WW2 – KQ1 – Why did Britain have to go to war in 1939?

Pupils learn the sequence of events leading to the Second World war before a lively role-play debate in which they exchange well-rehearsed arguments verbally in the House of Commons and then write tight summaries of the key arguments for both sides.

Step 1

Start with the puzzling question as to why, if the First World War had been such a bloody war, Britain went to war again just 20 years after the First World War had ended. There is no need to go into too much detail of diplomatic history between the wars as that is well covered in the KS3 and 4 history curriculum. Having said that, pupils will be curious and will already have heard of figures such as Hitler and maybe Churchill. It is often around Y5 and Y6 that some pupils start to develop a keen interest in political issues.

Step 2

To help your brief explanation, use KQ1 PowerPoint slides 3-12 which outline the key events between 1933-and 1939 and provide the context for the enquiry. Having steered pupils through these with the aid of the map, check that pupils have understood the basic sequence of events by making sets of cards copied from

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