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IB History Coursework - The Internal Assessment Gallery

This page is host to History Internal assessments completed at the IST from the first examination year of 2002 through to 2006. This section will hopefully inspire your own ideas and model the standards you should aim to achieve. They may not be perfect, but all cover interesting topics and a range of periods in history. All assignments achieved at least a Level 7 and a few achieved full marks. 

This page is no longer updated. For more recent examples of History Internal Assessments see International School History


Zhenia Plotnikova - 2006
Lies My Teacher Told Me
Objectivity in School History Textbooks
Simone Scully - 2006
Kent State
A turning point in the Vietnam War?
'[Through]...frequent use of personal pronouns “we” and “our”, American textbooks “indoctrinate blind patriotism: “Take a look in your history book, and you'll see why we should be proud”. Textbooks’ aim to sanitise history as “reliable, practical knowledge [enhancing] moral standards that…accelerate the acquisition of knowledge”, deprives students of objectivity all for developing universal moral attitudes.' 'Kent State became symbolic of “the deep political and social divisions that … divided the country during the Vietnam War era”, highlighting at home the horrors of war. The shootings made war blatantly public and incited massive student strikes. Although strikes may not have forced Washington to change its policies, they had an influence on the American people. '

Alex Newton - 2006
What were the causes of the Boston Massacre 1776?
Hannah Thompson - 2006
How imaginative should historians be? 
A case study of “The Return of Martin Guerre”
'Though to be forever branded a “massacre”, the events of the fifth of March were, in truth, somewhat less dramatic. In the end, whether the “massacre” was planned or not (by either side), the confusion, the fear, the danger of the night make it hard to place blame unequivocally. In reality, we cannot say who was “guilty” because, when a mob clashes with armed men, there will be casualties, regardless of intent.' 'If Davis had not applied knowledge of sixteenth-century French peasant women to the evidence about Bertrande’s behaviour, it would be fairly useless. Creative empathy helps us acquire a good approximation of what Bertrande may have been thinking... This ‘approximation’ of her feelings is better than nothing: the conclusion that the simple facts would have given.'

Emma Wilcock - 2006
The role of women living in post-war Britain.
Family/oral history
Mimi Kirby - 2006
Orwell's Road to Wigan Pier
The use of literature to the historian
'Directly after the war, women’s lives and roles within society and especially the perception that society had of women, changed. But this perception was easily reverted back to what it had always been: women at home and men earning. The 60’s brought a liberation for women, through contraception, divorce acts, music and fashion but whether this can be said to be directly linked with the war is a question...' 'The use of facts and the use of stylistic writing are not necessarily mutually exclusive. In writing convincing history, a gift for language and story-telling is usually required – art and history are intertwined and always have been. The influence of the author is inescapable in any account being told: indeed, if we follow the thrust of post-modern analysis then there is very little difference between history and literature'

Grace Brodie - 2006
Miners’ Strike of 1984: 
How did the Tories defeat the miners?
Ed Ritchie - 2006
How useful are documentaries to historians. Marcel Ophuls’ ‘Le Chagrin Et La Pitié’.
‘Regardless of the admirable unity and solidarity of the miners they were defeated by the Conservatives. How Thatcher managed to emerge victorious following the eleven-month bitter struggle can be looked upon as the result of four key factors; the aims of the government under her leadership, the unruly tactics of Scargill, the Tory preparation preceding the strike and the climate of political opinion in 1980’s Britain. In recent years documentary films such as ‘Fahrenheit 911’ and ‘The Fog Of War’ have cultured thousands of people... by using the case study of Marcel Ophuls’ iconoclastic documentary film The Sorrow and The Pity, which depicts how the people of France really conducted themselves under the extraordinary circumstances of Nazi rule, can we assess whether documentary films are valuable to historians.

Helena Tejedor - 2006
Spanish Civil War refugee children in the USSR
A case study of Manuel Arce
John Coleman - 2006
Sergei Eisenstein’s account of 1905 Russian revolution 
'The Spanish children that lived in those homes were the first people to be evacuated in Russia1most of them were evacuated to Siberia where, during the 38 days the train journey lasted, many died of hunger and cold. When they reached Sanmarkanda, they started to work in cotton fields or tank factories and they ate the cats in the area due to their hunger... Most of them are very thankful to Stalin.' During the 1920’s Great Russian filmmakers worked under the context of socialist realism and strived to create films that told the truth, or a truth. Filmmakers like Vertov used a technique called ‘cinema truth’, employing a hidden camera to capture the ‘truth’... Eisenstein used a technique called ‘montage’, making a third image ‘in the minds of the audiences’

Graeme Vance - 2006
Why did the Special Operations Executive send aid to Tito’s communist Partisans?

It is possible to come to the conclusion that without the aid of the SOE, the partisans may not have survived the war. With the Germans becoming closer to destroying them as a fighting force, the bounty upon Tito’s head and the betrayal of the Chetniks, the partisans could have been broken anytime between 1942-45. The SOE managed to switch allegiances just in time...

Robin Webb - 2005
The German Occupation of the Channel Islands
: July 1940 – May 1945 

Katie Greer - 2005
How far were Republican divisions responsible for their loss in the Spanish Civil War?

'Independent Television aired the program “Island at War” in July 2004, depicting the Channel Islanders as “[laying] on their backs and [making] moaning noises" as the Germans invaded. From this emerged my question – to what extent did the Islanders collaborate with the Germans? My investigation was also personal, as my father is from the Island of Jersey... '...are the historical filmmaker and the traditional, academic historian really very dissimilar? Both impose structure and meaning on ‘the past,’ in such a way that their views of it can be understood by others...the wish to show the past ‘as it happened,’ is a naïve form of history: since ‘the past’ is not a narrative, but a vast ‘foreign country’, it would be impossible to ‘accurately’ recreate, ‘as it happened'. 

Justine King - 2005
Literature and History: Doris Lessing, a case study in the usefulness of literature to historians.

Russell Gay - 2005
The B-59 Submarine Incident: A case study of the importance of declassified documentation

'Hayden White argues that "an historical text is in essence nothing more than a literary text, a poetical creation as deeply involved in the imagination as the novel"....Literature enables historians to get inside the characters and understand and feel what it was like living through that time –  it brings history to life. 'The worldwide-web access provided by the Internet means that archives from most countries around the world can be accessed from anywhere by anyone. An amateur historian such as myself could not have undertaken research on this scale ten years ago...This research is possible solely due to declassification of documents by all the governments involved in this incident. '

Julien Bell - 2005
Was the Resistance French?
A case study of Toulouse 1940-1944

Susannah Leahy - 2005
Cinema as History
Sir Richard Attenborough's Gandhi (website)

'However much one wants to argue over reasons of blood, nationality or motivation, whoever, is ready to run the risk of a hideous death to fight for a country that is not their own should be honored. Thus, I will conclude this essay by saying that it does not matter whether they were French or not, all that mattered was that they fought for a righteous cause.' 'Creating a flowing narration requires the acceptance and proliferation of certain events and thoughts that would never on their own be accepted as fact... film, as a visual and empathic version of events, can be much closer to the truth of the past than pure “history”. To see figures of the past... to smell, hear, breathe India alongside him, is something beyond the creative capacity of the greatest academic historian.'

Chiara Carnevale - 2005
Nostalgia: A case study exploring nostalgia in Italy and the portrayal of Benito Mussolini

Marie Behrens - 2005
Was Hitler's 'euthanasia' policy distinctively Nazi?

'...nostalgia is a feeling of longing for something, whether concrete or abstract, that reminds us of a time in our lives when we were happiest. Although the reality of the circumstances of those days may not be as blissful as we may recall, nostalgia gives us the power to eliminate the negative...as for people like my grandmother, it is almost impossible for them to escape nostalgia.' 'Euthanasia was first brought up in the 1850’s, the German government had already thought about killing those that were mentally and physically ill, but they never put this into action. It later came up in 1920 when Professor of psychiatry Alfred Hoch M.D. at the university of Freiburg and Karl Binding a Professor of law in the university of Leipzig wrote the book  Die Freigabe der Vernichtung lebenunwerten Lebens.'

Sophie Ledger - 2004
Analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of oral history: Evelyn Haddrell (Grandmother)

Kathryn Goodall - 2004
'Twisted Myths' 
Cathars: History vs. Heritage

'Through interviewing Evelyn Haddrell, I was able to open up the past and join her in her youth. To be in the presence of the past, the value is direct, one relives the past with the interviewee and shares their experiences. This value is perhaps non-quantifiable, as the value is human and based on personal feelings and a connection between human beings, which cannot be substituted or replicated...'

'A central difference between history and heritage is that history seeks to explore and explain whereas heritage clarifies from a present perspective...This research grew from my awareness of local heritage. I had seen ‘brown road signs’ promoting the “Cathar Country” and had visited Montségur on several occasions but before research, I was unable to fully appreciate historical fact and Cathar Heritage.'

Helen Coleman - 2004
Who were the Greenham Common Peace Protesters?

Erik Rademaker - 2004
The historical utility of photography: A case study of Vietnam

'By researching and comparing descriptions of the women who in 1981, made ‘world history’ by continuing their local tradition of peaceful protest against the Greenham USAF base, I aim to discover whom the Peace Protesters outside Greenham Common near Newbury, Berkshire, England, really were.'

Still images have a far greater impact on people because they can study one moment in time for length of time...  The look on the Viet Cong prisoner’s face and the smoky background create an atmosphere of fear. Although moving images and photography serve as significant historical sources, photography has a more powerful effect.

Nic Hollingdale - 2004
Triumph of the Will 
art/propaganda or documentary?

Andrew Lipscombe - 2003
Did David Low's cartoons reflect public opinion in Britain in the interwar period?

'Triumph of the Will consists of many powerful and lasting images created from selection and editing and these scenes created an emotional response from the audience. Due to the distortion of reality by these shots and their role in the formation of opinion the film can be interpreted to be one of propaganda.'

'This investigation began with a visit to the David Low exhibition at Westminster Hall, London, on the 22nd of August 2002. Viewing this exhibition gave me a good understanding of many of David Low’s cartoons... Ultimately, I was led to the question, did David Low’s cartoons represent British public opinion at the time.'

2002 marked the last year of the old system of IB internal assessment.  This system allowed students to work together in groups and to produce their work in any format. Click here for the official full guidelines (opens in new window). Students at the IST were asked to produce a website so as to make their work accessible to a wider audience. 

John Rae: Arctic explorer and distant relative - Charlotte
Paganism and the Medieval Church - Naamah
Mozart and the Amadeus Myth - Bryana
Toulouse 1940-44: Occupation, Resistance and Liberation - Sarah, Michael and Laura
Codename 'Tank': armoured vehicles in WWI - Steven and Daniel
Roman Toulouse - Mathew and Robert