9/11 and the War on Terror

This guide will help you work with the topic of 9/11 and the War on Terror. The guide is mainly intended for use in English class, but it may also be relevant for other school subjects such as History or Social Studies. 

The guide is designed to give you a good overview of both the 9/11 attacks and the following developments in US foreign policy and domestic policy. You can also find suggestions for specific texts that you can use as references when working with 9/11 and the War on Terror, as well as ideas for putting the topic into perspective.


On September 11, 2001, members of the terrorist organization Al-Qaeda hijacked four planes in American airspace. Two of the planes collided with the two towers of the famous World Trade Center in New York - both towers were completely destroyed in the attacks and thousands of people died. The third plane hit the military headquarters Pentagon, while the fourth crashed in a field, as the civilian passengers tried to overpower the terrorists. 

The American government, which was led by President George W. Bush at the time, reacted to these attacks in a number of ways. With regards to foreign affairs, the attacks led to a policy of 'War on Terror', which in turn led to military operations in places like Afghanistan and Iraq. Domestically new laws were introduced which increased the state's ability to perform mass surveillance and also gave more power to police and intelligence agencies. 

The War on Terror initially had a lot of support, but gradually more critical voices started to emerge. The criticism was directed at various factors, such as the extent of military operations, the amount of civilian casualties in the conflicts, abuse and assault committed by American soldiers, as well as the use of unethical techniques such as torture. 

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9/11 and the War on Terror

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