World War II

Learn more about the Second World War with a series of films, lectures, and activities/resources below!

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Virginians at War Films
Recorded Lectures and Lessons
Resources and Activities

Virginians at War Films

The Virginia War Memorial is proud to offer a series of documentary-style films covering the Second World War. Topics include Pearl Harbor, the war in the Pacific, the war in Europe, the experiences of nurses and submariners, POWS, the intelligence community, and more. Watch them all!


Resource packets are being made available for each film. Please check back soon to see downloadable resources.

Recorded Lectures and Lessons

If you are interested in scheduling a future lesson with the Virginia War Memorial Education Department (in person or via distance learning/outreach), please reach out to

Tales of the Tuskegee Airmen (February 25, 2020) via Streamable Learning

The Tuskegee Airmen served with distinction during World War II, fighting racism at home and fascism abroad. Learn about the legacy and the lives of these amazing pilots and their crews from the sons of Tuskegee pilot, Captain Howard Baugh, Sr. Grades 6-12.
Tales of the Tuskegee Airmen Resource Packet (download PDF)

The Greatest Generation (March 19, 2020) via Live Living Network

They joined the armed forces by the millions and served for the duration. At home, they grew victory gardens and worked around the clock in factories. They experienced rationing, censorship, newsreels, and blackouts. Their sacrifices saved the world from tyranny and fascism. Join us as we discuss what life was like for the Greatest Generation during World War II.

Children on the Home Front (April 17, 2020)

Are you and your family experiencing the effects of shortages in the grocery store? Are you changing your habits to make sure you have enough to get by? Learn what it was like to live with rationing and shortages for the duration of World War II during this kid-friendly webinar! How did children in the 1940s make sure that there was enough food to go around, and what sacrifices did they make? What can you do now?

World War II in Film (April 24, 2020)

What was the movie industry like during World War II? Hollywood films provided entertainment and comfort, plus served as a distraction while the United States was involved in World War II. Using letters, diaries, magazines, newspapers, and interviews, this session will focus on the experience of going to the movies between 1939 and 1945. Which films were the most popular? How were the movies advertised? What role did Hollywood play in supporting the war effort? Grab some popcorn and come learn about the movies.


Resources and Activities

“There’s a War On!” – Rationing on the Home Front

Download PDF
In this activity, students act as the head of their household during World War II. How many groceries are they able to buy for their families? How can they supplement their rations with victory gardens, bartering, or through other means? 

Codebreaking Activities

Would you have been able to crack German and Japanese codes during World War II? Find out with the activities below!

“Pig Pen” Cipher (no hint) 
“Pig Pen” Cipher (with hint)