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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 1945:

Did you sign the order to drop the atomic bombs on Japan? - Yes

Example of an open-ended question for President Harry Truman in 1945:

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.