Freedom Mutanda Post Correspondent
Last time, we deliberated on Question 1 and 2 of Paper 2. Questions often arise as to why Germany lost the war in 1918 and students of History dig deep into their archives as they advance different reasons pertaining to German defeat. However, for one to score highly, one must identify a minimum of 10 points which are amply amplified. Some of the reasons are solely Germany’s fault while others are from without such as weak allies, entry of the USA into the war, allied high command and others.
Question 3 zeroes in on the Paris Peace settlement which went a long way in restoring peace in Europe and the world. Importantly, students have to appreciate the role of the Big Four, namely President Woodrow Wilson (USA), Prime Minister Lloyd George (UK), Prime Minister Georges Clemenceau (France) and Prime Minister Orlando (Italy).
Questions on the four leaders’ wishes in a post-war world shaped the treaties that went on to be signed in the intervening discussions. Top of the wish list is Woodrow’s 14 points which any serious student of History must do well to take to heart and the Tiger (Clemenceau) wanted Germany to be decimated and reduced to a third rate power while the idealistic Woodrow Wilson wished to spread democracy by being magnanimous in victory. Consequently, some of the terms hammered out in the five treaties were aggressive and meant to prove that the allies were the winners.
The treaties of Neuilly, Lausanne, Trianon, St Germain, Sevres and Versailles are the direct aftermaths of the intense negotiations among allied victorious powers and as fate would have it, the defeated powers were never near the negotiations; they only came in to sign a dictated peace.
Therein lies the question of fairness in the terms. Notably, Germany once made France sign a harsh treaty where the latter lost an invaluable territory – Alsace-Lorraine and it follows therefore, that Germany could not cry foul about the terms, so goes the oft stated phrase. A student must bring forward various points of departures before arriving at a conclusive statement having analysed the points brought forward.
For students of History, Question 3 offers them an opportunity to get a lot of marks as the questions are almost predictable.
The precursor to the United Nations Organisation is the League of Nations which was derived from Woodrow Wilson’s 14th point that called for the establishment of an international organisation which would ensure peace prevails in the world. It is instructive to note that the USA never joined the League of Nations as the legislature in the USA refused to endorse what its president had heartily championed in his days at Paris where they hammered out a deal to stop the war and punish Germany.
Often, the political work of the League is tested about and students must cite specific incidents when countries clashed and how the league solved or failed to solve the clash. German and Italian foreign policies are handy since they constitute more than half of the League at work. The early years of the organisation were golden years but as the thirties neared their halfway stage, aggression took centre stage. How far did the League succeed in carrying out its mandate?
The above question carries with it different answers but to show that one appreciates evaluation, synthesis and judgment, one has to look at the weaknesses of the League constitution and exogenous matters. As a result, an answer that will get 7/8 is one that has value judgment. Descriptions of the organs (assembly, secretariat, ILO, the council and the Permanent Court for International Justice) and Committees are often asked.
As I said last week, that must be child’s play. Assessing the efficacy of collective security as espoused by the tenets of the League of Nations requires a close inspection of the League at work and how it dealt with cases involving big powers and how the rise of dictators sharply hastened the destruction of peace in Europe and ultimately the whole world went into a tailspin politically and militarily.
Fascism is a phenomenon which glorifies war and dictatorship. Mussolini and Adolf Hitler are the leading lights of this ideology which sent the world to Armageddon in the 1930s. Question 5 and 6 look into Italy and Germany in the post- war years. Here are two seemingly small men who catapulted the world into an inferno through their aggressive foreign policies.
Students are urged to familiarise themselves with the factors leading to the rise to power of the two strong men. Interestingly, Mussolini’s rise to power was quick via the march on Rome while Hitler had to endure more than a decade of contesting elections and losing until the Great Depression struck the whole world and Germans voted because of the politics of the stomach and his Nazi Party romped to victory in The Reichstag.
Did the Italians and Germans benefit from their leaders’ domestic and foreign policies? To what extent were economic factors responsible for the dictators’ rise to power? Students have to be analytic and evaluate.
For question 7, think about Boom, Bust and Recovery in the United States of America. Students should remember that for every success or boom, there must be reasons. The ‘’Roaring Twenties’’ owe their existence to the affluence in America brought about by the boom whose origins are anchored on good government policies variously called laissez-faire or non-interference of the government in business. Nevertheless, things turned for the worse when the Wall Street crashed in October 1929 and all hell broke loose.
Politics in the USA brought Franklin Delano Roosevelt to power and that is another aspect that examiners are happy to test students on. His 100 days plan pulled America from the brink and herein lies the question: what did President Roosevelt to change the lives of people after the great depression? Candidates need to look at the positives but at the same time, note that unemployment wasn’t completely eradicated.
Question 8 looks at the causes of the Second World War. Italian, German and Japanese aggression and the League of Nations’ weaknesses headline the causes while British and French Appeasement policies closely follow behind.
Democracy and Human Rights are enshrined in our Constitution and the 2167/2 encapsulates them in question 10 and 11. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) is the Bible that guides human right laws in the world. First, second and third generation rights are captured therein and candidates use UDHR to answer questions related with human rights. Special attention must be given to Child Rights and Women Rights. Observers note that Zimbabwe has been consistent in observing human right. Clearly, the analytic question should be able to tackle the issue of culture in violating human rights and also discuss the way forward. Human rights and democracy are cousins.
Owing to space, I have to end here but there are four questions to tackle as we continue our journey to demystify the History subject. We are a week away from writing the first paper and The Manica Post will next week finish the enthralling subject which every budding leader must understand and appreciate if s/he is to make an impression as a leader. Leaders are historians and people are historians. It is the people who make history.