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World War I
1. What factors help explain the outbreak of World War I? What role did nationalism
play in this process? How did a regional squabble turn into a global conflict? How did
non-European areas get brought into the War?
2. What were the important turning points of World War I? What were the secret
agreements signed between the allied powers during the war? What promises were
made? Why?
3. What were the peace treaties signed after the war? Explain, in particular, the problems
of the Treaty of Versailles that would plague the inter-war years.
4. How did the victors of the war divide the former territories of the Austria-Hungary
and the Ottoman Empire? Explain the principle of self-determination and the mandate
Interwar Years
5. What were the basic economic problems after the war? Identify the foundations of the
Great Depression and the subsequent collapse of global economy. Why and how did
the Great Depression in the US affect the entire globe?
6. What factors led to the Russian Revolution? What was Lenin’s main philosophy and
how did it relate to Marx’s thought and socialist ideology? How would Russia and the
world be transformed by this event?
7. What were the theoretical foundations for NEP (New Economic Policies)? Contrast
the policies of NEP with the First Five-Year Plan. Explain the role of collectivization
of agriculture in the First Five-Year Plan. How did the peasants react to
8. What were the origins of German and Italian Fascism? Explain the appeal of Hitler
and Mussolini in Germany and Italy.
World War II and the Cold War
9. What were the global origins of the Second World War? How did economic and social
problems unsolved by the First World War eventually lead to a new war.
10. After the Germans occupied Poland in 1939 and invaded the Soviet Union in 1941,
Hitler introduced his "final solution" to the "Jewish problem." Explain what he meant
by the "Jewish problem" and his "final solution."
11. Explain the conditions before and after the Second World War that gave way to the
establishment of Israel in 1948. What is Balfour Declaration of 1917?
12. Explain the term "Cold War" in the postwar context. How does "containment" work?
How did the postwar settlements in Europe affect the Cold War superpowers? What
was the role of such organizations as NATO and the Warsaw Treaty Organization?
13. Explain the significance of Bretton Woods agreement in the formation of the new
world economic order under the US hegemony in the post WWII. What roles did IMF
and the World Bank play in this process?
14. Explain the Truman Doctrine and what it meant for American Cold War international
relations. How does something like the Marshall Plan fit into the picture?
Three Worlds and Decolonization
15. Explain how the termination of the Second World War effectively ended colonialism.
What were the patterns of decolonization movements?
16. Explain how difficult decolonization proved, and what challenged fledgling countries
as they tried to join the world economy and political arena.
17. What were the three worlds that came into being after the Second World War? What
were the main characteristics defining each world?
18. What is "nonalignment" theory pursued by Third World nations? Were they
successful? What were the limits of autonomy to the Third World Nations in the coldwar context.
Globalization and the New World Economy
19. What is the Welfare State model that came into being in the advanced industrialized
countries after the WWII?
20. What is Import Substitute Industrialization policy adopted by most of the Third World
Countries between 1945 and 1980?
21. Explain the foundations of neo-liberal economic policies after the 1980s. How and
why did the world move from Welfare state to neo-liberal state model?
22. What is the meaning of the term the New International Division of Labor (NIDL) in
the post 1945 world economy? How different was the NIDL from the 19th centurycolonial division of labor?
23. Explain how the nature of imperialism changed from outright political control to
systems in which the colonial economies became dependent on foreign markets.
24. What role do Transnational Corporations play in the world economy?