CIE HISTORY IGSCE
The First World War, 1914–18
There are four main sections of study:
– Why was the war not over by December 1914?
– Why was there stalemate on the Western Front?
– How important were other fronts?
– Why did Germany ask for an armistice in 1918?
The set text for this is ’20th Century History’ by Cantrell et al. Read each relevant chapter as you progress, answering the questions specified below. Make sure you understand and can use all the terms highlighted in blue and explained throughout the text as you will be expected to use these in the exam. You might want to copy them into your notebook as you come across them so you can revise them easily.
Do refer to the following websites for more in depth information:
www.100megspop3.com/bark/Propaganda.html for source material
Why was the war not over by December 1914?
(a) How was the Schlieffen Plan intended to work?
(Also read Keegan pages 19-25 for background and good detail)
– Briefly answer these three questions: How did the Plan intend to deal with a war on two fronts? Why did the Plan place a massive preponderance of force to the West? What changes did Von Moltke make?
– Make two rough sketches of the map on page 157. On one, show how the Schlieffen Plan was supposed to work; on the other show what actually happened.
(b) How important was Belgium’s reaction to the Schlieffen Plan?
(Also read Keegan, bottom of p68- top of page 78)
– Where did the Belgians win a small unexpected victory? Describe briefly events at Liege – who was the hero there? Mention some events which stirred up international outrage against the Germans (e.g. Louvaine).
– How did German commanders react to the unexpectedly strong Belgian resistance in terms of reorganisation of troops? Why, ultimately, did Germany have to alter the plan in terms of detaching troops from the advance on Paris and sending them East.
– What was the significance of the invasion of Belgium for Britain?
Activity: Write a short paragraph answering the ‘Task’ question, also on page 158
NB ‘the Schleiffen Plan in action’ is specified content so you need to know it very well
(c) How successful was the British Expeditionary Force (BEF)?
(Also read Keegan page 86-119)
– Why did the BEF retreat from Mons? Briefly give an account of the valiant actions of
– What made Haig panic, and what action did he take?
– Give reasons why the BEF was more successful at the Marne.
Activity: Answer the discussion questions on page 158
- The Battles of Mons, the Marne and Ypres are all specified content so it is worth reading more about them (e.g on the first two websites mentioned above)
(d) Why did both sides introduce trenches?
– Answer this question! (think about whether or not either side cold gain a distinct advantage. What was the race to the sea and what happened to it? What was the purpose of the trenches? Aside from practical advantages, what was the symbolic message of trenches to the enemy?)
Why was there stalemate on the Western Front?
(a) What was living and fighting in the trenches like?
See also sheets 1 and 2 in your folder
– How long did a soldier generally spend in the trench, and how long behind the trench line?
– List the five main problems faced (apart from enemy attack!) – page 159
Activity: Answer the second questions only in both discussion boxes page 160
- ‘the nature and problems of trench warfare ‘ is specified content.
(b) Why did the war become bogged down in the trenches?
– The war became bogged down in the trenches:
(i) because trench warfare was defensive rather than offensive
(ii) because each side remained willing to suffer large casualties to defend its position
Do you agree with each of these? Do you think one was more significant than the other?
– Describe the Battle of Ypres (October 1914 and early 1915)? What was its main significance
for British forces?
Activity: Complete discussion question page 161
N.B. the reaction to the ‘stalemate’ is specified content
Weeks 4 and 5
(b) How important were new developments such as tanks, machine guns, aircraft and gas?
– TANKS: answer discussion questions page 162 (Who introduced the first tank with a revolving
– MACHINE GUNS: Which side do you think used machine gun technology more effectively?
– GAS: answer discussion question page 163
– AIRCRAFT: what were the main uses of aircraft in this war? What was one of the main
problem they faced?
- ‘the use and impact of new methods of warfare’ is specified content
You might find time to watch this documentary on weapons of the First World War: www.youtube.com/watch?v=OofSP8NXQXI
(c) What was the significance of the battles of Verdun and the Somme?
See sheet 3 on Haig; re- read page 161-2 20th CH
– What were the main objectives of the attack on Verdun (one psychological, one strategic)?
(What was the French nick name for Verdun and why were they so determined to keep it?)
– Briefly describe events at Verdun and the significance of these events. How was the Somme
connected to Verdun, tactically speaking?
– What was the main aim behind events at the Somme from the Allied perspective? Activities:
Complete discussion questions on pages 166, 167 and 168
NB ‘The main battles of the war including the Somme and Verdun’ and ‘the leadership and tactics of Haig at the Battle of the Somme’ is specified content
www.youtube.com/verify_age?next_url=/watch%3Fv%3D-pjYxhzPJgE Focused drama/documentary on the Battle of the Somme. www.youtube.com/watch?v=6cK5xL6QBM0 Excellent BBC documentary on the Somme.
How important were other fronts?
(a) Who won the war at sea?
– State the main aims of British naval policy in 1914. What, in contrast, were Germany’s main objectives?
– What was the first sea battle of the war and who won?
– Which German admiral defeated the British at the Battle of Coronel? What was Britain’s response?
– Why did Germany attack towns like Hartlepool?
– How did the British learn about German naval movements in 1915?
– Describe briefly what happened at the Battle of Jutland
Activities: answer the discussion question and task question on page 171
Answer the discussion questions on page 173
- ‘the Battle of Jutland and its consequences’ and ‘the use of convoys and submarines and the U-boat campaign’ is specified content
www.youtube.com/watch?v=XLThAlXRrCM Colour documentary of the War at Sea.
(b) Why did the Gallipoli campaign of 1915 fail?
See also sheet 4
– Who was the British Prime Minister at this time?
– What does ANZAC stand for?
Activities: Answer quick question page 174
Complete both tasks on page 176
- ‘The reasons for, and results of, the Gallipoli campaign’ is specified content
www.youtube.com/watch?v=B3E_OcZXRVk Four-part documentary on Gallipoli Campaign.
(c) Why did Russia leave the war in 1918?
– sum up the military, economic and political effects of the war on Russia.
– Explain briefly events in the November Revolution 1917? What had made Nicholas so
Activities: Answer discussion question on page 178
Answer the quick question on page 179 and the discussion question page 180.
- ‘Events on the Eastern Front and the defeat of Russia’ is specified content
This is a complicated subject so it would be good to read around it: see
Interactive timeline, blog and information on the Eastern Front.
www.richthofen.com/ww1sum2/ Maps and information on the Eastern Front. www.youtube.com/watch?v=VVWipouswKI Colour documentary of the Eastern Front. www.youtube.com/watch?v=GQUAW_CdBds Decent documentary about the Russian Revolution 1917 and withdrawal from WWI.
(d)What was the impact of war on civilian populations?
Note: this refers not only to the British Home front!
See also sheet 5
Complete task 2 and 3 page 183
- ‘The impact of war on civilian populations’ is specified content
Why did Germany ask for an armistice in 1918?
(a) What was the importance of America’s entry into the war?
See also sheet 6
(note: Recall the story of the Lusitania and its impact on the USA as this is relevant to mention here).
Activity: answer the quick question on page 184
- ‘the impact of American entry into the war’ is specified content
www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wmcbdt3taR4 Four-part documentary on US entry into WW1.
(b) Why was the German offensive of 1918 unsuccessful?
– Copy the map on page 186 noting only the place names you feel necessary to your
understanding of the offensive
List all the reasons you can find on pages 185-186 for why the German offensive failed. Try to categorise them under these headings: military
- ‘The German offensive and the Allied advance’ is specified content :
www.youtube.com/watch?v=ymQ5ofw1N68 Four-part documentary on the Spring Offensive.
(c) Why did revolution break out in Germany in October 1918?
Activities: complete tasks on page 187, being careful to include the subjects in the
specified content, below
NB ‘ Conditions in Germany towards the end of the war’ and ‘the Kiel Mutiny and German Revolution’ and ‘ the abdication of the Kaiser’ is specified content
www.youtube.com/watch?v=bZd1aGRU4SY Short video of the events leading to the abdication
www.youtube.com/watch?v=q1-V3TTf6bo Final part of a WWI documentary that focuses on the causes and consequences of the German Revolution, 1918–1919.
(d)Why was the armistice signed?
– Considering events in 1915- 1918, assess which year and which events marked the most
significant turning point during WWI.
– Prioritise the terms of the Armistice in terms of their fairness, justifying your choices.
- The armistice is specified content and since this book says precious little about it, you will need to look elsewhere!
www.youtube.com/watch?v=JvEi7QGiuy4 History Channel documentary on the Armistice, 1918.
CORE CONTENT 20th Century
These are the topics you will need to study for the Twentieth Century option (papers 1 and 2)
1 Were the peace treaties of 1919–23 fair?
2 To what extent was the League of Nations a success?
3 Why had international peace collapsed by 1939?
4 Who was to blame for the Cold War?
5 How effectively did the USA contain the spread of Communism?
6 How secure was the USSR’s control over Eastern Europe, 1948–c.1989?
7 Why did events in the Gulf matter? 1970-2000
* One of these will be the prescribed topic for paper 2 in any given year. Check the exam board for details. Paper 2 consists of several sources and questions asking you to compare and discuss, so pay close attention to all the source material you are presented with in the prescribed topic. The paper 2 topic will NOT come up as a question in Paper 1.
The set text for this is, again, ’20th Century History’ by Cantrell et al. Read each relevant chapter as you progress, answering the questions specified below. Make sure you understand and can use all the terms highlighted in blue and explained throughout the text as you will be expected to use these in the exam. You might want to copy them into your notebook as you come across them so you can revise them easily.
TOPIC 1: Were the Peace Treaties of 1919–23 fair?
Main questions to consider:
– What were the motives and aims of the Big Three at Versailles?
– Why did all the victors not get everything they wanted?
– What was the impact of the peace treaty on Germany up to 1923, and on other countries?
– What was the impact of the treaties on the defeated countries? Could the treaties be
justified at the time?
- these topics are covered in McAleavey pages 12-43. It would be good if you could take some time to read this too.
- a) What were the motives and aims of the Big Three at Versailles?
Read pages 2-9
Complete the Task on page 8
Additional Resources: Watch the ‘Make Germany Pay’ BBC Documentary on YouTube (two parts).
- b) Why did all the victors not get everything they wanted?
Read pages 10-13
Answer discussion question page 13
Complete Task page 13
Additional Resources: www.historylearningsite.co.uk search ‘Exam subjects: Modern World History 1918-1980; Treaty of Versailles’
- c) What was the impact of the peace treaty on Germany up to 1923 Read 13-16
– Answer quick question 4 page 14
– How was the ‘war guilt’ clause justified? Do you think the German’s had reasonable grounds
for objecting to it?
To understand this topic, you need to read more about what happened in Germany after 1918. Read Cantrell pages 191- 195 (you should understand the terms Social Democratic Party, Weimar Republic, Spartacist League, Spartacist uprising, Friekorps, occupation of the Ruhr, and the Munich Putsch of 1923 (see table page 199). These events are essential to an understanding of Hitler’s rise to power
– www.historylearningsite.co.uk search ‘Exam subjects: Modern World History 1918-1980; Weimar republic
– see the ‘Historyishappening’ channel on youtube, (origins of World War II section)
- d) What was the impact of the treaties on the defeated countries?
Read pages 17-20
Make a table of all the treaties with their names, dates, noting also which country they impacted upon most and how. Memorise it!
Answer discussion question 1, page 19
Could the treaties be justified at the time?
Read pages 20-21 Answer discussion questions 4 and 5 page 21
(make a list of the main plans and agreements 1924-28 (pages 36-38)
- Exam questions will focus on the following: – names and dates of the treaties – the roles of Wilson, Clemenceau and Lloyd George in the peacemaking process – the impact of the treaties on the defeated countries – contemporary opinions about the treaties.
TOPIC 2: To what extent was the League of Nations a success?
Main questions to consider in this topic:
– How successful was the League in the 1920s?
– How far did weaknesses in the League’s organisation make failure inevitable?
– How far did the Depression make the work of the League more difficult?
– How successful was the League in the 1930s?
WEEKS 3 – 4
- a) How successful was the League in the 1920s?
Read pages 23-24, and 27-32
- Summarise what the following bodies did: the Secretariat, the Assembly and the Council.
- – Briefly summarise the Leagues successful arbitration of the following disputes (giving
dates): Aaland Islands, Upper Silesia, Mosul and Bulgaria
– When assessing the success of the League in keeping peace during the 1920s, what limiting
factor must be borne in mind? (paragraphs 1-3, page 28)
- – Summarise the successful work of the following League agencies:
Refugee Organisation; Health Organisation; Economic Organisation; Int. Labour
Organisation; Slavery commission; Disarmament Commission
– Complete the task on page 30.
- – Summarise the League’s interventions in Vilna and the Rhur.
– What was the Geneva Protocol? Do you think it would have strengthened the League?
– Answer discussion questions 2 and 3, page 32. (Give a brief summary of the Locarno treaties and the Kellog-Briand Pact if you haven’t done so in answering discussion question 3).
Additional Resources: – www.youtube.com/watch?v=TdHA5uT9ocg
- b) How far did weaknesses in the League’s organisation make failure inevitable? Read Pages 25-27
– Answer quick question 1 page 25
– Explain the three stages by which collective security could be implemented.
– How might the need for unanimous decisions and the lack of a standing army weaken the League’s effectiveness?
Read McAleavy pages 30-31 –
Summarise as many weaknesses as you find in the League’s organisation.
– Using the information you have collected here, write a short paragraph answering the original
question: How far did weaknesses in the League’s organisation make failure inevitable?
Additional Resources: www.gcsehistory.org.uk/modernworld/interwarperiod/index.htm
- c) How far did the Depression make the work of the League more difficult?
Read page 33 and McAleavy 46-51
- What was ‘The Wall Street Crash’ of 1929 and how did it contribute to the ensuing depression?
- Write a few sentences explaining the effect of the depression on each of the following areas: in
your answer, try to explain how in each area the work of the League of Nations was made more difficult.
(i) trade and industry in all countries
(ii) relations between countries
(iii) political changes within countries
- d) How successful was the League in the 1930s?
Read pages 34 – 41 and McAleavey page 52-61
– Answer discussion questions page 36
– Summarise in a few sentences why the World Disarmament Conference of 1932-4 failed.
What would you identify as the main reason for its failure?
– answer the discussion questions on page 39 and page 40
Resources: John Clare’s website is very good on this topic if you need more detail.
- Exam questions for this topic will focus on: – strengths and weaknesses in structure and organisation
– successes and failures in peacekeeping during the 1920s
– the impact of the World Depression on the work of the League after 1929
– the failures of the League in the 1930s, including Manchuria and Abyssinia.
TOPIC 3: Why had international peace collapsed by 1939?
- You will have a WHOLE paper on this so you need to know it very well!
Main questions to consider in this topic:
– What were the long-term consequences of the peace treaties of 1919–23?
– What were the consequences of the failures of the League in the 1930s?
– How far was Hitler’s foreign policy to blame for the outbreak of war in 1939?
– Was the policy of appeasement justified?
– How important was the Nazi-Soviet Pact?
– Why did Britain and France declare war on Germany September 1939?
- a) What were the long-term consequences of the peace treaties of 1919–23?
Read pages 43-45
- What six particular actions did Hitler take from 1933-39 which were effectively a repudiation of Versailles?
- Summarise British and French attitudes to the effectiveness of the Treaty during the 1930s.
- Briefly state the three main anomalies created by the Treaty.
- Looking at Source 2 (page 45) explain what use Hitler felt he could make of the Treaty.
- b) What were the consequences of the failures of the League in the 1930s?
Read pages 46 – 47 1.
Answer quick question page 46
- How did the failures of the League in Manchuria and Abyssinia affect Italy and Germany?
- How did these failures affect Britain and France?
Write a short paragraph answering the question: To what extent were both re-armament and appeasement the result of the failure of the League of Nations?
Write a short paragraph answering the question: ‘To what extent did the failure of the League allow Hitler to achieve his aim of destroying the Treaty of Versailles?’
WEEKS 7 and 8
- c) How far was Hitler’s foreign policy to blame for the outbreak of war in 1939?
Read pages 48-56
- State the four primary objectives of Hitler’s foreign policy in the early 1930s (make sure you can explain each of them!)
- Using the information given here, write a paragraph answering this question: ‘To what extent do you think Hitler’s early foreign policy 1933-35 was directly intended to lead to war?
- To what extent do you think Hitler’s re-militarisation of the Rhineland was meant as a first step on the road to war (bear in mind what he promised once it was completed – page 51)?
- Answer discussion questions on page 51
- Did Hitler gain what he wanted from the Spanish Civil War?
- Answer quick question 4 page 52
- What was ‘The Anschluss’ and what were its main consequences?
- Answer discussion question page 53
- Explain briefly the lead up to the Munich Conference.
- To what extent was the Munich Agreement a success for
- i) Hitler ii) Chamberlain
- Answer discussion question 1, page 56
Resources: – www.johndclare.net/RoadtoWWII1_IGCSEnotes.htm
Weeks 9 and 10
- d) Was the policy of appeasement justified?
Read pages 57-59
Resources: – www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/2WWappeasement.htm
– www.cartoons.ac.uk (search ‘groups’ Chamberlain and appeasement 1938 student)
Plus all recommended for (c) above
- e) How important was the Nazi-Soviet Pact? Read pag 60
- f) Why did Britain and France declare war on Germany September 1939?
Read pages 61 -62
N.B. Exam questions will focus on:
- The collapse of international order in the 1930s
- The increasing militarism of Germany, Italy and Japan
- Hitler’s foreign policy to 1939, notably:
– the Saar
– remilitarisation of the Rhineland
– involvement in the Spanish Civil War
– Anschluss with Austria
– crises over Czechoslovakia and Poland
– the outbreak of war.