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Citizenship Test Prep

Practice Questions & Explanations

Citizenship Civics Prep: Week 4!

Welcome back!

I hope this series of blog posts is helping you prep for the citizenship test!  If you've missed the other posts on voting, history, and presidents, feel free to catch up so that you can ensure you've gone over all 100 potential test questions.  

This week's theme is war.  The United States has been a major player in international politics since we declared our independence in 1776.  Over the years, we have been involved in many military conflicts.  The citizenship test includes several questions regarding these events.  

Question 16: Name one war fought by the United States in the 1800s.

Answer: (a) War of 1812; (b) Mexican-American War; (c) Civil War; (d) Spanish-American War

Keep in mind you only need to provide one  of these answers to get this question correct.

A) The War of 1812 was part of the Napoleonic Wars fought mostly in Europe in the early 1800's.  The United States became involved after the British violated some maritime laws and passed difficult international trade laws.  Although the War of 1812 was a relatively minor conflict, one of the most famous things that happened during this war was the burning of the White House and other government buildings in Washington, D.C., in 1814.  

B) The Mexican-American War was fought in the mid 1800's and gained the United States the territory that is now California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico.

C) The Civil War was caused primarily because northern states opposed the expansion of slavery into new territories and the continuation of slavery in the United States in general.  When Abraham Lincoln, an abolitionist, was elected president in 1860, southern states in the United States seceded.  By the end of the Civil War, over 620,000 soldiers had died, but the United States ultimately remained one nation, and slavery was abolished.

D) The Spanish-American War occurred because the United States supported Cuba's attempt to gain independence from Spain.  The United States won the war easily, and gained the territories of Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Philippines (which eventually became an independent nation in 1946).  

Question 17: Name one war fought by the United States in the 1900s. 

Answer: (a) World War I; (b) World War II; (c) Korean War; (d) Vietnam War; (e) Persian Gulf War 


Keep in mind you only need to provide one of these answers to get the question correct.

A) World War I began in 1914 when Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria was assassinated by a Serbian nationalist in Bosnia.  This started a chain of various European powers declaring war on each other until almost the entire continent was involved in a large scale military conflict.  The United States became involved in 1917, and the war ended in 1918.  World War I produced mass casualties due to new technology and trench warfare.  

B) World War II began when Adolf Hitler, the leader of Germany, invaded Poland in violation of the Treaty of Versailles, which was the treaty that ended World War I.  Hitler had a dream to conquer all of Europe and create an "Aryan Race".  Throughout the war, at Hitler's command, the Nazi forces killed over 6 million Jews in concentration camps.  World War II took place in the Pacific, as well, as there was conflict between the United States and Japan.  

C) The Korean War was fought between the Soviet-backed North Koreans (who were communist) and the US-backed South Koreans (who were democratic).  It was the first armed conflict in the Cold War.  The war lasted from 1950 to 1953, and the Korean Peninsula is still divided into two countries today. 

Vietnam War Memorial in Washington, D.C.

Vietnam War Memorial in Washington, D.C.

D) The Vietnam War was a decades long conflict.  Although  the causes of the war were complex, the general idea reflected the overall struggle between democracy and communism that defined the Cold War Era.  The United States first got involved in the conflict in the mid 1950's, when President Eisenhower pledged support to the democratic South Vietnamese, and against the communist Viet Cong.  By the height of US involvement in the war, over half a million US military service members were stationed in Vietnam.  By the end of the war, over 58,000 American service members had been killed, and over 2 million Vietnamese citizens were killed.   

E) The Persian Gulf War was a short conflict in 1990.  It began when Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein invaded the neighboring country of Kuwait in violation of a United Nations order.  US allies in the Middle East such as Egypt and Saudi Arabia asked the United States to intervene.  The US military got involved, and after only 42 days, President George H. W. Bush declared a cease-fire.  Although the Gulf War was considered a quick victory, it paved the way for the Second Gulf War, also known as the Iraq War, which began in 2003 and lasted until 2011.

Raising the first flag on Iwo Jima

Raising the first flag on Iwo Jima

Question 18: Who did the US fight in World War II? 

Answer: Japan, Germany, and Italy

As discussed above, World War II began in Europe when Adolf Hitler invaded Poland and subsequently other parts of Europe.  Italy joined the war as a member of the Axis Powers by invading France in 1940.  

The United States became involved on December 7, 1941, when Japan attacked our military base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.  We declared war on Japan the next day.  

In subsequent days, Germany and its Axis allies declared war on the United States, and we became involved in the European battles, as well as the Pacific ones. 

Question 19: When must all men register for the Selective Service? 

Answer: At age 18/Between age 18 and 26

This question is very important! You should know the answer if you are studying for the citizenship test, but you should also know whether or not you personally have to register for the Selective Service.  If you are required to register and you fail to do so, you are technically in violation of the law and could be penalized.  Additionally, you will not be eligible to apply for federal loans or get a federal job. 

The Selective Service System maintains records of all men US citizen males and non-citizen immigrant males between the ages of 18 and 26.  This information could be used if the United States ever goes to a war and needs to draft men into the military.  Although we have not used the draft since 1973, the Selective Service System keeps a record of all eligible men to serve just in case.  

Registering for the selective service is very important, especially for immigrants.  Most immigrants are required to register for the Selective Service.  Even if you are undocumented, you likely are still required to register for the Selective Service.  To find out if you are required to register, look at this chart.  If you fail to register, you will have to explain why on your citizenship application.  You can register online here.

Question 20: What major event happened on September 11, 2001? 

Answer: Terrorists attacked the United States 

On September 11, 2001, terrorists associated with the terror group al-Qaeda hijacked four airplanes.  The first two planes were flown into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City.  The third plane was flown into the Pentagon outside of Washington, D.C.  The fourth plane crashed in a field in Pennsylvania after passengers realized what was going on and overtook the hijackers.  In total, over 3,000 people were killed. 

September 11 was the driving factor behind the war in Afghanistan, which began in 2001 and lasted until 2014.  

Keep up the good work studying for the citizenship test! Next week I will discuss 5 more test questions.  Enter your email address below to subscribe to the blog so you will be notified when updates are posted.  


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