Monday, February 28, 2022

Original O.G.

Dillinger and Capone were the 'Original' Original Gangstas. How 'Gangsta' are you?

However 'well-intentioned,'   the 18th Amendment had some rather unintended consequences.

Gangland violence in Chicago captured headlines and attention across the nation the afternoon of Thursday, Feb. 14, 1929, and fueled rumors in Butler County. The crime later was called "the most spectacular of the decade in Chicago." There were more than 500 gangland murders in the Windy City in the 1920s.

The 1929 St. Valentine's Day Massacre took the lives of seven men by machine-gun and shotgun fire at about 10:30 a.m. in a garage at 2122 North Clark Street in Chicago. The mass shooting climaxed a struggle for control of Chicago's North Side. It pitted the powerful gang of Al Capone against the faltering group led by George (Bugs) Moran. Capone ordered his lieutenants to annihilate the entire Moran gang -- and they almost did it. Moran and two other gang members approached the garage, but fled when they believed police were raiding the building.

Moran had been lured to the massacre site by the prospect of buying bonded whisky. At stake was the security of Capone's illicit liquor business, estimated at more than $60 million a year by federal authorities. The killings solidified the 30-year-old Capone's control over the Chicago whisky trade and other criminal activities.

The Chicago crime still dominated conversations four days later when three strange men checked into the Anthony Wayne Hotel at High Street and Monument Avenue in Hamilton. They aroused suspicion by arriving in an expensive car with Illinois license plates and asking for the hotel's highest priced room.

Who were these mystery men and why did they come to Hamiltion, Ohio?

What connection did other notorious gangsters like John Dillinger have to this area?

How were gangsters of the '30s different from gangsters today?

Bet you didn't know Mr. Kelly is related to a notorious 20s gangster either.

Thursday, February 24, 2022

"Wise Up:" 1920's Slang

The twenties were the first decade to emphasize youth culture over the older generations, and the flapper sub-culture had a tremendous influence on main stream America. Many new words and phrases were coined by these liberated women and are still used today!

Find the words in the puzzle and then write a sentence using each word correctly. If Mr. Kelly hears you using these words in the hall you may get extra credit.

1) What conclusions can we draw about the 'Roaring '20s' from this list?

2) What can we learn about a Generation from their slang?

3) What will historians think about you 100 years from now based on your slang?

How has the Evolution of Dance also reflected the 'Generation Gap?'

Learn how to do the 'Charleston!'

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

You Don't Know Schenck

Do you have an absolute right to free speech? The Supreme Court gives its 1919 answer.  Learn the basics about the must-know US History Supreme Court Case challenging the constitutionality of the Espionage Act. If you are in a US History course you best be knowing this case. Trust me.

The First Amendment of the constitution guarantees that each person has the right to free speech. But the Supreme Court has restricted free speech that includes obscenities, libel, slander, words that incite violence or words that pose a threat to the rights of individuals or national security. You do not have the right to yell 'fire' in a crowded theater, as Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes pointed out in Schenck v. United States (1919), when the "circumstances are of such a nature as to create a clear and present danger."

How does the Schenck decison still affect free speech today?

Tuesday, February 22, 2022


I had a little bird, 
Its name was Enza, 
I opened the window, 

True or False: You are more likely to die from the flu than you were in the trenches of WWI.

In the spring of 1918, as the nation mobilized for war, Private Albert Gitchell reported to an army hospital in Kansas. He was diagnosed with the flu, a disease doctors knew little about. Before the year was out, America would be ravaged by a flu epidemic that killed 675,000 — more than in all the wars of this century combined — before disappearing as mysteriously as it began.

The 1918 pandemic had profound impacts on life in the United States. Thousands of children were orphaned. So dire was the situation that many cities including Boston, Richmond, St. Louis and others mandated quarantines and social-distancing measures. In San Francisco and Seattle, laws were passed forcing people to wear masks covering their mouths and noses while in public. The public health commissioner in Chicago told police to arrest anyone seen sneezing without covering their face in public.

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

Treaty of Versailles & Wilson's 14 Points

At the Treaty of Versailles in France President Wilson outlined his '14 points' promoting openness, encouraging independence, and supporting freedom. At its heart was his idea of 'peace without victory;' a peace inspired by noble ideals, not greed and vengeance.

Should the United States have ratified or rejected the Treaty of Versailles?

In this activity, you will act as senators debating the ratification of the Treaty of Versailles. Students sitting on the left will be internationalists—senators who support ratification of the Treaty of Versailles.
Students on the right will be irreconcilables—senators who want to reject the Treaty of Versailles.

Below are the six debate prompts. Starting with prompt one, begin the debate! 
 Internationalists answer the odds. Irreconcilable's answer the evens.

1)  Honorable Senator, the Treaty of Versailles is clearly full of flaws. How can you support it? (Discuss for one minute.)

2) My esteemed colleague, you say the treaty is “full of flaws,” but I wonder, can you even describe two of them? (Discuss for one minute.)

3)  Senator, it looks to me like that League of Nations could drag the United States into a lot of trouble. Why do you admire it so much? (Discuss for one minute.)

4) My fellow Senator, you talk about the League causing trouble. Just what kind of trouble are you talking about? (Discuss for one minute.)

5) Why can’t you internationalists understand that our national sovereignty is more important than foolish dreams of collective security? (Discuss for one minute.)

6) Are you kidding? Do you irreconcilables ever consider that collective security might have prevented this tragic war from ever occurring in the first place? (Discuss for one minute.)

The League of Nations was US President Woodrow Wilson's tool for a new and peaceful world after the war of 1914-1918 - and the US should have been their most important member. But the United States never joined and today the League of Nations is often seen as a failure. Was it doomed from the start?

Monday, February 14, 2022

Don't Fight Club

Imagine you are creating a new club. What kind of club would it be? Would it be an athletic club or team? Would it be intellectual? What would the purpose or goal of your club be? How would you recruit new members? What are the membership requirements or rules?

Following WWI President Wilson sought to create a 'League of Nations,' or club, where countries could gather peacefully and resolve their quarrels. At the Treaty of Versailles in France he outlined his '14 points' promoting openness, encouraging independence, and supporting freedom. At it's heart was his idea of 'peace without victory;' a peace inspired by noble ideals, not greed and vengeance.

What is Fight Club? What are the '8 Rules of Fight Club?' How was Wilson's club different? What did critics think of his ideas?



Friday, February 11, 2022


This propaganda leaflet was dropped by German airplanes behind American lines during World War I. Nearly 370,000 African Americans were drafted into the U.S. Army starting in the fall of 1917 (they were not allowed to join the Marines, and the Navy took African Americans only as cooks and kitchen help). Although more than half of the black troops were in combat units, they remained segregated from white troops. Subjected to racist harassment (including demeaning insults from white officers), black troops were continually reminded of their second-class citizenship. By stressing racist conditions in the United States, leaflets such as this attempted to destroy morale and encourage desertion among African-American troops.

1) To whom is the document addressed?

2) Who do you think wrote the document? Why?

3) What arguments are used to make those points? Do you find the arguments convincing? Why or why not?

4) What was more dangerous: propaganda or machine guns? Explain.

5) Write a letter in response to the document? What would you say in reply? (1 paragraph)

Wednesday, February 9, 2022

Harlem Hellfighters

More than 2 million Americans served in Europe during World War I. Eager to promote democracy around the world, many entered the war with great enthusiasm. But their first taste of battle left them more realistic about the horrors of war.

After reading the excerpt from Max Brooks The Harlem Hellfighters answer these questions in your Interactive Student Notebook:

1) Why did so many men, especially African Americans, enlist to go 'Over There?'

2) Would you stay or would you go?  Why?

3) Why is the large number of casualties during World War I typically not discussed?

4) Many of the 369th Regiment decided to stay in France after the war. Why might they have done this?

5) What comparisons can you make between the Harlem Hellfighters and the Buffalo Soldiers?

Tuesday, February 8, 2022

Over There

1. Listen to "Over There," a song written during World War I by George M. Cohan, an American composer and entertainer. Then answer these questions:

• What is the mood of this music? Does the mood match the lyrics? Explain.

• According to this song, why should young men fight in the war?

• What do you think Cohan's purpose was in writing this song?

2. Listen to "On Patrol in No-Man's Land," a song written by James Reese Europe in 1919 about his experience as a lieutenant in the 369th Regiment of the U.S. Army. Then answer these questions:

• What is the mood of this music? Does the mood match the lyrics? Explain.

• According to this song, what dangers do soldiers have to look out for?

• What do you think Europe's purpose was in writing this song?

3. What differences are there between "Over There" and "On Patrol in No-Man's Land"? Which song gives a more realistic version of what the war was like for combatants?

Monday, February 7, 2022

Zimmermann Telegram

In January of 1917, British cryptographers deciphered a telegram from German Foreign Minister Arthur Zimmermann to the German Minister to Mexico, von Eckhardt, offering United States territory to Mexico in return for joining the German cause. This message helped draw the United States into the war and thus changed the course of history. The telegram had such an impact on American opinion that, according to David Kahn, author of The Codebreakers, "No other single cryptanalysis has had such enormous consequences." It is his opinion that "never before or since has so much turned upon the solution of a secret message." In an effort to protect their intelligence from detection and to capitalize on growing anti-German sentiment in the United States, the British waited until February 24 to present the telegram to Woodrow Wilson. The American press published news of the telegram on March 1. On April 6, 1917, the United States Congress formally declared war on Germany and its allies.

Can you decode the message?

The first 'wall' along our southern border with Mexico was started during WWI 100 years ago; not because we feared the Mexicans or radical Islam, but because we feared the Germans!

What is the legacy of the Zimmerman Telegram today?

Wednesday, February 2, 2022

You Sank My Battleship!

Battleship wasn't always a board game. The original version, reportedly created as a French World War I game, was played on square grids, and each player drew in where their battleships were located. It wasn't until 1931 when the Milton Bradley Company turned what was a simple two-player, paper-and-pen game into the popularized children's board game. The gist of the game -- both then and today --is to capture or sink the other person's battleships through a series of strategic moves.

Many variations have appeared over the years from the distinctive plastic ships and pegboards of the classic board game to numerous online versions. Our classroom version brings us full circle to World War I: the large 'aircraft carrier' has been replaced with the historic Lusitania and the submarines with German U-boats. Can you sink American neutrality?

1) Which boat do you think is the most valuable? The least? Why?

2) What strategies did you develop as you played the game?

3) Why did the Germans target a defenseless passenger ship like the Lusitania? How did the attack pull America closer to war?

4) What was the Sussex Pledge? How did the German U-Boats change the 'rules of engagement?'

5) What modern weapons have changed the way we fight wars today?

Tuesday, February 1, 2022


On May 7, 1915, the British ocean liner RMS Lusitania, rival of the Titanic, was torpedoed by a German U-boat and sunk. Of the 1,959 people on board, 1,198 died, including 128 Americans. The sinking of the Lusitania enraged Americans (even though they had been warned) and hastened the United States' entrance into World War I.

1) Would you know how to escape a sinking ship? List 5 steps you could take to ensure your survival.

2) What did the passengers of the Lusitania do wrong?

3) Titanic vs Lusitania: Who survived and why?

4) Was anyone on board both Titanic and Lusitania when they sank?