The Events of World War Two: New Study Unit

These lessons focus on providing students with a clear understanding of the main ideologies, personalities and events leading up to the war rather than the causes themselves (The Causes of World War Two is a topic better suited as an examination topic for older students, and resources can be found here: 1920s | 1930s.) (47…

The Battle of the Somme: Haig – hero or butcher?

The Battle of the Somme Students conduct a debate on the issues of whether Haig was a good General, whether the battle plan was crazy, and whether it achieved its objectives. They do this by: (a) Completing this NEWLY EDITABLE worksheet as the teacher goes through The Battle of the Somme PowerPoint; (b) Completing this…

How did the Crash lead to a Depression? What were the political consequences?

How did the Crash lead to a Depression? What were the political consequences? Students sometimes find it difficult to understand how a stock market ‘crash’ in one country can lead to a widespread ‘Depression’ affecting the entire economies of many countries. This worksheet helps them bridge the gap. Updated to include a task providing questions…

Factual Test based on the introductory civil rights lecture

Factual Test based on the introductory civil rights lecture 15 questions testing student understanding from the lecture – The Big Picture: A multimedia presentation of race in American history since the Declaration of Independence Part of the Civil Rights unit at ActiveHistory.   (23 views)

How similar was the 2008 Financial Crisis to the Wall St. Crash?

How similar was the 2008 Financial Crisis to the Wall St. Crash? One of the most important purposes of studying history is to understand the modern world. In this exercise students will consider how the Wall St. Crash helps us understand the modern financial system, by considering three particular films in the process: Part of…

Decision-Making Exercise: Was Churchill a Great Leader? – Part 2 (1943-45)

Decision-Making Exercise: Was Churchill a Great Leader? – Part 2 (1943-45) | Student Worksheet A major decision-making simulation designed to teach students about the major events of World War Two in an engaging but rigorous manner. “In 1939, Adolf Hitler invaded Poland after signing a non-aggression pact with Stalin’s USSR. Britain and France declared war…

Decision-Making Exercise: Was Churchill a Great Leader? – Part 1 (1940-42)

Decision-Making Exercise: Was Churchill a Great Leader? – Part 1 (1940-42) | Student Worksheet A major decision-making simulation designed to teach students about the major events of World War Two in an engaging but rigorous manner. “In 1939, Adolf Hitler invaded Poland after signing a non-aggression pact with Stalin’s USSR. Britain and France declared war…

Video Documentary Worksheet: “The Children who Fought Hitler”

Video Documentary Worksheet: “The Children who Fought Hitler” (could be used as an alternative video for students who feel uncomfortable watching the ‘Holocaust’ documentary) This is a documentary telling the forgotten story of a heroic battle fought by the children of the British Memorial School to help liberate Europe from the Nazis. The school served…

Multimedia Presentation: Who were the Nazis? | Student Worksheet

Multimedia Presentation: Who were the Nazis? | Student Worksheet Students consider some of the key beliefs of the Nazis by debating a series of controversial issues (e.g. “Immigrants should be encouraged to leave our country when there are lots of our own people who are unemployed”, “It is quite right to place suspected terrorists into…

Left-wing and Right Wing: Which are you? [online simulation]

Left-wing and Right Wing: Which are you? [online simulation] Students then complete this computer questionnaire, which will provide them with some initial suggestions about whether they are Left- or Right-Wing. This can be completed in class, or set as a homework activity. Students are then asked to complete a Triangle Nine Template by completing the…

Overview of Ideologies: [a] Communism, Fascism and Nazism

Overview of Ideologies: [a] Communism, Fascism and Nazism Students start the unit by being introduced to the main ideological divisions of the interwar period and the key personalities behind them, including Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, Roosevelt and Churchill. Part of the new World War Two study unit at ActiveHistory. (32 views)

Student Record Grid – 1920s Border Disputes

Student Record Grid In this classroom roleplay exercise, students are divided into teams of four (idealists and pragmatists) and 11 students are also given a particular country to represent. We then go through each of the major border disputes of the 1920s hearing the arguments on both sides, reaching a decided course of action, then…

ActiveHistory Online Presentation – League in the 1920s

ActiveHistory Online Presentation In this classroom roleplay exercise, students are divided into teams of four (idealists and pragmatists) and 11 students are also given a particular country to represent. We then go through each of the major border disputes of the 1920s hearing the arguments on both sides, reaching a decided course of action, then…

Border Disputes in the 1920s: A Classroom Roleplay Exercise

Border Disputes in the 1920s: A Classroom Roleplay Exercise  In this classroom roleplay exercise, students are divided into teams of four (idealists and pragmatists) and 11 students are also given a particular country to represent. We then go through each of the major border disputes of the 1920s hearing the arguments on both sides, reaching…

Design a movie proposal: The Sophiatown Removals

Design a movie proposal: The Sophiatown Removals Fresh from his triumph with the World War One inspired “1917”, award-winning director Sam Mendes is keen to keep his winning streak alive by producing a film based in the black neighbourhood of Sophiatown in the years leading up to and including its destruction in the 1950s. Your…

Consequences of the Korean War: HTML5 Hexagons

How was a truce negotiated? What were the consequences for Korea and for the wider world? |Interactive HTML Hexagons Students consider a list of detailed points are are then challenged to organise these into meaningful categories to answer the key questions. There are also some HTML5 Hexagons available for this exercise generated at www.classtools.net. Part…

Multimedia lecture [3]: Changes in Location: From Rural South to Urban North

Multimedia lecture [3]: Changes in Location: From Rural South to Urban North The change in methods (towards militant self-defence) and objectives (black nationalism, not integration) overlapped with a move away from the rural south (and a focus on tackling Jim Crow laws) and towards the urban north (and a focus on tackling socio-economic exploitation) Part…

Historiography of the Berlin Blockade

Historiography of the Berlin Blockade Students are presented with a detailed article about the causes and consequences of the Berlin Blockade and a series of structured questions to help familiarise them with some of the key debates and interpretations. Part of the “Origins of the Cold War” Unit (92 views)

Comparing / contrasting the impact on two states: the USA / the DDR

Comparing / contrasting the impact on two states: the USA / the DDR In the earlier exercise students worked collaboratively to determine the impact of the Cold War upon the DDR. As a revision exercise, they will now compare and contrast this experience with that of the United States by reviewing their work on the…

Video viewing notes: “The DDR: Lost World of Communism”

Video viewing notes: “The DDR: Lost World of Communism” Minute-by-minute viewing notes for this excellent BBC documentary for students to use as a way of deepening their understanding. This is part of a unit of study on Communist East Germany. This concludes with an essay on the subject “Analyse the impact of the Cold War upon…

Analyse the impact of the Cold War upon the DDR

The Impact of the Cold War upon the DDR The impact of the Cold War upon one state, and a comparison and contrast of the impact of the Cold War upon two states from different regions, is a possible focus of exam questions. The following unit was designed to provide an academically rigorous follow-up task…

“Then and Now” photographs: Battlefields / Berlin

“Then and Now” photographs As an added dimension to the trip, I obtained a range of historical photos of key sites in Berlin, then challenged students to recreate them. I then uploaded these to ActiveHistory to share with the students. (72 views)

Interpretation Battleships: The Treaty of Versailles

Interpretation Battleships: The Treaty of Versailles “Harsh but fair” – To what extent do you agree with this judgement on the Treaty of Versailles? Individual or Paired Task After reviewing the terms of the Treaty, decide where each of the following words belong in the grid: Saar | Colonies | Rhineland | Alsace-Lorraine | Polish…

How varied were the impacts of European imperialism on Africans? | teacher notes

How varied were the impacts of European imperialism on Africans? | teacher notes In the 1880s Europeans accelerated their colonisation programmes in a process which became known as the “Scramble for Africa”. Following the Berlin Conference (1884-85), the African continent was randomly divided into about fifty countries. These new borders took no account of ethnic…

Hitler’s Foreign Policy: Model Answers

Hitler’s Foreign Policy a. Describe the events leading to Anschluss. b. Why did Hitler want to take over Czechoslovakia? c. How far was the policy of appeasement justified? One of many sets of model answers for IGCSE History (CIE) that can be accessed here: (160 views)

Hitler’s Foreign Policy: Model Answers

Hitler’s Foreign Policy a. In what ways did Hitler build up his armed forces before 1936? b. Why did Britain and France allow Germany to remilitarise the Rhineland in 1936? c. Evaluate the view that ‘Hitler was a gambler rather than a planner’ in foreign affairs. One of many sets of model answers for IGCSE…

International Relations: 1930s – Model Answers

International Relations: 1930s a. Describe the Abyssinian Crisis. b. Why was the conquest of Manchuria by Japan not prevented by the League of Nations? b. Why was remilitarisation of the Rhineland a risk for Hitler? One of many sets of model answers for IGCSE History (CIE) that can be accessed here: (77 views)

International Relations: 1920s/30s – Model Answers

International Relations: 1920s/30s a. Describe the successes of the League of Nations in peacekeeping in the 1920s b. Why did the League fail to secure world disarmament before World War Two? b. Explain why the League was quite successful in the 1920s One of many sets of model answers for IGCSE History (CIE) that can…

Model Answers: International Relations: 1920s

International Relations: 1920s a. Describe the activities of the Agencies of the League of Nations. b. Why did some major powers not join the League? c. How successful was the League at dealing with border disputes in the 1920s? One of many sets of model answers for IGCSE History (CIE) that can be accessed here:…

International Relations: 1920s – Model Answers

International Relations: 1920s a. What were the aims of the League of Nations? b. Why did the USA’s refusal to join create problems for the League? c. How successful was the League at dealing with the problems it faced in the 1920s? One of many sets of model answers for IGCSE History (CIE) that can…

Germany Depth Study: Model Answers

Weimar Germany, 1918-34 a. Describe the effects of the hyperinflation of 1923 on the German people b. Why was 1923 a year of crisis for the Weimar Republic? c. c. To what extent did the Weimar Republic recover between 1924-28? One of many sets of model answers for IGCSE History (CIE) that can be accessed…

Model Answers – Weimar Germany, 1918-34

Weimar Germany, 1918-34 a. What changes in German society did the Nazi Party want in 1920? b. Why did the Nazi Party remain unsuccessful between 1924 and 1929? c. How important was Hitler to the success of the Nazis between 1929 and 1932? One of many sets of model answers for IGCSE History (CIE) that…

Model Answers: Weimar Germany, 1918-34 [free]

Weimar Germany, 1918-34 [free] a. What were the main features of the Weimar Constitution? b. Why did the Weimar Republic face difficulties in 1923? c. How successful was the Republic between 1924-1928? One of many sets of model answers for IGCSE History (CIE) that can be accessed here: (124 views)

Versailles Peace Treaty: Model Answers

Peace Treaties after World War One a. Describe how the peace treaties affected France. b. Explain why the Versailles treaty was harsh on Germany. c. To what extent did the aims of the Big Three differ? One of many sets of model answers for IGCSE History (CIE) that can be accessed here: (186 views)

Peace Treaties after World War One: Model Answers

Peace Treaties after World War One a. What is a diktat? b. Explain why some people thought that the Treaty of Versailles was fair. c. To what extent did the aims of the Big Three differ? One of many sets of model answers for IGCSE History (CIE) that can be accessed here:   (167 views)

Model Answers: Peace Treaties after World War One [free]

Peace Treaties after World War One [free] a. What did Wilson hope to achieve from the peace settlement of 1919-20? b. Why did Clemenceau and Lloyd George disagree over how to treat Germany? c. “The Treaty of Versailles was a fair settlement”. How far do you agree with this statement? Explain your answer. One of…

Origins of WW1 – IGCSE History P1 Model Answers

The Origins of World War One a. Describe the Alliance System which existed among European powers before 1914. b. Why did the Anglo-French entente survive? c. “The crises of 1905, 1908 and 1911 made war inevitable” – to what extent do you agree with this statement? One of many sets of model answers for IGCSE…

Why Appeasement? Diamond9 Quiz

Why Appeasement? Diamond9 Quiz A 15-question factual test designed to be used after students have watched the classic documentary “Why Appeasement?“. Part of the unit: GCSE/IB History: International Relations, 1929-39 (151 views)

Contrasts and comparisons to a second dictator

Contrasts and comparisons to a second dictator Students are presented with this structured worksheet providing guidance on how to compare and contrast Mao with a second dictator of their choice (NOTE: if a second dictator has not yet been studied, then this exercise can be done later in the course or as part of the…

20-question factual test on Mao’s domestic policies

20-question factual test on Mao’s domestic policies – to ensure students have obtained a sufficient level of topic mastery by this stage. Part of the new study unit on Mao’s rule of China, 1949-76 (85 views)

Detailed analysis of Mao’s domestic policies

Partway through this research process, you may wish to present your students with this detailed analysis of Mao’s domestic policies to help them along. There is also a completed teacher version of this exercise available. Part of the new study unit on Mao’s rule of China, 1949-76 (0 views)

Mao’s China: Thematic Analysis and Independent Research

Mao’s China: Thematic Analysis and Independent Research Students are next provided with this note-taking framework, which organises the events covered in the teacher lecture (above). The challenge is to organise their existing notes into evidence of success/praise and criticism/failure for each of the eight major policy areas, then develop each one further with additional research…

Mao and his Ministers

Mao and his Ministers Following the lecture, students should be provided with this detailed summary sheet of Mao’s most important ministers. They should revise from this before being give a factual test on what they have learned (teacher answer sheet also available). Part of the new study unit on Mao’s rule of China, 1949-76 (85…

Teacher Part 3: Mao’s Domestic Policies 1968-76

Teacher Part 3: Domestic Policies 1968-76 Covering five central issues: 11. Mango Fever | 12. Red Guards | 13. Lin Biao | 14. Sino-American Relations | 15. Postscript Part of the new study unit on Mao’s rule of China, 1949-76 (68 views)

Teacher Lecture, Part 2: Mao’s Domestic Policies 1945-67

Teacher Lecture, Part 2: Domestic Policies 1945-67 Covering five central issues: 6. Culture | 7. Great Leap Forward | 8. Lushan Conference | 9. Great Famine | 10. Cultural Revolution Part of the new study unit on Mao’s rule of China, 1949-76 (102 views)

Teacher Lecture, Part 1: Mao’s Domestic Policies 1949-56

Teacher Lecture, Part 1: Mao’s Domestic Policies 1949-56 Covering five central issues: 1. Administration | 2. Economy | 3. Politics | 4. Five-Year Plan | 5. Sino-Soviet Relations Part of the new study unit on Mao’s rule of China, 1949-76 (98 views)

Which 20th Century Dictator are YOU?

I start the study of the Rule of Mao by getting students to complete the ActiveHistory interactive simulation “Which 20th Century Dictator are YOU?” using this abbreviated worksheet. This is a stand-alone simulation to help students compare and contrast how single-party state rulers maintained power. It guides students through 10 key issues explaining how and…

League of Nations Simulation – update

I have updated the first part of the League of Nations simulation with more detailed information and a new worksheet for IGCSE students. The topic page for the League can be found here.   (426 views)

Medicine Through Time Expert: Head2Head Virtual Interview Relaunch

Over the Xmas holidays I completely re-coded and relaunched the popular “Head2Head Interview with Dr. Fox” which can be found here. The new version has an improved artificial intelligence engine and a modernised layout so that students appear to be having a text chat with the character on their mobile device. (100 views)

Adolf Hitler: Head2Head Virtual Interview Relaunch

Over the Xmas holidays I completely re-coded and relaunched the popular “Head2Head Interview with Adolf Hitler” which can be found here. The new version has an improved artificial intelligence engine and a modernised layout so that students appear to be having a text chat with the character on their mobile device. (271 views)

Martin Luther King, Jr: Head2Head Virtual Interview Relaunch

Over the Xmas holidays I completely re-coded and relaunched the popular “Head2Head Interview with MLK” which can be found here. The new version has an improved artificial intelligence engine and a modernised layout so that students appear to be having a text chat with the character on their mobile device.   (198 views)

Josef Stalin: Head2Head Virtual Interview Relaunch

Over the Xmas holidays I completely re-coded and relaunched the popular “Head2Head Interview with Josef Stalin” which can be found here. The new version has an improved artificial intelligence engine and a modernised layout so that students appear to be having a text chat with the character on their mobile device. (84 views)

25-Question Factual Test – the Korean War

25-Question Factual Test To test knowledge and understanding at the end of the unit (teacher password required). Part of the new ActiveHistory study unit on the Korean War. (187 views)

The Korean War: Collapsible Revision Notes

The Korean War: Collapsible Revision Notes Interactive notes which can be collapsed or expanded to various levels of detail for revision purposes. Part of the new ActiveHistory study unit on the Korean War. (173 views)

The Korean War: Interactive Cartoon analysis

The Korean War: Interactive Cartoon analysis Analyse a series of cartoons by hovering over details and answering exam-style questions. When you have finished, the computer will provide you with a printout comparing your answer to a model answer. A great way to revise and develop sourcework skills. Part of the new ActiveHistory study unit on…

Korean War Fling the Teacher Quiz

Korean War Fling the Teacher Quiz 75 possible questions: I like to get all the students playing it simultaneously, and award 25 points for the first person to finish, 24 for the next, and so on; over the course of a few weeks you can build up a “Fling the Teacher Leaderboard” if you play…

Cartoon story analysis – The Korean War

Consolidation activity [3]: Cartoon story analysis Students take a cartoon story about the war and analyse it for partiality and omissions. Part of the new ActiveHistory study unit on the Korean War. (115 views)

Mapwork – The Korean War

Consolidation activity [2]: Mapwork Students have to match a range of maps to key moments in the war to consolidate their understanding. Part of the new ActiveHistory study unit on the Korean War. (64 views)

Korean War – Mini-Debates

Mini-Debates Students are placed into prosecution and defence teams to analyse Truman’s handling of the Korean War. There are some completed teacher notes available for this exercise. Part of the new ActiveHistory study unit on the Korean War. (67 views)

Truman makes his decision about MacArthur

Truman makes his decision about MacArthur “Read the following sources, then use them to answer the following question: In your view, do you think that Truman was right to fire General MacArthur? Explain your answer by considering both sides.” Part of the new ActiveHistory study unit on the Korean War. (44 views)

Should Truman tolerate or fire MacArthur for his criticisms?

Should Truman tolerate or fire MacArthur for his criticisms? MacArthur asks Truman to threaten atomic attacks on China if they refuse to withdraw from Korea. Rejecting MacArthur’s advice, Truman refuses to threaten retaliation against China, fearing that this could lead to a Third World War. As a result, MacArthur starts openly criticizing Truman’s policies in…

Should Truman support MacArthur and commit the USA to a ‘total war’ in Korea?

Should Truman support MacArthur and commit the USA to a ‘total war’ in Korea? Using a variety of sources within a timeline, students decide whether Truman should follow MacArthur’s advice and threated retaliation against China unless they withdraw from Korea. Part of the new ActiveHistory study unit on the Korean War. (50 views)

Korean War – Interactive Newsfeed Exercise

Korean War – Interactive Newsfeed Exercise Students are presented with a series of “newsfeeds” about the Korean War, which they use to complete this worksheet, and then answer a series of questions. Part of the new ActiveHistory study unit on the Korean War. (71 views)

Primary source analysis – causes of the Korean War

Who was responsible for the outbreak of the Korean War? Was Truman right to commit troops to the conflict? Partway through the presentation students will be required to evaluate a series of primary source documents regarding these issues. An additional optional source is extracts from NSC-68. Part of the new ActiveHistory study unit on the…

James Spod: Undercover in Nazi Germany!

By popular request, a ‘Save Game’ feature has now been added to the “James Spod: Undercover in Nazi Germany” game. Let me know if there are any other requests!     (1499 views)

Guidance for writing the coursework essay for students

This document – guidance for writing the coursework essay for students – outlines how to write an introduction, a conclusion, and provides a range of key words and phrases to help them analyse significance. It also makes use of the ClassTools “Essay Writing Bookmark” which I have made freely available for download here. (371 views)

October Revolution: Historiography and Primary Sources

C. Was the October Revolution a coup d’etat or a popular uprising? Primary / Secondary Source Material As the next phase of the investigation, students read through a series of selected primary and secondary accounts of the events of October 1917 and decide where each can be used, and which quotes are best to include….

How stable was the Tsarist regime on the eve of World War One?

How stable was the Tsarist regime on the eve of World War One? Politically, one of the major events that occurred in Russia during World War One was the overthrow of the Tsarist regime. Assessing the significance of World War One in this context requires us to consider whether the war CAUSED or merely ACCELERATED…

Significance of WW1 for Russia: Study Guide

Overview and study guide During the Cold War, the debate about the nature and origins of the 1917 Communist Revolution was particularly heated. The Capitalist West was eager to discredit the origins of the USSR, and the USSR was equally determined to romanticise them. Since the end of the Cold War, the debate has continued…

The Rise of Hitler: Essay Planning Generator

This new essay-planning generator helps students consider how five key factors which caused the Rise of Hitler can be linked in various ways. The computer shuffles the various factors as a pack. It then deals out the first two and connects them using a database of possible links. It then takes the third factor and…

Origins of World War One: Essay-Planning Generator

This new essay-planning generator helps students consider how five key factors which caused the First World War can be linked in various ways. The computer shuffles the various factors as a pack. It then deals out the first two and connects them using a database of possible links. It then takes the third factor and…

Causes of the Spanish Civil War: Essay Planning Generator

This new essay-planning generator helps students consider how five key factors which caused the Spanish Civil War can be linked in various ways. The computer shuffles the various factors as a pack. It then deals out the first two and connects them using a database of possible links. It then takes the third factor and…

IB Induction – WW2 Trivia Challenge

As part of the IB Induction Project outlined here, I have uploaded a ‘trivia challenge’ which I use within the opening assembly: [student version | teacher answers]. (101 views)

IB Induction Project – Assembly Presentation

As part of the cross-curricular IB Induction project outlined here, I have uploaded my own personal assembly presentation and presenter notes. Assembly (based around this PowerPoint presentation and these presenter notes)   (97 views)

JFK: Speech on Castro and Cuba, 1960

JFK: Speech on Castro and Cuba, 1960 The centerpiece of JFKs attack on the Eisenhower administration was its failure to anticipate and then deal with the rise of Castro. The following speech is therefore very useful evidence for developing your analysis of the conditions which brought Castro to power. Moreover, it is a classic example…

Richard Holmes: War Walks – The Somme (28m) | Student Worksheet | Teacher Answers

Video: Richard Holmes: War Walks – The Somme (28m) | Student Worksheet | Teacher Answers The late, great Richard Holmes is still the best TV military historian. Here’s a video, worksheet and teacher answers on the Battle of the Somme. Part of the comprehensive set of materials on World War One from ActiveHistory. (297 views)

Model Essay: Analyse the causes of the Spanish Civil War

Model Essay: Analyse the causes of the Spanish Civil War A sample essay by RJ Tarr of www.activehistory.co.uk. 40+ Model History Essays by RJ Tarr of www.activehistory.co.uk As well as writing a number of articles for History Review magazine, I make it a habit to write essays in timed conditions whenever I set such assignments…