For class of S.F. high school juniors, WWII details are elusive
World War II took place in 19-something, when Theodore Roosevelt was president and the Germans claimed to be the best race.
Hoping to aid Third World countries, the United States joined the war to stop racism and end the dispute over Jews.
The head of the Nazis was a killer named Hitler whose evil partner, Mussolini, was president of the USSR. Ultimately, the war ended with the bombing of Iwo Jima and Hitler's suicide. Then a treaty was signed.
Not every 11th-grader who answered a Chronicle questionnaire at San Francisco's Burton High School responded with such a fractured version of history. Eight of the 34 students said correctly that"Roosevelt" or"FDR" was president during most of the war, apparently remembering the subject they had studied as sophomores last spring. Most knew about the attempted genocide of the Jews, all but three recognized Hitler, and eight placed the war in the 1940s.
But others, perhaps suffering a temporary memory lapse, variously named George Washington, Teddy Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Richard Nixon and Winston Churchill as the war's main president. Eighteen students wisely left the answer blank.
"It's a bit disappointing," sighed their teacher, Theresa Quindlen, head of Burton High's history department, who agreed to let The Chronicle quiz her students and print the results."But maybe something will spark their interest, and they'll become future readers of history."
HNN Hot Topics: Low History IQ's
comments powered by Disqus
- Joan Baez, Sly Stone, Steve Martin, Ben E. King -- all honored by the Library of Congress
- StoryCorps to Launch Global Expansion With $1M TED Prize
- Hofstra Event Looks at Bush Presidency
- Did Israel steal uranium from a town in Pennsylvania in the 1960s?
- Sequel to Nelson Mandela's Long Walk to Freedom to be published next year
- Emory’s Leslie Harris says we should remember the racist roots of American colleges as we think about what went wrong at OU and other schools
- Stanford historian looks to the U.S. Postal Service to map the boom and bust of 19th-century American West
- U.S. historian denounces Japanese scholars' statement over wartime sexual slavery
- Timothy V Johnson Named Head of Tamiment Library
- History Camp "unconference" returns for the second year in Boston