For the last few generations, the collegiate years have been a crucial part of the growing up experience. The system has changed, however, since my generation attended college, and it’s failing. Inflated costs have driven up student debt so high that many cannot fathom how to escape it upon graduation, even with a good job lined up.
Also, because so many students are still being funneled into colleges, even with the prospect of crippling debt, there are too many graduates for the available jobs. Students are either going on to graduate school, in the hopes of getting a job in their chosen field, or taking whatever job they can find. Simply put – there are too many professionals being graduated, and not enough professional jobs.
Or as Mike Rowe put it — “America is lending money it doesn’t have to kids who can’t pay it back to train them for jobs that no longer exist. That’s nuts.”
Rowe continues, “Schools have done away with vocational training to focus on academic learning, creating a one-size-fits-all model of college-to-workforce that doesn’t recognize the real opportunities in the workplace and the real needs of society.” And while it’s true that there are many careers which do require advanced training, such as those in the medical field, but not every career will require that four-year degree, and companies are just now starting to respond to this realization.
Before this homeschooling life, I worked with eighth, ninth, and tenth graders…and loved it! Teens are so exciting. They are old enough to have a real, heavy conversation with (and it’s really fun to explore the basis for their opinions), but young enough to still need and want guidance (even if they won’t admit it). From those years of experience, my experiences with my own children, and just the sheer memory of being a teen myself….here are five suggestions for motivating your student.
The Homeschooling the Upper Grades e-book is a collaboration project with bloggers from around the world, covering a wide variety of topics and issues facing the homeschooling parent of teens. Twenty-two topics spanning special needs learners to academically gifted, and college to career-oriented students, are covered in this free download.
Worried you’re going to miss one of the pieces for moving from homeschool to college? Here is the help you want with transcripts, scholarships, and making the transition! In Through the Door, you and your teen will work through thirty-three modules to smooth the way from homeschool to college life.
Looking for high school help? It’s not the academics for high school that are nerve-wracking so much as it is all of those ‘special things,’ like testing, applications, and deadlines that must be met for a smooth transition into college.
Maybe your teen knows exactly what s/he has wanted to be since childhood. Maybe they have no idea. A little career exploration is good for both scenarios, as it helps to better understand what those jobs truly entail…
Career-focused electives can be a good way to make high school fun, to bring some moments of levity to a day crowded with the intense courses found in these upper grades, particularly in a college prep scenario.What is your child interested in?Which hobbies does s/he gravitate toward?Are there any career interests yet?This is a good way to let colleges know more about your student, as they see which electives made the cut and ended up on the transcript.
Career Exploration guides seventh through twelfth grade students to discover their career path or college major. This eight-week elective course provides possible directions to the next step. Each lesson includes informative articles, self-inventory worksheets, relevant links to additional information, and inspiring true stories.
The Career Center offers a whopping fifty-five different courses, ranging from eight weeks to full-year, to help your student further explore their interest and see if it is a good fit.
Parents can also pull together resources to create a year-long, career-based course for their student’s interest – such as this one on Architecture. For technical or hands-on careers, check with your local community college to see if they have dual-enrollment high school programming.
Maturity / Relationships
Teens are navigating a tricky time of life, caught between the worlds of adolescence and adulthood. Now is the time to talk about all those hard things…before they take the next step.
Explore the clarity of intent, connecting through rapport, creating openness, reflective listening, and empathy. How can we explore the space between ourselves and others, and exchange meaningful perspectives? Just ask—powerfully.
The fourteen essential conversations to have with your tween and early teenager to prepare them for the emotional, physical, and social challenges ahead, including scripts and advice to keep the communication going and stay connected during this critical developmental window.
Read Prior to Graduation
Gender-based lists — Obviously you can read from either list, but they are sorted by traditional interests
This book list is designed for 8th – 12th grade college-bound students, and includes many classic pieces of literature as well as more modern day stories. The books represent a range of historic eras, and include elements from both American and World Literature courses.
Whether it’s a bedroom, an office, or digital life, having a good system of organization can save your student time and trouble down the line…
A good planner works for you and your needs. What is right for one person may not be the best option for someone else, so take a moment to investigate several options and find the one that works best for your student.
There are as many different forms of note-taking as there are students. Follow these four rules for note-taking, and you should see marked improvement in your academics!
You probably began writing essays in middle school, and started writing longer ones in high school, but as you enter the collegiate field, you’ll be required to write more complex and effective essays. It’s important to understand how to clearly communicate.
Resources for a wide range of students and their needs…
After eighteen years of caring for your child, it can be alarming to realize that on that magical birthday, they suddenly take on ALL the responsibilities of adulthood, whether they are equipped or not. There are ways, however, to have some legal protections in place ahead of time.
New hire paperwork, your first W-2, and all the financial basics in between…your teen needs to understand the ABCs of taxes.
Whether you’ve experienced troubles or enjoyed something, a business letter or follow-up to a phone call is a life skill that all teens should learn. These letters aren’t just for expressing displeasure — they’re also a great opportunity to point out what’s right with your product / service.
It can daunting to think about what post-graduation brings for the special needs student, but s/he is in a great position as a homeschooler! In the upper grades years, homeschooling allows students the time to explore passions and career interests. Take some time to examine your special needs student’s strengths, combining those and their interests to find a career exploration starting point.
Critical thinking is something every parent should help foster, age-appropriately, from the earliest years. We want our teens to go out into the world with eyes wide open…
Looking to focus on critical thinking skills? This Guidebook Set features four books, each with multiple lessons that are direct, concise, and help students relate concepts to their daily lives. Two of the books are designed to make students think about thinking and thought processes. The other two books are motivational and inspirational in nature, showing examples of people who trudged through difficult times to make a difference in the world.
Literary Adventures for Kids is a language arts curriculum that fosters both writing and critical thinking skills. There are five different year-long classes to choose from, each including a blend of classic and modern books and encouraging students to ‘think beyond the book.’
Regardless of the path, all students need to become familiar with the Microsoft Office family. This elective curriculum uses project-based learning to teach critical thinking, problem-solving, research, and out-of-the-box thinking skills. It celebrates students’ creativity and innovativeness and allows students to learn by creating solutions, all while introducing learners to a full range of Office skills.
Using short, online unit studies, this site introduces your student to apps, online programming, and other ‘new tech’ being used currently in both educational and on-the-job settings. Students develop skills and practice through short, fun projects.
Do you have high school students who are considering college? One of the steps they’ll need to take is standardized testing. This is especially important for homeschooled students as it helps to provide outside validation to the grades on their transcript.
Even if you know the material and are prepared for your test, it’s completely normal to experience test anxiety. In fact, to a degree, anxiety helps you perform better on the test! However, too much can prevent you from doing your best…so what test skills do you need?
Are you struggling to find productivity in your day-to-day? Are you feeling like you are constantly putting out fires and not making any progress on the things that matter most to you? If so, you’re not alone. Many people struggle with productivity because they are making some common mistakes. In this blog post, we will discuss 10 blunders that are sabotaging your personal productivity. Once you become aware of these mistakes, you can start taking steps to correct them and finally get stuff done!
Blunder #1: Not Having a Plan
One of the biggest productivity killers is not having a plan. If you don’t know what your goals are or what steps you need to take to achieve them, it’s going to be very difficult to get anything done. You will likely find yourself spinning your wheels and getting nowhere fast. Take some time to sit down and figure out what you want to achieve. Once you have a goal in mind, break it down into smaller steps that you can take to get there. Having a roadmap will help keep you on track and prevent wasted time.
This will get you nowhere fast on both the little things AND the big things. When looking at the major life decisions for what comes after high school, it’s easy to get stymied by all the “what ifs.” Do a little research and choose a path, you can always course correct later. Download the free Homeschooling Help book or pick up the High School to College course.
Blunder #2: Not Breaking Down Tasks Into Smaller Steps
Another common mistake people make is not breaking down tasks into smaller, more manageable steps. When you have a big project or goal that seems overwhelming, it can be tempting to just try to power through it without taking the time to break it down. However, this usually leads to frustration and a feeling of being stuck. Instead of trying to tackle the entire project at once, break it down into smaller steps that you can complete one at a time. This will help you stay focused and make progress until the task is done.
Something I’m always telling the students at Sparks Academy, particularly as they begin to tackle large assignments, is – “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time!” A racer runs a marathon one mile at a time. And a good student tackles a large project one chunk at a time.
Blunder #3: Not Scheduling Time for Important Tasks
If you don’t schedule time for the things that are important to you, they will likely never get done. It’s easy to fill up your day with busy work and put off the things that really matter, but this will only lead to frustration. Make sure you schedule time for the tasks that are most important to you, and stick to that schedule as much as possible. This will help ensure that you are making progress on the things that truly matter.
The ability to prioritize important tasks, culling the wheat from the chaff, is a hallmark of a good leader, and leadership skills are important for all kinds of successes in life, from employment to relationships. See how to boost your leadership skills here.
Blunder #4: Not Having a Dedicated Workspace
One of the biggest productivity killers is not having a dedicated workspace. If you are constantly working in different locations, it can be difficult to stay focused and get things done. Make sure you have a designated space that is just for work. This will help you stay focused and avoid distractions.
It’s possible to work from your kitchen table, but having a private workspace makes getting into the study zone much easier. Having set work hours and visual cues, such as a small sign or wearing headphones, will let well-meaning family members know you’re working.
Blunder #5: Not Taking Breaks
It might seem counterintuitive, but taking breaks can actually help you be more productive. If you are working non-stop, you are likely to get burnt out and make mistakes. instead of trying to power through, take a break every few hours to recharge. This will help you stay focused and avoid errors.
Your break can be a walk around the block, shooting some hoops with a sibling, or picking up a musical instrument for a bit. It could be having a snack or taking a field trip to town — after all, every field trip doesn’t have to be long and / or exotic…
Blunder #6: Not Staying Organized
Another common mistake people make is not staying organized. When you are constantly trying to find things, it can be very frustrating and time-consuming. Make sure you have a system in place for organizing your work so that you can find things quickly and easily. This will save you time in the long run and help you stay on track.
Get a hold on this with the Rise & Shine Student Planner. Each month contains an at-a-glance calendar, with space for notes and a to-do list. Weekly pages are broken down by day, and daily pages provide space for habit tracking, notes, meal planning, and an hourly planner.
Blunder #7: Trying to Do Too Much
One of the biggest productivity killers is trying to do too much at once. When you are constantly jumping from one task to another, it can be difficult to focus and get anything done. Make sure you are prioritizing your tasks so that you are only working on the most important things. This will help you stay focused and avoid feeling overwhelmed. Having a plan will help you keep on task.
Blunder #8: Procrastinating
One of the biggest productivity killers is procrastination. When you put off tasks, they tend to pile up and become even more daunting. Make sure you are staying on top of your tasks by setting deadlines and holding yourself accountable. This will help you avoid feeling overwhelmed and ensure that you are making progress.
Are you easily distracted, noticing every sight and sound around you? When working on a task, are you often side-tracked and have a difficult time focusing? Procrastination is one of the hallmarks of distractibility. Learn how to focus more easily, which will help your studying.
Blunder #9: Not Getting Enough Sleep
One of the biggest productivity killers is not getting enough sleep. When you are tired, it can be difficult to focus and get things done. Make sure you are getting enough rest so that you can be productive during the day. This will help you avoid feeling exhausted and ensure that you are able to focus on your tasks.
Eliminate this blunder with the New Year, New Me Habit Tracker. This reusable calendar features monthly at-a-glance pages and weekly pages with space for notes and planning. Each week also has a habit tracker grid to help keep the momentum going with your new habits!
Blunder #10: Not Eating Healthy
Another common mistake people make is not eating healthy. When you are not getting the proper nutrients, it can be difficult to focus and stay on task. Make sure you are eating a balanced diet so that you can maintain your energy levels and avoid feeling sluggish. This will help you stay focused and productive throughout the day.
It may take some adjustments in your shopping and cooking habits, but eating real food (and not nuking it in the microwave) is so much healthier for you! Your body will appreciate the difference, and after a little bit your mood will improve as you begin to feel more energized. Check out the No Sweat! Cooking Bundle for quick, easy, and healthy meal ideas.
There are many common mistakes that people make that can stand in the way of their personal productivity. By avoiding these mistakes, you can ensure that you are able to stay focused and get things done. Make sure you try to implement some of these tips so that you can increase your productivity and achieve your goals.
After eighteen years of caring for your child, it can be alarming to realize that on that magical birthday, they suddenly take on ALL the responsibilities of adulthood, whether they are equipped or not. Young adults who are eager for independence may push back against a request to sign a college power of attorney, believing they don’t really need it or you’re trying to control them. However, at some point or another, most young adults find themselves in over their heads, may end up in credit card debt, wind up in a car accident, or get into trouble at school. All of these are scenarios you, the parent, could assist with at age 17, but cannot once they turn 18…unless you have some legal protections in place ahead of time.
HIPPA / Healthcare
HIPPA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996) is a federal law that creation national standards to protect sensitive patient health information from being disclosed without the patient’s consent or knowledge. This act also contains standards for individuals’ rights to understand and control how their health information is used.
The act was created to make protect individuals’ healthcare information, but comes into play with your adult children when, at age 18, you can no longer legally go with them to appointments, inquire about test results, or even find out why they are in the hospital unless the child has given express, written consent.
A few of the things you need HIPAA consent for include:
Benefit eligibility inquiries
Referral authorization requests
Protect your child by having him/her complete a HIPPA authorization form. Send one to the college and keep one on file at home.
Medical Power of Attorney
A medical power of attorney form is strictly for health care choices should your son or daughter become incapacitated. There is also the option of a general durable power of attorney, which covers financial decisions as well as medical. Find your state’s medical power of attorney information here.
Financial / Durable Power of Attorney
Durable POA enables a designated agent (such as the parents) to make financial and medical decisions on the student’s behalf. When signing it, your child can choose whether that power transfers immediately or only if s/he becomes incapacitated. You can also write in start and end dates to reassure that this is a limited power of attorney for college.
Powers may include:
Managing bank accounts
Applying for government benefits
Breaking a lease
A durable power of attorney document applies only in the state in which it was formed—so if your child is attending school in another state, you should secure power of attorney for the other state as well. Some states also require the signature of a witness or a notary public.
FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act) is a Federal law that protects the privacy of student education records. The law applies to all schools that receive funds under an applicable program of the U.S. Department of Education.
Generally, schools must have written permission from the student to release any information from a student’s education record. This includes class schedules, transcripts, and grade point averages, but also extends to financial records within the school, such as scholarship information and money due, and living circumstances, such as dorm room assignment or any personal issues the student experiences.
Protect your child by having them provide written permission allowing the school to discuss all FERPA-related topics with you, as needed.
Protect Your Child in 10 Minutes
You can get all of these young adult power of attorney documents at Mama Bear Legal Forms. It’s considerably cheaper than going through a standard lawyer because this is what she does, and she has templates for each state, rather than re-creating the wheel each time (it’s the time that costs you more money).
You’ll want to have these in place before your child goes off to school, but don’t fret if you’re running behind — there’s no time like the present! The package includes: HIPPA, FERPA, power of attorney for health and finances, plus a free App for scanning, storing and sharing. If you visit through this link, you’ll also save 20% off your order.
When looking for curriculum, you’ll want to consider your homeschool style. It may take a few years to settle down into the right fit for your family, andthat’s completely normal.
Not sure what your style is?
What’s your teaching style?
What are your goals?
How do your kids learn best?
What values do you want to instill in your children?
What’s your lifestyle? Do you prefer routine or flexibility?
Within each of these homeschool styles, you have the flexibility to be creative and make your own student-directed classes. Maybe your child is interested in becoming a veterinarian, but you can’t find a class for that…make your own! You’ll need approximately 140 hours of work, hands on and academic, to count it as a full year. Use this Create-Your-Own Class Planner to help you get started.
Focusing on the trivium, the three stages of learning: grammar, dialectic, and rhetoric, this is a Socratic method that includes public speaking, memorization, and a full school day. The trivium stages match up with elementary, middle, and secondary school. This is a rigorous approach to schooling, but produces results. Compass Classroom offers several great options for classical instruction, and you can try their sample resources for free.
Developed by a 19th century educator who believed in reading ‘living books’ rather than ‘twaddle,’ this approach involves living learning. It revolves around reading aloud together as a family, and following child interests. Nature walks, art museums, fine arts studies, and living books are all a part of this approach, and there is a focus on instill good character habits. One of our favorite Charlotte Mason providers is The Homeschool Garden. (See more information, or just try them free.)
This approach takes all of the subjects and integrates them in an in-depth study of a topic. For example, a unit study of Rome might include reading and writing about Rome, studying the history of Roman emperors, calculating timelines and marketplace purchases, creating artwork and projects from Ancient Roman times, and studying water (from the aqueducts built during this era). Field trips and hand-on projects are frequently utilized. Units may be literature-based, and this is a great style for teaching multiple grades together. Techie Homeschool Mom offers fantastic, online unit studies that also teach various technologies. Try one free!
Definitely for the Type B family, this is a child-centered approach to schooling. There are no formal lessons, or even formal curriculum, but the children follow their interests and learn from life experiences. Schedules are not utilized, and there is much flexibility and freedom, with a focus for teaching a love of learning and developing the ability to be self-educating. This does not mean that they don’t read, write, and do math, but that they follow their interests. Math might be adding up the tab at the restaurant, or figuring the tax.
Similar to unschooling, this is a child-centered approach that focuses on nature, arts, crafts, music, and movement. Much of schooling is done out in nature, and technology is not a big part of this curriculum.
The eclectic method is just a fancy way of saying ‘a combination of styles.’ This includes picking and choosing from the smorgasboard of different curriculum providers to meet your student’s various needs. Literary Adventures for Kids is a beautifully-eclectic, online language arts program that your kids are sure to love! Try their Psychology course for upper grades free here.
This is a fairly common style in the first few years of homeschooling, especially if you’ve pulled your children out of public school, to build confidence. Don’t forget to do a bit of de-schooling before starting the semester! Traditional schoolers focus on common standards and often complete a full day of classwork.
A lot of organizations don’t consider this to be “real” homeschooling since it’s being paid for and run by the government and someone else is doing all of the teaching. For a small percentage of people, though, whether it be because of job commitments, life ‘events,’ or something else that is preventing them from being able to sit down and dedicate themselves fully to educating their children, institutions such as K12 and Epic really are the best fit. It’s never my first recommendation, but still a valid option.
One of our favorite all-in-one resources for families is SchoolhouseTeachers. It includes all classes, for all grades…and it’s one price for the entire family, whether you have two children or twelve. There are many different learning styles to select from, so if you have one visual kid who needs a relaxed pace and one aural kid who needs a more stringent pace, there are classes that will fit them each. With over 475 classes available, plus extras for mom and dad, this is my favorite resource to offer new families who are wanting to dip their toe into homeschooling but aren’t sure how to begin!
The Good & the Beautiful is a breath of fresh air for your homeschool! The price is very affordable for families, there are morals included in every lesson, and it’s designed for the busy mom with its open-and-go format. While it is Christian-based, it offers up a neutral world-view, allowing parents to tailor it toward their family’s beliefs. The print quality is amazing, and the vintage reading material is a delightful change from what our children were gravitating toward before we switched to this curriculum. At the high school level, the curriculum is set up to reinforce time management skills and responsibility.
The courses combine subjects, using a cross-curricular approach to tie concepts together. It is faith-based, with a general Christian, non-denominational worldview with the goal of producing not only intelligent minds, but also high character and the ability to recognize and appreciate what is good and beautiful in life and in learning. The goal is not to teach specific doctrines, but to teach general principles of moral character such as honesty and kindness. Affordability is another aspect that separates this curriculum from others — namely, it is affordable! In fact, the company makes their math and language arts curriculum, from levels 1-8, completely FREE for anyone to download
The Good & the Beautiful’s language arts is one of my favorite program components, as it covers reading, spelling, writing, dictation, literature, grammar, vocabulary, geography, and art. By including geography and art, it takes a bit of a unit study approach. For example, in High School-1, unit five covers the Arctic areas. They read a book about the Arctic, and the geography, art, vocabulary, and writing assignments tie in with that region. You can cover quite a bit with just the one class! Each high school course is one credit of English, ½ credit of geography, and ½ credit of art. Pencil drawing is taught in each level. The other mediums taught are watercolor, charcoals, and acrylic paint.
The curriculum is set up to reinforce student responsibility and time management skills in addition to grammar, writing, and reading. Each year is divided into ten separate units. The student is able to take a unit and work on it for two to three weeks before turning it in for grading. However, some students need a little more guidance. In the online support group, there are course schedules free to download in the files section. Additionally, Sparks Academy offers live / blended classes for students using the Language Arts curriculum (level 7, and high school levels 1-3 are available). These classes meet with a flexible schedule on a weekly basis, as well as live meetings quarterly via video chat. Students have schoolwork assigned each week and work on group assignments throughout the year. These classes help not only the student, but the parent as well, as it puts the burden of teaching onto an outside source, provides a sense of accountability for the student, and allows for grading from a source other than the parent.
The current history includes read alouds, audio recordings, and accompanying worksheets. At the high school level, each quarter (each historical era), the student has a short list of research projects to complete before we move on to the next era. This goes back to student responsibility and time management. I use the term ‘current’ because TGTB is in the process of re-writing all of their history units, but we don’t know when they will re-release or what they will look like.
One of the things I like about history is that it takes the classical education approach – of four different eras of history – and teaches from all four of those each school year. Rather than doing an entire year of ancient history, we’re doing one quarter on ancient history each school year (with each year focusing on a different region, such as Egypt or Greece). It’s easy to get burnt out on a particular era when you’re knee-deep in it for an entire year, so we like that things get mixed up! The history curriculum has a minimum of four read-alouds each year, so if you don’t like reading together, it might not be a good fit for your family. However, for us, it’s given the kids the perfect excuse to still curl up with mom in their teen years.
For folks wanting something a bit different, or teacher-led, Sparks Academy offers live / blended classes for middle and high school students using The Good & the Beautiful’s Constitution course for Government and Economics and Notgrass for World and American History.
These subjects are topics that come up regularly in the TGTB with Middle and High School Students group. The short answer is that TGTB doesn’t currently offer these subjects specifically for high school and there is no one recommended program, but dozens of choices. You’ll need to choose the one that fits your family’s teaching style, and your student’s learning style, the best.
While you won’t need to keep everything from the courses for a portfolio, you’ll want to keep copies of any essays or research projects, as well as some of that beautiful artwork! Some states require more record-keeping than others, so always check into your state requirements. For our own family, we keep one complete language arts unit, in case there is a question of what type of work was completed, in addition to the above list. Also, you may want to add complete course descriptions (many of which can be found in the files of the high school support group). These, along with the aforementioned portfolio pieces, will usually satisfy any inquiries from colleges or other outside sources…include well-meaning family members.
If you’re thinking on college prep and being ready to submit all that information, we have created a low-cost program for parents homeschooling high schoolers that covers college-prep topics. Check out Through the Door: Homeschool to College Success!
Sparks Academy provides live / blended classes for high school students, using The Good & the Beautiful for language arts, Apologia / Berean Builders for science, and Notgrass for history. These classes meet weekly, allowing students the opportunity to discuss the literature, get additional instruction on concepts covered, and show off their art projects and recitations. Students receive a grade for these courses from a source outside of the home.
Sparks Academy is not affiliated with The Good & the Beautiful, but is run by parents who use and love their curriculum. They are providing support, accountability, and community for upper grades families who use this curriculum by creating an online homeschool co-op for high school students. Currently, students can register for High School Levels 1-3 in language arts. For families who just need a bit of extra help, there are writing consultation packages forLevels 6, 7, and High School(for those who only want essay feedback).
While WW1 did not directly cause WW2, many of its after-effects led to weakened European states who were weak, needed strong leadership, and opened the door for dictatorships. The consequences of the first world war indirectly led to the second.
End of World War I
On the morning of November 11, 1918, the French delegation witnessed the Germans signing the Armistice that would go into effect at the eleventh hour, of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918. It was exactly five years after the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand, the event that had set the ‘world’ part of the war into motion. The perceived humiliation and harsh terms of the subsequent Treaty of Versailles created a motive for Hitler and the leadership of the Third Reich to seek revenge. One of the terms of the treat was that Germany had to pay the equivalent of $124 million (in 2021 terms). Another term took sections of Germany and gave them to Czechoslovakia and Poland.
Dictators from the Depression
After the Treaty of Versailles was signed, the world plunged into a different kind of chaoes. Germany fell into economic troubles, but they weren’t the one country struggling. Russia and Italy also had difficulties recovering. History has shown us that, during times of chaos, people look to strong leaders who they hope will get the job of done so the country can recover. This was no exception. The political leaders who came to power during this period – Hitler, Stalin, and Mussolini – were very powerful.
Though born in Austria, Hitler considered himself a German. He fought for Germany during WWI, being partially blinded and shot. After the war, he became a spy for the Social Democratic Party who spied on another German group, the German Workers Party. It was during this time that he became well known and began to get a following. Germans were struggling, financially, as they were required by the Treaty to pay back damages and reparations from WWI. Hitler began to speak out and lead protests. He was sentenced to jail at one point, where he wrote his autobiography, Mein Kampf. After release, he had even more followers and began his ascent to power.
Tsar Nikolas was overthrown in the Russian Revolution, at the end of WWI, by the Bolsheviks, a Communist party. In 1922, Russia and several other countries joined together to form the Soviet Union under Lenin’s leadership. In 1924, when Lenin passed, Stalin came to power. Stalin wanted to industrialize the Soviet Union to strengthen the economy. He introduced a plan called ‘collectivization,’ where the Soviets took land from individual owners, and gave it to the State (the government). The idea was to increase efficiency, store more food, use less labor (more machines), and send farmers to work in factories.
Mussolini is often seen as the founder of facsism, a fom of totalitarian government with a capitalist economy. Before he came to power, the Italian government was led by a king-appointed Prime Minister. Mussolini had a group of ‘blackshirts,’ people who went around stirring up trouble, beating up political opponents, and generally clearing the way for his rise to power. The king appointed Mussolini as PM in 1922 so that the blackshirts would stop the violence. (This is called ‘appeasement,’ and it’s not a good idea.) In 1925, Mussolini became a dictator, taking away freedoms and forcing loyalty.
Appeasement & the League of Nations
The precursor to the United Nations, the League of Nations was formed at the end of WWI to ensure world war never occurred again. Unfortunately, they were afraid to act against aggressive countries, for fear of starting another war. This was another form of appeasement (remember the king of Italy?). One of the earliest instances of appeasement was when Mussolini decided to invade and conquer Ethiopia in 1935…and the League of Nations did not act. Hitler then decided to try his hand at reconquering some lands.
Under the Treaty of Versailles, Germany was not to have a large army, but that was ignored as the German army swelled and the country also formed an Air Force and Navy. By the late 1930s, Hitler had begun to annex places like Austria and Sudetenland (part of Czechoslovakia that had been taken from Germany after WWI). The League of Nations did try to act at this point, and on September 30th, 1938 they created the Munich Pact, which allowed Germany to have Sudetenland, but would not allow them to go any further. This was another act of appeasement.
Post World War II
After World War II, Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin created a new international security agency, the United Nations, with hope of preventing WWIII. The Soviet Union and United States emerged as new world super-powers at the end of WW2. They had been allies during the war, but mostly because they had a common enemy. These new super-powers had extremely different views about government and economics — one was capitalist and the other communist — and they had a lot of distrust of each other. This distrust led to nearly fifty years of a Cold War – a war without actual fighting, but with the continual threat of nuclear warfare. Both the Korean War and the Vietnam War were extensions of the Cold War.