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Title of lesson: Imperialism

Type of lesson: Lecture

Travis Randall
Length of lesson: 50 minutes
Overview: Students will understand how imperialism contributed to WWI through a short
winded lecture and power point. We will start off with a preview activity that will introduce the
concept of imperialism (loosely). Then students will write down the definitions from the power
point and log them into their word bank. Then the bulk of information will be on the power
point while the students take notes on the provided worksheet.
Objectives: Students will be able to analyze how imperialism played a part in the tension
leading up to WWI by writing guided notes as they follow the power point and participating in a
class activity that will demonstrate the position countries were in as they colonized Africa.
Students will be able to:
Define imperialism in their own words
Explain what motivated European countries to colonize Africa
Tell why imperialism led to WWI
Standards (AZ and Common Core)
SSHS-S2C8-01. World at War. Global events, economics issues and political ideologies
ignited tensions leading to worldwide military conflagrations and diplomatic
confrontations in a context of development and change.
RH.9-10.1.Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary/secondary
sources, attending to such features as the date/origin of the information
RH.9-10.2. Determine the central ideas or information of a primary/secondary source;
provide an accurate summary of how key events/ideas develop over the course of the
RH.9-10.3. Analyze in detail a series of events described in a text; determine whether
earlier events caused later ones or simply preceded them.
RH.9-10.4. Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text,
including vocabulary describing political, social, or economic aspects of history/social
Imperialism as a cause of WWI-Document
o J. Llewellyn et al, Imperialism as a cause of World War I, Alpha History,
accessed [11-24-14],
Map of colonized Africa
o Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture
Power Point #2 Imperialism
Word bank folder; 4 chairs & music (musical chair experiment); Paper & Pencil

Imperialism- A political-economic system where a powerful nation conquers and rules smaller
nations (colonies) and exploits their land, labor and resources for profit and other advantages
Gunboat Diplomacy- A form of intimidation using military assets (Winston Dictionary)
Colony- an area that is controlled by or belongs to a country and is usually far away from it
Instructional Sequence:
1. Power point (PP) slide 1. We are going to start off with a preview activity. The center of the
room will have four chairs back to back (represent colonies in Africa) in a square with ample
room to move around them. Under each chair I will have a motivating factor tapped to the
bottom (Precious metals, raw materials, agricultural land, cheap labor, military advantage,
increased trade, prestige) We will need six volunteers to represent these countries: Germany,
Italy, Great Britain, Belgium, France & Spain. Cover the rules. When the music starts the
students will casually walk around the chairs until the music stops and then quickly find a seat
without using their hands. Once 4 students are sitting they will grab a resource from under the
chair and read it out aloud. Round one: 4 chairs. Round two: 2 chairs and add 2 new resources.
Round three: 1 chair and last resource. Activity complete and return to seats. (10)
2. PP slide #2. Have students pull out their word bank folders and hand students their power
point note sheet. During the commotion, ask for a volunteer to define imperialism in their own
words. After a few attempts, move to PP slide 3. (3)
3. Students will then write in their word banks the definitions using the red words. (3)
4. Now, following along with their PP note sheet students will add to the key points already on
the slide when I prompt them with write this down. It will be colored red on my lecture notes.
Begin lecture on slide #4 with lecture notes. Begin Lecture. (25)

Assessment: On a full sheet of paper folded in 3rds:

At the top of the page; students will define imperialism in their own words.
Middle of the page; students will list 5 of the 10 motivating factors to colonize Africa.
Bottom of the page; students will explain in the remaining space how imperialism led to WWI in
their own words. Lecture notes not available. (9)

Lecture Notes
Slide #4
During the middle and late 1800s, many European countries were trying to expand their empires
by colonizing Africa.
Britain, France, Portugal, Spain, Belgium, Germany & Italy were heavily involved in claiming
African colonies.
Germany and Italy were newly formed countries with little empire building experience.
Otto van Bismarck was Germanys first chancellor. He had little interest in acquiring new lands.
Other Germans wanted to expand.
In 1882, a group of Germans from Berlin formed the Colonial League. They quickly had the
support of German imperial expansion.
Germany acquired four colonies in Africa by 1884: Togoland, Cameroon, South West Africa &
East Africa.
The German people were quite pleased with the acquisitions. This contributed to the
nationalistic movement that followed in the up-coming years. The British and French now had
to deal with Germany as they all were positioning themselves for more land in Africa (Musical
chair activity).
In the early 1900s, tension arose between France and Germany over the soon to be French
colony of Morocco. Germany tried to interfere by sending Kaiser Wilhelm II to Morocco to give
a speech supporting their Moroccan independence: which antagonized the French since they
wanted Morocco to be a French colony. To make matters worse in 1911, Germany tried to use
gunboat diplomacy to influence Morocco by sailing a armed ship to a Moroccan port to basically
disrupt the French suppression of a rebellion by the Moroccan people. Germany did not want the
colony their goal was to drive a wedge between Great Britain and France. The move backfired
and it strengthened the alliance between France and Great Britain since both did not trust
PP slide #5
African map. View the map and point out where each colony gained land. Note who has the
most colonies and area claimed; G.B., France. Note every colony has some access to the coast
(ports). You can see that there is no more land available.
Before going to slide #6 ask the students what motivated those countries to colonize Africa.
Looking for 3-5 responses.

PP slide #6 Motivation
Nationalism was a large part of the motivation. European countries were all looking to expand.
When the people of a country have nationalistic beliefs and have imperialistic leaders, it is easy
to drum up support for expansion.
Unclaimed land- with space running out across the planet, land was scarce and it highly
motivated countries to grab what they could.
Precious metals- will always motive people to get theirs
Raw materials- all the natural materials. Ex, wood, gems, and coal.
Prestige- countries and citizens wore it like a badge of honor. Check out our lands, type of thing.
Cheap labor- citizens have little options
Agricultural land- it is what feeds the people. Food
Increasing trade is easy if you have access to all the above mentioned. Increased trade = $$$$
Military advantages- having strategic locations for bases/troops.
Overall great wealth=power=imperialism=colonization
Slide #7 Imperialism=WWI?
Imperialistic countries wanting the same things (colonization, raw materials, and scarce land),
countries start to bump heads over the same lands. Tension is created-Moroccan Crisis (Germany
messing w/France) (musical chair ex.). Someone wins and someone loses. Losers get mad and
want revenge.

Imperialism as a cause of World War I

Imperialism is the practice of maintaining an empire, or a collection of colonies. An imperialist
nation sometimes benignly called the mother country acquires new territories through
exploration, infiltration or military conquest. Sometimes this can be done with minimal conflict,
by intimidating weaker rulers and governments with gunboat diplomacy (a form of intimidation
using military assets). Sometimes colonies are acquired after a fully-fledged invasion or a war
against the local population. British control of South Africa, for example, was established after a
series of campaigns against hostile native tribes like the Zulus, followed by two significant wars
with the Boers (white farmers of Dutch extraction). Once imperial control was established, the
primary purpose of a colony was to benefit the mother country. Usually this involved the supply
of precious metals, other raw materials, cheap labour or agricultural land. Britains empire was
largely based on trade, particularly the importation of raw materials and the commercial sale of
manufactured goods. A colony might also offer military advantages, such as a strategic location
for naval bases or troops. By 1914 imperial conquest had almost run its course: there were
relatively few parts of the world still available for colonisation. The scramble for Africa in the
late 1800s saw European powers Britain, France, Germany and Belgium snap up what was left of
the continent. Imperial rivalry existed alongside intense nationalism and contributed to pre-war
tensions in Europe.
German designs
From the mid-1800s European nations engaged in another rush for empire. This was fuelled by
nationalism, by increasing needs for land and raw materials, and by a perception that potential
colonies were becoming more scarce. The two relative newcomers to empire-building, the
newly-formed nations of Germany and Italy, were keen to snatch whatever colonial possessions
were available. The British and French, which boasted the worlds two largest global empires,
realized that unclaimed parts of Africa were quickly running out. The most powerful of
Germanys late-19th century politicians, Otto von Bismarck, had little interest in colonial
acquisitions but his view was not shared by other Germans. A Berlin group calling itself the
Colonial League formed in 1882 and whipped up support for German imperial expansion. The
Wilhelmine government formulated its own imperial designs, most of which centred on Africa.
In 1884 Germany acquired Togoland, the Cameroons and South West Africa (now Namibia). Six
years later, considerable areas of East Africa were under German control and renamed
Tanganyika (now Tanzania). These acquisitions proved popular with the German population
but they also injected the German empire into the realm of the British and French empires.
German activity in Africa was not received well in London, where it contributed to nationalist
sentiment and anti-German hysteria in the late 1800s.
The scramble for empire also produced some diplomatic crises between France and Germany in
the early 1900s. Most centered on Morocco in north-western Africa. Morocco was not yet a
French colony; however its location in northern Africa placed it well within Frances sphere of

influence. As Paris sought to expand its influence in Morocco, the Germans were angling to
prevent this. In 1905 Kaiser Wilhelm II traveled to Tangier, where he delivered a speech
supporting the idea of Moroccan independence; this antagonized the French government and
precipitated a series of angry diplomatic responses and febrile press reports. In 1911, as the
French were attempting to suppress a rebellion in Morocco, the Germans landed an armed vessel,
the Panther, at the Moroccan port of Agadir without permission, prior warning or any obvious
purpose. It was a provocative move which brought France and Germany to the brink of war.
Germanys interference in Morocco was not designed to expand its empire, but rather to drive a
wedge between France and Britain. It in fact had the opposite effect, contributing to the
strengthening of the Anglo-French alliance and inviting British criticisms about German
weltpolitik and gunboat diplomacy.
The world shared
By the start of the 20th century, a number of nations possessed empires of some description:
The British Empire took in India, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Hong Kong,
and parts of North Africa, islands in the Pacific and Caribbean and concessions in China.
Russia ruled modern-day Poland, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, the Ukraine, Georgia and
several regions in central Asia, such as Kazakhstan.
France was the imperial power in modern-day Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, areas of West
Africa and India, small colonies in South America, islands in the Pacific and Caribbean.
Germany had seized control of modern-day Tanzania, Namibia and the Cameroon in Africa,
German New Guinea and concessions in China.
Spain was left with tiny colonial territories in South America and north-west Africa.
America was a relative newcomer to imperialism, but nevertheless controlled the Philippines,
Guam, American Samoa and Puerto Rico.
The Ottomans clung to the heart of their centuries-old empire: modern-day Turkey, Egypt,
Syria, Palestine, Armenia and Macedonia.
Portugal was the imperial ruler of modern-day Angola and Mozambique in Africa, Goa in India
and East Timor.
Belgium had one notable colony: the Belgian Congo in central Africa.
Holland had small possessions in Dutch Guyana (South America) and modern-day Indonesia.
Italy had moved into northern Africa, taking modern-day Libya, Somalia and Eritrea.

1. Imperialism is the practice of seizing territories outside ones borders and governing them as
2. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, colonies were both a sign of prestige and a source of
great wealth.
3. The late 1800s saw European nations race to snap up the few unclaimed regions in Africa
and Asia.
4. Much of this occurred in Africa, where Britain, France and Germany all competed for new
colonial possessions.
5. The scramble for empire led to several diplomatic incidents, such as two Moroccan crises
that were largely precipitated by Germany and its Kaiser.