Totalitarianism Before WWII

Resource Type
Formats Included
  • Google Drive™ folder
2 page warm-ups; 3 page guided notes; 8 page student activity; 7+ slides of notes
Share this resource
Made for Google Drive™
This resource can be used by students on Google Drive or Google Classroom. To access this resource, you’ll need to allow TpT to add it to your Google Drive. See our FAQ and Privacy Policy for more information.
Also included in
  1. Looking for a collection of student-centered activities for your World History class? Check out this bundle of projects, worksheets, and activities covering ancient civilizations to modern conflicts!This collection of World History resources includes 29 total activities! Check out their previews!10+
    Save $23.75


Teaching the rise of totalitarian regimes before WWII in Spain, Italy, Germany, Russia, & Japan? Students can analyze propaganda and other tactics totalitarian leaders used to seize and keep power. This activity includes an intro reading, slides, guided notes, and student group activity.

Google Drive folder includes:

  • Teacher instructions
  • Introduction/Warm-Up Reading (Includes background context on Stalin, Mussolini, Hirohito, and Hitler's rise to power) (Google Docs; editable)
  • 8 different group readings (PDF)
  • Guided Notes for students (Google Docs)
  • Exit Ticket (Google Docs)
  • Slides to display during class (Google Slides)


How do totalitarian leaders get and keep power? Students work to answer this question Activity by 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.

Other ways to use this activity:

  • Jigsaw (4-8 students per group)
  • Partner or individual work packet

This world history activity prompts students to consider the rise of totalitarian regimes and how 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 before introducing World War II.

Topics covered:

  • totalitarianism in Germany, Italy, Spain, Japan, and Russia
  • fascism in Germany, Italy, and Spain
  • propaganda from Russia, Germany, and Italy
  • nationalism within fascist regimes
  • German and Japanese imperialism
  • Russian secret police & Mussolini's Blackshirts
  • Stalin's gulag system & forced labor
  • repression & persecution of political enemies

Please note this activity includes sensitive content.


Related Resources

Hiroshima Atomic Bombing Primary Source Worksheet: Eyewitness Account

United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights Emoji/Symbol Activity


Teacher Tips

Get TpT credit toward future purchases!

Please leave a quick rating and comment for this product. From your My Purchases page, click the "Provide Feedback" button. TpT will give you feedback credit -- lowering the price of your future purchases! Plus, your feedback helps me create better resources for my students AND you! ☺

Follow Me!

Click the green star next to my store logo. Become a follower to receive email updates about my resources!

Total Pages
2 page warm-ups; 3 page guided notes; 8 page student activity; 7+ slides of notes
Answer Key
Teaching Duration
Report this Resource to TpT
Reported resources will be reviewed by our team. Report this resource to let us know if this resource violates TpT’s content guidelines.


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.


Questions & Answers

Teachers Pay Teachers is an online marketplace where teachers buy and sell original educational materials.

More About Us

Keep in Touch!

Sign Up