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To what extent was the Second World War a factor in the development of medical knowledge?

A series of downloadable lessons looking at the enquiry question: To what extent was the Second World War a factor in the development of medical knowledge?

Teaching idea

Using primary archive evidence students explore the wide range of medical developments that were made, in both physical and mental health, during the Second World War. This will allow them to answer the question: To what extent was the Second World War a factor in the development of medical knowledge? 

Image of 3 nurses applying a new treatment to a burns patient. The affected area is placed in an oilskin bag is filled with a special solution to help the burns heal. In this case the bag covers most of the patient's upper body
Image of three nurses applying a new treatment to a burns patient. © Source: Historic England Archive

Learning aims and outcomes

  • Students will examine medical techniques developed in the Second World War
  • Students will be able to use evidence to evaluate the importance of war as a factor on the advancement of medicine and health
  • Students will be able to demonstrate skills in selecting evidence and collaborative learning
  • Students will have a more secure basis on which to judge the impact of war on the advancement of medicine and health 

Prior knowledge

  • An understanding of the developments in medicine during the First World War would be helpful, but is not essential as all activities have links to additional information if it is required.

Extended learning and useful links

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