The Chinese Civil Wars and the Rise of Mao

IB History: ActiveHistory

An ActiveHistory subscription provides everything you need to construct and deliver a two-year IBDP History course from start to finish using the ActiveHistory IB History Hub.

These consist not just of lesson plans, worksheets and teacher notes, but also multimedia lectures and interactive games and historical simulations ideal for remote learning and self-study.

Use the ActiveHistory curriculum maps and the ActiveHistory syllabus topics to design your own course effectively.

We also have you covered for the Internal Assessment, Extended Essay and Theory of Knowledge in History, not to mention Essay and Sourcework Skills, IBDP History Model Essays and IBDP History Sample Sourcework Exercises / Model answers!





The Chinese Civil Wars and the Rise of Mao

• The birth of Modern China can be traced to the declaration of the People’s Republic of China in 1949 by Mao Zedong.

• The Emergence of Modern China is a central topic of study for any 21st century citizen. China is the only place in the world which is officially described as BOTH a developing country AND an emerging superpower. The historian Niall Fergusson argues that America is now so dependent on China that we should really be talking of one Superpower – “Chimerica”!

• This remarkable transformation from “Third World” to “First World” status has raised the possibility that maybe communism – discredited since its collapse in Eastern Europe in the 1990s – still has potential as a viable political system.

• In terms of the IB examination, The Chinese Civil War provides extra material for both the “Causes, Practices and Effects of War” and the “Rise and Rule of Single Party States” sections.

A. Complete Scheme of Work

The Chinese Civil War: Introduction

An introductory handout providing a timeline of events and lost of characters to familiarise students with an essential overview.

Introductory Prezi: The Chinese Civil War and the Rise of Mao

A brief overview of the main parties involved and the key events. Students should take notes!

The Chinese Civil Wars - Are you more like Chiang or Mao? (Multimedia Decision Making Simulation)

A comprehensive interactive lecture to educate students about the key events of the Chinese Civil War, with twelve decision points and complete with 45 minutes of video clips. Designed to be delivered as an interactive lecture over several hours. As students progress through the decision-making exercise, they should make detailed notes. In addition, each time the class is presented with a ‘decision point’, each students should split 50 points each between the options to reflect what they would recommend the course the leader should follow if his objective is to win full control of China. The teacher will provide each students with a ‘voting slip’ from ActiveHistory for this purpose.When you are told what he actually did, circle off the points given to those options to provide an ‘approval rating’ for Mao or Chiang as appropriate. At the end, students can calculate their overall total “Communist” and “Nationalist” ratings as appropriate and compare the results as a class.

Mao’s Rise to Power – Timeline Task

"Use your detailed handwritten notes from the decision making simulation to complete this table in as much detail as possible. You may wish to use a key to highlight events, places, and people in different colours. Next, develop your timeline further by doing your own web research on some of the key events and individuals you think are most important to help explain why Chiang LOST and Mao WON the Civil War (alternatively, the first 90 minutes of this video covers the topic comprehensively. Add these details into your timeline as appropriate and highlight these in yellow ready to share with the class".

Factual Test - The Chinese Civil Wars and the Rise of Mao (teacher password required)

Twenty questions to test essential knowledge, based on what should have been learned so far.

The Chinese Civil War: Video Recap

"Watch the 8-minute video to complete this initial timeline to summarise what you have so far learned. If you have not already completed your own detailed timeline, develop this one further using your notes from the decision making simulation".

Analyse the Methods and Conditions which led to Mao’s Victory in the Chinese Civil War | Completed Teacher Version

Students use their detailed notes to complete an analysis of the following factors, taken from the IBO syllabus, then discuss later as a class how they can be connected.
Propaganda and Charismatic Leadership | Ideology | Socio-Economic Factors| Military Factors / Use of Force | Role of Foreign Powers

Rise of Mao: Possible Essay Questions | Sample Plan

Students are provided with a list of essay questions from past examination papers. As a class, read through the questions and highlight the central focus point of each. Students then consider how they would structure a question phrased as follows for each of these focus points.

Rise of Mao: Essay Planning

Students are provided with a template which allows them to methodically structure a whole range of essay questions. Each student should complete this for a different questions, then these can be collated and shared to revise from. In a subsequent lesson, the teacher should choose one of these questions for students to tackle in timed conditions.

Useful Quotes from Mao and Chiang

Students are given a list of quotes from Mao and Chiang, and consider where and how they could be integrated into their essay plans.

Source Pack: The Chinese Civil War and the Rise of Mao

This sourcepack comes complete with questions and is broken up logically into sections relating to three key periods leading to the rise of Mao.

Head2Head Virtual Interview with Mao Zedong | Lesson Ideas
This interactive application allows students to interview historical characters directly! In this way, different groups of students can learn about different aspects of their life and career. There are plenty of lesson ideas to choose from.



B. Model Essays by RJ Tarr (note: teacher password required)

Analyse the methods and conditions which led to to the rise of Mao as ruler of China.

Compare and Contrast the Rise of Mao and Stalin (originally published in History Review)

Compare and Contrast the Rise of Pinochet and Franco

Compare and Contrast the Rise of Mao and Pinochet


C. Quizzes and Revision Exercises

Timeline Challenge: The Chinese Civil War and the Rise of Mao

Students are put into teams and play this competitive game which tests their knowledge and develops their understanding.

Timeline - Interactive Newsfeed

Students and teachers can ensure that they have covered the essential information by using this interactive newsfeed, which covers all of the major points in extra detail.

Jigsaw Table Exercise: The Chinese Civil War and the Rise of Mao

After the class has had a feedback session based on the individual research tasks, students should complete this interactive exercise which tests their knowledge of the essential points and which additionally provides them with a thorough, completed table of information with which to develop their original notes. Each student is also given a score, which the teacher can record in the markbook.

MazeGame: The Chinese Civil War and the Rise of Mao

Meet some of the key characters relating to the topic, learn about some of the key documents and artefacts, and take a series of tests before being given an overall score in this decision-making adventure.

Keyword Challenge

If you are unfamiliar with the format of the game, click here for instructions.

Fling the Teacher Challenge

An end-of unit challenge with 45 possible questions. All students should start the quiz at the same time, with 10 minutes available. Award 10 points to anyone finishing the quiz successfully within the first minute, 9 points to anyone finishing within the second minute, and so on. I build up a "leaderboard" of quiz results throughout the year, and especially during revision period!


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