Wednesday, September 14, 2016

The Nuremberg Trials

When Mrs. Olsen was growing up in Salem, Oregon and attending Sprague High School, there were occasional stories about the discovery of Nazi war criminals and efforts to bring them to justice.  In the picture above, you can see some of the chief Nazi officers listening to the trial proceedings.

Films were made, including the "Boys from Brazil" and the "Odessa File" which featured ex-Nazis on the run, or trying to take over and control other parts of the world.  Even today, World War II films are popular, and, you guess it, the Nazis are the villains.

Soon after World War II, unprecedented trials were held to help the world cope with the evil brought about by the National Socialist regime.  Though Hitler had committed suicide in his bunker in 1945, there were still many prominent leaders who were jailed and brought to trial for crimes against humanity.

Some of these men argued that they had no idea of the extent of the Holocaust, the widespread use of slave labor, and the violations of the Geneva convention after World War I.  Many said they were just parts of the Nazi machinery or that they were following orders.

Those who were found guilty were hung at Nuremberg, Germany---which was an ironic choice as this was a place that only a decade earlier had held large scale dynamic Nazi Rallies. 

These were not the only trials, however.  There were other trials of doctors who had performed horrible medical experiments and lower level concentration camp officials.

Now, in 2016, most of those who had direct control over the atrocities of World War II are dead, or they are very elderly and soon to die.  Still, there are thousands of elderly victims of the Nazi regime still alive.  The Nuremberg trials were an important turning point in how the world must "deal" with murderous regimes.

The Nuremberg Trials

When Mrs. Olsen was growing up in Salem, Oregon and attending Sprague High School, there were occasional stories about the discovery of Nazi war criminals and efforts to bring them to justice.  In the picture above, you can see some of the chief Nazi officers listening to the trial proceedings.

Films were made, including the "Boys from Brazil" and the "Odessa File" which featured ex-Nazis on the run, or trying to take over and control other parts of the world.  Even today, World War II films are popular, and, you guess it, the Nazis are the villains.

Soon after World War II, unprecedented trials were held to help the world cope with the evil brought about by the National Socialist regime.  Though Hitler had committed suicide in his bunker in 1945, there were still many prominent leaders who were jailed and brought to trial for crimes against humanity.

Some of these men argued that they had no idea of the extent of the Holocaust, the widespread use of slave labor, and the violations of the Geneva convention after World War I.  Many said they were just parts of the Nazi machinery or that they were following orders.

Those who were found guilty were hung at Nuremberg, Germany---which was an ironic choice as this was a place that only a decade earlier had held large scale dynamic Nazi Rallies. 

These were not the only trials, however.  There were other trials of doctors who had performed horrible medical experiments and lower level concentration camp officials.

Now, in 2016, most of those who had direct control over the atrocities of World War II are dead, or they are very elderly and soon to die.  Still, there are thousands of elderly victims of the Nazi regime still alive.  The Nuremberg trials were an important turning point in how the world must "deal" with murderous regimes.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Back to School and back to history

Mrs. Olsen is excited for a new school year.  She spent the summer doing household repairs.  She built a fence, a gate, a new deck and stairs, all by herself.  Usually she travels and learns about history for her students, but this year, if she didn't do that.   After all, if she hadn't done the repairs on her deck she may have fallen through it this November and done serious harm to herself or even died.

Thankfully, she doesn't have any intention of dying this way.  She wants to keel over in class, in front of her students, so they will have something to talk about the rest of their lives.

If that doesn't happen, she would like to be chased by a Grizzly Bear, or eaten by a Shark, which would also give her students something to talk about.  If that is not possible, a buffalo stampede would be sufficient, and definitely an historic way to go....it would even fit in with the "Settling the West" unit that will be part of students' studies in December.

The best part, however, is that she is alive and well and back teaching 9th grade and 10 grade history.  Teaching history is her life and for the students of Sprague High School that means a fun filled year of interesting topics from the time period of 1865-1945 for 9th graders and 1945-2016 for 10th graders.  

During the year, students will get to hold in their hands historic artifacts and learn about history through reading, looking at, and listening to history.  Last year, Mrs. Olsen was especially proud of the FACT or OPINION activities developed for students to discuss.   Students will always have something new to learn in her class. 

This year, she is also going to update the blog every week for both 9th and 10th grade classes to help them keep track of what is going on.

Here's to a great year at Sprague!

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

World War I Propaganda Posters

We are well under way in our study of World War I.   Students have learned about the start of the war, Trench warfare, and the various weapons that were created during the war.

We also discussed and looked at a variety of war posters from the era, including the one above.  Look carefully and you will see that the Germans have made their way to Kansas, killed the old man farmer, the grandma, and are about the kill the young farmer and sexually abuse his wife...yes it is all there and men better enlist to stop the enemy.  Students will be copying a poster during some time in class while we continue to learn more about the course of the war.   We've taken a look at the distinctive German war helmet, the Picklehaube which is easily identifiable in many of the posters.  

When I was a child, the old timers still called the Germans "Huns" and yes, even the Japanese were sometimes called "Japs."  This was a different era, and many of my uncles had served in World War II and had bitter memories about the war that took so many of their comrades.

Also, the idea of going off to war in World War I was not that popular in America.  Many called it a "Britishman's war," and the nightmare of losing a son in a far off battlefield when there wasn't universal support foreshadowed the Vietnam war.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Lobo, Blanca, and Ernest Thompson Seton

Freshman students have learned about OR7, our own wandering wolf.  They have also learned about the story of Ernest Thompson Seton and his trapping of Lobo and Blanca.

Seton was sent to New Mexico as a Wolf Bounty Hunter.  The wolves were eating cattle in large numbers, because their prior food source, the buffalo, had disappeared.

Seaton carefully laid out poisoned meat and concealed traps.  None of them worked, and Lobo refused the meat and snapped the traps.  It was only when Seton trapped Blanca, Lobo's mate, that he was finally successful.

However, he did not shoot Lobo, but brought him back to a cabin, where, a few hours later, Lobo died.  Seton used Lobo's story in a best seller, entitled "Wild Animals I have Known."  Seton was later accused of "faking nature" by giving human attributes to wild animals.

Since that time, however, the humanization of animals has actually been an effective tool in helping to promote conservation efforts.  With the wide availability of articles and movies about animal behavior, everyone can gain access to studies on animal behavior.

The story of Blanca and Lobo takes place during the great decline of animal populations in the American West.   Now, as the wolf population gains a toehold in the Southen Cascades, the ideas of wilderness, wild animals, and how they impact humans and the environment are discussed.  Most are "thrilled" with the idea that the wolves have
returned to an area where they had been exterminated.

Monday, October 5, 2015

The Transatlantic Cable

Students in 9th grade are learning about the new technologies in communication and travel that occurred during the 19th century. 

One of the most interesting stories is the epic task of laying the transatlantic cable across the ocean.  It was an elaborate process.

The first cable worked for a few months and then the insulation was compromised.

The second cable broke midway in 1865.

The third cable succeeded in 1866.  It was laid by the gigantic ship The Great Eastern with a huge spool that released the cable to the ocean floor.  After the third cable was laid down, the second cable was retrieved and  spliced (reconnected) to another cable which was brought to North America.  This was no easy task:  huge grappling hooks streamed across the bottom of the ocean 2 1/2 miles below. Once the two cables were up and running communication between the two continents was immediate.  Soon, cables were laid across the other oceans and the world was "girdled" with these communication tools. 

In Jules Verne's classic Novel Twenty Thousand Leagues Below the Sea, Captain Nemo sees the cables lying on the ocean floor.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Welcome Back!

Mrs. Olsen is happy to be back teaching school this fall.  She will be teaching 5 sections of Twentieth Century I and one section of Twentieth Century II.   For the new 9th graders...welcome to High School!   For the returning 10th graders, the nightmare continues (just kidding).  After 13 years of teaching AP European History, she's taking a break and focusing on World History.   Every year she goes somewhere interesting to learn about a topic that will help her to be a better teacher.

This year, she was in Leesburg, Virginia with some teachers from Germany.  They were learning about the Marshall plan and the rebuilding of Europe after the destruction of World War II.  She even had dinner at Marshall's dining room table, where Presidents Truman and Eisenhower had sat.  The most important thing she learned was that Europeans still express appreciation for the generosity of the American Economic Plan.   You can see some of her pictures from the workshop on her Instagram: SigridAnnOlsen.  She also spent some time in the parks, rivers, and beaches of Oregon.

But enough of that: fall and the time to learn is upon us.  You can expect to have every class be full of interesting tasks and lots of learning.  We'll be starting with the Industrial Revolution with the 9th graders and the Cold War with the 10th grade.