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IGCSE History Exams

Past paper questions - 20th Century core content

May-June 2000

Q#

Topic

Details

4

What caused the First World War?

(a)    Describe June-July 1914 crisis

(b)   Explain Balkan problem

(c)    Evaluate Austria and Serbian rivalry as causes of war.

5

Were the Peace Treaties of 1919-23 fair?

(a)    Describe Wilson’s aims

(b)   Explain why Germany was treated severely

(c)    Evaluate whether the treaties satisfied the victors.

6

Why had international peace collapsed by 1939?

(a)    Describe aims of LoN

(b)   Explain why Germany/Italy became militaristic

(c)    Evaluate view that world peace threatened by Germany/Italy  by 1936

7

How effectively did USA contain the spread of communism?

(a)    Describe US tactics in Vietnam

(b)   Explain why USA increasingly involved

(c)    Evaluate the significance of US contribution to Vietnam

8

How secure was the USSR’s control over Eastern Europe, 1948-c.1989?

(a)    Describe Soviet reaction to Hungary 1956

(b)   Explain why USSR tried to dominate Eastern Europe

(c)    Evaluate the view that Poland (1980s) was first sign of  USSRs loss of control of EE.

October- November 2000

Q#

Topic

Details

4

What caused the First World War?

(a) What commitments had European countries made with one another by 1914?

(b) Why did he Anglo-French Entente survive?

(c)  'The international crises of 1905, 1908 and 1911 made a general European war certain.' Do you agree with this view? Explain your answer.

5

Were the Peace Treaties of 1919-23 fair?

To what extent was the League of Nations a success?

(a)    Describe the French occupation of the Ruhr, and the German reaction to it.

(b)   Why did the Treaty of Versailles cause problems for Germany in the 1920s?

(c)    How successful was the League of Nations in dealing with international disputes in the 1920s. Explain your answer

6

Why had international peace collapsed by 1939?

(a)    What measures had Hitler taken to prepare Germany for war by 1938?

(b) Why did Hitler’s demands over Czechoslovakia not lead to war in 1938? 

(c) War in 1939 was caused more by the Treaty of Versailles than by anything else”. Do you agree with this view? Explain your answer.

7

Who was to blame for the Cold War?

(a)   Describe the events of the Berlin Blockade of 1948-49?

(b)  Why was Berlin a cause of tension between East and West after the Second World War?

(c)  How successful was the West in containing communism in Europe up to 1949? Explain your answer.

8

How effective has the UNO been?

(a)    What were the aims of the UNO at the time of its foundation?

(b)   Why were UN troops used in the Congo from 1960?

(c)    Was the UNO more successful in Korea than in the Congo? Explain your answer.

May-June 2001

Q#

Topic

Details

4

What caused the First World War?

(a)    Describe the Anglo-German naval race

(b)   Explain colonial rivalry

(c)    Evaluate the view that Germany caused the war

5

To what extent was the League of Nations a success?

(a)    Describe how German armaments were limited

(b)   Explain why the disarmament conference 1932-3 failed

(c)    Evaluate how far the disarmament conference showed that LoN was a failure

6

Why had international peace collapsed by 1939?

(a)    Describe the Munich agreement

(b)    Explain why Nazi-Soviet pact was important

(c)    Evaluate the view that WWII was caused by British-French mistakes 1938-9 (appeasement)

7

How effectively did USA contain the spread of communism?

(a)    Describe relations between USA and Cuba 1959-62

(b)   Explain why Cuban MC caused such alarm

(c)    Evaluate the view that either Kennedy or Khrushchev handled crisis better

8

How effective has the UNO been

(a)    Describe aims of UNO

(b)   Explain why UNO intervened in Korea

(c)    Evaluate the view that Congo crisis demonstrated success  of UNO

October-November 2001

Q#

Topic

Details

4

What caused the First World War?

(a)    Describe French preparation for war in 1914

(b)   Explain why France mobilised

(c)    Evaluate the view that nationalism caused the war

5

Were the Peace Treaties of 1919-23 fair?

(a)    Describe mandates and plebiscites

(b)   Explain why the treaty was harsh on Germany

(c)    Evaluate how far Germans accepted the treaty by end of 1923

6

Why had international peace collapsed by 1939?

(a)    Describe the events leading to Anschluss

(b)   Explain why Britain and France allowed Anschluss

(c)    Evaluate the view that Hitler’s policies in Austria and Czech were complete success

7

Who was to blame for the Cold War?

(a)    Describe how Poland and Czechoslovakia became communist after 1945

(b)   Explain why war alliance broke down 1945-7

(c)    Evaluate who had more successful policies in Europe 1945-9, USA or USSR?

8

How secure was the USSR’s control over Eastern Europe, 1948-c.1989?

(a)    Describe Glasnost

(b)   Explain why Solidarity was formed

(c)    Evaluate the view Communism collapsed because of Gorbachev

May-June 2002

Q#

Topic

Details

4

What caused the First World War?

(a)    Describe French alliances

(b)   Explain Anglo-German rivalry

(c)    Evaluate the view that alliances encouraged countries to act in warlike manner.

5

To what extent was the League of Nations a success?

(a)    Describe how peace treaties affected France

(b)   Explain why some countries viewed setting up the LoN with suspicion

(c)    Evaluate the view that structural weaknesses caused failure of LoN in 1920s

6

Why had international peace collapsed by 1939?

(a)    Describe the way Hitler broke Treaty of Versailles from 1933 to end of 1938

(b)   Explain why UK and France followed policy of appeasement

(c)    Evaluate the view that ‘Hitler was a gambler rather than a planner’ in foreign affairs.

7

Who was to blame for the Cold War?

(a)    Describe Yalta

(b)   Explain why west were suspicious of USSR 1945-7

(c)    Evaluate the view that attitudes of Churchill and Truman not Stalin caused the Cold War

8

How secure was the USSR’s control over Eastern Europe, 1948-c.1989?

(a)    Describe effects of Berlin Wall

(b)   Explain why Berlin Wall built

(c)   Evaluate whether there was a serious chance of a ‘hot war’ breaking out in Europe

October-November 2002

Q#

Topic

Details

4

What caused the First World War?

(a)    Describe assassination of 1914

(b)   Explain why Austria wanted to take action against Serbia

(c)    Evaluate whether assassination made war inevitable

5

To what extent was the League of Nations a success?

(a)    Describe two successes of LoN in 1920s

(b)   Explain why LoN was quite successful in 20s

(c)    Evaluate how far LoN failed because of the depression

6

Why had international peace collapsed by 1939?

(a)    Describe the Manchurian crisis

(b)   Explain why Italy defeated Abyssinia

(c)    Evaluate the importance of Hitler’s pacts with Italy and Japan

7

How effectively did USA contain the spread of communism?

(a)    Describe the role of Vietcong

(b)   Explain why Vietnam war became increasingly unpopular

(c)    Evaluate the success of US in Vietnam 1963-1975

8

How effective has the UNO been?

(a)    Describe the structure of UNO

(b)   Explain why UNO became involved in Congo

(c)    Evaluate importance of UNO in Korean war

May - June 2003 

Q#

Topic

Details

4

What caused the First World War?

(a) Describe the Balkan Wars

(b) Why were the Balkans a source of international tension in the years before WWI?

(c) Why did the 1914 Balkan crisis cause European war, but earlier crises did not?

5

Were the Peace Treaties of 1919-23 fair?

 

(a) In what ways did the Treaty of Versailles weaken the German economy?

(b) Why did Germany dislike the Treaty of Versailles??

(c) To what extent was the Treaty of Versailles a sensible treaty in the circumstances of the time? Explain your answer.

6

To what extent was the League of Nations a success?

Why had international peace collapsed by 1939?

(a) What was the Hoare-Laval Pact?

(b) Why was the conquest of Abyssinia by Italy not prevented by the League of Nations?

(c) To what extent can the outbreak of war in 1939 be blamed upon the failure of the League of Nations? Explain your answer.

7

How effectively did USA contain the spread of communism?

 

(a) What was the Ho Chi Minh Trail?

(b) Why did the USA find it impossible to defeat the Vietcong?

(c) How far was US public opinion the most important reason for the America's withdrawal from Vietnam? Explain your answer.

8

How effective has the UNO been?

 

(a) Describe the work of any two of the agencies of the UNO

(b) Why have most countries become members of the UNO?

(c) How far has the importance of the UNO increased since 1945? Explain your answer. 

October - November 2003

Q#

Topic

Details

4

What caused the First World War?

(a) Describe the Moroccan Crisis of 1905

(b) Why did the crisis over Bosnia-Herzegovina not bring war to Europe?

(c) How far was Germany to blame for the coming of war in 1914? Explain your answer.

5

To what extent was the League of Nations a success?

 

(a)  How did the League of Nations hope to prevent future wars between nations?

(b)  Why did the League of Nations fail to restrict the aggression of Japan in the 1930s?

(c) How far was the League of Nations a failure? Explain your answer.

6

Why had international peace collapsed by 1939?

(a) When Hitler came to power, what did he hope to achieve in foreign policy?

(b) Why did Britain go to war over Poland in 1939?

(c) How far was the Treaty of Versailles to blame for the outbreak of war in 1939? Explain your answer.

7

Who was to blame for the Cold War?

(a) What was decided at the Yalta Conference?

(b) Why was Eastern Europe largely in the hands of the USSR by 1946?

(c) Only Stalin of the Allies achieved what he wanted as a result of the war with Germany'. Do you agree ? Explain your answer.

8

How effectively did USA contain the spread of communism?

(a) Describe the Bay of Pigs incident

(b) Why did the USSR install missile bases in Cuba?

(c) 'The Cuban Missile Crisis was not as serious as it appeared at the time'. Do you agree? Explain your answer.

May – June 2004

Q# 

Topic 

Details 

What caused the First World War? 

(a) What was the Entente Cordiale?

(b) Why was there a crisis over Morocco in 1911?

(c) ‘Naval rivalry was the main cause of the First World War’. How far do agree with this statement? Explain your answer.

To what extent was the League of Nations a success?

Were the Peace Treaties of 1919-23 fair?

(a) What were Germany’s main territorial losses under the Treaty of Versailles?

(b) Why was Germany dissatisfied with the peace treaty?

(c) How successful was the League of Nations in dealing with disputes during the 1920s? Explain your answer.

Why had international peace collapsed by 1939?

(a) How did the 1935 plebiscite change the situation in the Saar?

(b) Explain why Hitler wanted the Nazi-Soviet Pact of 1939?

(c) ‘The policy of appeasement was justified’. How far do you agree with this statement? Explain your answer.

Who was to blame for the Cold War? 

(a) What was decided at the Yalta Conference, 1945?

(b) Explain why the Soviet Union blockaded Berlin

(c) ‘The Soviet Union was to blame for the Cold War.’ How far do you agree with this statement? Explain your answer. 

How secure was the USSR’s control over Eastern Europe, 1948-c.1989?

(a) Describe the events in Hungary in 1956?

(b) Why did the USSR invade Czechoslovakia in 1968?

(c) ‘Gorbachev was responsible for the collapse of Soviet control over Eastern Europe.’ How far do you agree with this statement? Explain your answer.

October-November 2004

Q#

Topic

Details

4

What caused the First World War?

(a) Describe the Anglo-German naval rivalry that existed in the early years of the twentieth century.

 

(b) Why did France begin to mobilise its forces in early August 1914?

 

(c) In August 1914 a German army marched into Belgium.' Was this action the main reason for the First World War?

5

Were the Peace Treaties of 1919-23 fair?

 

(a)  Describe what Clemenceau and Lloyd George each wanted to achieve in the peace settlement of 1919-20.

(b)  Why did the Treaty of Versailles cause problems for Germany in the years up to 1923?

(c) Was the Treaty of Versailles fair?

6

To what extent was the League of Nations a success?

(a) What were the aims of the League of Nations?

(b) Why did the League of Nations have some success during the 1920s?

(c) How far can the failure of the League of Nations in the 1930s be blamed on the Great Depression?

7

How secure was the USSR’s control over Eastern Europe, 1948-c.1989?

(a) Describe how the Berlin Wall affected the people living in Berlin.

(b) Why was the Berlin Wall built? 

(c) How far can the decline of Soviet Power in Eastern Europe be blamed on the Solidarity movement? Explain your answer.

8

How effectively did USA contain the spread of communism?

(a) Describe relations between Cuba and the USA in the period 1959-1961.

(b) Why was the USA concerned about Soviet missiles in Cuba? 

(c) Khrushchev claimed that the Cuban Missile Crisis was a victory for the Soviet Union. Do you agree with this view? Explain your answer.

May - June 2005

Q#

Topic

Details

4

What caused the First World War?

(a) Describe the Alliance System which existed among European powers before 1914.

 

(b) Why did the Moroccan crises of 1905 and 1911 increase tension between Germany and Britain?

 

(c) ‘The most important reason why Britain went to war in 1914 was the German invasion of Belgium’. How far do you agree with this statement?

5

Were the Peace Treaties of 1919-23 fair?

To what extent was the League of Nations a success?

(a) What military restrictions were imposed on Germany by the Treaty of Versailles?

(b)  Why did the aims of the ‘Big Three’ differ?

(c)   How successful was the League of Nations in the 1920s?

6

Why had international peace collapsed by 1939?

(a)  What were the aims of Hitler’s foreign policy?

(b)  Why was Hitler’s foreign policy successful up to 1938?

(c)  How far was the Nazi-Soviet Pact responsible for causing war in Europe?

7

Who was to blame for the Cold War? 

(a)  What was the iron curtain?

 

(b)  Why was Marshall Aid offered to countries in Europe?

 

(c)  ‘The Berlin Blockade brought Europe close to war’. How far do you agree with statement.?

8

How effectively did USA contain the spread of communism?

(a) Describe the USA’s response up to 1961 to Castro’s takeover of Cuba.

 

(b)   Why was the USA concerned about Soviet missiles in Cuba?

 

(c)   ‘There was never any real risk of war over Cuba’. How far do you agree with this statement?

 October - November 2005

Q#

Topic

Details

4

What caused the First World War?

(a) Describe the Balkan Wars of 1912-13.

 

(b) Why were the tensions between the Great Powers increased by the Bosnian Crisis of 1908?

 

(c) How far was German militarism the most important cause of war in 1914? Explain your answer.

5

 To what extent was the League of Nations a success?

 

(a)  Describe the successes of the League of Nations in the 1920s

(b)  Why did the League fail to deal with Japanese aggression against Manchuria?

(c)   It was the Abyssinian crisis that destroyed the League of Nations as an effective peacekeeping body’ How far do you agree with this statement?

6

Why had international peace collapsed by 1939?

(a)  Describe the events in the Saar in 1935

(b)  Why did Britain and France allow Germany to remilitarise the Rhineland in 1936?

(c)  ‘Hitler’s desire for lebensraum was the most important reason for the outbreak of the war in 1939.’ How far do you agree with this statement?

7

How effectively did USA contain the spread of communism?

(a)  Who were the Vietcong?

 

(b)  Why did the USA get involved in Vietnam?

 

(c)  How far can the American withdrawal from Vietnam be blamed on military failure? Explain your answer.

8

How effective has the UNO been?

 

(a) Describe the structure of the UNO

 

(b)   Why has the way the UNO is organised made it hard for it to be effective?

 

(c)  How successful was the UNO in the Congo crisis?

May – June 2006

Q#

Topic

Details

4

 What caused the First World War?

(a) Describe the colonial rivalry that existed between Germany and other powers by 1900. [5]

(b) Why did the Kaiser become involved in Morocco in 1905 and 1911? [7]

(c) ‘The Anglo-German naval race was the most important cause of war in 1914.’ How far do you agree with this statement? Explain your answer. [8]

5

 To what extent was the League of Nations a success?

(a) What were the main aims of the League of Nations when it was set up in 1920? [5]

(b) Why did its structure and membership weaken the League? [7]

(c) How far was the League of Nations a success? Explain your answer. [8]

6

 Why had international peace collapsed by 1939?

(a) When Hitler came to power, what did he hope to achieve with his foreign policy? [5]

(b) Explain how Hitler destroyed the Treaty of Versailles. [7]

(c) How far was appeasement justified? Explain your answer. [8]

7

 Who was to blame for the Cold War? 

(a) What was agreed at the Potsdam Conference? [5]

(b) Why was there continuing tension over Berlin in the years 1945-1949? [7]

(c) ‘It was Truman not Stalin who brought about the Cold War.’ How far do you agree with this statement? Explain your answer. [8]

8

 How secure was the USSR’s control over Eastern Europe, 1948-c.1989?

(a) Describe how the Soviet Union reacted to events in Hungary in 1956. [5]

(b) Why was the Soviet Union worried by developments in Czechoslovakia in Spring 1968? [7]

(c) How important was ‘Solidarity’ in the decline of Soviet influence in Eastern Europe? Explainyour answer. [8]

October - November 2006

Q#

Topic

Details

4

 

(a) What was the impact of Perry’s missions on Japan? [5]

(b) Why was there opposition to the Meiji reforms? [7]

(c) ‘The most significant developments in the modernisation of Japan before 1914 were military.’

How far do you agree with this statement? Explain your answer. [8]

5

 To what extent was the League of Nations a success?

(a) Describe the successes of the League of Nations in peacekeeping in the 1920s. [5]

(b) Explain how the Japanese invasion of Manchuria showed the weaknesses of the League. [7]

(c) Which was the more important cause of the failure of the League of Nations – the World Depression of the 1930s or the invasion of Abyssinia? Explain your answer. [8]

6

 Why had international peace collapsed by 1939?

(a) What was agreed at the Munich Conference of September 1938? [5]

(b) Why was the Nazi-Soviet Pact of August 1939 important? [7]

(c) How far was the Treaty of Versailles to blame for the outbreak of war in 1939? Explain youranswer. [8]

7

 How effectively did USA contain the spread of communism?

(a) Describe relations between Cuba and the USA in the period 1959-1961. [5]

(b) Why did Khrushchev send missiles to Cuba? [7]

(c) ‘Khrushchev handled the Cuban Crisis better than Kennedy.’ How far do you agree with this

statement? Explain your answer.

8

 How effective has the UNO been?

(a) Describe events in Korea between 1945 and June 1950. [5]

(b) Explain why the United Nations became involved in the Korean War. [7]

(c) ‘The United Nations was more successful in Korea than in the Congo.’ How far do you agreewith this statement? Explain your answer.

May – June 2007

Q#

Topic

Details

4

What caused the First World War?

5

Were the Peace Treaties of 1919-23 fair?

(a) What did Clemenceau want to achieve from the peace settlement of 1919–20? [5]

(b) Why did the terms of the Treaty of Versailles cause so much bitterness in Germany? [7]

(c) ‘The peacemakers of 1919–23 coped successfully with the problems they faced.’ How far do you agree with this statement on the treaties made with the defeated powers? Explain your

answer. [8]

6

 Why had international peace collapsed by 1939?

(a) In what ways did Hitler build up his armed forces before 1936? [5]

(b) Why was remilitarisation of the Rhineland a risk for Hitler? [7]

(c) ‘The policy of appeasement was a failure.’ How far do you agree with this statement? Explain

your answer.

7

 How effectively did USA contain the spread of communism?

(a) Describe the response of the USA to Castro’s takeover of Cuba. [5]

(b) Why was the Bay of Pigs invasion a failure for the USA? [7]

(c) ‘The Cuban Missile Crisis was never a threat to world peace.’ How far do you agree with this statement? Explain your answer.

8

 How effectively did USA contain the spread of communism?

(a) What was the ‘Domino Theory’? [5]

(b) Why did the Vietnam War become increasingly unpopular with the people of America? [7]

(c) ‘The USA was unsuccessful in Vietnam because of the opposition’s use of guerrilla tactics.’ How far do you agree with this statement? Explain your answer. [8]

October - November 2007

Q#

Topic

Details

4

What caused the First World War?

(a) Describe the system of alliances which existed between European countries in 1914. [5]

(b) Why did the two crises in Morocco increase tension between European powers? [7]

(c) ‘The main reason for Britain going to war in 1914 was the German invasion of Belgium.’ How far do you agree with this statement? Explain your answer. [8]

5

Were the Peace Treaties of 1919-23 fair?

(a) In what ways did the Treaty of Versailles weaken Germany’s armed forces? [5]

(b) Why did Clemenceau demand that a harsh peace be imposed on Germany? [7]

(c) ‘The Treaty of Versailles was unfair on Germany.’ How far do you agree with this statement? Explain your answer.

6

 To what extent was the League of Nations a success?

(a) How did the League of Nations hope to prevent future wars between nations? [5]

(b) Why did the League fail to stop Italian aggression against Corfu in 1923? [7]

(c) ‘The League was a failure’. How far do you agree with this statement? Explain your answer. [8]

7

 Who was to blame for the Cold War? 

(a) What was the ‘Cold War’? [5]

(b) Why did tension between the Soviet Union and the West increase after the Potsdam Conference? [7]

(c) ‘The main reason for the escalation of the Cold War in the years 1947– 49 was the Berlin Blockade.’ How far do you agree with this statement? Explain your answer. [8]

8

 How secure was the USSR’s control over Eastern Europe, 1948-c.1989?

(a) What was the Berlin Wall? [5]

(b) Why was there a rising in Hungary in 1956? [7]

(c) Which was the more serious threat to Soviet control of Eastern Europe: events in Czechoslovakia in 1968; the emergence of Solidarity in Poland? Explain your answer. [8]

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