For the final project in his new course HIS231L World War II, Prof. Chris Gehrz had his students work in groups of two, three, or four to produce 7-10 minute documentary films. Groups could pick any topic related to the history of the war, so long as their research took them beyond what was normally covered in class and they could creatively integrate a wide array of primary sources into the film.
Those documentaries debuted last Friday in class, with students presenting documentaries on everything from the role of German scientists in the Holocaust and in a failed nuclear research program to the internment of Japanese-Americans and the experiences of the African-American pilots known as the “Tuskegee Airmen.” Projects on the Bataan Death March and the participation of the Hitler Youth in the war received particular praise from the audience, as did a film on Bethel College before, during, and after the war.
Produced by History majors Tyler DuBois (’14) and Fletcher Warren (’15) and History/Elementary Education major Sarah Herb (’14), Bethel at War incorporates unique sources from the university archives and digital library, including back issues of the student newspaper (The Clarion) and yearbook (The Spire), historical photographs, and letters from students serving in the armed forces. Fletcher, Sarah, and Tyler even tracked down an interview with the widow of a Japanese-American student who served in the war.
See Bethel at War for yourself at Sarah’s YouTube page: