: GCSE Past Papers

History GCSE Example Paper 3

History GCSE Example Paper 3

GCSE History Past Paper 3

Causes of World War One

Cartoon from British magazine Punch, August 1911

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/67/Solid%2C_Punch%2C_August_1911.png

1. What is the cartoon suggesting about the Entente Cordiale and the possibility that there would be a war?

The cartoon shows a German military figure who has stubbed his toe on a rock marked ‘Entente Cordiale’. The cartoon is suggesting that Germany was an aggressive military power, but that the Entente Cordiale between Britain and France would be too strong for the German military to defeat. The cartoon also suggests that by 1911 some people in Britain felt that a military conflict with Germany was possible due to Germany’s aggression

2. In your opinion, what role did the Entente Cordiale and other alliances play in the outbreak of the War?

It is most likely that you will argue that the alliances were one of the factors that helped to cause the War to break out. In doing this, you could mention that the alliances helped to create two sides made up of the main European powers that were both highly suspicious of one another, with the alliances between France, Britain and Russia being designed specifically to counteract Germany’s alliances. You should also mention that the alliances played a very important role in the summer of August 1914, after the assassination of Franz Ferdinand, because they meant that if two countries went to war, all of the other European countries involved in the alliances would have to participate.

3. Compare the role played by nationalism and the arms race in causing World War One. Which of these played a bigger role in causing the War to break out in your opinion? Explain your answer.

When you see a question in the exam that asks you to compare two things, it’s important that you talk about both of them equally, instead of just focusing on the one that you think is the most important. In the end, the one that you decide is the most important does not matter, so long as you can give a good reason for why you think it is the most important (you should give this reason at the end of your answer).

In this case, you could mention the following points when comparing nationalism and the arms race:

Nationalism: Explain that nationalism created rivalries between different countries and led them to take an aggressive stance against one another. Examples of this are the anti-German feelings in Britain (and vice-versa) and the conflicts in the Balkans, such as the Bosnian Crisis and Serbia’s claims on Austria-Hungary’s territory.

Arms Race: Caused the main European powers to continually increase the size of their militaries (give examples such as the German Naval Laws and the Dreadnought Crisis, and if possible some figures showing the sizes of the different militaries)

And possible reasons why you could say one was more important than the other include:

Nationalism was more important, because it was the force that made the different countries have rivalries with one another, therefore causing things like the arms race.

The arms race was more important, because it encouraged all the powers to build up huge militaries, which meant all sides were ready and willing to engage in a massive war in 1914.

Versailles/League Of Nations

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:The_Gap_in_the_Bridge.gif

1. What is the comment that the cartoon is making about the League of Nations?

The cartoon is referring to the membership of the League of Nations. By showing the keystone ‘USA’ missing from the bridge, the cartoonist is arguing that the League of Nations will not be able to function without the USA. Through the sign and the fact that Uncle Sam is sleeping on the USA stone, the cartoonist is also pointing out that although the League of Nations was the USA’s idea, it was refusing to become involved with the League.

2. Would you agree that the cartoon presents the main weakness of the League of Nations?

For this question you need to explain the reasons why the USA not being in the League of Nations made it a weak organization, which was that it meant that one of the most powerful countries in the world would not be involved in ensuring the League operated correctly to solve international conflicts. However, you also need to give other reasons why the League proved to be weak, such as the fact that it did not have its own armed forces and the fact that it was powerless to punish countries that left the League (like Italy and Germany).

3. In your opinion, which contributed more to creating the conditions for future conflict and war: The terms of the Treaty of Versailles, or the weaknesses of the League of Nations? Explain your answer.

When you see a question in the exam that asks you to compare two things, it’s important that you talk about both of them equally, instead of just focusing on the one that you think is the most important. In the end, the one that you decide is the most important does not matter, so long as you can give a good reason for why you think it is the most important (you should give this reason at the end of your answer).

In this case, you could talk about:

The Treaty of Versailles: The reparations created anger in Germany that helped lead to the Nazis coming to power, and by placing such big reparations demands on Germany it meant that Germany suffered extreme economic problems, which also created anger and helped those in Germany who wanted to overturn the Treaty. The terms of the Treaty also caused anger in the USA, and helped lead to the USA isolating itself from Europe.

The League of Nations: The League was very weak when it came to handling aggressive powers such as Italy (Abysinnia) and Japan (Manchuria) and other nations quickly lost faith in it. Its failures gave aggressive power encouragement to be more aggressive.

And possible reasons why you could say one was more important than the other include:

The Treaty of Versailles was more important, as the Treaty was a big cause of the conditions that would lead to the rise of Nazi Germany, which was the biggest threat to world peace in the 1930s. The terms of the Treaty created a very unstable world that made the League’s job much more difficult.

The League of Nations was more important as, had it been better designed (for example with an army and the involvement of the US), it could have taken a stronger stance against countries like Italy and Japan and prevented further aggression.

Causes of World War 2

Many people at the time of the September [Sudetenland] crisis thought they were only giving away the interests of Czechoslovakia, but with every month that passes you will see that they were also giving away the interests of Britain, and the interests of peace and justice.”

– Winston Churchill, 14 March 1939

http://digital.nls.uk/churchill/stan4.html

1. Explain why Churchill made this argument about the Sudetenland Crisis.

In the source Winston Churchill is making the argument that the outcome of the Sudetenland Crisis (the Sudetenland being handed over to Germany) was not just damaging to Czechoslovakia through losing its territory and placing it at further risk of occupation by Nazi Germany. Churchill argues that it was also damaging to Britain’s interests. As an opponent of appeasement, Churchill believed that Nazi Germany was an aggressive power that would continue to threaten other countries to fulfil its territorial ambitions, and that by trying to appease Germany, as happened during the Munich Conference, Britain was only encouraging Germany to commit further acts of aggression. This, Churchill believed, would only lead to war, as demonstrated by him saying that ‘peace’ was also given away during the Sudentland Crisis.

2. What explanations can you give for why the British government followed a strategy of appeasement and for why it was popular with the British public?

This British government followed a strategy of appeasement partly a result of a desire to prevent war. For the government the prospect of another war was highly daunting due to the demands it would place on the country and the fact that the country was not prepared for a long war, especially in terms of the strength of its military following a failure to re-arm during the 1930s. The government was also eager to avoid another war because a large proportion of the public were opposed to another war. The Great War had left a huge death toll, and for many members of the public avoiding a repeat of such a tragedy was the number one priority. As a consequence, the strategy of appeasement and its goal of avoiding any sort of war was a popular one. Some figures in the government and the public also believed that some that some of Hitler’s aims (for example, the re-militarization of the Rhineland) were justified as they had been imposed as part of the Treaty of Versailles, which some viewed as an unfair peace settlement.

3. Compare the Nazi-Soviet Pact and the Munich Agreement. In your opinion, which of these played a bigger role in causing World War 2? Explain your answer

When you see a question in the exam that asks you to compare two things, it’s important that you talk about both of them equally, instead of just focusing on the one that you think is the most important. In the end, the one that you decide is the most important does not matter, so long as you can give a good reason for why you think it is the most important (you should give this reason at the end of your answer). Note that if the question asks you to compare to specific events, it is a good idea to briefly describe the event.

In this case, you could mention the following points when comparing nationalism and the arms race:

Nazi-Soviet Pact: was signed between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union in August 1939. It was an agreement that the two powers would not attack one another, and just as importantly contained a secret agreement for both powers to invade Poland. The pact therefore left Germany free to take the step of invading Poland without the risk of this causing war with the Soviet Union, something which at this moment in time Germany would have wanted to avoid.

Sudetenland Crisis: From 1938, Hitler started to demand that the Sudeten area of Czechoslovakia should be handed over to Germany because it had a large population of ethnic Germans. After Germany threatened to take the territory by force, a conference was held in September between Hitler, Mussolini and Neville Chamberlain. At the conference Chamberlain agreed to Germany’s demand for the Sudetenland. The event was a key step towards World War 2 because it demonstrated that the British government was willing to give in to Hitler’s territorial demands and wanted to avoid war with Germany at all costs. As a consequence, it encouraged Hitler to be more aggressive, as demonstrated by his later invasion of Czechoslovakia, in spite of the promises he made at the Munich Conference.

And possible reasons why you could say one was more important than the other include:

The Nazi-Soviet Pact is more important, because it removed a key obstacle to Hitler beginning to implement his aim of gaining Lebensraum for Germany. Without the agreement it is less likely Hitler would have been willing to invade Poland and risk coming into conflict with the Soviet Union.

The Sudetenland Crisis is more important, because it was the event that gave Hitler the belief that Great Britain would not oppose his ambitions by declaring War. Whereas Hitler’s earlier foreign policy decisions, such as re-armament, the occupation of the Rhineland or Anschluss, were viewed in Great Britain as more moderate actions (or had the consent of the local population in the case of Anschluss), the annexation of the Sudetenland was more clearly an act of unwarranted aggression. The Sudetenland Crisis therefore gave Hitler the belief that he could occupy further territories without the risk of Britain declaring war.

Congratulations on completing the paper!

Head back to GCSE History Revision to continue your hard work and make sure you ace the exam when it comes around!