IBDP History: Study Guide and Notes – New Syllabus 2017-2025 -History of Europe

IBDP History- Syllabus content- HL option 4: History of Europe

1: Monarchies in England and France (1066–1223)

This section deals with the establishment, characteristics and changing nature of royal government in England and France. It is concerned with the impact of the Norman invasion of England, which introduced many changes in government and administration.

  • Pre-Norman England and the impact of the Norman invasion
  • Normans in England: William I, Duke of Normandy (King of England 1066–1087); establishment of authority; domestic and foreign policies; Domesday Book; Henry I (1100–1135)
  • Angevin Commonwealth: Henry II (1154–1189); policies in England, Ireland and Gascony
  • The Duchy of Normandy and its relations with France: rivalry and wars between the dukes of Normandy, as kings of England, and the kings of France; role played by John, Richard I, Henry II and Phillip II; effects in England and France
  • Extension of the royal demesne and power in France under the Capetians (1108–1223); expansion of Capetian power under Louis VI, Louis VII and Phillip II, the nature of their governments, and reasons for their success in expanding royal authority
  • Comparison of the nature of royal government in England and France

2: Muslims and Jews in medieval Europe (1095–1492)

This section addresses aspects of the experience of Jews and Muslims from 1095–1492 in Europe. Spain and Sicily had large Muslim populations. In Spain this was a product of conquest by Muslim armies and the foundation of Muslim-ruled states.

  • Reasons for hostility to Muslims: the Crusades; fear of Muslim power; Christian doctrine and teaching
  • Reasons for Christian opposition to the Muslim states in Spain: religious motivation; economic ambition
  • Continuous conflict between the Christian-ruled and Muslim-ruled states in Spain: results: warfare on the borders between Christian and Muslim states, for example, the Mediterranean and the Balkans; loss of economic activity and loss of cultural and intellectual diversity; growth of anti-Muslim feelings
  • The role and contribution of Jews in medieval Europe: finance; trade; participation in royal bureaucracy and scholarship
  • The reasons for persecution of Jews: religious hysteria during the Crusades; official and/or popular anti-Semitism and scapegoating; belief in Jewish culpability for the Black Death
  • Impact of persecution of Jews: massacres; expulsion; segregation from society
  • Impact of Jewish persecution on society: loss of skill and ability in economic, intellectual and cultural life

3: Late medieval political crises (1300–1487)

This section deals with several crises of royal authority during the late medieval period that resulted in problems of legitimacy. Also, the conflicts between kingdoms often caused internal political instability owing to increased taxation and loss of political confidence.

  • Succession crises in England: Edward II (1307–1327); Richard II (1377–1399)
  • The Hundred Years War 1337–1360 and 1369–1389: causes, course, impact and significance
  • The Hundred Years War 1415–1453: reasons for the re-emergence of war; importance of Aquitaine; reasons for the outcome; impact in England and France
  • The rise and fall of ducal Burgundy (1363–1477)
  • Crisis of monarchy and challenges to royal authority in 15th-century England and France: Wars of the Roses and the War of the Public Weal
  • Nature of kingship and challenges: England—Henry VI (1422–1461); Edward IV (1461–1483); France—Louis XI (1461–1483)
  • The Wars of the Roses: causes; events; impact on England, including impact on government and royal authority

4: The Renaissance (c1400–1600)

This section examines the origins and characteristics of Renaissance government and society in Italy in the 14th century, and its later spread throughout Europe. The wealth and cultural vitality of the Italian cities played a crucial role in the Renaissance.

  • Origins, causes and development of the Renaissance in Italy; social and political situation in Florence
  • Forms of government in Italian city states: Milan; Florence; Venice
  • The importance of patronage: role and significance of Lorenzo de Medici and Ludovico Sforza; papal patronage
  • Cultural and intellectual developments: art, literature, architecture and political writings
  • The northern Renaissance: spread to Burgundy and Germany
  • Case study of the spread and impact of the Renaissance to one European country not already mentioned in this section

5: The Age of Exploration and its impact (1400–1550)

The increasing wealth and secularization of western society combined with new technological and scientific advances contributed to the growth of long-distance, overseas travel.

  • Motives for exploration and reasons for its increase in the 15th century: religion and exploration; national and personal rivalries; the quest for knowledge; opening up of new trade routes for luxury goods
  • Enablers of exploration: patronage, including role and significance of Henry the Navigator; developments in shipbuilding, cartography and navigation
  • Portuguese exploration of the west coast of Africa: significance; consequences; impact on indigenous peoples
  • Exploration and the New World: significance; consequences; impact on indigenous peoples
  • Exploration and the Indian Ocean: significance; consequences; impact on indigenous peoples
  • The significance and impact of the Treaty of Tordesillas (1494)
  • Impact on Europe to 1550: economic impact on Europe; the “Columbian Exchange”

6: The Reformation (1517–1572)

This section focuses on religious change in Europe in the 16th century. It examines the development of Protestantism, including its origins and spread, within Germany and more broadly. The attitudes of kings and princes will also be considered, especially those who protected and fostered Protestantism. There will also be focus on the religious reasons for the spread of Protestantism

  • The state of the Catholic church in Europe at the start of the 16th century, and reasons for criticism
  • The religious ideas and impact of Luther and Calvin
  • Reasons for the successful spread of Lutheran ideas in Germany to 1547, including the attitudes of the German princes
  • Religion and conflict in Germany: the Peasants’ War; the Schmalkaldic League and the Peace of Ausburg (1555)
  • The role of spread and impact of Protestant ideas in any one of England, Scotland, France or the Netherlands: religious factors; aims and role of rulers; economic reasons; popular sentiments; religious conflicts
  • The Catholic Reformation: spiritual movements; the Jesuits and other Catholic orders; clerical education and discipline; the Council of Trent (1545–1563)

7: Absolutism and Enlightenment (1650–1800)

This section focuses on Enlightenment ideas in Europe and their political impact. There is an opportunity to examine absolutist monarchies in the late 17th and early 18th centuries, and then to explore “enlightened despotism” to see how significant the changes made by “enlightened” monarchs in the later 18th century really were.

  • The goals and development of Enlightenment ideas; the Scientific Revolution
  • Case study of Enlightenment ideas and their political impact in any two of Germany, England, Scotland, France, Spain, the Dutch Republic or Italy)
  • Case study of any two absolutist monarchs: nature of their rule; extent of their power; foreign policy
  • Case study of any two enlightened despots: policies and their impact; extent of change
  • Social and economic change in the Enlightenment era; growth of cities; agricultural change
  • Monarchy, patronage and the arts; the Baroque movement

8: The French Revolution and Napoleon I (1774–1815)

This section deals with the origins, outbreak, course and impact of the French Revolution. It focuses on the social, economic, political and intellectual challenges confronting the Ancien Régime and the stages of the revolutionary process during this period, culminating in the rise and rule of Napoleon Bonaparte.

  • Crisis of the Ancien Régime: role of the monarchy, specifically Louis XVI; intellectual, political, social, financial and economic challenges
  • Monarchy to republic: causes and significance of the Revolution; the 1791 Constitution; the fate of the monarchy; the terror; Robespierre; the Thermidorean reaction
  • The political, social and economic impact of the Revolution; French revolutionary wars (1792–1799)
  • Establishment of, nature of, and collapse of the Directory (1795–1799)
  • Rise and rule of Napoleon (1799–1815); impact of Napoleon’s domestic and foreign policies on France
  • Napoleonic Wars (1803–1815); collapse of the Napoleonic Empire; military defeat; the Hundred Days

9: France (1815–1914)

This section examines the history of France in the 19th and the early 20th century, up to the outbreak of the First World War in 1914. The focus is on political change, both dynastic and constitutional, the reigns of Louis XVIII and Charles X, followed by consideration of Louis Philippe and the 1848 Revolution.

  • The Bourbon restoration, the Congress of Vienna and its impact on France
  • The reigns of Louis XVIII and Charles X: politics and society (1815–1830)
  • Revolution of 1830 and the July Monarchy of Louis Philippe; reasons for the collapse of the July monarchy
  • 1848 Revolution: Second Republic, repression and the emergence of Louis-Napoleon and the Second Empire
  • Napoleon III and the Second Empire: domestic policies; stability; opposition; periods of reform; foreign policies, including Crimean War and interventions in Italy and Mexico
  • Third Republic (1871–1914): stability and crises 1871–1890—problems in establishing the Republic and Boulangisme; 1890–1914—Dreyfus, growth of political extremes, corruption

10: Society, politics and economy in Britain and Ireland (1815–1914)

This section focuses on the history of Britain in the 19th and the early 20th centuries, up to the outbreak of the First World War. It examines the social and political situation at the end of the Napoleonic Wars, including an emphasis on social protest and reform through the study of Chartism and the eventual repeal of the Corn Laws.

  • Social protest (1815–1848): Peterloo; Chartism—reasons for emergence and failure; Peel and the repeal of the Corn Laws—reasons and consequences; the Irish Famine
  • Extension of the franchise: reasons for, and consequences of, the Reform Acts (1832, 1867 and 1884–1885); impact on the political parties
  • Victorian society c1840–c1900: the condition of the working class during the Industrial Revolution; urban poverty, social reforms
  • Disraeli, Gladstone and Salisbury: domestic policies; the Irish Question
  • Early 20th-century Britain: the emergence of the Labour Party; Lloyd George and social reforms—the “People’s Budget” and the Parliament Act
  • Pre-war unrest and protest in Edwardian Britain: women’s suffrage, Ireland, trade unions

11: Italy (1815–1871) and Germany (1815–1890)

This section deals with the history of both Germany and Italy from 1815; in the case of Italy, from the Congress of Vienna to 1871, and in the case of Germany, up to 1890.

  • Italy (1815–1849): impact of the Congress of Vienna on Italy, Austrian dominance, role of Metternich; nationalism and liberalism; attempted revolutions in Italy between 1820 and 1844; Mazzini and Gioberti; role of the papacy; 1848–1849 Revolutions—causes, nature, defeat and consequences
  • Germany (1815–1849): impact of the Congress of Vienna on Germany; nationalism and liberalism in the Vormärz period; economic and social change before 1848; 1848–1849 Revolutions—causes, nature, defeat and consequences
  • Unification of Italy (1849–1871); Cavour and Garibaldi; the role of foreign influence
  • The rise of Prussia and the decline of Austria (1815–1866); the Zollverein
  • Bismarck, Prussia and final unification: diplomatic, economic, military reorganization; Wars of Unification; the 1871 Constitution
  • Germany (1871–1890): Bismarck’s domestic policies, including the Kulturkampf and the anti-socialist campaign; consolidation of the new German state and the role of Prussia within it

12: Imperial Russia, revolution and the establishment of the Soviet Union (1855–1924)

This section deals with modernization and conservatism in tsarist Russia and the eventual collapse of the tsarist autocracy, as well as the revolutions of 1917, the Civil War and the rule of Lenin.

  • Alexander II (1855–1881): the extent of reform
  • Policies of Alexander III (1881–1894) and Nicholas II (1894–1917): economic modernization, tsarist repression and the growth of opposition
  • Causes of the 1905 Revolution (including social and economic conditions and the significance of the Russo-Japanese War); consequences of the 1905 Revolution (including Stolypin and the Dumas)
  • The impact of the First World War and the final crisis of autocracy in February/March 1917
  • 1917 Revolutions: February/March Revolution; provisional government and dual power (Soviets); October/November Revolution; Bolshevik Revolution; Lenin and Trotsky
  • Lenin’s Russia/Soviet Union; consolidation of new Soviet state; Civil War; War Communism; New Economic Policy (NEP); terror and coercion; foreign relation

13: Europe and the First World War (1871–1918)

This section deals with the shorter- and longer-term origins of the First World War. It covers the breakdown of European diplomacy pre-1914 and the crises that occurred in international relations.

  • European diplomacy and the changing balance of power after 1871; imperial expansion in Africa and Asia, and its impact on European diplomacy; the Congress of Berlin and European Alliance system
  • Foreign policy of Kaiser Wilhelm II: domestic conditions that impacted on German foreign policy; its impact/influence on other countries, including Britain, France, Russia and Austria-Hungary
  • Causes of the First World War: short- and long-term causes; relative importance of causes; the Alliance system; the decline of the Ottoman Empire; German foreign policy; Austria-Hungary, Russia and Balkan nationalism; the arms race and diplomatic crises; the July Crisis of 1914
  • Impact of the First World War on civilian populations of two countries from the region between 1914 and 1918
  • Factors leading to the defeat of Germany and the other Central Powers, and to the victory of the Entente Powers: strategic errors; economic factors; entry and role of the US; domestic instability in the Central Powers

14: European states in the inter-war years (1918–1939)

This section deals with domestic developments in certain key European states in the period between the two world wars. It requires the study of four European countries: Germany, Italy, Spain and any one other country.

  • Weimar Germany: constitutional, political, economic/financial and social issues (1918–1933); initial challenges (1918–1923); “Golden Era” under Stresemann (1924–1929); the crisis years and the rise of Hitler (1929–1933)
  • Hitler’s Germany (1933–1939): consolidation of power; Hitler’s pre-war domestic policies, including economic, social and political policies; nature of the Nazi state; the extent of resistance to the Nazis
  • Italy (1918–1939): rise of Mussolini; consolidation of power; Mussolini’s pre-war domestic policies, including economic, social and political policies; nature of the fascist state
  • Spain (1918–1939): political, social and economic conditions in Spain; the Primo de Rivera regime; polarization and political parties under the Second Republic; Azaña and Gil Robles; causes of the Civil War; foreign involvement; reasons for nationalist victory under Franco
  • Case study of domestic political, economic and social developments in one European country (other than Germany, Italy or Spain) in the inter-war years.

15: Versailles to Berlin: Diplomacy in Europe (1919–1945)

This section addresses international relations in Europe from 1919 to 1945 with initial emphasis on the Paris Peace Settlement: its goals, impact and the problems relating to its enforcement. The section covers attempts to promote collective security and international cooperation through the League of Nations and multilateral agreements (outside the League mechanism), arms reduction and the pursuit of foreign policy goals without resort to violence.

  • Peace settlements (1919–1923): Versailles; Neuilly; Trianon; St Germain; and Sèvres/Lausanne—aims, issues and responses
  • The League of Nations and Europe: successes and failures; the search for collective security; developments in the successor states of central and eastern Europe
  • Italian and German foreign policies (1919–1941): aims, issues and extent of success
  • Collective security and appeasement (1919–1941): aims, issues and extent of success; role of British, French and Russian/Soviet foreign policies (1919–1941); Chamberlain and the Munich Crisis
  • Causes of the Second World War and the development of European conflict (1939–1941); the wartime alliance (1941–1945); reasons for Axis defeat in 1945 and for Allied victory; role of economic, strategic and other factors
  • Impact of the Second World War on civilian populations in any two countries between 1939–1945

16: The Soviet Union and post-Soviet Russia (1924–2000)

This section examines the consolidation of the Soviet state from 1924 and the methods applied to ensure its survival, growth and expansion inside and outside the borders of the Soviet Union. It explores the rise and nature of the rule of Stalin, Khrushchev, Brezhnev and their policies.

  • Soviet Union (1924–1941): Stalin and the struggle for power (1924–1929); defeat of Trotsky; Stalin’s policies of collectivization and the Five-Year Plans; government and propaganda under Stalin; the purges and the Great Terror
  • The impact of the Great Patriotic War (1941–1945); post-war Soviet Union (1945–1953): political and economic developments
  • Khrushchev and Brezhnev: domestic policies and foreign relations
  • Transformation of the Soviet Union (1985–1991): Gorbachev (aims, policies and extent of success); political developments and change
  • Collapse of the Soviet Union; post-Soviet Russia to 2000; role and policies of Yeltsin; political and economic developments to 2000

17: Post-war western and northern Europe (1945–2000)

This section explores events in post-war western Europe and its recovery in the second half of the 20th century.

  • Breakdown of the wartime alliance; emergence of the Cold War and its impact on Germany; division of Germany
  • Post-war problems and political and economic recovery in western Europe: devastation and debt; reconstruction of France and West Germany (1945–1963) and the impact of the Marshall Plan; role of Adenauer; the German “economic miracle”; role of de Gaulle; “Les Trente Glorieuses” in France
  • West Germany (1963–1990): domestic policies; challenge of Baader Meinhof Group/Red Army Faction; reunification, role and policies of Kohl; social and cultural change in West Germany from 1949 to 1990
  • Spain: Franco’s regime and the transition to, and establishment of, democracy under Juan Carlos up to 1982; political, economic and social developments in Spain (1982–2000)
  • Case study of political, social and economic changes in one western or northern European country (other than France, the Federal Republic of Germany and Spain) between 1945–2000

18: Post-war central and eastern Europe (1945–2000)

This section explores events in central and eastern Europe from 1945–2000. It includes the transition from wartime occupation to the dominance of the Soviet Union (with the exception of Tito’s Yugoslavia).

  • Soviet domination: motives, extent and nature of Soviet control in central and eastern Europe (1945–1955); politics, economies (COMECON) and the Warsaw Pact (1945–1955); Yugoslavia’s challenge to Soviet control under Tito
  • Support and cooperation, repression and protest (1945–1968): East Germany; Poland; Hungary; Czechoslovakia
  • Acceptance of, and opposition to, Soviet control in central and eastern Europe (1968–1989): East Germany; Poland; Hungary and Czechoslovakia; Romania and Bulgaria; role of Walesa and Havel
  • The collapse of Soviet control in central and eastern Europe; causes, developments and consequences
  • Balkan conflicts in the 1990s: reasons for, and consequences of, the conflicts; role and policies of Milosevic
  • Case study: the economic, social and political challenges of the post-communist era in any one central or eastern European country (1989–2000)
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