AQA GCSE History: Conflict and tension, 1894–1918

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BA Conflict and tension: The First World War, 1894 - 1918

In this wider world depth study module, students will explore and come to understand the complex and diverse interests of the Great Powers and other states that provided fertile ground for tension and hostilities. It focuses on the causes, nature and conclusion of the First

World War and seeks to demonstrate how and why tensions escalated and conflict broke out, and why it proved so difficult to bring one of the deadliest wars of the modern era to a conclusion. This study also explores the roles and actions of key individuals and groups in shaping change and how they were affected by and influenced international relations.

This module consists of three parts detailed below:

Part one: The causes of the First World War

Themes explored include:

  • The Alliance System: the Triple Alliance; Franco-Russian Alliance; relations between the ‘Entente’ powers; the crises in Morocco (1905 and 1911) and the Balkans (1908–1909), and their effects on international relations.
  • Anglo-German rivalry: Britain and challenges to Splendid Isolation; Kaiser Wilhelm’s aims in foreign policy, including Weltpolitik; colonial tensions; European rearmament, including the Anglo-German naval race.
  • Outbreak of war: Slav nationalism and relations between Serbia and Austria-Hungary; the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo and its consequences; the July Crisis; the Schlieffen Plan and Belgium; reasons for the outbreak of hostilities and the escalation of the conflict.

Part two: The First World War: stalemate

Themes explored include:

  • The Schlieffen Plan: the reasons for the plan, its failure, including the Battle of Marne and its contribution to the stalemate.
  • The Western Front: military tactics and technology, including trench warfare; the war of attrition; key battles, including Verdun, the Somme and Passchendaele, the reasons for, the events and significance of these battles.
  • The wider war: the war on other fronts; Gallipoli and its failure; the events and significance of the war at sea, including Jutland, the U-Boat campaign and convoys.

Part three: Ending the war

Themes explored include:

  • Changes in the Allied Forces: consequences of the Bolshevik Revolution and the withdrawal of Russia on Germany strategy; the reasons for and impact of the entry of the USA into the war.
  • Military developments in 1918 and their contribution to Germany’s defeat: the evolution of tactics and technology; Ludendorff the German Spring Offensive; the Allied advance during The Hundred Days.
  • Germany surrenders: impact of the blockade; abdication of the Kaiser; armistice; the contribution of Haig and Foch to Germany’s defeat.

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