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Exam Technique Guidance:
How should we answer a 4 mark question?
Okay, so this should be the easiest type of question on our exam. A nice, simple 4 mark question. All
the examiner wants is facts. No opinions, no inferences, nothing but accurate descriptions. All we
need to include is just four simple, relevant facts for the A grade... or three for the B... two for C...etc.
Sample Question:
By 1955 two rival alliances existed.
Describe the membership and aims of NATO and the Warsaw Pact.
(4 marks)
What are the keywords in this question?
How can we start to answer this question?
How many sentences would you need to write to obtain 4 marks?
Quick Tips: If you are stuck for an opening statement you can always use the short description above
the question
Sample Answer:
NATO and the Warsaw Pacts were both military alliances - members of each alliance
would defend and work together with each other against the opposing alliance. NATO
included Western Powers like Britain, France and the USA who were determined to
contain and block communism in every way possible. The Warsaw Pact included the USSR
and its communist allies in East Europe, the states of East Europe (the Soviet sphere of
influence) were seen as a ‘buffer’ against attack on the USSR. Both alliances bombarded
each other with propaganda, blocked each other’s moves, helped other countries fight
against their opponents and often criticised/argued in the UN. But officially, these were
defence alliances in case they were attacked.
Level 3: 4 marks. This answer covers both NATO and the Warsaw Pact so is eligible for full marks. It
comfortably achieves this by describing the nature of the alliances, their aims and giving examples of
the members of NATO.
Exam Technique Guidance:
How should we answer a 6 mark question?
This question is meant to show the examiner whether or not you understand the content and
purpose of a source and use your own knowledge to decide whether the source is accurate. The
question will always be worded along the lines of ‘Source A is one interpretation of........’ Students
should think about discuss other interpretations in your answer as well.
Sample Question:
SOURCE A suggests a reason why their Truman Doctrine was issued in March 1947. Do you agree
that this was the main reason for the Truman Doctrine? Explain your answer by referring to the
purpose of the source as well as using its content and your own knowledge.
(6 marks)
‘I believe that it must be the policy of the United States to support free people who
are resisted attempted conquest by armed minorities or outside pressures. I believe
that we must assist free peoples to work out their own destinies in their own way.’
President Truman, explains his Doctrine, 1947
Who made the source?
When was it made? Does it show opinions from the time or does it include hindsight?
What is the purpose of the source? Is it to entertain, make fun, educate, express an opinion?
Quick Tips: In order to make the most out of your answer, write two paragraphs; Paragraph 1 should
talk about Content, Nature, Origin and Purpose of the source (linking back to reliability), Paragraph 2
should state whether you agree of disagree with the source and provide own knowledge to support
your claim.
Sample Answer: What would you grade this out of 6?
The content of this is Truman explaining his Doctrine. Truman is stating that he believes that it
is the responsibility of the United States to protect free people who are resisted attempted conquest
by armed minorities or outside pressures. He also states that he believes that the USA must help free
people to work out their own destinies. Truman is arguably referring to the Soviet Union who were
expanding their power in Eastern Europe. This source is part of the Truman Doctrine in 1947 and its
purpose is arguably to send a message to Stalin that the United States will protect smaller countries
from the USSR. I partially agree with the content of this source as the United States believed in selfdetermination and thought countries should have the right to rule themselves and this was the main
theme behind the Truman Doctrine. However, Truman was an ardent anti-communism who adopted
an iron fist approach to Stalin and therefore wanted to stop the spread of Communism. The conflict
between them had emerged after the end of the Second World War as capitalism west disapproved
of Stalin’s expansion east. However, as the source is from Truman is therefore a biased, one sided
interpretation of events and only presents the positive aspects of the Truman Doctrine.
Exam Technique Guidance:
How should we answer a 10 mark question?
This question really gives you the opportunity to show off your own knowledge. In order to get the
highest possible marks make sure you follow the suggested formatting below.
Sample Question:
Which of these was more important as a reason for the development of the cold war in the years
1945 to 1955:
 Soviet Expansion into Europe
 The formation of NATO and the Warsaw Pact
You must refer to BOTH reasons when explaining your answer.
(10 marks)
Formatting Considerations:
Paragraph 1: describe the first event in detail. Explain how it links to the question
(Example: in this case why may it be important in the development of the Cold War)
Paragraph 2: describe the second event in detail. Explain how it links to the question
(Example: in this case why may it be important in the development of the Cold War)
Paragraph 3: Conclude. Create a judgement to answer the question
(Example: Overall … was a more important reasons for the development of the Cold War because…)
Quick Tips: always use part of the question in your answer. This not only shows the examiner that you
are focused on the task but helps to create strong links to the topic. Always save your final judgement
until the final paragraph. This shows that you have considered all the evidence and created a
balanced judgement after considering all the evidence first.
Useful websites:
On 11 November 1918, Germany had signed a cease-fire. It was called ‘the Armistice’. The Germans
could not fight any longer. But they did not think they had surrendered!
The Paris Peace Conference
The conference started on 12th January 1919, none of the defeated powers attended. The main decisions
were to be made by the ‘Big Three’, Wilson, Clemenceau and Lloyd George. They all had very different
aims going into the conference.
The ‘Big Three’
Woodrow Wilson, US President
Had published a 14 point plan during the war, he felt that countries should be open and truthful. He didn’t
like the strong feelings against Germany.
Georges Clemenceau, French Prime Minister
The French people wanted revenge on Germany, he wanted compensation for the damage done from the
fighting. He also wanted security for France by disarming the Germans (making them weak) and he
wanted back the Alsace and Lorraine regions from Germany.
David Lloyd George, British Prime Minister
Although the British public wanted to punish Germany Lloyd George disagreed, he didn’t want Germany
treated too harshly and wanted Germany to be able to recover so Britain could continue trading with
Wilson’s 14 Points
Wilson’s 14 Points called for a reorganisation of Europe, the end of secret discussions, the freedom for
people to vote who ran their country and the formation of an association of countries to help keep peace.
He first gave these during the war in the US and repeated these at the Paris Peace Conference; these
became the basis of the peace talks.
The Treaty of Versailles
For five months the Big Three debated the terms of the Treaty. They crawled over huge maps of Europe
spread over the floor.
The small German delegation in Paris, who had been watching proceedings but not allowed to take part,
were at last given the text of the Treaty on 7 May 1919. They issued an outraged statement and
returned home. For a while, it seemed that Germany might reject the Treaty. However, Germany had no
choice but to accept whatever was decided, and eventually two Germans were found who were prepared
to sign the Treaty. On 28th June 1919, the victors met at the Hall of Mirrors in the Palace of Versailles,
near Paris, and the two Germans were called into the room and instructed to sign.
The main points of the Treaty (BRAT)
The first 26 Articles of the Treaty set out the Covenant of the League of Nations; the rest of the 440
Articles detailed Germany's punishment:
Germany had to accept the
Blame for starting the war (Clause 231).
This was vital because it
provided the justification for...
Reparations) for the damage done during the war.
Germany had to pay £6,600 million (called
Germany was forbidden to have submarines or an air force.
battleships, and an
Army of just 100,000 men.
She could have a navy of only six
In addition, Germany was not allowed to place any
troops in the Rhineland, the strip of land, 50 miles wide, next to France.
Germany lost
Territory (land) in Europe. Germany’s colonies were given to Britain and France.
(Also, Germany was forbidden to join the League of Nations, or unite with Austria.)
German outrage
When the Germans heard about the Treaty of Versailles, they felt ‘pain and anger’. They felt it was
unfair. It was a 'Diktat' – an IMPOSED settlement. They had not been allowed to take part in the talks –
they had just been told to sign. The Germans HATED the Treaty of Versailles.
The League of Nations
The League of Nations was set up because President Wilson wanted this more than anything else.
He wanted the League to be a kind of ‘world parliament’, where nations would sort out their arguments.
He hoped this would stop wars. But Wilson wanted to do more than just stop war; he wanted to make
the world a better place. He wanted the League to do things to improve people’s lives and jobs. He
wanted to improve public health, and to end slavery.
Wilson also hoped that the League would persuade the nations to agree to disarmament – to put down
their weapons. That would make war impossible.
Finally, Wilson thought that the League of Nations
could enforce the Treaty of Versailles, and
persuade countries to keep the promises they had
Although Woodrow Wilson backed
America joining it, America had had
enough of wars and dealing with other
countries problems and despite Wilson
America never joined the League.
The failure of the League
Strengths & Weaknesses
The main strength of the
League was that it had
been set up by the
Treaty of Versailles.
Forty-two countries
joined the League at the
start. In the 1930s about
60 countries were
members. This made the
League seem strong.
Britain and France were
the main members,
helped by Italy and
Japan; they were quite
powerful countries.
USA not joining, exclusion
of Germany & Russia.
Britain & France not
wanting a leading role.
The right of veto for each
member of the council.
The League didn’t have a
standing army.
Depended too much on the
goodwill of its members.
In the 1920s, the League had been quite successful. In the 1930s, it failed terribly. There were
crises that the League failed to deal with and ultimately this led to the end of the League as a peace
keeping force.
Manchurian Crisis
In the 1930s there was a world-wide economic depression.
Japan tried to overcome the
depression by building up an empire. In 1932, the Japanese army invaded Manchuria and
threw out the Chinese. China asked the League to help.
The League sent a group of officials led by Lord Lytton to study the problem (this took a
year). In February 1933 it ordered Japan to leave Manchuria.
Japan refused to leave Manchuria. Instead, Japan left the League. Many countries had
important trading links with Japan. The League could not agree on sanctions or even a ban
on weapons sales. Britain and France did not want a war, so nothing was done. The
Japanese stayed in Manchuria. The League had failed!
Abyssinian Crisis
Mussolini got ready to invade Abyssinia (Ethiopia).
asked the League to help.
He wanted war and glory. Abyssinia
The League talked to Mussolini – but he used the time to send an army to Africa. The
League suggested a plan to give part of Abyssinia to Italy.
Mussolini ignored the League, and invaded Abyssinia. The League banned weapons sales,
and put sanctions on rubber and metal. Abyssinia went to the League to appeal for help, but
it did nothing else – in fact Britain and France secretly agreed to give Abyssinia to Italy (the
Hoare-Laval Pact).
Italy conquered Abyssinia. The League had failed!
While in prison in 1924, Hitler wrote ‘Mein Kampf’ (My Struggle). This outlined his aims in foreign
policy. He has three main aims. These were: To make Germany into a Great Power again, to unite
all German speaking people under his rule, to gain territory for Germany in the East to provide
Lebensraum (living space) for the German people. To achieve his aims Hitler would have to
destroy the Treaty of Versailles!
Making Germany a Great power
Hitler began to build up his armed forces. In 1935 he introduced conscription (calling up men to the
army). This broke the Treaty of Versailles, but Britain and France let him get away with it.
Hitler also signed the Anglo-German Naval Agreement with Clement Atlee, allowing Hitler to rearm. This
broke the Treaty of Versailles.
Hitler invaded the Rhineland on 7th March 1936. This broke the Treaty of Versailles. It was a bluff – the
German army had only 22,000 soldiers and had orders to retreat if they met any resistance. But once
again, Britain and France did nothing.
Hitler had remilitarised the
Rhineland without opposition.
To unite all German
speaking people
The Treaty of Versailles had put the Saar under the control of
the League of Nations for 15 years. In 1935 the inhabitants of
the Saar voted to return to Germany.
To gain territory
for Germany
On 15th March 1939, Hitler’s troops
marched into the rest of Czechoslovakia.
This, for most British people, was the time
when they realised that the only thing that
would stop Hitler was a war.
In 1938, Hitler took over Austria. First, Hitler encouraged the
Austrian Nazis to demand union with Germany. Then Hitler
invaded Austria (11 March 1938). This broke the Treaty of
Versailles, but Britain and France did nothing. This was known
as the Anschluss.
On 7th September 1938, the German Sudeten Party demanded
union with Germany. Chamberlain met Hitler on 15th September
and persuaded the Czechs to hand over the Sudetenland.
Chamberlain again met Hitler (22nd September), Hitler made
more demands. Britain and France made a Pact with Hitler at
Munich on 29th September. They gave the Sudetenland to
Germany. On 1st October 1938, Hitler marched unopposed into
the Sudetenland.
In April 1939, Chamberlain announced the
'Polish Guarantee' - a promise to defend Poland if Hitler invaded (this was the event which ended
appeasement). On 1st September 1939, Hitler invaded Poland. On 3rd September 1939, Chamberlain
declared war on Germany.
In the 1930s, the word 'appeasement' meant what we would today call 'negotiation'; Chamberlain,
realising that 'collective security' had failed, tried to negotiate peace with Hitler. Chamberlain thought that
by allowing Hitler to get some of his own way it would prevent war. There were many reasons why Britain
'appeased' Hitler in the 1930s.
The five most important reasons, however, were:
1. Some British people approved of Hitler's policies.
2. The British people hoped that a strong Germany would stop the growth of Communist Russia.
3. Many people felt that events in Europe were not Britain's business.
4. Many British people wanted peace.
5. Many British people agreed with Hitler that the Treaty of Versailles was unfair.
In the 1930s, there were some people – most notably Winston Churchill – who opposed his policy.
at the time, most people thoroughly agreed with Chamberlain, and praised him.
When Hitler threatened to invade the Sudetenland a conference was called in Munich. It was agreed that
the Sudetenland would become part of Germany; the rest of Czechoslovakia was guaranteed to be left
alone. The Czechs were forced to accept this.
Privately Hitler promised Chamberlain that Germany would not go to war again and that consultation
would be used to solve problems.
Nazi-Soviet Pact
The Pact surprised everyone because Fascism and
Communism were sworn enemies. They agreed not to
interfere with each other in the event of war and they
secretly divided Poland between them.
Chamberlain with the piece of
paper with Hitler’s promise
During the Second World War, Britain and America were allies of Russia, fighting together against
Germany. As soon as the common threats of Hitler and Japan were removed, it was inevitable that
the allies would fall out. The USA and Soviet Union had different ideologies. The Soviet Union was
a Communist country, which was ruled by a dictator and put the needs of the state ahead of
personal human rights and the USA was a capitalist democracy which valued freedom and feared
Communism. They both believed that the alternative ideology was a threat to their own way of
life, and that the only way for the world to be happy was for their particular ideology to take over
the world.
Yalta and Potsdam
In 1945, the Big Three held two conferences – at Yalta (February) and Potsdam (July) –
to try to sort out how they would organise the world after the war.
Held during the war, on the surface, the Yalta conference seemed successful. The Allies agreed a
to: divide Germany into four ‘zones’, which Britain, France, the USA and the USSR would occupy
after the war, bring Nazi war-criminals to trial, set up a Polish Provisional Government of National
Unity, help the freed peoples of Europe set up democratic and self-governing countries, set up a
commission to look into reparations.
Although the Conference appeared successful, however, behind the scenes, tension was growing,
particularly about reparations, and about Poland.
At Potsdam, the Allies met after the surrender of Germany (in May 1945) to finalise the principals
of the post-war peace. Three factors meant that the Potsdam Conference was not successful:
1. Relations between the superpowers had worsened considerably since Yalta.
2. Meanwhile, Roosevelt had died, and America had a new president, Truman, who was
inclined to ‘get tough’ with the Russians.
3. Also, soon after he had arrived at the
Conference, Truman learned (on 21st
July) that America had tested the first
atomic bomb. It gave the Americans
a huge military advantage over
everyone else. It also meant that
Truman didn't need Stalin's help in
Japan. Instead, Truman's main aim at
the conference was to find out from
Stalin what date the Russians
intended to enter the war in the
Pacific - something which (unlike
Roosevelt) he did NOT want.
The Truman Doctrine
In the 1930s, America had kept out of Europe’s business. Now, on 12th March 1947, Truman told
Americans that it was America’s DUTY to interfere. His policy towards the Soviet Union was one of
‘containment’ – he did not try to destroy the USSR, but he wanted to stop it growing any more.
This was called the ‘Truman Doctrine’.
The Marshall Plan
In June 1947, the American general George Marshall went to Europe. He said every country in
Europe was so poor that it was in danger of turning Communist! Europe was ‘a breeding ground
of hate’. He said that America should give $17 billion of aid to get Europe’s economy going and
stop Communism.
Marshall said that it was up to the countries of Europe to decide what they needed. In July
1947, led by Britain and France, the countries of Western Europe met in Paris, and asked for
substantial economic aid.
Cominform &
The Soviet Union hated Marshall aid and
Stalin forbade Communist countries to ask
for money.Instead, in October 1947, he
set up Cominform. Every Communist party
in Europe joined. This allowed Stalin
control of the Communists in Europe.
Then, in January 1949, Stalin created
Comecon - an economic union of the
Communist countries in Eastern Europe.
This allowed Stalin to control the Iron
Curtain economies for the benefit of Russia
- for instance, one of its rules was that all
inventions had to be shared.
The Iron Curtain
The Soviet Union expanded into Eastern Europe after WWII. Stalin was determined to build a ‘buffer’ of
Communist states between the USSR and Western Europe. As the USSR freed states from the Nazis, their
army stayed there and took control. The Soviets then set up communist governments that supported the
Churchill feared the Soviet advance and wrote to Truman warning him of the danger of the ‘Iron Curtain’.
The Berlin Blockade
The USSR had already disagreed with Britain and the USA at Potsdam (July 1945) about what should be
done with Germany. Germany had been split into four zones and Berlin, in Russia's zone, was also split
into 4 zones. But Berlin was entirely within - and surrounded by - the Russian zone.
In January 1947, Britain and the USA joined their two zones together to try to get German industry
going. Marshall Aid was given to Western Germany, as well as West Berlin. The West started to become
wealthy while the East (controlled by USSR) was still weak.
In 1948 Britain and America set up a new currency for West Germany, Stalin didn’t agree with this and
by June Stalin stopped supplies getting to West Berlin.
Stalin wanted the whole of Berlin to belong to the Soviets; he set up a blockade stopping all road and rail
traffic into Berlin. By setting up the blockade, Stalin planned to force the West to withdraw from Berlin by
starving the people of West Berlin.
The Berlin Airlift
The American Army wanted to fight its way into Berlin – that would have
caused a war. Instead, Truman decided to supply Berlin by air. They
airlifted in supplies for the people of West Berlin.
Stalin thought of attacking the plane, but thought this would lead to a
declaration of war (he was scared of the US nuclear threat). In May 1949,
Stalin accepted that he had failed and lifted the blockade.
The Formation of NATO
After the Berlin Blockade American decided that the West
needed a common defence to oppose any acts of aggression.
In April 1949 the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO)
was signed.
The Aims of NATO
 NATO was a military pact
 All countries agreed to help each other against any act of aggression
 It was to have an army with a common command
The Nuclear Arms Race
The dropping of atom bombs in 1945 on Japan started the nuclear arms race between the USA and USSR.
It was believed the more nuclear weapons you had the more powerful you were. The USA and USSR spent
millions increasing their stockpiles of weapons and developing deadlier weapons.
The Korean War: 1950-53
The Korean War was the time when the Cold War became a global conflict.
In 1945, Korea was freed from the Japanese. US troops stayed in Korea until 1946. The country was split
in half at the 38th parallel: North Korea was Communist, South Korea was capitalist. The two countries
hated each other.
Europe was not the only place where Communists were coming to power. In the Far East, too, they were
getting powerful – China turned Communist in 1949. Truman believed that, if one country fell to
Communism, then others would follow, like a line of dominoes. He was worried that, if Korea fell, the
Communists would capture Japan.
Truman realised the USA was in a competition for world domination with the USSR. By supporting South
Korea, America was able to fight Communism without directly attacking Russia. In 1949, he persuaded
Stalin that he could conquer South Korea. Stalin did not think that America would dare to get involved, so
he gave his agreement. Stalin saw a chance to continue the cold war and discomfort America, but ‘at
arm’s length’ – without directly confronting the Americans.
June - Sept 1950
Sept - Nov 1950
North Korea attack. The North Korean Army
easily defeated the Republic of Korea's army.
They capture most of South Korea.
The American General MacArthur led a UN landing.
The Americans recaptured South Korea. On 7th
October 1950 MacArthur invaded North Korea. He
advanced as far as the Chinese border.
Nov 1950 - Feb 1951
200,000 Chinese troops attack MacArthur. On 31st
December, 500,000 more Chinese troops entered the
war and attacked the Americans. They recaptured
North Korea, and advanced into South Korea.
February – March 1951
The Americans landed more troops and they used
MacArthur reached the 38th parallel in March 1951.
March 1951 – 1953
Truman told MacArthur to stop. MacArthur was sacked
when he publicly criticised Truman’s order.
In 1953, Eisenhower became American president. The
Americans threatened to use the atomic bomb if China
did not stop fighting.
The Chinese agree to a truce, which was signed on 27
July 1953.
The Death of Stalin
Stalin died in 1953. He was hated all over Eastern Europe. When they heard he was dead, people in East
Berlin rioted.
After a short struggle for power, Khrushchev became the new ruler in Russia.
Peaceful Co-existence
At first, the western powers hoped that Khrushchev would be the start of a ‘thaw’ in the Cold War.
Khrushchev often met western leaders at ‘summit’ meetings. Stalin had made all Communist countries do
what he wanted – and he had fallen out with President Tito of Yugoslavia. But in 1955 Khrushchev went
to Yugoslavia, telling Tito that ‘there are different roads to communism’. Western leaders thought he
would no longer insist that all communist countries take orders from Russia.
In a speech at the Twentieth Party Congress in 1956, Khrushchev attacked Stalin, saying that Stalin was a
murderer and a tyrant. Khrushchev began to ‘de-Stalinise’ Russia - political prisoners were set free and
Beria (Stalin’s Chief of Secret Police) was executed. In 1961 Khrushchev declared that the period of 'the
dictatorship’ was at and end, and that he would bring in instead: 'the state of the whole people'.
Khrushchev said that he wanted ‘peaceful co-existence’ with the West. Western leaders hoped this meant
the end of the Cold War.
The Warsaw Pact
In 1955 West Germany joined NATO, the USSR was concerned over this and this
led to the formation of the Warsaw Pact. The Pact was a military alliance for
mutual defence between Communist countries.
The pact stated that all nations should unite to prevent war. It was described as a
treaty of friendship, co-operation and mutual assistance.
All the armies of the pact were placed under the leadership of a Soviet
commander. This allowed Soviet troops to be stationed in these countries for the
purpose of defence. It became a way for the USSR to keep the countries under
The Warsaw Pact was seen as a response to NATO, and divided Europe into two
rival alliances.