History - Key Stage 4

We study the Cambridge IGCSE specification as we believe it helps develop the broadest skill set, is academically rigorous and is at the same time thought provoking and enjoyable. We have selected more modern topics which are fully resourced and which have a legacy that is still visible and which still have relevance today. We also find many parallels with the events of 60-90 years ago and events taking place in the modern era, thereby further helping to bring the syllabus to life.

Study at IGCSE level is more in depth and designed to help students develop and perfect their research and argumentation skills. They further explore the idea that History is about interpretation, how to recognise and account for bias, and practice substantiating their opinions with factual data in order to add weight and value to them.

Syllabus Part A: The 20th century, International Relations since 1919

Were the Peace Treaties of 1919-23 fair?

  • 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?
  • Could the treaties be justified at the time?

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We will be asking: Why did the ending of the First World War create so much hatred? Did the peacemakers of 1920 actually sow the seeds of World War 2? How does the peace after World War One actually help Adolf Hitler gain power and popularity in Germany?

To what extent was the League of Nations a success?

  • 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?

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We will be asking: Why was it that over 50 countries had a voice in this precursor to the United Nations but only 5 got heard? Why could this peacekeeping force offer no force at all? How is it that an American President created the idea for a council of nations and yet America would not join?

Why had international peace collapsed by 1939?

  • 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 in September 1939?

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We will be asking: How did Adolf Hitler fool the world into thinking he was a peaceful man before trying to take over the world in 1939? How could the British Prime Minister, Neville Chamberlain, tell the nation he had secured everlasting peace with Germany and yet be declaring war on it less than a year later? How could two mortal enemies, Hitler and Stalin, actually agree on a pact saying they would never fight each other?

Syllabus Part B, Depth Study: Russia, 1905-41

Why did the Tsarist regime collapse in 1917?

  • How well did the Tsarist regime deal with the difficulties of ruling Russia up to 1914?
  • How did the Tsar survive the 1905 revolution?
  • How far was the Tsar weakened by the First World War?
  • Why was the revolution of March 1917 successful?

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We will be asking: How could the Russian royal family, a dynasty that had ruled for 300 years, suddenly come to an end in March 1917? What was wrong with the king's son and what would this mean for the future? Who was this drunken, women obsessed, peasant that was staying with the royal family and what was his relationship with the king’s wife?

How did the Bolsheviks gain power, and how did they consolidate their rule?

  • How effectively did the Provisional Government rule Russia in 1917?
  • Why were the Bolsheviks able to seize power in November 1917?
  • Why did the Bolsheviks win the Civil War?
  • How far was the New Economic Policy a success?

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We will be asking: How did one man, Vladimir Lenin, seem to know exactly what the people wanted when everyone else was saying something different? How did a small political party take over Russia and change its history forever? What is Communism and what did it mean for the Russian people?

How did Stalin gain and hold on to power?

  • Why did Stalin, and not Trotsky, emerge as Lenin's successor?
  • Why did Stalin launch the Purges?
  • What methods did Stalin use to control the Soviet Union?
  • How complete was Stalin's control over the Soviet Union by 1941?

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We will be asking: How did someone who was considered near the bottom of the Communist Party, Stalin a man of peasant descent, actually take control over the whole of Russia? Why is Stalin’s reign seen as the most brutal in Russia history? And, even so, why would the Russian people weep at his funeral and do anything for him?

What was the impact of Stalin's economic policies?

  • Why did Stalin introduce the Five-Year Plans?
  • Why did Stalin introduce collectivisation?
  • How successful were Stalin's economic changes?
  • How were the Soviet people affected by these changes?

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We will be asking: How did Stalin make a country that was centuries behind the West a world superpower within 15 years? What was the terrible cost to the Russian people and why is Stalin seen, by some, as the worst dictator in the whole of human history?

Coursework: USA 1929-39

Roosevelt and the New Deal

  • What were the effects of the Great Depression on the USA?
  • How did Hoover try and solve the problems caused by the Depression?
  • Who was Roosevelt and why did he win the 1932 election by such a landslide?
  • What was the New Deal?
  • How successful was the New Deal?

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We will be asking: How did one man, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, try and lift America from the worst crisis in its history? Why did he win the 1932 election by one of the biggest margins in American history? Did he succeed or did some people in America actually lose out?

Assessment at Key Stage 4

The IGCSE is assessed as follows:

Type Details Weighting
Paper 1 Essay based assessment 40%
Paper 2 Source based assessment on one topic from the syllabus 33%
Coursework A Selection of essay and source based questions on USA 1929-39 27%