Historical Interview Assignment
This assignment requires you to prepare and conduct a personal
interview with a significant historical figure from Unit Three:
National Sovereignty and Collective Security. For example, you may
if you wish to interview President Truman and his decision to drop
the atomic weapons upon Japan, or interview Adolf Hitler about his
policies toward people of the Jewish religion.
A typical interview would require you to develop a formal conversation
between yourself and your "source" to gain information
and opinion upon a topic. In the case of this assignment, your job
is much more difficult because the individuals you are expected
to interview are dead. This will require you to plan questions,
research background information, write questions you would like
to ask, conduct the hypothetical interview, then provide the response
of the historical figure.
To provide the response for your interview questions, you will
be required to research and develop an understanding the person
you have selected. Remember, an interview is the formal conversation
between a reporter and a source.
Planning for an Interview
Conducting a good interview requires you to do research from secondary
sources. In other words books, resource hot sheets, articles, and
documents should be consulted to develop the background to your
historical figure. Once you understand the background of your historical
character, you must develop a series of structured questions to
ask, then answer from the perspective of that individual.
In preparing the questions, you may wish to use the who, what,
when, where, why and how about the historical figure. For example,
here are some possible question that could be asked in a hypothetical
interview of Adolf Hitler in 1939:
1.What are your plans for the future of Germany?
2. Who would you compare yourself with historically and why?
3. When do you hope to achieve your plans for the future of Germany?
4. Where do you expect to get support for your proposals?
5. Why did you choose the goals you have set for Germany?
6. How do you plan to accomplish all of these plans?
The creation of your questions should be of the open-ended type
as opposed to yes-no type questions. In other words, design questions
that do not require the person being interviewed to give a simple
yes or no answer. Open-ended questions allow for more detailed information
to be provided:
Example of a yes-no type question for President Harry Truman in
Did you sign the order to drop the atomic bombs on Japan? - Yes
Example of an open-ended question for President Harry Truman in
Why did you sign the order to drop the atomic bombs on Japan? -
A number of variables were examined before the actual order was
signed. I met with my advisors; both civilian and military, to better
understand the situation. They presented the plans for the invasion
of Japan called Operation Downfall. The plans estimated that over
one million US soldiers would become casualties during the attack.
It also stated that close to three million Japanese citizens would
also become casualties over the course of the attack. It was information
like that, which helped me make the decision to use the weapons.
Writing Up the Interview
Your first priority will be to select a historical character that
you wish to interview. Once you have selected your individual, you
must prepare eight (8) structured questions to ask them. Once you
have developed the questions, you must become the historical figure
under question and provide the answers to the questions. This will
require you to research primary and secondary sources to find historically
accurate and believable answers. The answers should reflect the
way the individual would think and act as if they were face to face
with you. The entire interview should be 500 to 800 words in length,
and should include a complete bibliography using APA citation.