Listen&Learn: The Causes of World War II

Jaksyn Peacock
The worst conflict in history.

Pre-listening vocabulary

  • conflict: a fight between people or groups
  • dictator: a ruler with unlimited political power
  • invasion: a forced entry into a country with the goal of gaining power over it
  • regime: the government of a country
  • concentration camp: a place where Jews were imprisoned and killed during World War II

Listening activity

Gapfill exercise

World War II was a conflict that began in 1939. The war began when German dictator Adolf Hitler an invasion of Poland. Hitler’s goal was to take over Europe entirely. He also believed that the German race was , and began to order the deaths of anyone who he didn’t think was “pure”. The main victims of Hitler’s regime were Jews. Immediately after the invasion of Poland, Britain and France declared war on Germany. Later, the United States and the Soviet Union declared war as well. They became known as the Allied Powers. Germany’s allies were Italy and Japan, and they became known as the Axis Powers. For six years, Allied soldiers tried to regain land and concentration camps. The war’s end came in 1945, after Allied overpowered the German army and Hitler died by suicide. Over 60 million people died in World War II, making it the worst conflict in history.

Comprehension questions

1. The war began when Germany invaded

Correct! Wrong!

The war began when Germany invaded Poland.

2. The countries that formed the Axis Powers were

Correct! Wrong!

The countries that formed the Axis Powers were Germany, Italy and Japan.

3. The war ended because

Correct! Wrong!

The war ended because the Allies had overpowered the German army.

Discussion/essay questions

  1. World War I ended in 1918, only 21 years before World War II began. Why do you think conflict was so common in Europe at the time?
  2. Do you think another world war could happen in the future? Why or why not?
  3. One of the most tragic events of World War II was the Holocaust, or the genocide of European Jews. Why is it so important to remember and learn from this tragedy?

Transcript

World War II was a global conflict that began in 1939. The war began when German dictator Adolf Hitler ordered an invasion of Poland. Hitler’s goal was to take over Europe entirely. He also believed that the German race was superior, and began to order the deaths of anyone who he didn’t think was “pure”. The main victims of Hitler’s regime were Jews. Immediately after the invasion of Poland, Britain and France declared war on Germany. Later, the United States and the Soviet Union declared war as well. They became known as the Allied Powers. Germany’s allies were Italy and Japan, and they became known as the Axis Powers. For six years, Allied soldiers tried to regain land and liberate concentration camps. The war’s end came in 1945, after Allied forces overpowered the German army and Hitler died by suicide. Over 60 million people died in World War II, making it the worst conflict in history.

Written and recorded by Jaksyn Peacock for EnglishClub

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