairs. A biographical sketch of Woodrow Wilson along with some study of his domestic and foreign programs provided the basis for the rest of the week’s topics.
Weeks 4 and 5 - World War I
These two weeks should include a study of the events leading up to the U.S. involvement in WWI, Wilson’s agonizing decision to go to war, the war itself, and the peace following the war. Emphasis should be given to European geography, the problems of U.S. neutrality, and the long debate over the League and Covenant.
Weeks 6 and 7 - Between the Wars
These weeks should include a study of the 1920’s in the U.S., which saw the return to an isolationist mood, a gaiety in the lives of most Americans, and the precipitation of the worst economic crisis of this century. The 1930’s are remembered as the Depression years. The whole world felt the effects of it. A concentration on international relationships in these two decades, as well as a study of the personalities leading the various countries, form the basis for an understanding of the war to come.
Week 8 - World War II and the Aftermath
This final week should include a study of the events leading up to the U.S. involvement in WW II, a closer look at Hitler, F.D.R., and Churchill, the decision to drop the atomic bombs, the Nazi concentration camps, and the peace following it all, establishing the United Nations and insuring U.S. participation in world affairs and relationships.