Grade: Senior

#2576. Dictator for the Day

Social Studies, level: Senior
Posted Sat May 11 16:24:23 PDT 2002 by Ashley D. Elder (
Lakota High School, Kansas, Ohio (USA)
Materials Required: "dictator" outfit
Activity Time: To be decided by instructor
Concepts Taught: Dictatorships in pre-WWII Europe

Purpose/Intent: This activity is to serve as an introduction to the age of the dictators in Europe, 1920-1945.

Supplies: Camoflauge military uniform (available at any military surplus store); specialized armband and flag are optional

Procedure: Acting as a dictator, systematically "eliminate" students (make them sit on the floor, lay face-down, sit in desk with head down, etc.) who do not "follow orders" (recite made-up pledge of allegience, salute the new flag, etc.). Be original in your rationale for each (long hair means social delinquent, eye color, etc.). Those who participate as to your specifications should be praised as "worthy citizens," etc. Those remaining demonstrate either (a) willingness to follow the leader, or (b) a silence as to what is going on. Both demonstrate survival of the citizenry during the days of dictatorial control of Germany, Italy and Japan in pre-World War II era.

Follow-Up: Discuss freedoms America provides her citizens, and contrast those with the conditions of a dictatorship. Also discuss why America would fight against dictatorial regimes. Ask students to explain why none of the "survivors" spoke up for the wrongs committed to those who did not.

*Serves as lead-in to World War II studies*