CIE History Notes and Sources

For use with the CIE History syllabus all of the important notes of topics, useful dates and sources.


Peace Treaties after WWI #1

In January 1919, representants from 32 countries met in Paris for the Paris Peace Conference to discuss the peace treaties that would be drawn up now that WWI was over. The main contributants were Georges Clemenceau (France), Woodrow Wilson (USA) and David Lloyd George (Britain), and they all had different opinions about how Germany should be treated having started the war in the first place.

France wanted to be very harsh on Germany becuase the war had stripped France of almost all of is assets. France wanted to cripple Germany so that they would be unable to start another war. On the opposite end of the spectrum, the USA didn't want to punish Germany that much (possibly becuase they had not joined the war until later), Wilson was more concerned with establishing a long-lasting world peace. he was very naive to think that he could achieve this having just crawled out of the First World War. Wilson drew up "The Fourteen Points" to try and persuade the world that peace was achieveable. 

Britain was kind of in between the two opinions. They thought that Germany should be punished but now as much as France would have liked. They mainly wanted to reduce their army and navy. Negotiations took ages but eventually the "Big Three" agreed on some terms and the Treaty of Versailles was born.  

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Peace Treaties after WWI #2

The terms of the Treaty of Versailles were:

War Guilt - Germany had to accept the blame for causing all of the damage and suffering during the war.

Reparations -Germany had to pay £6600 million in reparations.

German Armed Forces - The German Army was restricted to 100,000 men.The German Navy could only have 6 battleships and no submarines. They were not allowed to develop an air-force. 

German Colonies - All of Germany's colonies were taken away and given to France, Britain and the USA as "mandates". 

The League of Nations - Germany were not allowed to join the "LON" 

The Rhineland - The Rhineland was demilitarised (the army could not go there). 

The Saar - This land with all its coal mines was given to  France for 15 years.  

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Peace Treaties after WWI #3


Alsace - Lorraine - This piece of land was given back to France. 

Austria - Germany was forbidden to ever unite with Austria again. 

Polish Corridor - Lands in eastern Germany (rich farmlands) were given to Poland. 

Source - "Severe as the Treaty may have seemed to many Germans, it should be remembered that Germany might have fared much worse." - British Historian W Carr, A History of Germany, 1972.

Source - "We want a stern peace because the occasion demands it ... not for vengeance, but for justice. Above all, we want to protect the future against a repetition of the horrors of this war." - Lloyd George speaking to the House of Commons, before the Peace Conference.  

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The League Of Nations #1

Source - "The League of Nations is not set up to deal with a world in chaos ... The League of Nations may give assistance but it is not, and cannot be, a complete instrument for bringing order out of chaos. - Arthur Balfour, chief British representative at the League of Nations, speaking in 1920.  

Source - "Very little progress had been made in disarmament. Only in Germany had this happened because Germany had been forced to. The countries of Europe still did not trust one another." - From a school textbook written by Christopher Culpin in 1986. 

  • Major problem with the League was that the USA never joined even though it was Wilson who came up with the idea. The USSR never joined either so the LON was missing the two of the biggest countries in the world. 
  • The League relied heavily on Britain and France who had no backbone. 
  • There were many border disputes that the League had to deal with: Vilna 1920, this was made the capital of Lithuania but a private Polish army took it over (population). Lithuania appealed but the League did nothing because the French saw the Poles as a potential ally against Germany.
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The League of Nations #2

  • Upper Silesia 1921, Border between Germany and Poland, they both wanted it because of rich iron + steel industry. Plebiscite organised so Silesians could decide who they wanted to control them. French and British troops sent to keep order at polling booths. Industrial areas = Germany, Rural areas = Poland. So the League divided it along these lines. 
  • Aaland Islands, 1921, Both Sweden and Finland wanted them, in between both countries. League gave to Finland and Sweden accepted, no war  :D 
  • Corfu, 1923, Border between Greece and Albania. Given to Conference of Ambassadors - they appointed Italian General Tellini. While they were surveying Greek side they were ambushed and killed. Mussolini furious so on 31 August he bombarded a took over Corfu; 15 killed. The League were fast and condemned Mussolini's actions and said that Greece should pay compensation to Italy but it would be held by them until Tellini's killers were found (if they were). Italy accepted but played around with Conference of Ambassadors so money would be paid directly to Italy. 
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The League of Nations #3

  • Bulgaria, 1925, Greece invaded Bulgaria. Bulgaria appealed and Greece was told to withdraw which they did. But they felt belittled by the League and thought that the League was biased against small countries. 
  • The Locarno Treaties - Many European countries met in Locarno, Switzerland and emerged with important agreements: Germany finally accepted borderlines from TOV. Britain promised to defend France if they were defied. Rhineland to remain demilitarised and Germany fine with it. France and Germany to go to LON to settle any future disputes. Germany joined LON in 1926. 
  • Japan invading Manchuria - Wanted to expand empire. Invaded Manchuria in Sept 1931 and made up excuses as to why they had (claimed that Chinese had sabotaged railway). LON told Japan to withdraw but they ignored them and invaded Shanghai. League sent officials but took a yr to bring back report. Wanted Manchuria to be returned to China. Japan withdrew from LON. LON wanted sanctions to go against Japan but others thought this would anger Japan. Britain and France did not want to risk armies. Only USSR and USA had the resources but neither were in LON. 
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The League of Nations #4

Mussolini Invading Abyssinia 

  • Wanted to expand empire too. Abyssinia had mineral wealth and fertile lands. Mussolini tried in 1896 but was defeated by poorly armed tribesmen (HUMILIATED!) 
  • Jan 1935 to Oct 1935: Britain and France didn't want to upset Italy because she was their strongest ally against Germany. LON talked about getting rough but didn't actually do anything.
  • Oct 1935 to May 1936: Mussolini launched full scale invasion of Abyssinia. LON banned arms sales + loans  to Italy and banned exports from her. Suez Canal not closed (Italy's main route to Abyssinia) France and Britain not wanting war. Hitler invaded Rhineland on 7 March 1936 so LON distracted, Italy took over Abyssinia and LON could do nada. 
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The Cold War #1

In 1945 Harry S Truman became president of the USA

Source - "The Russians only understand one language - how many armies have you got? I'm tired of babying the Soviets." - Truman writing in 1945.

  • The USA and Russia were very different: The USA was Capitalist while Russia was Communist. 
  • America had freedom and a two-party democracy; Russia had secret police and a one-party state.
  • America wanted Germany to recover so that they could trade with them again but Russia wanted to break them down and create a buffer zone of friendly states around Russia. 
  • The Yalta Conference, Feb 1945 - Germany was not yet defeated and there was unrest in Poland but still the Big Three (Stalin, Roosevelt and Churchill) decided to split Germany into four occupied zones and to allow free elections in Eastern European countries. Russia invited to join United Nations promised to join war with Japan after Germany was defeated. 
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The Cold War #2

  • The Potsdam Conference, July 1945 - Germany had been defeated, Roosevelt died and Churchill lost 1945 election - open disagreements. Truman angry about size of reparations and the fact that Poland was setting up a Communist Government. Truman did not tell Stalin that he had the atomic bomb which he soon dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. 
  • Soviet Power in Eastern Europe - Stalin did not want Russia to be invaded again because 20 million Russians died in WW2 so he wanted to take over many Eastern European countries. During the war; communists from these countries fled to Moscow where they set up Communist governments while in exile. 
  • As the Red Army drove the Nazis back it took over much of Eastern Europe and Churchill allowed it. These governments began to build up their Stalinist regimes and persecute all Non-Communists. 
  • In 1946 in a speech at Fulton, USA Churchill said that an "Iron Curtain" had come down across Europe and that the Communist growth had to be stopped. In 1946, Stalin set up Cominform - an alliance of Communist countries designed to make sure they obeyed Soviet rule.  
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The Cold War #3

  • By 1947, Greece was the only country in Eastern Europe that was not Communist. The rebels in Greece were held back by the British Army. But eventually the British Army could not afford to stay in Greece any longer so the USA stepped in. In March Truman told the American Congress that is was America's job to stop Communism from spreading any further. This became known as the Truman Doctrine
  • In June 1947, General George Marshall made a visit to Europe and when he cam back he said that Europe was so poor that he feared it would all turn Communist. Marshall and Truman and Congress for $17 billion to fund the European Recovery Programme - nicknamed The Marshall Plan.
  • Congress was hesitant at first but when Czechoslovakia turned they gave the aid with food, grants to buy equipment, improvements to transport systems etc. 
  • Stalin forbade the Cominform countries to apply for Marshall Aid. 

Source: - "When Berlin falls, Western Germany will be next. If we withdraw our position in Berlin, Europe is threatened ... Communism will run rampant." - US Commander General Clay

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The Cold War #4

Who was to blame for causing the Cold War?

  • Over the years historians have changed their views as to who was to blame for the Cold War. 
  • Soviet Historians blamed the USA
  • Traditionalists (western writers before the 1970's) blamed the Soviets for trying to "impose their ideology on the rest of the world." 
  • The Revisionists blamed the USA for engaging in the war so that other countries would be open to capitalism and trade with the USA. Revisionists say that Truman using the atomic bomb and not telling Stalin was the instigator for the Cold War. 
  • The Post-Revisionists believe that neither was to blame because of the many misunderstandings on both their parts.
  • Many secrets were exposed after the collapse of communism when historians had access to the Soviet Union's secret files. They showed that many of their Soviet leaders were trying to avoid conflict with the USA. 
  • Modern historians say that the Cold War happened because of the clash of capitalism and communism.   
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Policy of Appeasement

  • On the 30th September 1938 Britain and France made a policy of appeasement with Germany over the Sudetenland. 
  • Hitler began to encourage the Germans living in the Sudetenland, Czechoslovakia to rebel and demand to be united with Germany.
  • Hitler bargained with Chamberlain and he agreed to give Hitler all of the parts of the Sudetenland where 50% or more of the population were German. 
  • Chamberlain then persuaded France to agree with this although Czechoslovakia had not been consulted about any of this. 
  • When Chamberlain went to Bad Godesberg to tell Hitler about the arrangement he then demanded all of the Sudetenland but Chamberlain refuses. 
  • However soon enough France and Britain agreed to give Hitler the Sudetenland in the hope that if they gave him what he wanted he wouldn't start a war with anyone - COMPLETELY STUPID IDEA! 
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Yalta and Potsdam

The major decisions that were made at the Yalta Conference (February 1945) were: 

  • Stalin, Roosevelt and Churchill decided to split Germany into four zones of occupation. 
  • To allow free elections in Eastern Europe.
  • Germany had to pay reparations.
  • A government of "national unity" was to be set up in Poland compromising both Communists and Non-Communists. 
  • Russia was to help against Japan when Germany was defeated. 

The major decisions that were made at the Potsdam Conference (July 1945) were: 

  • By this time Roosevelt had died and Truman had taken his place and Germany had been defeated.
  • There were many arguments about the details of the boundaries between zones and about the amount of reparations that Russia wanted to take. 
  • Truman didn't tell Stalin about the atomic bomb. 
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Exam Tips

Remember that for the last question of the first section of Paper 1 (Core Content) you get the most marks for writing discursively and for stating for example how far the noninclusion of the USA and USSR in the League of Nations contributed to its lack of success in disiplining the world.




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Hitler's Foreign Policy

Hitler made his foreign policy clear in his book "Mein Kampf" which he wrote in jail having been sentenced becuase of the Munich Putsch.

  • He wanted to destroy the Treaty of Versailles becuase he believed it was unfair to Germany.
  • He wanted to expand German soils (giving Germany more Lebensraum which means living space).
  • He wanted to unite all German speaking people.
  • He wanted to abolish Communism and persecute all Jews, Blacks, Handicapped people, Homosexuals, Communists and many other ethnic minorities.  
  • He also wanted to spread Nazism and have all of the colonies that were taken away from Germany in the Treaty of Versailles returned ... and get more.
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Germany between 1918 and 1920

Germany was in chaos between these periods becuase there was a mutiny.

  • There were strikes and demonstrations in 1918.
  • Sailors took over Kiel.
  • There was a new democrating government.
  • Kaiser Wilhelm had fled Germany.
  • There was the Kapp Putsch.
  • Spartacist uprisings in 1919.
  • Freikorps tried to st up a right-wing gov in 1920 with Kapp.
  • Workers had a general strike in Berlin.
  • Communists though that there should be a revolution.

Basically the Spartacists were fighting with the Freikorps. The Spartacists were Pro-Communism and the Freikorps preferred the way of the Kaiser. The Freikorps had more support from the gov but at the same time they were trying to overthrow them. There was a lot of street fighting and many were killed and injured.

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Mandates and Plebiscites from Peace Settlements 19

A mandate is when territory is taken from the defeated country and put under the control of someone else. The Treaty of Versailles stated that:

  • North Schleswig
  • Danzig
  • The Saarland
  • Togoland
  • Cameroon
  • German East Africa

Were to all be controlled by the League of Nations and  by Britain and France. Some territroy was also given to Australia, South Africa, New Zeland and Japan. It was also decided that in certain countries where there were disagreements as to who would own them that plebiscites would be held (the public vote on who they want to control them).

  • North Schleswig had a plebiscite and it eventually went to Denmark
  • There was also a plebiscite in the Saarland after 15 years of control by the League of Nations.
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Russia under Stalin

It was quote clear to Stalin by the end of the 1920's that Russian agriculture did not work. Farming was all backwards (were not producing enough to feed everyone) and only the kulaks were making any money. In 1927 Stalin announced that the way forward was to unite all of the farms into one massive, collective farm (collectivisation). This way there would be more machinery and more food would be produced so that surplus could be sent to the towns to feed the starving workers. Everyone ignored the idea and there was a famine so Stalin made collectivisation conpulsory. The peasants did not like this because it meant turning their backs on everything that their ancestors taught them about farming so they rebelled and refused to give food to the towns. When the Reg Guard took it by force they burned all their fields so that there would be nothing to take. There was another famine in 1930. Stalin tried again in 1931 and there was resistance and an even worse famine. Stalin blamed the kulaks and made war against them, executing them or sending them to the gulag.

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