Introduction to History Paper 2 SL/HL: the Cold War

This blog was written by Sam Olofsson, an experienced IB teacher and author of History: Route 2 – The Cold War.

I have had the pleasure of teaching IB history for over 20 years, mainly at Malmö Borgarskola in Sweden but also on revision courses in England and in the United States. It is my hope that this guide will give students the best possible help when preparing for exams.

My main aim is to encourage students to practise structuring essays. Each section of text is followed by a number of essay outlines. The idea is that students will first try to make their own outline and then compare it with mine. I have used this method with great success during my years as an IB teacher.

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Excomm meeting 29/10/1962

By the early 1990s we thought we had put the Cold War behind us but in recent years, relations between the former antagonists have been very strained. What we must keep in mind about the Cold War period is that while the superpowers were confronting each other on several issues, integration was increasing in Western Europe. The emergence of the EU is the most significant example of this. But history can unexpectedly take new paths. We are now living in a time of upheaval with events such as Brexit. Some may also see the US presidential elections in 2016 in this light. Commentators say that the “West” we have known since World War II, with cooperation and internationalization, now appears to be coming to an end. It is reasonable to assume that these events will one day become a new topic in the IB History syllabus, but it is only after we have distanced ourselves from these developments, that we can analyse them from a historical perspective – which is why the IB has its 10-year rule.

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About the author

I currently divide my time between working at Malmö Borgarskola and as Secretary General of Star for Life, an organization that conducts education among 100,000 young people in Africa. My passion and my interest in education serves me in both these roles. This guide allows me to share some of the experience and knowledge I have acquired during more than two decades. Teaching history remains one of my greatest passions.

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