A short exercise with the timeline bookmark

Darya Kasiakova Belarusian State Pedagogical University, Minsk, Belarus / Iryna Kashtalian Leonid Levin Historical Workshop, Minsk, Belarus

14-18 years

10 min

Target group

Students aged 14 and older.


10 minutes + explanations from the teacher.


To refresh knowledge of World War II; as a supplement for discussion.


  • To systematize the most important dates of World War II in the students’ perception;
  • To reflect on the difference in perception of different dates of World War II in the remembrance culture of different countries;
  • To form an opinion in the students on the importance of World War II in pan-European memory preservation through shared historical dates.

Working methods

Frontal (teacher-led), individual.

Methods used

“INSERT”, discussion.


The bookmark timeline (the number of the copies shall correspond to the number of the students).

The teacher distributes the timeline copies among all the students, and proposes to look through all the timeline dates and to do the task (2 minutes + time for the teacher’s explanation):

Indicate your attitude, using the symbols below next to the dates:

  • V — “I already know this”;
  • + — “The facts are new for me”;
  • ? — “Explanations, clarifications are needed”.

Then the teacher collects opinions of the class/group on what was entirely new for them, and clarifies the information with regard to the dates which remained unclear for the students.

The students are proposed to comment: what dates, in their opinion, does the timeline lack, which would they like to add and why (2 minutes).

The teacher afterwards organizes a small discussion on the following: among the mentioned dates, are there dates which can be perceived/ formulated differently in different countries and why (5 minutes).

The lesson's final stage – the students should reflect on the dates which in their opinion represent the most important dates to preserve the memory of World War II and why (1 minute).


Mar 1935

Hitler renounces Versailles Treaty

Mar 1936

Germany reoccupies Rhineland

Oct 1938

Munich conference

9 Nov 1938


23 Aug 1939

Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact

1 Sep 1939

Germany invades Poland

3 Sep 1939

Britain and France declare war on Germany

17 Sep 1939

USSR occupies Eastern Poland

28 Sep 1939

German-Soviet Treaty on division of Central Europe

30 Nov 1939

USSR invades Finland

Jun 1940

USSR annexes Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia

22 Jun 1941

Germany invades USSR

Jun – Jul 1941

Defence of Brest fortress

28 Jun 1941

German troops occupy Minsk

Nov 1941 – Feb 1942

Battle of Moscow

20 Jan 1942

Wannsee Conference

Nov 1942 – Feb 1943

Battle of Stalingrad

Jul – Aug 1943

Battle of Kursk

6 Jun 1944

Allied invade Normandy

Jun – Aug 1944

Operation Bagration begins

3 Jul 1944

Liberation of Minsk

1 Aug – 2 Oct 1944

Warsaw Rising

27 Jan 1945

Liberation of Auschwitz

Feb 1945

Yalta Conference

Apr – May 1945

Battle of Berlin

8/9 May 1945

Germany surrenders

Jul – Aug 1945

Potsdam Conference

6 & 9 Aug 1945

US drops atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki

2 Sep 1945

Japan surrenders

Nov 1945 – Oct 1946

Nuremberg Trials

Jun 1948

Berlin Blockade begins

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