Use VE Day as a springboard for cross-curricular work to raise European awareness. Ask French students to investigate why Charles de Gaulle was recently voted the greatest French person ever. Encourage German students to consider why stereotypical Nazi images persist and how these might cause offence.
Establish what VE Day meant in different countries and use this context for creative work in the imperfect tense. Laughing, crying, dancing, singing - draw up a list of verbs and contrast the euphoria of Paris, Brussels and London with the sombre mood of Berlin and Rome.
French author Pauline Schnapper attributes Britain's ambivalence towards the European Economic Community in 1957 at least in part to post-war sentiments of national pride: "Since the country had defeated Germany, neither its people nor their political leaders felt in tune with nations conquered in 1940 or 1945 and now regrouping to overcome their weaknesses."
Do students agree? Compare British attitudes towards subsequent developments on the road to European unity with opinion in target language countries.
* www.diploweb.comp6schn01.htm (French)
* www.paradigme.comsources (English)