Pathfinder
20th Century Wars
PHS High School Library
Last Updated: November 2009

Scope: Guide to materials available in the PHS library, through subscription databases, and through previewed free websites.

Keywords: Use the war you are researching as your keyword. To narrow your search to a specific aspect, use that term with the war. For example:

Korean War AND causes
World War II AND theatres of operation
Vietnam War AND technology


To use Boolean search strategies, click on the "advanced search" tab in the database you are searching.


Print Resources: Use the Library Catalog to locate print resources in the PHS Library

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Subscription Databases: See library staff for user names and passwords.

  • American History Online: Spans more than 500 years of political, military, social, and cultural history, highlighting the important people and events of the American experience.

  • Modern World History Online: Covers the people, places, and events in the broad expanse of history—from mid-15th century to the present.

Use the Federated Search to search American History and Modern World History together. Use your topic as search terms/keywords. Tabs across the search result screen indicate the type of resource. Use tabs to find Biographies, Events& Topics, Primary Sources, Images & Video and Maps & Chart.

  • SIRS Knowledge Source: SIRS Knowledge Source (SKS) is a comprehensive database portal which is comprised of several distinct reference databases including SIRS Researcher®, SIRS Government Reporter®, SIRS Renaissance®, SKS WebSelect™, SIRS Discoverer®, and Discoverer WebFind™. Updated daily, SKS provides relevant, credible information on social issues, science, history, government, the arts and humanities. Full-text articles and Internet resources are carefully selected from thousands of domestic and international publications and respected organizations. Begin your research by performing a subject heading search. That will bring up a list of LC Subject Headings related to your search terms. If you are not returning many results through subject heading searches, try a keyword search. SIRS is not as intuitive as some of the other databases, so you need to be more flexible in your search terms and strategies. SIRS has an online Quick Start Guide with more detailed search strategies.

  • World Book Online: Encyclopedia, reference, and multimedia sources. Good starting point for a general overview. Includes links to reviewed web sites.

The following databases are published by Gale and have similar interfaces and use similar search strategies. You can search each database individually or search them simultaneously by using Gale’s . Click Subject Guide to begin your research.

  • Gale Virtual Reference Library: Gale Virtual Reference Library is a database of encyclopedias and specialized reference sources for multidisciplinary research. These reference materials once were accessible only in the library, but now you can access them online from the library or remotely 24/7. This collection includes reference materials funding by the NYSL and those purchased by PHS.

  • Opposing Viewpoints: Information on today's hottest social issues. Features include viewpoint articles, full-text magazine and newspaper articles, primary source documents, statistics, images and podcasts, and links to Websites.

  • Student Resource Center: Broad database offering resources in literature, cultures, science, history, and geography. Full-text articles from reference works, primary sources, and periodicals.

Free Websites:


  • 20th Century Wars: Links to 6 websites about World Wars I and II, including Nagasaki Memories and the US Holocaust Museum.


  • The History Guy: The History Guy website is a private, educational website covering world affairs, global conflict, history and politics. Research and development of content for public use, facilitated by Roger Lee, the website owner and manager, a veteran secondary social studies teacher in Washington State. It is very cluttered with advertisements and is difficult to navigate, but if you can get through all that, there is some good, basic informaiton.