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GCSE History Syllabus                  Board: OCR        Code: 1937

Question Papers (75%)

Paper One (2 hours) = 45%

=> There will be a total of 75 marks for this paper.

=> Sections A and B will test the International Relations Core Content:

=> In Section A there will be two source-based questions of which candidates must answer one. Each question will have two parts and will carry 15 marks;

=> In Section B there will be four structured questions of which candidates must answer one. Each question will be structured into three parts (4, 6, 10 marks).

=> Section C will test the chosen Depth Study - Germany 1918-45.

=> In Section C there will be one compulsory source-based question which will have three parts and will carry 20 marks.  In addition, there will be two structured questions of which candidates must answer one.  Each question will be structured into three parts (4, 6, 10 marks).


Paper Two (1 hour 30 minutes) = 30%

=> There will be a total of 50 marks for this paper.

=> This paper will involve the detailed investigation of an historical issue taken from the British Depth Study

=> There will be several compulsory questions (not fewer than six and not more than nine) set on a range of source material.

Coursework (25%)

=> There will be a total of 50 marks.

=> Candidates must complete two coursework assignments. These will be set on the chosen Depth Study - Russia, 1905-41.



Core Content: International Relations, 1919-1989

1. Were the Peace Treaties of 1919-23 fair?

Focus Points:

=> What were the motives and aims of the Big Three at Versailles?

=> Why did all of the victors not get everything they wanted?

=> What was the immediate impact of the peace treaty on Germany up to 1923?

=> Could the treaties be justified at the time?

Specified Content:

=> The peace treaties of 1919-23 (Versailles, St. Germain, Trianon, Neuilly, Sevres & Lausanne);

=> The roles of individuals such as Wilson, Clemenceau & Lloyd George in the peacemaking process;

=> The impact of the treaties on the defeated countries;

=> Contemporary opinion about the treaties.

2. To what extent was the League of Nations a success?

Focus Points:

=> How successful was the League in the 1920s?

=> How did weaknesses in the Leagueís organisation make failure inevitable?

=> How far did the Depression make the work of the League more difficult?

=> How successful was the League in the 1930s?

Specified content:

=> The League of Nations: strengths and weaknesses in its structure & organisation;

=> Successes and failures in peacekeeping during the 1920s;

=> The impact of the World Depression on the work of the League after 1929;

=> The failures of the League during the 1930s, including Manchuria & Abyssinia.

3. Why had international peace collapsed by 1939?

Focus Points:

=> What were the long-term consequences of the peace treaties of 1919-23?

=> What were the consequences of the failures of the League in the 1930s?

=> How far was Hitlerís foreign policy to blame for the outbreak of war in 1939?

=> Was the policy of appeasement justified?

=> How important was the Nazi-Soviet Pact?

=> Why did Britain and France declare war on Germany in September 1939?

Specified Content:

=> The collapse of international order in the 1930s: the increasing militarism of Germany, Italy & Japan; Hitlerís foreign policy to 1939;

=> Appeasement and the outbreak of war in 1939.

4. Who was to blame for the Cold War?

Focus Points:

=> Why did the USA-USSR alliance begin to break down in 1945?

=> How had the USSR gained control of Eastern Europe by 1948?

=> How did the USA react to Soviet expansionism?

=> What were the consequences of the Berlin Blockade?

=> Who was more to blame for the start of the Cold War: the USA or the USSR?

Specified Content:

=> The origins of the Cold War: 1945 summit conferences and the breakdown of the USA-USSR alliance in 1945-6;

=> Soviet expansionism in Eastern Europe to 1948 and American reactions to it;

=> Occupation of Germany and the Berlin Blockade.

5. How effectively did the USA contain the spread of Communism?

Focus Points:

=> This is explored through case studies of the following:

(a) America and events in Cuba, 1959-62;

(b) American involvement in Vietnam.

Specified Content:

=> Events of the Cold War: case studies of American reactions to the Cuban revolution, including the Missile Crisis and its aftermath;

=> American involvement in the Vietnam War.

6. How secure was the USSRís control over Eastern Europe, 1948-89?

Focus Points:

=> Why was there opposition to Soviet control in Hungary in 1956 and Czechoslovakia in 1968, and how did the USSR react to this opposition?

=> How similar were events in Hungary in 1956 and Czechoslovakia in 1968?

=> Why was the Berlin Wall built in 1961?

=> What was the significance of Solidarity in Poland for the decline of Soviet influence in Eastern Europe?

=> How far was Gorbachev responsible for the collapse of Soviet control over Eastern Europe?

Specified Content:

=> Soviet power in Eastern Europe: resistance to Soviet power in Hungary, 1956 and Czechoslovakia, 1968; the Berlin Wall;

=> Solidarity in Poland; Gorbachev and the collapse of the Soviet Empire.


Depth Study: Germany, 1918-45

1. Was the Weimar Republic doomed from the start?

Focus Points:

=> How did Germany emerge from defeat in World War I?

=> What was the impact of the Treaty of Versailles on the Republic?

=> To what extent did the Republic recover after 1923?

=> What were the achievements of the Weimar period?

2. Why was Hitler able to dominate Germany by 1934?

Focus Points:

=> What did the Nazi Party stand for in the 1920s?

=> Why did the Nazis have so little success before 1930?

=> Why was Hitler able to become Chancellor by 1933?

=> How did Hitler consolidate his power in 1933-34?

3. (a) The Nazi regime: how effectively did the Nazis control Germany, 1933-45?

Focus Points:

=> How much opposition was there to the Nazi regime?

=> How effectively did the Nazis deal with their political opponents?

=> How did the Nazis use culture & the mass media to control the people?

=> Why did the Nazis persecute many groups in German society?

=> Was Nazi Germany a totalitarian state?

3. (b) The Nazi regime: what was it like to live in Nazi Germany?

Focus Points:

=> How did young people react to the Nazi regime?

=> How successful were Nazi policies towards women & the family?

=> Did most people in Germany benefit from Nazi rule?

=> How did the coming of war change life in Germany?


Specified Content:

=> The Revolution of 1918 and the establishment of the Republic;

=> The Versailles settlement and German reactions to it;

=> The Weimar Constitution, main political divisions & role of the army;

=> Political disorder, 1919-23: economic crisis & hyper-inflation;

=> The Stresemann era, 1923-29; Cultural achievements of the Weimar period.

=> The early years of the Nazi Party: ideas & methods; the Munich Putsch; the roles of Hitler and other Nazi leaders;

=> The impact of the Depression on Germany: political, economic & social crisis of 1930-33; reasons for Nazisí rise to power;

=> Hitler takes power, the Reichstag Fire and the election of 1933.

=> Nazi rule in Germany: the Enabling Act; the Night of the Long Knives; the death of Hindenburg; removal of opposition; methods of control & repression; use of culture & the mass media; economic policy including rearmament. Different experiences of Nazi rule: women & young people; anti-Semitism; persecution of minorities; opposition to Nazi rule.

=> Impact of WWII on Germany: conversion to war economy; the Final Solution.


Depth Study: Britain, 1906-18

How was British society changed, 1906-18?

Focus Points:

=> Why did the Liberal government introduce reforms to help the young, old and unemployed?

=> How effective were these reforms?

=> How effective were the activities of the suffragettes and the suffragists?

=> How did women contribute to the war effort?

=> How were civilians affected by the war?

=> How effective was government propaganda during the war?

=> Why were some women given the vote in 1918?

=> What was the attitude of the British people at the end of the war towards Germany and the Paris Peace Conference?

Specified Content:

=> Reasons for the Liberal reforms; poverty in 1906

=> The Children's Charter, old age pensions 1909, Labour Exchanges 1909, the National Insurance Act 1911

=> The arguments for and against female suffrage, the WSPU & the NUWSS - their leaders, activities and the reactions of the authorities

=> Women in employment during the First World War, the 1918 Representation of the People Act

=> Recruiting; new government powers; the defence of the Realm Act, 1914, conscription, rationing, use of propaganda and their impact on civilian life

=> The mood of the British people at the end of the war and the different attitudes about what should happen to Germany


Depth Study: Russia, 1905-41 (Coursework)

1. Why did the Tsarist regime collapse in 1917?

Focus Points:

=> How well did the Tsarist regime deal with the difficulties of ruling Russia up to 1914?

=> How did the Tsar survive the 1905 revolution?

=> How far was the Tsar weakened by the First World War?

=> Why was the revolution of March 1917 successful?

2. How did the Bolsheviks gain power & consolidate their rule?

Focus Points:

=> How effectively did the Provisional Government rule Russia in 1917?

=> Why were the Bolsheviks able to seize power in November 1917?

=> Why did the Bolsheviks win the Civil War?

=> How far was the New Economic Policy a success?

3. How did Stalin gain and hold on to power?

Focus Points:

=> Why did Stalin, and not Trotsky, emerge as Leninís successor?

=> Why did Stalin launch the ĎPurgesí?

=> What methods did Stalin use to control the Soviet Union?

=> How complete was Stalinís control over the Soviet Union by 1941?

4. What was the impact of Stalinís economic policies?

Focus Points:

=> Why did Stalin introduce the Five-Year Plans?

=> Why did Stalin introduce collectivisation?

=> How successful were Stalinís economic changes?

=> How were the Soviet people affected by these changes?

Specified Content:

=> The main features of Tsarist rule & Russian society before WWI; the 1905 revolution & its aftermath; attempts at reform;

=> WWI & its impact on the Russian people; the March revolution of 1917.

=> The Provisional Government & the Soviets; growing power & influence of revolutionary groups; reasons for the failure of the Provisional Government;

=> The Bolshevik seizure of power; the role of Lenin; the main features of Bolshevik rule; the Civil War & War Communism; reasons for the Bolshevik victory; the Kronstadt rising & the establishment of the New Economic Policy.

=> Leninís death & the struggle for power; reasons for Stalinís emergence as leader by 1928; Stalinís dictatorship; use of terror & the Purges; propaganda & culture;

=> Stalinís economic policies & their impact: the modernisation of Soviet industry; the Five-Year Plans; collectivisation in agriculture;

=> Life in the Soviet Union: the differing experiences of social groups, ethnic minorities & women.