Nature of the subject and objectives
If you think that History is about learning long rows of years, dates and kings you are in for a pleasant surprise. Those days are long gone and today History is a modern, scientific and very exciting subject. Students of History (HIS) will not just learn about 20th century world history but they will analyze causes and effects of as well as possible alternatives to important historical events. Often moral considerations play a vital role, an aspect which links HIS closely to Theory of Knowledge (TOK), a philosophical subject which is right at the heart of the IB philosophy itself.
Students of History are expected to show genuine interest in the aspects mentioned above and to become scientifically working "historians" who are not only able to analyze historical sources critically but also to discuss and explain causes, effects and alternatives of historical developments. HIS is NOT about exchanging arbitrary opinions, but about the scientific and source based discussion of well-informed theses.
Requirements and assessment
Every HIS student is required to perform a written Historical Investigation (HI) of 1,500 to 2,000 words on a subject related to the HIS curriculum (for a current example see below). This HI is graded by the teacher who runs the course and contributes 25% to the final course grade. The remaining 75% are obtained during the two final exams called paper 1 and paper 2. Paper 1 takes 1 hour and contributes 30% to the final grade, it consist of four "short-answer questions"/"structured questions" on the prescribed subject (see below). Paper 2 takes 1 hour 30 minutes and contributes 45% to the final grade, it consists of lists of questions which are related to the two topics dealt with in the course (see below). Out of these questions the student chooses two for an "extended response".
Let our current HIS curriculum serve as an example here to illustrate the above.
The prescribed subject for our course at the moment is "Peacemaking, peacekeeping – international relations 1918-36". It covers (among others) the following subtopics:
aims of the participants and peacemakers: Wilson and the Fourteen Points terms of the Paris Peace Treaties 1919-20: Versailles, St Germain, Trianon, Neuilly, Sèvres/ Lausanne 1923 the geopolitical and economic impact of the treaties on Europe; the establishment and impact of the mandate system enforcement of the provisions of the treaties: US isolationism —the retreat from the Anglo– American Guarantee; disarmament— Washington, London, Geneva conferences the League of Nations: effects of the absence of major powers; the principle of collective security and early attempts at peacekeeping (1920-25) the Ruhr Crisis (1923); Locarno and the "Locarno Spring" (1925) Depression and threats to international peace and collective security: Manchuria (1931-33) and Abyssinia (1935-36)
The two topics for our current course are "Causes, practices and effects of war" and "The Cold War" which cover (among others) the following topics respectively:
"Causes, practices and effects of war":
First World War (1914-18) Second World War (1939-45) Africa: Algerian War (1954-62)Americas: Falklands/Malvinas war (1982)Asia and Oceania: Chinese Civil War (1927-37 and 1946-49) Europe and Middle East: Spanish Civil War (1936-39), Gulf War (1991)
"The Cold War":
Wartime conferences: Yalta and Potsdam US policies and developments in Europe: Truman Doctrine, Marshall Plan, NATO Soviet policies, Sovietization of Eastern and Central Europe, COMECON, Warsaw Pact Sino–Soviet relations US–Chinese relations Germany (especially Berlin (1945-61), Afghanistan (1979-88), Korea , Cuba , Vietnam , Middle East Castro, Gorbachev, Kennedy, Mao, Reagan, Stalin, Truman
If these topics and the methodic approaches sketched above interest you we would be very happy to welcome you among our IB HIS students here at the FKG.