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Question about Paper 1 mini essay

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so I have some questions concerning the 4th (aka the mini essay) question on History P1. I'm still quite confused on how the answer should be structured and my history teacher is super unhelpful. Do I have to mention all of the sources in the question, or just some? Just how much of my own knowledge am I supposed to use in the essay? A model answer would be fantastic, but at this point I appreciate any good info on how to construct a good mini essay in order to score high points. Thanks in advance!

Edited by Rio

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Use as many sources as you see fit to answer the question ; if you have time try and include 4-5, even if only for one fact / point / opinion.

Keep in mind that it's worth 8 marks, and so will need a good amount of information in it.

As well, while it is an essay, of sorts, it's mostly just about combining your own knowledge and the sources to create a full answer in reference to the specific event that the sources pertain to.

I would highly suggest reading "History -a comprehensive guide to Paper 1" as it has everything you need to know about this paper. (Pearson Baccalaureate)


Edited by Stanislaw

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In order to get the top marks (7-8 marks) for the essay, you need to have a balance between outside knowledge and the sources. Using ONLY sources or ONLY outside knowledge will only get you about 4 marks if you do everything else perfectly. This means that you should have quite a few points where you bring in your outside knowledge on the topic, but you should have roughly the same number of points from the sources in your essay.

I structure my Paper 1 essays like this:

1. Thesis statement. Here I state my answer to the question. To earn the most marks, you need a multi-causal answer (meaning just stating one little factor won't get you very many marks, you need to list a few things, usually two or three). For example, if your question was "Explain the factors that led to the outbreak of World War I," you wouldn't get many marks by saying "World War I was caused by nationalism." You'd get much more by saying something like "World War I was caused by a combination of intense nationalism, increased militarism, European imperialism, and the alliance system."

2. I write a good, solid paragraph proving my first point. Sometimes my point comes only from the sources, sometimes it's only from my outside knowledge, and sometimes it is a mixture of the two. If I use a source, I will quote a line from the source.

3. Then I write my other paragraphs.

4. Then I write a short conclusion. It doesn't have to be huge, usually just a few sentences. I sum up what I have discussed so far in two-three sentences, and then I show its importance, whether it led to something else, what impact it had on international relations, etc.

Obviously you should structure your essay based on how you write and how you organize things, but this is how I was taught to approach this essay. I do this nearly every time and I have not received lower than 7 marks on the essay.

I attached a mini-response question I did a few months ago in class if you want to see what I'm talking about. It earned 7 marks, with the only suggestion just a few more details.

Using these sources and your own knowledge, to what extent do you agree with the view that the Arab-Israeli conflict was primarily the result of British intervention?

4. The Arab-Israeli conflict was primarily the result of British intervention because of their contradictory promises and desires to control the Middle East; however, conflict was inevitable between the Arabs and the Israelis as the Israelis were moving into Palestine.

Great Britain became interested in the territories of the Middle East in the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century for its strategic location as a center for trade routes and for resources such as oil. The declining state of the Ottoman Empire at the outbreak of World War I presented an opportunity for the British to intervene. In order to gain the Arabs’ support, the British promised to “recognize and support the independence of the Arabs in all the regions within the limits demanded by the Sherif of Mecca” and to expel the Turks from the Arab countries (Source C). However, a few years later in the Balfour Declaration, the British sympathized with the Zionists and promised “in Palestine a national home for the Jewish people” (Source E). These intentions were contradictory, as Palestine was a region that had been inhabited by Arabs for 1500 years. As a result, tensions began to rise between the Arabs and Israelis, as evident in Source D, where the Arab and Israeli are throwing pillows as Britain decides how to partition Palestine. The Arabs and Israelis were promised different things from Great Britain, which led to conflict over who was correct.

However, as the Israelis attempted to establish a Jewish state conflicts were bound to occur. Zionism, a movement seeking a homeland for the Jews, called for the home to be in Palestine, “secured under public law” (Source B). The Jews felt that Palestine was their territory even though they had not lived there since the 400s and it had been inhabited by an Arab majority ever since. In the early 1900s Jews began to immigrate to Palestine to escape persecution and discrimination they faced in Europe. Over a period of several decades, tens of thousands of Jews immigrated and settled in the area where Palestine was. As the Jewish presence in Palestine grew, the existing Arab population began to become uneasy and the tensions began to rise between the two groups.

The British played a part in causing the conflict with their separate, contradictory promises, which really sparked the conflict between the Arabs and Israelis. Despite this, there would have been conflicts anyways as the Israelis moved into Palestine. Thus the blame also lies with the Israelis and not only the British.

Good luck on your essays :)

  • Like 1

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Here's my answer on the in-class test. I received 7/8 for the answer. Definitely include all sources (at least once):

Question: Using these sources and your own knowledge, analyse the reasons for German resentment of the Treaty of Versailles of 1919. [8 marks]

As a result of the Treaty of Versailles, signed in November 1919, there was widespread resentment regarding the decision that had been made. Germany was left "scourged, humiliated and resentful" (A). Nonetheless it had not been betrayed completely, therefore being able to eventually build itself up and try to reverse the terms. Germany was resentful, not least because it felt that it had not lost the war. After all troops were still stationed in France at the time of the war end, a symbolic instance showing that Germany in fact could have fought longer. This coupled with the fact that the treaty "was not negotiated but dictated to Germany" (B) heightened German anger towards the peacemakers. In November 1919, the German Weimar Government signed the treaty, accepting all its terms. The fact that people resented it and the government accepted the terms caused unpopularity of the government, resulting in the failure of democracy in Germany and ultimately Hitler's rise to power.

Aside from the feeling that the war had not ended yet, the war guild clause (231) was controversial. Germany had to accept "sole war-guilt" (B), a decision that was "neither just nor wise" (D). After all many countries had been involved and Russia had mobilized before Germany did so. This unfair war guilt caused great resentment.

The third reason for resentment is the simple hypocrisy that the peacemakers followed. "Hypocrisy was predominant and inescapable" (D). Wilson, attempting to introduce his Fourteen Points, based on self-determination, had no intention on introducing this concept to Germany, as shown by the caption under Source E. This resulted in resentment because Germany felt all nations should receive the same rights.

Additionally, resentment was caused by the losses of German territory. Over 12% were given away, including all overseas colonies that Germany had owned. One of the most resented losses was the Polish corridor and the city of Danzig, becoming a free city. In an attempt to achieve a "balance of power and imperial aggrandizement" ©, the peacemakers ignored Germany's future, economically and socially. A series of terms removed German speaking territory such as the Sudetenland to Czechoslovakia and North Schleswig to Denmark. Germany was angry at its cultural/social divisions and the term that prevented the "Anschluss" with Austria.

Reparation sums were also extremely high, fixed at 6,600 million pounds, an action which Germany felt unfair. These reparations were based on the "assumption that Germany was in the position to conduct in the future a vastly greater trade thatn she had ever in the past". This angered Germany immensely. Nonetheless it must be said that Germany could have faced harsher terms if France had "had his way" (B). This argument is used to show that Germany's resenment was not really justifiable since the outcomes could have been worse.

Additionally though resentment from the German perspective was a result of a massive disarmament clause, including the reduction of armed forces to 100,000. Germany feared security and resented the lack to do what she wanted to do. Particularly with the feeling that peace was "imperialist under the surface of Wilsonianism", Germany could never come to agree with its terms.

All in all, reasons for German resentment are varied. A reduction in arms, the loss of territory, the acceptance of war guilt, the hypocrisy of Wilson's Fourteen Points and the massive reparation sums were reasons for the feeling of Germany that they had not been treated correctly.

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