World War II

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

Jump to:
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

Aired 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)

“It Wasn’t a Milk Run!” – Stories from the Army Air Corps

Aired May 29, 2020 
Join Jim Triesler, the VWM’s Director of Education, as he explores the experiences of the Army Air Corps over Europe during World War II. Hear their personal stories, many of which are unpublished, as the men describe what it was like to fly combat missions hundreds of miles over enemy territory. The men of the 8th Air Force and the 15th Air Force, including the Tuskegee Airmen, will be featured.

Operation Olympic: The Invasion that Never Happened

Aired August 13, 2020
Prior to the successful test of the atomic bomb, the United States prepared for Operation Olympic, the first phase of invading the Japanese mainland. Join Education Director Jim Triesler as we explore the decision-making process of President Harry Truman as he contemplated the best way to end the Second World War.

…and more! See all of our WWII Livestream programs:

The Greatest Generation (March 19, 2020)
Children on the Home Front (April 17, 2020)
World War II in Film (April 24, 2020)
On Witches’ Wings: The Night Witches of WWII (May 8, 2020)
“Cold as the Devil” – Stories from the Battle of the Bulge (July 14, 2020)

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)