International Relations 1890-1945

Outstanding GCSE lessons on International Relations

Much of this content is familiar GCSE ground of course. What you will find here are new angles and approaches. You will see from the enquiry into the naval race, that popular topics are given a new twist; students are asked to question bland textbooks assertions. Do all historians really agree that the naval race was a major cause of the war? Clearly not!

When it comes to the peace treaties, students are given the opportunity to participate in different role plays. With the League of Nations crises, such as Abyssinia, they are placed in the role of newspaper editors trying to make sense of the significance of the events for the future of European peace. They also analyse some of the more unfamiliar political cartoons.

There are some really interesting parts to this topic, not least the Drift to War. But there are also some dull ones, the ones we love teaching! such as the structure of the League of Nations. Many students find that some of the post-war treaties and disputes of the 1920s put a strain on their ability and willingness to remember lots of precise detail so we need to try harder with these to make the Aaland Island dispute come alive.

Outstanding Lessons and Smart Tasks

Which cartoon best explains the paradox of the Nazi Soviet pact?

The Unholy Alliance: why on earth did Hitler and Stalin sign the Nazi-Soviet Pact when they clearly hated each other?

Starting with the historical puzzle of why Stalin and Hitler signed the Non-Aggression pact on August 1939 which so shocked the world, students then work collaboratively...
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How well do these cartoons cover the causes of World War One?

In pairs, Y9/GCSE students visit 9 different cartoons posted around the wall. They have to work out: a. Which cause is being ‘covered’ in each cartoon - sometimes two. b. Which causes are NOT covered. They are given a textbook diagram explaining the causes in the form of an...
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Why did Germany lose the Battle of Britain?

If Britain was only a few days away from defeat in August 1940 how on earth did she win the Battle of Britain a month later?

PLEASE NOTE - This lesson was aimed at Key Stage 3 but should be capable of being used with minimal...
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Could the Treaty of Versailles be justified at the time?

This lesson was taught by Claire Conley-Harper and her excellent team of history teachers at Court Moor School in Fleet, Hampshire.


This lesson is taught at KS4, as part of the OCR Modern World syllabus. It is possible to teach this lesson at the end of...
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Why did the League of Nations fail?

It's a piece of cake (F.A.I.L.U.R.E. is not an option)

Students have already studied the major episodes in the history of the League up to 1939 and in passing have alluded to its weaknesses, but have not carried out any formal analysis of the sort  required...
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