Dictators: Rise of 20thC Dictators | Rule of 20thC Dictators
Wars: Origins of Wars | WW1 / WW2: origins compared
Tsar Alexander II
Tsar Alexander III
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Lutheran Reformation | Zwingli/Calvin/ Radicals | Counter-Reformation | Ferdinand/Isabella | Charles I/Phillip II | Ottoman Empire | French Revolution / Napoleon
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ActiveHistory provides entertaining, educational award-winning interactive simulations, decision-making games, self-marking quizzes, high-quality worksheets and detailed lesson plans for teachers and students.
View the top 75 activities here.
Defining weasel terms: Guerrilla, interstate, civil wars; populist v. military dictators; and much more besides
"If you are called upon to use case studies of such things as guerrilla warfare, civil wars, interstate wars, crises and conflicts, it is vitally important that you justify your chosen example(s) in the introduction of your essay. If you fail to do so the examiner might disagree with the validity of your choices! What follows gives you a summary of definitions to use, and case studies that can then be justified. What follows is a selection of case studies that could be used for various types of crises, conflicts and states".
Analysing Essay Quesion 'Command Terms': The examiner is very keen that students demonstrate a clear understanding of central terms when they are used in essay questions. In this activity, students work in pairs then as a class to design a clear definition of such key terms as 'Guerilla Warfare' and 'Totalitarianism'. The worksheet uses the examples of Stalin and Mao but others could just as easily be used. Some teacher notes are also available.
Analysing Examiner Reports: Students are given guidance in how to get the most from the Chief Examiner's Report.
Essential Historiographical Terms for IB: A condensed, one-sided summary sheet defining clearly and with examples such historiographical terms as Determinism, Accidentalism, Intentionalism, Structuralism.
Using Key Quotes: A series of short, memorable quotes relating to the key topics being studied. Students have to reflect on how they may best be used in the examination.
Overview of Past Questions: Students are asked to collate a list of past paper questions from the most recent examination papers, to categorise these into causes, practices and effects questions, and offer some initial observations on the sorts of demands made by each.
Causes of Wars - Comparisons and Contrasts: Students are provided with detailed information about the causes of three major wars in the form of a grid, broken down into key themes (political, economic, etc). Their task is to complete the grid by providing further examples of other wars that they have studied and try to make some overall observations. Specific instructions for how students should feed back to the rest of the class are provided in this PowerPoint Slide. A completed teacher version is also available.
Causes of World War One - Who was Responsible?: A summary grid for revision purposes.
Causes of World War One: What was Responsible?: An analysis grid which moves towards linking and prioritising the various factors that caused World War One. Students are invited to complete the blank cells using their own knowledge.
Causes of the Spanish Civil War: Summary and suggested linkage: A summary diagram for revision purposes.
Causes of the Chinese Civil War: A detailed summary grid for revision purposes.
Model Essay: What were the most frequent causes of 20th Century Wars?: A sample essay produced by Russel Tarr (author of this website) in timed conditions in the style of a Paper 2 answer.
Practices of War - Comparisons and Contrasts: With a central focus on the issue of "Limited War v. Total War", students are provided with detailed information about the practices of three major wars in the form of a grid, broken down into key themes (political, economic, etc). Their task is to complete the grid by providing further examples of other wars that they have studied and try to make some overall observations about whether any 20th Century Wars can be described as "Total" wars.
Model Essays by Russel Tarr
Effects of War - Comparisons and Contrasts: Students are provided with detailed information about the practices of three major wars in the form of a grid, broken down into key themes (political, economic, etc). Their task is to complete the grid by providing further examples of other wars that they have studied and try to make some overall observations. A completed teacher version is also available.
Authoritarian States - Random Essay Question Generator!
This tool is desiged to help teachers and students prepare for the IB Paper 2 exam by generating possible questions to practice and discuss. It is based on the command terms and syllabus bullet points provided in the IB syllabus. Use this tool to generate a random question for a timed essay, or to sketch out various essay plans during revision season to keep minds open, flexible, and prepared for anything!
The Rise of Single Party State Rulers: Summaries and Contrasts: Students first have a brainstorm about what are the most frequent causes for the rise of single party state rulers. They then analyse the key methods and conditions which led to the rise of particular individual dictators, then compare and contrast them. In this way they are prepared thoroughly for various types of examination question. Students should use this template for their research so that their findings can be shared with other people in the class who will have compared different dictators.
Historiography: Causes for the Rise of Dictators / Outbreak of Civil Wars / Revolutions
A useful summary grid outlining the main historians and their theories.
Completed Resources by Russel Tarr
How Communist were Lenin and Stalin?: This activity gets students thinking about the nature of communism, and then measuring the success of each ruler on these criteria. It thereby covers a lot of ground very efficiently. A completed teacher version is also available.
High Stalinism: What policies characterised Stalin's final years?: The main study unit for my students ends in 1941. However, to give students the full picture of Stalin's Russia, this is a good activity to bring the various policies right up-to-date. Detailed notes are available for Economics 1945-53 and Other Policies 1945-53.
Historiography of Stalin's Russia: These detailed handouts provide plenty of material for discussion and further research:
Books on Stalin
Summary of the Main Historiographical Issues
How far is Fascism different from Marxism? How similar were Stalin and Mussolini as rulers of their countries?: Building on from the previous activity, students now consider the nature of Fascism by looking at various policy areas (economy, society etc) and comparing the Fascist to the Communist approaches to them. A completed teacher version is available.
Cold War Crises Compared
A detailed revision summary comparing and contrasting key Cold War crises, with tasks for students to complete.
In what ways, and with what results, did the Cold War influence relations between Latin America with the United States in the period 1945 to 1957?
Analyse the successes and failures of President Kennedy’s foreign policies towards Latin America between 1961 and 1963.
Alexander II/III: Analysis of Past Paper Questions: Students work through a list of about 20 past examination questions focusing on spotting and addressing the 'hidden assumptions' within each question. They can then look at some sample markschemes to determine if they were on the right lines with their analyses.
Model Essay by Russel Tarr
Why did Tsarism survive in 1905, but not 1917? How similar were the Causes of the February and the October Revolutions?: Detailed notes on the key questions, with activities for students included.
Compare and Contrast the Role of Lenin and Trotsky between 1917-1924: A popular question in the exam, and this worksheet helps students frame an approach to it in a logical way. A completed teacher version is also available.
Worksheet for the decision-making adventure: Lenin's Russia 1917-24: I often don't have time to use the computer simulation during the normal teaching year. When this is the case the students do the simulation as a homework activity. A completed teacher version is also available. There is a also a factual test based on the simulation with teacher answer sheet.
Classroom debate about Lenin's Russia: This completed grid records a debate I had with my students. The format is easily adaptable for use with your own classes.
Historiography Handouts with Associated Tasks
Russel Tarr is Head of
History at the International School of Toulouse, author of the website www.activehistory.co.uk
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Social, Political, Economic and Cultural Consequences of World War One in Germany, Britain and the USSR
The Events of World War Two: New Study Unit
The Battle of the Somme: Haig hero or butcher?
How did the Crash lead to a Depression? What were the political consequences?
Factual Test based on the introductory civil rights lecture
How similar was the 2008 Financial Crisis to the Wall St. Crash?
Decision-Making Exercise: Was Churchill a Great Leader? Part 2 (1943-45)
Decision-Making Exercise: Was Churchill a Great Leader? Part 1 (1940-42)
Video Documentary Worksheet: The Children who Fought Hitler
Video Documentary Worksheet: The World at War: Genocide
Multimedia Presentation: Who were the Nazis? | Student Worksheet
Left-wing and Right Wing: Which are you? [online simulation]
Overview of Ideologies: [a] Communism, Fascism and Nazism
Student Record Grid 1920s Border Disputes
ActiveHistory Online Presentation League in the 1920s