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 by the typical GCSE question.  This lesson asks students to challenge some of the oversimplifications of the reasons for the League’s failure and asks them to come up with their own constructions.  They critique the simple revision mnemonic which though popular in schools doesn’t show any sense of significance.  Students can work with BIG POINT, LITTLE POINT cards to ‘make their own meaning’ before going on to compare three different historians’ views. To finish they look at a former student’s GCSE answer and highlight the BIG points in one colour and the little points in another.  Instead of writing their own full answer they merely annotate where and how it could be improved.

Learning objectives

  • students can identify the main reasons why the League of Nations failed
  • they can support these ideas with evidence and examples
  •  they can recognise the difference in emphasis that historians place on different reasons
  • they can critique a GCSE
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