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History EE- modern Finnish history but not sure if my question will allow me to get a good grade. Advice?

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Hi,

I'm writing my History EE and the first draft is due in a week. I've had my topic and research for a while but I've procrastinated actually writing it until now... The research question I have at the moment is "How did the war years of the 1940s affect Finland from 1944-1953?" Originally I was asking "How did the war years of the 1940s affect Finland?" but I realised this was way too broad and 4000 words would not go into enough depth. I've chosen this topic because I'm a Finnish citizen but don't know much about the country's history.

The thing I'm most worried about is that this is a dull question. I'll have a section on political, economic, and social consequences, with the political one being the largest. I'll try and include interviews with my grandparents in the social section as they have memories of the time period, which should please the examiners as it's a source generated specifically for the essay (I'm hoping). I also have some sources in Finnish, and the rest are books and articles from an online database academic journals.

Do you think if written well I could get an A? I ask because the only people who got A's from last years class had very personal and original topics, and I'm worried mine isn't either...

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I am a M11 candidate as well and happen to be Finnish; I did mine on Finnish modern history ("What were the effects of Finlandisation on Finnish comprehensive school history textbooks of the 70s?") as well actually :)

Your topic sounds alright but I think the best thing to do would be to focus on one of the four aspects (political, economic or social) or you will have very little words left for analysis. With my obscure topic I had really hard problems with the word count. Also, it might be hard to distinguish between historical development in the pre-war years and some of the effects of war, the difference in relations towards USSR etc is probably one major exception. I'd suggest choosing social because in my opinion it is the least researched and you will be able to, as you mentioned, make use of primary sources very well.

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I am a M11 candidate as well and happen to be Finnish; I did mine on Finnish modern history ("What were the effects of Finlandisation on Finnish comprehensive school history textbooks of the 70s?") as well actually :)

Your topic sounds alright but I think the best thing to do would be to focus on one of the four aspects (political, economic or social) or you will have very little words left for analysis. With my obscure topic I had really hard problems with the word count. Also, it might be hard to distinguish between historical development in the pre-war years and some of the effects of war, the difference in relations towards USSR etc is probably one major exception. I'd suggest choosing social because in my opinion it is the least researched and you will be able to, as you mentioned, make use of primary sources very well.

Ohh, your topic is awesome! The easiest one would obviously be political- I could even focus on foreign policy, and that's where most of my sources are focused. That's where the YYA agreement is and relations with the USSR and the US etc. I don't think I would have enough time this week to find a whole bunch of new research for social, but you're right in suggesting that it would be the best. Basically I have a bunch of sources detailing Finno-Soviet relations, one talking about American-Finnish relations, and two books on Finnish history in general. I also have another talking about the war reparations. I have to work with these I would say as the deadline is fast approaching! I'm so worried now.. I want to write a good essay but i'm scared it'll be too broad if I do what I was planning to do.

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I am a M11 candidate as well and happen to be Finnish; I did mine on Finnish modern history ("What were the effects of Finlandisation on Finnish comprehensive school history textbooks of the 70s?") as well actually :)

Your topic sounds alright but I think the best thing to do would be to focus on one of the four aspects (political, economic or social) or you will have very little words left for analysis. With my obscure topic I had really hard problems with the word count. Also, it might be hard to distinguish between historical development in the pre-war years and some of the effects of war, the difference in relations towards USSR etc is probably one major exception. I'd suggest choosing social because in my opinion it is the least researched and you will be able to, as you mentioned, make use of primary sources very well.

Ohh, your topic is awesome! The easiest one would obviously be political- I could even focus on foreign policy, and that's where most of my sources are focused. That's where the YYA agreement is and relations with the USSR and the US etc. I don't think I would have enough time this week to find a whole bunch of new research for social, but you're right in suggesting that it would be the best. Basically I have a bunch of sources detailing Finno-Soviet relations, one talking about American-Finnish relations, and two books on Finnish history in general. I also have another talking about the war reparations. I have to work with these I would say as the deadline is fast approaching! I'm so worried now.. I want to write a good essay but i'm scared it'll be too broad if I do what I was planning to do.

Hmm! You could possibly take a look at one of your sources and see how much information you'll get from one of the topics? I would say it doesn't matter so much if the aspect is well researched - it is extremely unlikely that you'll have an examiner familiar with Finnish history anyway. I assume you're studying outside of Finland?

Another topic that I think would be interesting is studying Finno-Soviet relations in 1944-50 - possibly Finnish reactions to early developments in international politics - when as far as I know the Cold War was not yet as apparent as in later years. Or possibly the factors leading up to the FCMA treaty?

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Yeah, I was thinking about the factors leading to the FCMA but once again the research I've already done wouldn't really provide me with much information. What do you think about Finnish foreign policy from 1944-1956 (so ending with Kekkonen taking power)? Maybe asking "To what extent was Finnish foreign policy from 1944-1956 shaped by the war years of the 1940's?" I think I would have enough research for this and might even be able to incorporate an interview or two (one side of my family has a long military background). And I can tie some of the economic factors in because I think the war reparations we had to pay required keeping the USSR on good terms. And yes, I am studying outside Finland. Better hope it doesn't get sent to a Finnish history teacher! Thanks for your help, it's great to hear from someone who knows what they're talking about. My advisor is clueless...

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So now its off to work :) You can imagine how difficult this is considering I've never been in Finnish education and my knowledge of our history is a bit weak to say the least (plus I read Finnish like 20 times slower than English) ;P Thanks again and good luck with the rest of IB! :D

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