Totalitarian Leaders: Propaganda Group Activity & Guided Notes: Hitler, Stalin..

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Formats Included
  • Google Drive™ folder
2 page warm-ups; 2 page guided notes; 1 page activity for 7 groups (7 pages); 10 slides
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How do totalitarian leaders get and keep power? Activity involves students breaking into small learning groups to view and analyze a specific aspect of totalitarian regimes (Stalin's propaganda, Russian secret police, Japanese imperialism, Mussolini's Blackshirts, etc). Each group reads a small portion of text, views an image, and answers a critical thinking question. Then, groups will present their analysis to the entire class.

Google Drive folder includes:

  • Teacher instructions
  • Starter activity (reading with basic information on Stalin, Mussolini, Hirohito, and Hitler's rise to power)
  • 7 different group readings
  • Guided Notes for students (to complete while other students present)
  • Summarizing questions
  • Slides to display during class
  • PDFs of the resources ready to print and use!


This in-class activity prompts students to consider the rise of totalitarian regimes and how and why they remained in power.

I created this activity for a 9th grade World History class when I realized I needed to teach the rise of Stalin, Franco, Hitler, Hirohito, and Mussolini in ONE class period! This covers fascism, totalitarianism, dictator's propaganda, nationalism, imperialism, Manchurian invasion, secret police, fear and mob mentality, etc.

Important Note: Activity includes drawings of Stalin's gulags and sensitive content.


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Total Pages
2 page warm-ups; 2 page guided notes; 1 page activity for 7 groups (7 pages); 10 slides
Answer Key
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to see state-specific standards (only available in the US).
Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of how key events or ideas develop over the course of the text.
By the end of grade 10, read and comprehend history/social studies texts in the grades 9–10 text complexity band independently and proficiently.
Evaluate various explanations for actions or events and determine which explanation best accords with textual evidence, acknowledging where the text leaves matters uncertain.
By the end of grade 12, read and comprehend history/social studies texts in the grades 11-CCR text complexity band independently and proficiently.


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