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Revision Guide – History

SUBJECT: History
Paper 1 (1h15 mins)

  • Medicine in Britain c1250-present
  • Site study: British sector of the Western Front, 1914-18: injuries, treatment and the trenches

Paper 2 (1h45 mins)

  • Anglo-Saxons and Norman England, c1060-88
  • Superpower relations and the Cold War, 1941-91

Paper 3 (1h20 mins)

  • The USA: Conflict at Home and Abroad (Civil Rights and Vietnam)

EQUIPMENT REQUIRED: Black Pen and spare

Topics to be revised

Paper 1 – Medicine in Britain, c1550-present:

(Question focus: Change over time)

  • Four Humours: Galen and Hippocrates
  • Miasma theory
  • Importance of religion on explanations for disease and treatment
  • Treatments: bloodletting, purging, remedies
  • Role of apothecaries and barber surgeons
  • Black Death: causes, treatment and prevention
  • Growth of science and Royal Society
  • Work of Thomas Sydenham
  • Role of the printing press
  • Early hospitals
  • Work of Vesalius
  • William Harvey and blood circulation
  • Great Plague: causes, treatment and prevention
  • Jenner and the development of smallpox vaccination
  • Pasteur and Germ Theory
  • Koch’s work on microbes
  • Florence Nightingale and improvements in hospitals (also anaesthetics and antiseptics)
  • Role of the government (vaccinations and Public Health Act 1875)
  • Cholera, 1854: causes, treatment and prevention (John Snow and Broad Street pump)
  • Fleming, Florey and Chain’s development of penicillin
  • Discovery of DNA and the importance of genetics and lifestyle on health
  • Advances in medicines (magic bullets, antibiotics, use of insulin for diabetes)
  • Improvements in diagnosis: MRI scanners, blood tests etc.
  • Role of the government in vaccination campaigns and healthy lifestyle campaigns (e.g anti-smoking/lung cancer campaign)

Site Study: British Sector of the Western Front, 1914-18: Injuries, Treatment and the Trenches (Question focus: Using sources)

  • British sector of Western Front: Ypres Salient, Battle of Somme, Arras and Cambrai
  • Trench system, use of caves, tunnels and mines (Hill 60) and the impact of this on medical care
  • Common illnesses such as trench foot and infections
  • Nature of injuries: shrapnel wounds, gas attacks, head injuries
  • Work of RAMC and FANY
  • System of transport: stretcher bearers, horse and motor ambulances
  • First aid posts, dressing stations, casualty clearing stations and base hospitals (underground hospital at Arras)
  • Developments in treatments: Thomas splint, mobile x-rays, blood bank at Battle of Cambrai
  • Knowledge of sources useful to this topic (newspapers, diaries, army records, government records, photos)


Paper 2 – Anglo-Saxon and Norman England, 1060-1088:

(Question focus: Causation)

  • Anglo Saxon society: monarch, Earls, thegns, ceorls, peasants and slaves
  • Ruling England: Witan, taxation, punishments, fyrd, heptarchy
  • Anglo-Saxon Church
  • Power of the Godwin family
  • Harold Godwinson’s embassy to Normandy
  • Tostig as Earl of Northumbria and his rebellion/exile
  • Succession crisis following death of Edward the Confessor: 4 claimants (William of Normandy, Edgar Aetheling, Harald Hardrada and Harold Godwinson)
  • Coronation of Harold Godwinson
  • Battle of Gate Fulford
  • Battle of Stamford Bridge
  • Battle of Hastings
  • William’s journey to London, harrying, submission of Edgar Aetheling and William’s coronation
  • Marcher Earldoms, confiscation of land, building motte and bailey castles and churches
  • Revolt of Edwin and Morcar
  • Rebellions in the North and harrying of the North
  • Hereward the Wake and the rebellion at Ely
  • Revolt of the Earls (1075): Roger of Hereford, Ralph of Norfolk and Waltheof of Northumbria
  • Changes in society in Norman England: feudal system (tenants-in-chief and villeins)
  • Role of the Church, including Archbishop Stigand and Lanfranc
  • Life in towns and villages – role of merchants and use of garrisons
  • William’s government: role of regents (Odo and Lanfranc)
  • Office of the Sherrif and the Demesne; role of the Forest and Forest Laws
  • Use of the Domesday Book
  • William and his succession (Robert and his revolt; William Rufus)

Paper 2 – Superpower relations and the Cold War, 1941-91:

(Question focus: Significance, consequences, analytical narratives)

 The origins of the Cold War

  • The Grand Alliance during WW2. The outcomes of the Tehran, Yalta and Potsdam conferences.
  • The ideological differences between the superpowers and the attitudes of Stalin, Truman and Churchill.
  • The impact on US-Soviet relations of the development of the atomic bomb, the Long and Novikov telegrams and the creation of Soviet satellite states in Eastern Europe.
  • The impact on US-Soviet relations of the Truman Doctrine and the Marshall Plan, 1947.
  • The significance of Cominform (1947), Comecon (1949) and the formation of NATO (1949).
  • Berlin: its division into zones. The Berlin Crisis (blockade and airlift) of 1948-49 and its impact. The formation of the Federal Republic of Germany and German Democratic Republic.
  • The significance of the arms race. The formation of the Warsaw Pact.
  • Events in 1956 leading to the Hungarian Uprising, and Khrushchev’s response.
  • The international reaction to the Soviet invasion of Hungary.

Cold War Crises, 1958-1970

  • The refugee problem in Berlin, Khrushchev’s Berlin ultimatum (1958), and the summit meetings of 1959–61.
  • Soviet relations with Cuba, the Cuban Revolution and the refusal of the USA to recognise Castro’s government following Cuban seizure of US assets. The significance of the Bay of Pigs incident.
  • Opposition in Czechoslovakia to Soviet control: the Prague Spring.
  • The construction of the Berlin Wall, 1961.
  • The events of the Cuban Missile Crisis.
  • The Brezhnev Doctrine and the re-establishment of Soviet control in Czechoslovakia.
  • Impact of the construction of the Berlin Wall on US-Soviet relations.
  • Kennedy’s visit to West Berlin in 1963.
  • The consequences of the Cuban Missile Crisis, including the ‘hotline’.
  • Attempts at arms control: the Limited Test Ban Treaty (1963); the
  • Outer Space Treaty (1967); and the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (1968).
  • International reaction to Soviet measures in Czechoslovakia.

The end of the Cold War, 1970-1991

  • Détente in the 1970s, SALT 1, Helsinki, and SALT 2.
  • The significance of Reagan and Gorbachev’s changing attitudes.
  • Gorbachev’s ‘new thinking’ and the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Force (INF) Treaty (1987).
  • The significance of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the Carter Doctrine and the Olympic boycotts.
  • Reagan and the ‘Second Cold War’, the Strategic Defence Initiative.
  • The impact of Gorbachev’s ‘new thinking’ on Eastern Europe: the loosening Soviet grip on Eastern Europe.
  • The significance of the fall of the Berlin Wall.
  • The collapse of the Soviet Union and its significance in bringing about the end of the Warsaw Pact

Paper 3 – The USA: Conflict at Home and Abroad, 1954-75

(Question focus: Interpreting historians opinions)

  • Life for Black Americans in the early 1950s: segregation, Jim Crow laws, Plessy vs. Ferguson
  • Establishment of NAACP and CORE
  • Education: Brown vs. Topeka and Little Rock High School
  • Montgomery Bus Boycott
  • Civil Rights Act, 1957
  • Significance of Martin Luther King’s leadership; setting up of SCLC
  • Opposition to civil rights: KKK, White Citizens Councils, Dixiecrats
  • Murder of Emmett Till
  • Greensboro sit-ins and Freedom Rides (KKK violence/Anniston bomb)
  • James Meredith case
  • Marches in Birmingham, Washington and Selma
  • Freedom Summer and Mississippi murders
  • Role of Kennedy and Johnson in the Civil Rights Act 1964
  • Voting Rights Act, 1965
  • Malcolm X: his influence and assassination
  • Black Panthers
  • Black power movement and Mexico Olympics
  • Stanley Carmichael
  • Riots of 1965-7 and Kerner Report
  • Assassination of Martin Luther King
  • Battle of Dien Bien Phu and the end of French rule in Vietnam
  • Domino theory and reasons for US involvement
  • Weaknesses of Diem’s government (Strategic Hamlets)
  • Escalation under Johnson: Gulf of Tonkin incident
  • Vietcong tactics (guerrilla warfare, Ho Chi Minh trail)
  • USA tactics (Operation Rolling Thunder, Search and Destroy, agent orange and napalm bombs)
  • Tet offensive
  • Nixon’s impact: Vietnamisation
  • US attacks on Laos and Cambodia
  • Nixon Doctrine and withdrawal of US troops
  • Peace negotiations and the Paris Peace Agreement
  • Opposition to the war in the USA (media coverage, My Lai massacre, student protests and Kent State shootings, economic and human cost of the war
  • Support for the war: “silent majority” and “hard hats”

Revision Tips

  • Make timelines, revision cards and spider diagrams and practise explaining how events are caused, how far things change, why an event/individual is important and the effects of an event.
  • Ask your teacher for practice exam questions.
  • Don’t forget to revise the structures and timings as well.
  • These papers are content heavy so know your key people, facts and events.
  • Some great revision guides are found on the BBC GCSE Bitesize site: Not all papers are fully covered (USA: Civil Rights content is missing) but the majority of the content is. YouTube also has lots of revision videos and helpful ‘How to answer’ videos published by teachers.

Exam Hints

  • Read the question carefully. What is it asking you to do? Make sure you use the wording of the question in your answer
  • Each mark on the papers should take about 1.5 minutes.

Download a printable version here

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