Berlin Wall – If relations between the superpowers were improving in the late 50s, why was the Berlin wall built in 1961? A Bone in the throat

This multi-faceted session starts with students having to shape their understanding of the reasons for the building of the Berlin wall in 5 optional ways:

  1. Read the historian’s mind. Students are presented with a historian’s view of how the causes of the crisis should be seen (RS1) and then they have to find supporting evidence to back up a recent historian’s analysis (using information cards RS2), OR
  2. Big point little point. Students have to come up with their own 3 headings, without knowing what the historians say using supporting evidence from cards RS2 to build their own explanation. OR
  3. Reconditions, precipitants and triggers. Students analyse the causes in terms of long, medium and short-term reasons using information cards from RS2 and placing them on an template RS3 which is enlarged to A3.
  4. ‘Sound bite’ students have to think of the reasons Khrushchev himself would have given for building the wall in a large speech bubble template (not provided).
  5. Diamond polishing. Students have to improve on an historian’s very brief analysis of reasons for the crisis. What has been left out? Is the emphasis in the right place?

Notes on each of the 5 possible approaches

A variety

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