Is History Repeating Itself? (Are we heading for a third world war?) SUPER SPEAKER LESSON 2

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Is History Repeating Itself? (Are we heading for a third world war?)

Isn’t this how World War II started. A slow build-up to a point of no return.


Vladimir Putin has compared Russia’s invasion of Ukraine to the fight against Nazi Germany, in a speech to mark the 80th anniversary of the conclusion of the Battle of Stalingrad. Citing Germany’s decision to send tanks to Ukraine, the Russian president said history was repeating itself. “It’s unbelievable but true,” he said. “We are again being threatened by German Leopard tanks.”
NEW VOCABULARY:  to mark, citing, tanks, history was repeating itself, threatened


AUDIO REVISION: Listen to the audio and read the paragraph at the same time. 

Section One:

Germany is one of many countries helping Ukraine defend its territory.

Russia launched its bloody, full-scale invasion almost one year ago, prompting Western countries to send weapons and aid to the government in Kyiv.

Speaking in Volgograd – the modern name for Stalingrad – Mr Putin hinted that he could seek to move beyond conventional weapons.

“Those who hope to defeat Russia on the battlefield do not understand, it seems, that a modern war with Russia will be very different for them,” the 70-year-old leader said. “We are not sending our tanks to their borders, but we have the means to respond. It won’t be limited to the use of armoured hardware. Everyone must understand this.”

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov declined to elaborate on Mr Putin’s comments but did tell reporters that “as new weapons are delivered by the collective West, Russia will make greater use of its potential to respond”.


NEW VOCABULARY:  defend its territory,  launched,  full-scale invasion,  weapons, aid, hinted,  to move beyond conventional weapons, to defeat Russia on the battlefield,  armoured hardware, 


AUDIO REVISION: Listen to the audio and read the paragraph at the same time. 


GRAMMAR SECTION:  Conjunctions  conjunctions list DOWNLOAD



Section Two:

Mr Putin was in Volgograd to mark the anniversary of the end of World War Two’s Battle of Stalingrad, which saw the Soviet army capture nearly 91,000 German troops in a major turning point of the war.

Over a million people perished in the battle – the bloodiest of the conflict.

Volgograd was temporarily renamed Stalingrad for the day to mark the anniversary, and earlier this week a new bust of the former Soviet leader Joseph Stalin was unveiled.

Stalin – who led the Soviet Union between 1924 and his death in 1953 – was accused of orchestrating a famine in Ukraine between 1932-33.

The event – called the Holodomor by Ukrainians – killed an estimated five million people and was recognised as a genocide earlier this week in Bulgaria.


NEW VOCABULARY:  World War Two’s Battle of Stalingrad,  Soviet army capture,  German troops,  n a major turning point of the war,  perished, bloodiest,  a new bust of the former Soviet leader Joseph Stalin was unveiled,  led,  accused of orchestrating a famine,  a genocide



AUDIO REVISION: Video length:  (8 minutes)

Video Listening Section:   Watch and listen to the video. Then answer the questions below.



The questions below are not in chronological order.

              1. What is the Leopard II?
              2. Which tank is The UK sending to Ukraine?
              3. How many Leopard II tanks do we have in Europe?
              4. What is the weight of the Leopard II tank?
              5. When did Germany approve the supply of Leopard IIs to The Ukraine?
              6. Britain has been sending military equipment to Ukraine and training Ukraine’s soldiers since the way started. What could be the outcome of  other Western Countries supplying equipment to Ukraine?

Section Three:

Throughout the war in Ukraine, Mr Putin has falsely sought to present Russia’s invasion as a battle against nationalists and Nazis – who he says are leading the Kyiv government.

And he returned to the theme throughout his speech.

“Now, unfortunately, we see that the ideology of Nazism, already in its modern guise, in its modern manifestation, again creates direct threats to the security of our country,” he said.

“Again and again we have to repel the aggression of the collective West.”

But he vowed that while it was “unbelievable but true” that Russia was again being threatened by German tanks, Moscow had an answer for any country that threatened it.


NEW VOCABULARY:  Throughout,  has falsely sought,  theme,  the ideology of Nazism,  modern manifestation,  direct threats,  to repel the aggression of the collective West,  vowed,  “unbelievable but true,  being threatened, 



Section Four:

Berlin has agreed to send 14 Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine, prompting the Russian company Fores – a Urals-based energy industry firm – to offer five million roubles (£58,250) to the first Russian soldier to destroy or capture one.

Mr Putin also laid flowers at the grave of the Soviet marshal who oversaw the defence of the city, and visited the main memorial complex where he led a moment of silence for those that died in the battle.

Meanwhile, thousands of Volgograd residents lined the city’s streets to watch a military parade.

As planes roared overhead, modern and World War Two-era tanks rolled along the centre of the city. Some of the modern vehicles were marked with the letter Z, which has become the symbol of Russia’s invasion.


NEW VOCABULARY  to send 14 Leopard 2 tanks, prompting,  Urals-based,  oversaw the defence,  memorial complex,  Meanwhile,  lined the city’s streets,  roared overhead,  World War Two-era tanks rolled along the centre of the city,  symbol of Russia’s invasion.



Section Five:

Local media reported that regional Governor Andrey Bocharov – who accompanied Mr Putin to the memorial complex – was not at the parade. He had not been seen since 24 January, leading to speculation that he was isolating before meeting the president.

Elsewhere, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Russia was preparing to take “revenge” against the West for aiding Ukraine.

“Now Russia is concentrating its forces. We all know that. It is preparing to try to take revenge, not only against Ukraine, but against a free Europe and the free world,” Mr Zelensky said in Kyiv.

Speaking alongside EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, Mr Zelensky said Russia was “increasing the pace of adaptation to sanctions” and urged the EU leader to impose additional restrictions on the Russian economy.

Later, addressing the National Prayer Breakfast in the US via videolink, Mr Zelensky thanked US President Joe Biden for his support and set Ukrainian forces a goal of defeating the Russian invasion in the next year.

“We must do everything we can together so that next year – on the first Thursday of February – we will be able to pray simply with thanks for the obtained salvation from evil,” Mr Zelensky said.


NEW VOCABULARY accompanied,  leading to speculation that he was isolating,  Elsewhere,  “revenge”,  concentrating its forces, to take revenge,  a free Europe,  the free world,  Speaking alongside,  “increasing the pace of adaptation to sanctions” ,  impose additional restrictions,  a goal of defeating,  be able to pray .



Writing Section:  (250 words)  Looking at history and how the build up to World War II started, why is it so important that the west doesn’t allow Russia to win the war in Ukraine?  Is history repeating itself?  Please justify your opinions.



                  1. January 30, 1939 – Hitler threatens Jews during Reichstag speech.
                  2. March 15/16 – Nazis invade  Czechoslovakia.
                  3. March 28, 1939 – Spanish Civil war ends.
                  4. May 22, 1939 – Nazis sign an agreement ‘Pact of Steel’ with Italy.
                  5. August 23, 1939 – Germany signs agreement with Russia Nazis and Soviets sign Pact.
                  6. August 25, 1939 – Britain and Poland sign a Mutual Assistance Treaty.
                  7. August 31, 1939 – British fleet mobilizes; Civilian evacuations begin from London.
                  8. September 1, 1939 German Nazis invade Poland.
                  9. September 3, 1939 – Britain, France, Australia and New Zealand declare war on Germany.
                  10. September 4, 1939 – British Royal Air Force attacks the German Navy.
                  11. September 5, 1939 – United States proclaims its neutrality.
                  12. September 10, 1939 – Canada declares war on Germany; Battle of the Atlantic begins.
                  13. September 17, 1939 – Soviets invade Poland with Germany.
                  14. August 17, 1942 – First all-American air attack in Europe.
Grammar:   In your writing text use two examples of “LINKING WORDS”  see the grammar section above at the beginning of the lesson.


ANSWER TO QUESTION 5:  Germany confirms provision of Leopard 2 tanks for Ukraine, green light for other countries to deliver. Germany confirmed on Jan. 25 that it would send 14 Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine after months of delay, and allow other countries, such as Poland, to send their own stocks.

Free Downloadable English Lessons


References:  BBC News Channel

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