At the Crossroads: Southeast Asia

Learning Modules


Below are links providing easy and fast access to learning modules that investigate the events and mindsets that turned Southeast Asia into a major theater of World War II. These were developed through an NEH Summer Institute for School Teachers that was organized and offered by the East-West Center.


We invite teachers and learners to explore these modules to uncover why Southeast Asia was at the crossroads of war; to identify past, present, and possible future implications; and to better understand the indelible connections between history and individuals, nations, and regions.


The Making of 20th Century Southeast Asia


Economic Motives for Imperialism in Southeast Asia


Using the Film Max Havelaar to Teach about Dutch Colonialism in Indonesia


Nationalism and Competing Identities in Southeast Asia


Islam and Politics of Identity in Southeast Asia



Incorporating ‘isms’ to Teach about Colonialism and Legacies


Europe between the Two World Wars and Effects on Southeast Asia



Japanese in Southeast Asia during WWII: Understanding from Different Perspectives


Japanese Occupation of British Malaya and Singapore


Indonesia’s Struggle for Merdeka (1945-1949) and the Japanese Legacy


World War II and the Philippines

Stories of Australian Prisoners of WWII in Southeast Asia and the Pacific

Using Films to Teach History of Southeast Asia during WWII


World Turned Upside Down: Southeast Asia in the Aftermath of Japanese Defeat


Decoding Primary Sources Using DBQs


Leading Students to Discoveries through Webquests


Uncovering Legacies of Imperialism through Primary Sources



Please note that any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in these modules do not necessarily reflect those of the National Endowment for the Humanities or the East-West Center.