Mark Twain International School

History Course Description

“The more you know about the past, the better prepared you are for the future” Theodore Roosevelt

Throughout the DP History course, students have the opportunity to explore a chain of historical events from the 20th Century that heralded significant changes in world history and played a key role in shaping our contemporary society, deepening their understanding of the complex and interconnected nature of past and present.

The history of the 20th Century is a history of extraordinary contrasts, of incredible achievements and tragic disasters. Some of humanity’s greatest discoveries took place, and some of its worst excesses. Much of the century was dominated by violence, discrimination and coercion. No year passed without war being fought somewhere on the globe, with troops in mortal combat, with death and injury reported daily in the newspapers or without human beings struggling to recover from the ravages of war. The century saw the first global-scale total wars, followed by the Cold War, dominated by the rivalry between the two superpowers, USA and the Soviet Union, which created enormous tensions around the world, manifested in various armed conflicts, with the omnipresent danger of the most forceful threat of destruction, the nuclear proliferation.
History course involves a challenging and demanding critical exploration and reflection of the past. In this way, studying history, leads students to a deeper understanding of the nature of humans, of themselves and others, of the world we live in now and the world we will live in the future.

History is a dynamic, constantly evolving, exploratory subject, that fosters a sense of inquiry, an evidence-based discipline that involves an exciting engagement with the past. Is a discipline that is more than an accumulation of an endless list of facts, dates and names that call for memorization, description and definite answers. Contrary to the conventional view, it is also an interpretive subject, allowing opportunity for engagement with multiple perspectives and opinions, calling for analysis, exploring, investigation, interpretation, explanation and critical thinking.

As well as gaining factual, relevant knowledge, the course emphasizes the importance of encouraging students to develop key historical skills.
The DP History course involves the study of a variety of types of history, including political, economic, social and cultural, provides a balance of both structure and flexibility, fostering an understanding of historical events in a global context.

At the same time, the DP History course requires students to explore, to study and compare relevant examples from different regions of the world, helping to foster international mindedness The course develops an awareness that human attitudes and beliefs are widely diverse and that the study of society requires an appreciation and respect of such diversity. The study of History requires and depends on an individual’s understanding of, and empathy for people living in other periods and contexts, providing an excellent foundation for the promotion of international understanding and intercultural awareness, so necessary to prepare students for global citizenship.

Curriculum overview – Course syllabus

History is available at both Standard Level (SL) and Higher Level (HL).

Our course explores the following units:
1. For their first examination- (Paper 1)- students must study one prescribed subject: “The Move to Global War”. It focused on military expansion from 1931 to 1941and it’s based upon two cross-regional case studies, used to provide a basis for comparison. The first case study explores Japanese expansion in East Asia and the second, explores German and Italian expansionism from 1933 to 1940. The focus of this subject is on the causes of expansion, key events, and international responses. Domestic and ideological issues will also be considered in terms of their role in shaping more aggressive foreign policy.

2. For Paper 2, students had to study two world history key topics: ‘Causes and effects of 20th Century Wars’ and ‘Cold War Superpower Tensions and Rivalries’. The first topic includes examination in-depth of a selection of wars from different regions of the world, as both global and total conflicts (World War 1 and World War 2), Spanish and Chinese Civil War and Guerilla warfare. Elements of the Cold War (1945-1991) will include: geopolitical rivalry, mistrust and accord between the two superpowers (USA and USSR), a comparison of the influence of the Cold War on selected countries and leaders, an exploration of Cold War flashpoints.

3. Students who choose the HL option will be exposed to an additional historical focus on the History of Europe. Paper 3 demands HL candidates a huge amount more content than their SL counterparts. Three topics will be studied in-depth: Europe and the First World War (1871-1918), Diplomacy in Europe (1919-1945) and Post-war western and northern Europe (1945-2000).

Assessment outline

The final assessment in DP History is determined largely through the final IB Papers, completed in May of the second year of the program.

External assessment (75%):
1. Paper 1 (30%SL/20%HL)-Is a document, source-based assessment, with structured questions, which will involve reading and solving demands regarding a selection of both primary and secondary historical sources.
2. Paper 2 (45%SL/25%HL)-Is an essay-based assessment, consisting of two extended-response questions.
3. Paper 3 (HL only 35%)-consisting of three well structured, extended-response questions.

Internal assessment (25%SL/20%HL)

For their internal assessment task, both SL and HL students must complete a Historical Investigation.
The activity measures students’ ability to use their own initiative to take on a historical inquiry. Students should be able to develop and apply the skills of a historian by searching, selecting, analyzing a range of source material, managing various perspectives and opposing interpretations, use evidence to reach a relevant conclusion.

All the material covered in the two-year History course will provide opportunity for making links and reflecting on questions relating to Theory of Knowledge (TOK).

If the lessons from the past century are learned, the images of the 21st Century may tell a brighter story.

Contrary to the conventional view of History, the beauty of this discipline in DP is that it has the potential of moving beyond the obsessed endless pile of content of textbooks, beyond what happened in the past, providing our students with the tools and means not just to navigate their way through a such complicated world, but to imagine how to change it!