Depression, War and Recovery, 1930-1951 WJEC GCSE History 9-1 Lesson Resources

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WJEC GCSE History Component 1: Studies in Depth

Written examination: 1 hour  25% of qualification  50 marks (plus 3 marks for spelling, punctuation and grammar and the use of specialist language)

Learners study one Study in Depth from four options in total. This unit focuses study on a substantial and coherent short time scale in the history of Wales within Britain. This unit will provide learners with the opportunity to understand the complexity of a society in the history of Wales within Britain more effectively. Learners should understand how the experience of people within Wales can be distinctive but also that it can reflect the wider relationship with Britain. This unit encourages learners to use a wide range of historical sources. Learners will also study different historical interpretations of specific events and issues.

Unit 1: Studies in Depth

Sub-section: Wales and the wider perspective

Module: 1C Depression, War, and Recovery, 1930-1951

This option focuses in-depth on selected themes and issues relating to the history of depression, war and recovery during the period 1930-1951. Learners will be required to consider the main features of life in the Depression, of war on the Home Front and of post-war Britain.  Learners should understand how the experience of people within Wales at this time was distinctive but also that this can reflect the wider relationship with Britain. Learners should develop an awareness of how aspects of life in this period have been represented and interpreted and they should also address the key questions in each topic area using a range of historical sources.  Where appropriate, these will contain material from Welsh sources. The required content below shows which key features and characteristics of the period must be studied.

Key Questions and Required Content

  1. The coming of the Depression: What were the main causes of the Depression?
    • Reasons for the decline of traditional industry in Britain, including competition from abroad, new markets, obsolete methods; the impact of the Wall Street Crash and its effect on industry in Britain. 
  2. Life during the Depression: How were people able to cope with the challenges of the Depression years?
    • The dole and the Means Test; hunger marches from Jarrow and Rhondda;  'making ends meet' and self-help; emigration from Wales; the importance of radio and cinema; growing light industry in parts of Britain; the Special Areas Acts; Trefforest Industrial Estate; contrast of older industrial regions with areas of greater employment. 
  3. The coming of war: How effectively did Britain prepare for war? 
    • The threat from Germany; Britain's policy of appeasement; preparations for war: wardens and shelters, RADAR, barrage balloons, anti-aircraft guns, conscription and reserved occupations. 
  4. Life during wartime: How did people in Britain cope with the experience of war? 
    • The bombing of British cities – Swansea, Belfast, Glasgow; evacuees and their host communities in Wales; the need for rationing; the contribution of women to the war effort 
  5. Keeping up morale: How important was it to maintain people's morale during the war?
    • The role of radio and cinema during the war; propaganda posters and censorship; campaigns and appeals such as Dig for Victory and the Spitfire Fund; the importance of Churchill as a war leader. 
  6. Life after war: How difficult were conditions in Britain in 1945? 
    • The economic position of Britain in 1945; demobilisation; war damage; the reasons for Labour's victory in the 1945 General Election 
  7. Rebuilding the country after 1945: How did the Labour government deal with the problems of the time? 
    • The Beveridge Report; Aneurin Bevan and the NHS;  educational opportunities following the Act of 1944; the 'Homes for All' policy; nationalisation of the key industries: coal, electricity and transport; reaction to the reforms of the post-war Labour governments.