Lesson Plan

Analyzing the Effects of World War I

Compare and contrast a map from before World War I to a map after World War I. Students analyze the significance of the changes in the map, looking particularly at the countries that comprised the Axis powers and the Allied powers.

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Nazi Germany
World War I

Enduring Understanding

The changes brought about by World War I influenced people and governments years later, shaping the decisions that led to World War II and the Holocaust.

Essential Question

  • 1How does a country's history shape its response to events in the present?


5 Min

Explain that maps are one way to analyze the impact of World War I. Tell students that you are going to look at changes in empires and ask if they know what an empire is. If they don’t, provide a brief definition. Remind students that in World War I, the Axis powers were led by Germany, Austria-Hungary, and the Ottoman Empire (which became Turkey after the war), and the Allied powers were led by Great Britain, France, Italy, Russia (until 1917) and the United States (beginning in 1917).


10 Min

Access the Empires before World War I map from 1914 and the The World after World War I map from 1920 from Facing History and Ourselves. Display them side by side for students. Ask students to look closely at the maps, noticing differences between the two maps. Students can begin by looking at the colors, and seeing which have increased and which have decreased. Students can then identify which empires and countries expanded their territory between 1914 and 1920, and which lost territory. Ask students to notice which countries existed in 1914 but not in 1920, and which countries are on the map in 1920 but not in 1914.


10 Min

Divide the class into groups of 3 – 5 students

Assign an empire or country from the 1914 map to each group. Have each group write down answers to the following questions using information from the maps.

  1. What land did the empire or country gain or lose from the war?
  2. Looking at the changes between the maps, how do you think the changes affected the attitudes and feelings of the citizens of your assigned country or empire?

As the groups reflect, highlight their answers to the final question. These can be used as touchpoints in thinking about the precursors of the Holocaust.

Wisconsin Academic Standards

This lessons meets the following Academic Standards required by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.

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