Paper 3, HL: Syllabus Overview


This paper constitutes 35% of your final History grade, based on a two-and-a-half hour exam consisting of three essay questions (50 minutes per essay - 5 minutes planning, 45 minutes writing).

Ideally you should be able to choose these three questions from a range of at least 6 questions on the topics studied:

i) Imperial Russia, revolutions, emergence of Soviet State 1853 – 1924;
ii) Interwar years: conflict and co-operation 1919-39;
iii) The Soviet Union and Eastern Europe 1924 - 1964.

(You might also be able to answer a question on the Causes of the First World War, though this should be as a last-resort as you have not studied this in as much detail as the other topics!)

Imperial Russia, revolutions, emergence of Soviet State 1853-1924

This section deals with the decline of imperial power in Tsarist Russia and the emergence of the Soviet State. It requires examination and consideration of the social, economic and political factors that inaugurated and accelerated the process of decline. Attempts at domestic reform and the extent to which these hastened or hindered decline should be studied, together with the impact of war and foreign entanglements.

- Alexander II (1855 - 1881): emancipation of the serfs; military, legal, educational, local government reforms; later reaction
- Policies of Alexander III (1881 - 1894) and Nicholas II (1895-1917): backwardness and attempts at modernization; nature of tsardom; growth of opposition movements
- Significance of the Russo-Japanese War; 1905 Revolution; Stolypin and the Duma; the impact of the First World War on Russia
- 1917 Revolutions: February/March Revolution; Provisional Government and Dual Power (Soviets); October/November Bolshevik Revolution; Lenin and Trotsky
- Lenin's Russia (1917-24): consolidation of new Soviet state; Civil War; War Communism; NEP; terror and coercion; foreign relations.

Interwar years: conflict and cooperation 1919-39


This section deals with the period between the two World Wars and the attempts to promote international cooperation and collective security. Obstacles to cooperation, such as post-war revisionism, economic crises and challenges to democracy and political legitimacy in Italy, Germany and Spain respectively, all require examination and consideration. The policies of the right-wing regimes and the responses of democratic states are also the focus of this section.

- Germany 1919-33: political, constitutional, economic, financial and social problems
- Italy 1919-39: Mussolini’s domestic and foreign policies
- The impact of the Great Depression (case study of its effect on one country in Europe)
- Spanish Civil War: background to the outbreak of the Civil War; causes and consequences; foreign involvement; reasons for Nationalist victory
- Hitler's domestic and foreign policy (1933-39)
- Search for collective security; appeasement in the interwar years; the failure of international diplomacy; the outbreak of war in 1939.


The Soviet Union and Eastern Europe 1924-1964

This section deals with the consolidation of the Soviet state from 1924 and the methods applied to ensure its survival, growth and expansion inside and outside the borders of the Soviet Union. The rise and nature of the rule of Stalin, Khrushchev, and the policies and practice of Sovietization (post-1945) in Central and Eastern Europe are areas for examination. East–West relations post-1945 in relation to Soviet aims and leadership should also be considered.

- Stalin (1924-53): power struggle; collectivization and industrialization; Five Year Plans; constitution; cult of personality; purges; impact on society; foreign relations to 1941
- The Great Patriotic War: breakdown of wartime alliance; Cold War; policies towards Germany: Berlin; Eastern European satellite states; Warsaw Pact
- Khrushchev (1955-64): struggle for power after Stalin’s death; destalinization; peaceful coexistence; domestic policies: economic and agricultural; foreign relations: Hungary, Berlin, Cuba, China