US-Japan Enmity – WWII Wartime Propaganda Posters [History]

Robin Kietlinski, CUNY La Guardia Community College

This resource is part of the Learning Matters Assignment Library.


This assignment was developed to be used in SSH 110 (East Asian Civilizations), but can also be used in SSH 106 (World History from 1500) and SSH 114 (Modern Japanese History). All three courses are primarily for non-majors and are beginning-level (survey) courses. This assignment comes towards the end of the semester, in week 10 or 11, when we are discussing World War II. This assignment is aligned with the Global Learning core competency, and meets those specific learning objectives by giving students a chance to analyze in-depth one dimension of a global event (the widespread use of propaganda during WWII), and more importantly gets them to consider and negotiate competing perspectives on “the other” during this tumultuous period. It also gets students to consider and analyze the ethical consequences of both propaganda and of censorship by governments. The assignment is aligned with the Written Communication ability, as students will be graded upon the organization and support of their thesis, the reliability of their sources, and the clarity and fluency of their writing. Students will receive a grading rubric alongside the assignment, so that they are aware of the criteria through which their papers will be evaluated (rubric is attached to this assignment, after the wartime propaganda posters).

This assignment would take approximately two weeks to complete: students would first complete a reading assignment for contextual background on US-Japan enmity in the 1930s-40s (from John Dower’s War Without Mercy), would spend one class-session doing the Think/Pair/Share activity, and would have one week to complete the 3-4 page writing assignment. This assignment would be worth 15% of their overall grade (equivalent of a midterm exam).

LaGuardia’s Core Competencies and Communication Abilities