International School History - European Schools - S7 4hr option

S7 History Last update - 17 May 2023 Official European School History S7 Syllabus: English, French, German
S7 Four Hour History - Bac Revision
Get some general revision advice to begin with. I wrote this 'top 10 tips' for IB students a few years ago and much of what I say applies to you. Similarly the great John D Clare wrote these detailed guidelines for his English GCSE historians.
Past Papers for written exam

2006, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013


The oral exam

The exam is 20 minutes long. Candidates will choose one question by lot, twenty minutes before the examination.  Documents used for the examination will not have been studied or presented in class before. Read my advice on how to do this.  Example of an oral exam paper.

Key questions/themes to revise: Post-war reconstruction and the foundation of the EU, Central and eastern Europe to 57, How united was Europe by 57?, China 49-69, US Civil Rights to 1970 and the 1960s protest movement, Significant turning points in the Cold War, Cuban Missile Crisis, Vietnam War, Warfare during the Cold War.

The written exam

In Year 7 the exam is four periods long. The exam is divided into two sections. In the first section you will be expected to analyse 5 sources, in the second section you will write an essay.

The sources

In the Bac exam the topic for the source analysis is Europe : between unity and disunity (from 1945 to 1957) .
The paper will be four questions just as you have been taught to prepare.

This is a useful detailed document that provides examples of the value of different types of sources.

The usefulness of sources

This section of the website provides a detailed examination of the usefulness of the most popular types of source found in examination. It also available as a simplified PowerPoint presentation.

Possible questions for the synthesis question 4 i.e. Using the sources and your own knowledge….

…examine the impact of WWII on Europe …explain why the Cold War began in Europe
…consider the view that the division of Europe after 1945 was inevitable …examine the reasons why central and eastern Europe became communist after 1945
…explain why a ‘third Europe’ emerged after 1945 …evaluate the view that the EU emerged as a result of the Cold War
…examine the origins of the European Union …explain how Europe was reconstructed after WWII
…discuss the view that solving the ‘German problem’ made Europe after 1945 …explain the successes and failures of the European project up to 1957
…examine the role of Schuman in the creation of the EU ...examine the events that led up to the signing of the Treaty of Rome in 1957

The essays

My top 5 tips on how to write an essay.

You will write one essay from a choice of five
The topics are:

1. Cold War and Détente a) origins, results of World War II, post-war situation; b) major events, wars and crises, including Berlin, Korea, Cuba and Vietnam; c) detente: conferences treaties; d) end of the Cold War. 2. Decolonisation and emergence of the Third World a) post-1945 situation, changes in balance of power; b) different patterns of decolonisation; c) study of African or Asian decolonisation (two examples in some detail); d) results of decolonisation; e) development of newly independent states (at least one example in some detail).  3. USA since 1945 a) the political system of the USA and the role of the president; b) economic and social change; c) major internal issues: McCarthyism, Civil Rights, the peace movement, Watergate (at least two examples in some detail).
4. USSR and China (internal developments) USSR a) The Soviet Union after World War II; b) Khrushchev: destalinisation, economic policy, successes and failures; c) The decline and collapse of the USSR. China a) The Communists take power; b) China under Mao: Great Leap Forward, Cultural Revolution; c) China under Deng Xiaoping: economic and political changes.  5. Important regional developments and international co-operation a) UNO, origins, structures and examples of work; b) Arab-Israeli question; c) Southern Africa.  

Essay questions in the last six years have been:

Cold war and Détente

1. "Neither we nor the Soviet Union can wish away the differences between our two societies and our philosophies, but we should always remember that we do have common interests and the foremost among them, is to avoid war and reduce the level of arms." (US President, Ronald Reagan in a television address on 16 January 1984).
Explain how in the years between 1945 and 1984 the relationship between the USA and the USSR had moved between confrontation and a relaxation of tensions.

2. "Peace impossible, war improbable." (Raymond Aron, 1948).
To what extent is this quotation applicable to the events of the Cold War from 1947-1962?

3. "It is clear that the main element of any United States policy towards the Soviet Union must be that of a long-term, patient but firm and vigilant containment of Russian expansive tendencies".
George Kennan, Director of the Policy Planning Staff, State Department, July 1947, in 'The sources of Soviet conduct', in the Foreign Affairs Journal, July 1947.
To what extent did the United States follow this policy of 'Containment' in the period 1947-1975?

4. Evaluate the role and the importance of Germany in the Cold War between 1945 and 1975.

5. "The Soviet-American dialogue of 1961-1963 was not, however, accidental; the reasons that gave rise to it are still in force today." Gromyko, 1968, (Soviet Minister for Foreign Affairs). Quoted in A.Dobrynin In Confidence, America's Ambassador to America's six Cold War Presidents, New York, 1995.
Discuss this opinion for the 1960s, putting it in context.

6."We must possess an actual assured-destruction capability, and that capability must be
US Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, 18th September, 1967.
To what extent was the threat of nuclear war a major cause for the Cold War and for Detente from 1949 to 1972?

USA since 1945

7. "By the end of the war the African -Americans had discovered the three weapons with which, in the fifties and sixties, they were to achieve such striking victories: the imaginative use of political and economic pressure; the appeal to the courts and the Constitution; violence ". (Hugh Brogan, The Penguin History of the USA, London 1999).
Assess the effectiveness of each of these three methods after 1945 in achieving progress for the civil rights movement.

8. " We cherish our freedom here at home, but are we to say to the world, and much more importantly, to each other that this is the land of the free except for Negroes''. Radio and Television Report to the American People on Civil Rights, John F. Kennedy, June 11th, 1963.
To what extent were the issues of freedom and civil rights resolved in the USA during the 1950s and 1960s?

9. "...the essential humanity of men can be protected and preserved only where government must answer - not just to those of a particular religion, or a particular race; but to all its people". Robert Kennedy, Cape Town, 7 June 1966.
Describe how far the American government defended such rights for its citizens during the years 1945 -1975,

10. "They came here - the exile and the stranger, brave but frightened - to find a place where a man could be his own man. They made a covenant with this land. Conceived in justice, written in liberty, bound in union, it was meant one day to inspire the hopes of all mankind; and it binds us still. If we keep its terms, we shall flourish. " Extract from Lyndon Johnson's Inaugural Address, January 1965
Did Johnson's vision of the USA match the reality of post-war American society? Support your answer with at least two case studies from this period.

11. "The Great Society rests on abundance [wealth] and liberty for all. It demands an end to poverty and racial injustice, to which we are totally committed in our time. " President Lyndon B. Johnson's remarks at the University of Michigan, May 22, 1964.
How far do you agree with Johnson's assessment in the light of the challenges he faced?

12. "She was born just a generation past slavery....When someone like her couldn 't vote for two reasons, because she was a woman and because of the colour of her skin...And this year, in this election... she cast her vote, because after 106 years in America, through the best of times and the darkest of hours, she knew how America could change. "
President Obama in his victory speech, 5 November 2008, discussing the example of the 106 year-old voter, Mrs Nixon Cooper.
Evaluate Obama's comments about Mrs. Cooper in the light of change quotation mark in American society during the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s.

Decolonization and Emergence of the Third World

13. "We will do [...] fight for freedom, democracy and social improvement". (In the final resolution of the 5th Pan-African congress in Manchester, 1945).
To what extent did this prove to be true? Give two examples from the time after the Second World War.

14. "Inadequacy of political, economic, social or educational preparedness should never
serve as a pretext (excuse) for delaying independence".
UN Resolution on the granting of independence to colonial countries, 1960.
Discuss this quotation with reference to at least 2 examples of decolonization that you have studied.

15. "We prefer self-government with danger to servitude in tranquility" Kwame Nkrumah, 1957.
Discuss this quotation with the help of examples of decolonization after World War Two.
What importance had nationalism in the process of decolonisation?

16. "In1955 (...) the world met in Bandung to proclaim to Europe that the era of European
colonialism was finished..."
Aime Cesaire, Modern Times, March-April 1956.
Was the author right to claim that "European colonialism was finished" in 1955? Support your ideas by citing at least two examples.

17.'No imperial power has ever granted independence to a colony unless the forces were such
that no other course was possible. "
Kwame Nkrumah first prime minister of independent Ghana, written in 1965
To what extent is this view of post war decolonisation accurate? Support your answer with at least two examples.

USSR and China (2006 and 2011 only)

18. "The only way to settle questions of an ideological nature or controversial issues among the people is by the democratic method, the method of discussion, of criticism, of persuasion and education, and not by the method of coercion or repression." Chairman Mao, February, 1957.
Discuss the extent to which Chairman Mao followed these principles during the years of his leadership, 1949-1976.

19. "The only way to settle questions of an ideological nature or controversial issues among the people is by the democratic method, the method of discussion, of criticism, of persuasion and education, and not by the method of coercion or repression." President Mao Ze Dong, February, 1957.
Discuss the extent to which Mao Ze Dong followed these principles during the years of his leadership, 1949-1976.

20."There is no doubt that the desire to distract the Chinese people from hardships and
difficulties it endures and from the many mistakes and failures in domestic policy [...] is one
of the immediate causes of the anti-Soviet politics and propaganda of the Chinese leadership
Pravda, February 15th 1967
To what extent is Pravda's opinion justified?

Yes, 2006 and 2011 did produce identical questions on China. Was this a mistake I wonder?

The knowledge

Test your factual knowledge in quizzes that cover all the work covered this year.



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