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Letters Home During World War II

This lesson plan was developed by the Office of School Services as part of the Letters from the Front, 1898-1945 teachers companionguide for the secondary-level classroom. Please adapt it to fit your students' needs.

Background Information

Letters from the Front, 1898-1945 is a part of the Voices of Wisconsin Past, a series of books that present episodes from the state's history in the words of ordinary men and women. In this particular lesson, students will have the opportunity to analyze primary sources, by examining the letters of World War II soldier, Roy F. Bergengren.


Photo, Biography and Letters of Roy F. Bergengren." From the book "Letters from the Front, 1898-1945,"  edited by Michael E. Stevens. Madison: The State Historical Society of Wisconsin, 1992.   Kanetzke, Howard. "Questions." In A Teacher's Companion Guide to Letters from the Front, 1898-1945. Madison: The State Historical Society of Wisconsin, 1992.

Suggested Activities

  1. Have students identify and describe any useful historical evidence included in each of these letters.
  2. Lead a discussion about how each of these letters supports or challenges standard historical interpretations, including those in U.S. history textbooks.
  3. Have students write a response to the Roy as if the student is Roy's contemporary. Finding appropriate information for this written response may involve interviewing a community member with memories of World War II, reviewing contemporary magazines or other popular reading material, or doing further reading on the topic and time period.
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