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How secure was the USSR's control over Eastern Europe, 1948-c.1989?

The CIE History IGCSE Sourcework Paper for Summer 2022 will focus on Key Question [6]: "How secure was the USSR's control over Eastern Europe, 1948-c.1989?".

These comprehensive ActiveHistory materials can be used to deliver this entire topic effectively to students. I have also designed some topical resources covering Why did the USA withdraw from Afghanistan in 2021 and what does the future hold?


Introduction

Overview: Eastern Europe in 1989

Students are provided with essential terminology and produce their own account of the events of 1989-91 by comparing and making deductions from two maps of Europe during the period.


Internal Problems for the USSR

a. Political Tensions within the USSR

General Problems: Long Term - Dictatorship and Corruption

Students compare and contrast democracy and dictatorship and produce a written summary outlining the inherent weaknesses of the Soviet system.

Specific Problems: Short Term - The "Gerontocracy"

Students investigate the "Rule by Geriatrics" - Brezhnev, Andropov, Chernenko - and how this lack of flexibility led to the tragedy of the Korean Airliner incident of 1983.

b. Social-Economic Problems within the USSR

General Problems: Long Term - Underproduction and Demotivation

Students compare and contrast communism and capitalism and produce a written summary outlining the inherent weaknesses of the Soviet system.

Specific Problems: Short Term - Chernobyl and Lake Baikal

Students investigate the problems in agriculture, industry and society that plagued the USSR by the 1980s. They look at a number of Soviet jokes from the period and deduce what these tell us about life under Soviet rule.

Sourcework Practice on Socio-Economic Factors


External Problems for the USSR

Eastern Europe: Rebellions 1956-68

Students investigate the uprisings in Poland, Hungary, East Germany, Czechoslovakia to develop their understanding of the poor socio-economic conditions in the Eastern Bloc.

Eastern Europe: Walesa and Pope John Paul II

In this task students discuss the respective roles of the key individuals and then answer some source work questions about the Solidarity movement.

The Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan

In this card-sort activity students piece together the causes, course and consequence of the war with Afghanistan, which caused such havoc for the military and the economic position of the Soviet Union. To bring this topic into the modern era, there are also materials available on Why did the USA withdraw from Afghanistan in 2021 and what does the future hold?

USA: The Berlin Wall Crisis Roleplay | Multimedia teacher-led presentation | Briefing Sheets

In this exercise students will take the role of an advisor to President Kennedy. By discussing different courses of action and then comparing them to what Kennedy did, they will form a balanced judgement on his handling of the Berlin Crisis of 1961. The class will be divided into five groups and given five different scenarios from different points during the crisis. Within each group, half the students will be required to construct a case in favour of the first course of action that is proposed, whilst the other half will construct a case in favour of the second. The teacher will then chair the debate before telling students what Kennedy did at each stage through a multimedia presentation.

USA: The Nuclear Arms Race

Another pressure upon the Soviet Union was the massive cost of keeping up with the United States in terms of nuclear weapons. Students answer questions based around a timeline and as an extension activity conduct some research into the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Sourcework on the Nuclear Arms Race

A range of questions to build up sourcework skills prior to the examination.

USA: Short-Term - Reagan and "Star Wars"

President Ronald Reagan contributed to the decline and fall of the Soviet Union by adopting an aggressive, uncompromising policy towards communism. Students investigate his policies and their impact upon the USSR through a timeline and some source work questions.


The Role of Gorbachev

Gorbachev's Policies: Glasnost and Perestroika

Students complete a table which helps them to assess the problems Gorbachev faced, how he chose to deal with them and how appropriate they consider these policies were.

Multimedia Presentation: Gorbachev's Rule

A presentation to provide feedback on the above activity. Each slide outlines what Gorbachev actually did, and is followed by a video clip from which students can take additional notes.

The Collapse of Soviet Control in Eastern Europe

Students conduct their own research about how each of the countries in the Eastern Bloc broke away from Soviet rule 1989-91.


Revision Quizzes / Resources

Sourcework Tips: Decline and Collapse of Soviet Control in Eastern Europe

A student handout highlighting the main periods, people and events so that sources can be placed into their correct historical context as specifically as possible.

Interactive Cartoon Analyise: The Decline and Collapse of Communism

In this activity, students analyse 5 separate political cartoons relating to the decline and collapse of communism in Eastern Europe. They are then able to compare their answers to a series of model answers. A useful way of revising the 2010 IGCSE Paper 2 Topic.

Fling the Teacher Challenge: Internal Factors

Fling the Teacher Challenge: External Factors

Fling the Teacher Challenge: The Role of Gorbachev


 


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1998-2021 Russel Tarr, ActiveHistory.co.uk Limited (Reg. 6111680)

High Park Lodge, Edstaston Wem, Shropshire, England, SY4 5RD. Telephone/Fax: 01939 233909

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