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IBO: Twentieth Century European History (USSR/Stalin)
Course Outline and Grading Policy
Mr. Owens
Red Social Studies Department
(508) 580-7462
[email protected]
Class Blog:
Course Description:
This two year course is designed to help students broaden their skills as young historians, while focusing on
European historical topics. Students will use historical evidence to critically evaluate, analyze, and
comprehend the social, political, economic, as well as foreign policy developments within Stalin’s USSR
and other related topics. Moreover, students will use a variety of sources and materials that will allow them
to construct arguments using their own knowledge, research, and objective opinions, as well as those from
around the world, in order to form new historical ideas and concepts. Finally, this course will offer a wide
range of differing historical research and opinions, often leaving the final answers and solutions up to the
Candidates will be assessed in a number of ways, but not limited to the following requirements:
An Internal Assessment paper (Historical Investigation)
An External Assessment (Three written examination papers)
Class work, exams, essays and projects will also be evaluated by the educator and applied to their
It should be noted that students must have successfully completed the following prerequisites, and met the
necessary requirements according to Brockton’s academic policies: U.S. History I and U.S. History II
Curriculum and Course Topics:
The curriculum model for the International Baccalaureate programme is quite flexible. Rather than telling
a school what they have to teach, the programme provides a set of prescribed subjects. For the 2007-2008
class, the focus of these topics will be twentieth century world history. Schools have the opportunity to
choose one of three subjects (e.g., The USSR under Stalin; The emergence and development of the
People’s Republic of China; or the Cold War). Schools can also select up to three twentieth century world
history topics, with a focus on one specific region of the world. Moreover, the IB history curriculum
changes periodically, allowing for new topics and ideas to be presented in the classroom. It should also be
noted that it is not the intent of this class to try to cover twentieth century European History from a holistic
point of view. Rather, it is the goal of this course to focus on specific topics at the micro level, so that
students can take an in depth look at the subject matter chosen by the school.
For this course, the history department has selected The USSR under Stalin (1924-1941) for its prescribed
subject. It has also chosen three twentieth century world history topics: 1. causes, practices and effects of
war. 2. the rise and rule of single-party states. 3. the state and its relationship with religion and with
minorities. For the courses regional option, the history department has selected Europe (including
Russia/USSR). The following is a brief outline of the topics that students will research during this two year
Congress of Vienna
Disruptions to the Congress System in the 1820’s
1830 Revolutions
The 1848 Revolutions
The Eastern Question and the Crimean War
Italian and German Unification
Russia (1815-1887)
The expansion of Europe and differing interpretations regarding the causes of World War I
Russia (late nineteenth and early twentieth century)
The Russian Revolutions (1905/1917; Lenin/Trotsky)
Stalin and domestic policies
Italy and the rise of Mussolini
The League of Nations (creation and early decisions)
Europe (1919-1939)
Spanish Civil War
World War II (causes and effects; dictatorships)
Cold War (Yalta, Potsdam, Iran, Iron Curtain, Truman Doctrine, Marshall Plan, Berlin, NATO)
Korean War
China (1900-1946; 1949-1976; Post Mao)
Sino-U.S.; Sino-USSR
As mentioned in the course description students will be assessed in a number of ways, based on their study
of European history: the internal assessment; the external assessment, as well as course work, tests based
on questions from previous IB exams, papers, as well as projects. Grades for the internal and external
assessments will be moderated by the International Baccalaureate Programme.
Internal Assessment (historical investigation): The internal assessment will be completed by all full
diploma and candidate students in the first year of the course. As young historians this form of assessment
allows students to apply their historical skills and knowledge, while researching a topic that is of personal
interest to them. Moreover, unlike the written examinations, students are given the opportunity to complete
this historical investigation with few time constraints.
This problem-solving piece allows students to take a more in-depth look at a subject that is linked to the
activities of the classroom. Candidates will select their own investigative topics, demonstrate their ability
to create and apply the skills needed to analyze and interpret source material and conflicting views, and use
evidence from their research to reach a decision or solve a problem.
It should be noted that the historical investigation is not a major research project, nor is it an essay. This
written account of one’s own research, evaluation of sources, and conclusions will be approximately 15002000 words in length (roughly seven pages). Candidates will spend about twenty hours, both inside and
outside of the classroom, working on their investigation, and follow the written account format that will be
discussed in class. Finally, the internal assessment is an essential part of this course, and is twenty
percent of the candidate’s final assessment for the two year class.
External Assessment (written examinations): This form of assessment consists of three written papers
(examination papers 1, 2, and 3), which students must complete over the course of two days; with papers 1
and 2 the first day and paper 3 the second day.
Paper 1: Much like the internal assessments, paper one allows the candidates to demonstrate their
skills as young historians (e.g., comprehension, analysis, evaluation, application and synthesis).
Students answer four questions from a prescribed subject, and sources used during this paper will
include a mix of both primary and secondary sources (e.g., written, pictorial and/or diagrammatic).
It should also be noted that not only are there a mix of sources used, but the number of sources
used varies as well, and does not exceed six. Lastly, candidates must have a strong understanding
of the historical context of the prescribed subject in order to successfully complete this paper.
Candidates are given one hour to complete Paper 1 of the external assessment. Paper one is
worth twenty percent of the External Assessment grade, with students able to earn a
maximum mark of twenty-five on this assignment.
Paper 2: In the second paper candidates focus on events and developments of the twentieth
century, up to 1995, by demonstrating the in-depth historical knowledge and skills learned
throughout this course. Paper two consists of six sections, each covering one of the six topics
prescribed in this portion of the External Assessment. Five questions are given on each topic, with
students answering two questions from separate topics.
Each section is structured into two open questions, allowing candidates to use their own examples;
two specific questions (e.g., naming people or events that are listed in the syllabus); and one
question that addresses social, cultural, economic or gender issues. It should be noted that at least
one question in each section requires candidates to provide examples from two different regions,
illustrating general points, arguments and examples from different parts of the world. Moreover,
with answer questions of a more open-ended nature, students may use any relevant material to
illustrate and support their arguments.
As mentioned above students must answer two of the questions provided, with each selected from
a different topic. Candidates have one hour and thirty minutes to complete this portion of the
External Assessment, which is worth twenty-five percent of the over all grade. The
maximum mark that students can earn for this paper is forty.
Paper 3: On the second day of the External Assessment, candidates are expected to demonstrate
in-depth historical knowledge and skills in their chosen sections. Sample question styles for this
paper include: making comparisons, regional questions in a broad sense; and open-ended
questions with a choice left to the candidate. For comparative questions, students must answer the
question using examples from their chosen regional option.
Candidates are required to select three questions out of twenty-five, and are given two hours and
thirty minutes to complete this portion of the External Assessment. Paper three is worth thirtyfiver percent of the overall assessment weighting. The maximum mark that students may
earn for this paper is sixty.
Teaching Strategies:
The goal of this course is to develop life-long learners that are aware of the opinions, beliefs, and responses
that different cultures have towards the same historical topics. This will be done through a student-centered
style of learning, with a strong focus on document based strategies. In order for this to be accomplished the
educator will act as a facilitator to the students, as they acquire the skills necessary to become historians.
Book List: The following is a list of books that will be used throughout the two years of this course.
Students are required to keep up with the readings, and will receive periodic quizzes on the assignments.
A History of the Modern World. Palmer, Colton and Kramer. 2002. Knopf Publishing Group at
Random House. ISBN: 0375413987.
Great Issues in Western Civilization. Tiemey and Kagan. 1992. McGraw-Hill/Humanities/Social
Studies/Language. ISBN: 0070645965.
European History: 1848-1945. Morris, T.A. 1995. Harper Collins Publishers. ISBN: 0003272753.
Italy from Revolution to Republic: 1700 to the Present. DiScala, Anthony. 1995. Westview Press,
A member of the Perseus Books Group. ISBN: 0813313430.
Bismark. Feuchtwanger, Edgar. 2002. Routledge. ISBN: 0415216141.
Russia and the USSR, 1855-1964: Autocracy and Dictatorship. Lee, Stephen J. 2006. Routledge.
ISBN: 0415335779.
A History of Modern Russia From Nicholas II to Putin. Service, Robert. 2005. Harvard University
Press. ISBN: 067401801X.
Rethinking the Russian Revolution. Acton, Ed. 1990. A Hodder Arnold Publication. ISBN:
Marx, Lenin, and the Revolutionary Experience. Le Blanc, Paul. 2006. Routledge. ISBN: 0-41597973-0.
10. Hitler and Stalin: Parallel Lives. Bullock, Alan. 1991. McClelland & Stewart. ISBN:
11. Stalin: A Biography. Service, Robert. 2005. Picador Publishing. ISBN: 0330419137.
12. Stalin: The First In-depth Biography Based on Explosive New Documents from Russia’s Secret
Archives. Radzinsky, Evard. 1997. Anchor Books (Random House). ISBN: 0385479549.
13. The Long Fuse: An Interpretation of the Origins of World War I. Lafore, Lawrence. 1997.
Waveland Press. ISBN: 0881339547.
14. On the Origins of War. Kagan, Donald. 1994. An Anchor Book, Published by Double Day Books.
ISBN: 0385423748.
15. The Origins of the Second World War in Europe. Bell, P.M.H. 1997. Longman Books. ISBN:
16. Inside the Kremlin’s Cold War: From Stalin to Khrushchev. Zubok and Pleshakov. 1997. Harvard
University Press. ISBN: 0674455320.
17. Now We Know: Rethinking Cold War History. Gaddis, John. 1998. Oxford University Press,
USA. ISBN: 0198780710.
Students are expected to come to class on time and prepared each day. They must attend every class with
the necessary materials, a willingness to participate and try hard in daily classroom activities. Finally,
students are expected to follow all classroom rules and school policies (see the student handbook).
Materials Required EACH DAY:
Three ring binder; loose leaf paper inside of your binder; Required book(s)/reading(s) for class; pens and
pencils; etc
Essays/Tests/Projects: 2/4
Quizzes and Homework: 1/4
Binder (neatness, completeness, organization) / In-class participation: 1/4
Grading Scale:
In general, students work will be graded on a scale of 0-4. This includes essays, papers, tests, projects,
homework, classroom assignments and activities, which will be based on the following:
4 pts. =A: Assignment was turned in on time, well organized and written (good sentence structure, no
major errors in grammar, spelling and/or punctuation). Displays fully developed thoughts,
which are supported with details (e.g. quotes or examples to support what you are stating). If
required, you have posed questions and made connections to the present.
3 pts. =B: Assignment was turned in on time, somewhat organized (contains some errors in grammar,
spelling and/or punctuation), the students thoughts could be more developed. There are few
supporting details (e.g. quotes or examples to support what position).
2 pts. =C: Assignment was turned in on time, Not well organized (contains many grammar, spelling
and/or punctuation errors), lacks (does not have) focus or development, and little or no
supporting details.
1pt. =D:
Assignment turned in on time, but limited or not complete. Little/ no focus or development.
0 pts. =F: Assignment is incomplete, unorganized, and/or does not adequately address the task at hand
History Binder:
All students are required to have a three ring binder for this class. All classroom notes and assignments,
tests, essays, quizzes, etc. are to be kept in the binder at all times. Binders will be collected twice a term to
be given a grade based on neatness, completeness and organization. BINDERS MUST BE BROUGHT
TO CLASS EVERYDAY. Failure to bring a binder to class will result in a deduction of your classroom
participation grade.
All homework assignments must be complete and turned in on time. Homework passed in late will not be
Absences: Students that are absent will be given an adequate amount of time to make up any assignments
that are missed.
Essays, Tests and Quizzes:
Writing is a very important part of studying history. Therefore, students will be focusing on, and further
developing, their writing skills through essays, tests and quizzes. Each will be given periodically, and
students will be given ample time to organize and prepare themselves for these assignment.
Tests will usually be based on 100 pts. If a student is absent the DAY BEFORE a test, and is in class the
day of the test, he/she will be required to take the test (unless the student makes alternative arrangements
with the instructor). Students who miss a test or quiz have five days to make it up, and students who
are absent the day of an essay deadline, MUST turn in the essay the day that they return to school.
Class Participation:
Students are expected to be ready to participate each day, and will be graded based on their effort,
participation, and in-class/group assignments.
Any student caught plagiarizing will receive a failing grade, and disciplinary action will be taken.
Final Note:
Dear Parents/Guardians and Students,
I am very excited about this upcoming year. Parents/Guardians, please feel free to contact me with any
questions or concerns that you may have: 508-580-7462 or [email protected] Students, my door is
always open to you. Please come see me if you have any questions or concerns. I am available most days
before 7:20, as well as after school in the Red Building Social Science Office. Again, I look forward to
working with you this year, and hope that you will enjoy the class.
Mr. Owens
Student Signature
Parent/Guardian Signature