World Wars

1917-1945 (Between World Wars)

During the years between the first and second World Wars high schools became more prevalent. The war impacted schools because the government wanted them designed to meet the needs of industrialization in the war.

(23) Supporting the War Effort  – During the wars students of all countries were not kept in the dark, (due to parents, newspapers and radio) in fact they were encouraged to help the war effort and to become educated on what was going on in their country. 

  • Children and their families attended community/school events in order to raise money for the effort

  • In schools kids created “comfort items” for soldiers such as socks or scarves

  • Collecting cans and bottles

  • School-run fundraisers such as Bring a Penny To School

(21) Belgian students collecting bottles for the war effort

(24) School Life – In addition to helping with the war effort through sending support to soldiers, schools felt that they needed to prepare their students to be ready to fight. 

  • Introduction of intense physical education

    • Ideology of “Healthy body, healthy mind” – creation of many sports teams in high schools to support this.

  • In-classroom subjects designed to meet the needs of industrialization.

  • Major increase in subjects such as geography and current events. Sometimes even learning how to communicate in Morse Code.

  • Schools were an uncomfortable and scary place

    • Many felt that schools were targets

    • Children sometimes came to school having lost a parent or family member

    • Communication between teachers and students was strict and sharp due to the circumstances

    • Fear of German spies infiltrating the school walls

  • Many schools were shut down due to the lack of attendance by students and because many teachers, especially male teachers, were sent to fight. Many female teachers were left to take on more important industrial tasks that were left abandoned by soldiers.

(22) Wellington High School Physical Education

“It is obvious that curriculum is related to the war too. Students were learning about Geography more often. They had to study about places they had never knew about them before. This information may help students to know more about countries at that time because of the war. They also studied and focused on current events. As students living in a country, which was involved in the war, they have the right to know what was happen around them. Their time was full of events and hero people. They had a lot of stories and memories to read and write about. So, they needed to study in their schools about events in their country and in the world.”   -Amirah Farzan (24)