History is the study of the past. In order to understand the conflicts and difficulties of the present day it is necessary to understand what has happened in the past. The study of History is highly respected by Universities and employers alike who look favourably on applicants who can demonstrate the knowledge and skills developed in this subject. In addition the Oxford College course in History will help you to;
This A2 course consists of two units:
- Historical Themes in Breadth
Option D: A World Divided: Communism and Democracy in the 20th Century
D4 Stalin’s Russia, 1924-53
D7 Politics, Presidency and Society in the USA, 1968-2001
- Historical Themes in Depth
Option E: Britain in the Later 20th Century: Responding to Change
E1 British Political History, 1945-90: Consensus and Conflict
The A2 Units
Unit 3: Depth Studies and Associated Historical Controversies. Option E: War and Peace: 20th Century International Relations
Option E2: A World Divided: Superpower Relations, 1944-1990
The focus of this unit is on the international relations in the late 20th
Century, chiefly between the two superpowers that emerged after the Second World War; the USA and the USSR, and the creation of a ‘bi-polar’ world.
- The continuation of the Cold War in the 1950s following the retirement of Truman and the death of Stalin despite the bid for improved relations on the part of the USSR.
- The concept of peaceful coexistence and the motivations for this concept by Khrushchev and the Soviet leadership, and why the USA under Eisenhower and his Secretary of State, Dulles, and later Kennedy and his staff, responded in the way they did.
- The importance of the Paris Summit, the U2 incident and the initial meetings of Kennedy and Khrushchev in Vienna.
- The impact on the west of the crushing of the Hungarian rising and the continuing tensions over Berlin.
- The impact on international relations of developments in weapons technology, including nuclear weapons development from the Soviet’s acquisition of fission technology in 1949, the explosion of the first hydrogen bomb in 1952 by the USA and the USSR’s gaining of H–bomb technology the following year.
- The importance of delivery systems and the strides made by both powers in rocket science and the resulting ‘balance of terror’.
- The importance of events such as the Cuban Missile Crisis and its’ resolution and the signing of the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty and the establishment of the ‘hot line’.
- The relationship between the USSR and China and the impact of this on the USA’s relations with both countries.
- The reasons for the signing of the Soviet–Chinese Treaty of Friendship, Alliance and Mutual Assistance in February 1950 and the consolidation of the relationship as a result of the outbreak of the Korean War and confrontation between China and the USA in this war and also Taiwan.
- The deterioration in Soviet- Chinese relations from 1958 and the development of full-scale confrontation between the two by 1969
- ‘Ping-pong’ diplomacy, which culminated in Nixon’s visit to China.
- The period of improved relations, or détente between the USA and USSR during the 1970s
- Why both the USA and the USSR wished to seek accommodation through the Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty of 1972, the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty of the same year and the Helsinki Accords of 1975.
- The critics of détente in both superpowers and the liberalisation in eastern Europe and the USSR.
- The ‘economic realities’ refers to the increasing economic problems of the Soviet block in the 1970s and the economic resilience of the west.
- The reasons for the breakdown of détente with the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and the election of Thatcher Reagan.
You will use your knowledge of the period as a whole to provide a broad context but, in addition, you will need to develop detailed knowledge of the two issues selected as subjects of historical controversy for this unit;
The first controversy is the origins of the Cold War from the last year of the Second World War to Stalin’s death.
The second controversy is a study of the reasons for the sudden ending of the Cold War in the 1980s.
By the end of studying this unit you will be able to address these two controversies and apply what you have learned to aspects relating to these controversies.
Unit 4: Historical Enquiry
Each candidate wishing to obtain an A level in History through the Edexcel examination board must complete a coursework option. Within restrictions students can choose their own area of study. Oxford College provides guidelines as to how this coursework can be completed using the following topic areas;
The Middle East and the Arab- Israeli Conflict, c1900-2001
Focus: The changing relationships between Jews and Arabs in the Middle East, and the reasons for continuing conflict.
- Jewish settlement in Palestine, 1900-45.
- The creation of the state of Israel and its impact.
- Reasons for, and outcomes of, Arab-Israeli conflicts to 1973.
- Arab nationalism in the 1980s and 1990s and divisions in the Arab world.
Ireland and the Union, 1815–1998
Focus: The changing demands for alterations to the constitutional relationship between Ireland and Great Britain and the developing divisions between Catholic and Protestant communities in this period.
- The constitutional relationship between Britain and Ireland in the period to 1922.
- The leadership and objectives of the Catholic and Protestant communities in the period to 1922.
- The response of the British Government to pressure for change in Northern Ireland, 1922-98.
- Reasons for continuing division between communities in Northern Ireland from the Partition to the 1990s
The format of the Examinations
PLEASE NOTE: All exams will be held during the May - June exam period.
This exam is worth 60% of the total marks available for the A2 GCE.
Written examination: 2 hours.
Each option paper will be divided into Sections A and B. Candidates will be required to answer the following from their chosen topic:
One question in Section A out of a choice of two (30 marks). The essay questions will have an analytical focus that will require candidates to reach a substantiated judgement on a historical issue or problem
One question in Section B out of a choice of two (40 marks). The question will require candidates to compare the provided source material while exploring an issue of historical debate, and to reach substantiated judgements in the light of their own knowledge and understanding of the issues of interpretation and controversy.
Unit 4 (coursework) is worth 40% of the total marks available for the A2 GCE.
Part A: An extended essay which addresses the question that was posed as the focus of the enquiry. The enquiry must provide evidence of students’ ability to:
- assess the significance of the chosen individual or event in the short term.
- use secondary sources of information, and use and evaluate source material contemporary to the period.
Part B: An extended essay which addresses the question which was posed as the focus of the enquiry. The enquiry must provide evidence of students’ ability to:
- identify relevant issues and make use of relevant reading and other data as appropriate in pursuit of the enquiry
- assess the significance of the chosen factor or event in the long term (at least 100 years) by linking the chosen factor, individual or event with other events and force for change in the period.