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Seven Days in May
SUBJECTS — U.S./1945 - 1991;
SOCIAL-EMOTIONAL LEARNING — Patriotism; Rebellion;
MORAL-ETHICAL EMPHASIS — Trustworthiness; Responsibility.
Age: 12+; Not Rated; Drama; 1964; 118 minutes; B & W.
The time is the Cold War. The president has signed a treaty with the Soviet Union requiring both countries to destroy their nuclear weapons. The polls show the treaty to be unpopular. The charismatic Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff believes that the Soviets will cheat and launch a nuclear surprise attack which would kill hundreds of millions and destroy the United States. He is a man of action ....
The plot of this film is not as wild as it seems at first glance. There have been times when the military establishment disagreed strongly with the policy of the president. On at least one occasion, a high ranking military officer defied the Commander-in-Chief, forcing the president to fire him. On another occasion, the Soviets tried to blackmail the U.S. by secretly placing nuclear missiles in Cuba.
The TeachWithMovies.com Learning Guide to Seven Days in May will help teachers use the movie to teach several lessons in civics, including the roles of the President, the Senate, and the military. The Guide poses the question of what we should do if there is ever an anti-Constitutional takeover of the government and suggests an effective and peaceful solution.
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Seven Days in May is a nightmare for democracy, a possibility that we should always bear in mind.
Learning Guide Excerpt
To give you a sense of how our Learning Guides can be used by teachers to develop lesson plans, and by parents to supplement school curriculum or for homeschooling, we have set out below one paragraph from the Helpful Background section of the Learning Guide to Seven Days in May.
During the Cold War, there were people on the right wing of the political spectrum who felt that the civilian leaders of the country (from both major political parties) were soft on Communism and selling the country out. Certain military men were prominent in these circles. The tension of the times, including the threat from Russia and the fact that each country had hundreds of nuclear warheads pointed at the other, led to some hysterical pronouncements by these public figures, especially when the government was considering a nuclear disarmament treaty. The inspiration for the book Seven Days in May came from that rhetoric.
The Learning Guide to the film Seven Days in May contains sections on Benefits of the Movie, Possible Problems, Helpful Background, Discussion Questions, Links to the Internet, and Bridges to Reading. The Discussion Questions are divided into three categories: Subject Matter, Social-Emotional Learning, and Moral-Ethical Emphasis.
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