Recent Posts by Alexis Mamaux

Portugal in World War I

In June, 1917 Portuguese troops saw their first action as battle-ready troops in France.  Why is this significant?  There is a tendency to highlight the entrance of the US in the First World War in 1917 but all of this shows the global nature of the war.  It is true that Portugal had a long-standing agreement with the UK (and Great Britain, and England) and its entrance was part of this relationship but it was also about colonial possessions in ...

IB Exams – History preparation

IB exams officially began last Thursday with school-based syllabi and Business Management and Global Politics last Friday.  And today, with Biology there are even more students involved in the examinations.  Critical mass with Diploma Candidates will occur Wednesday afternoon through Friday morning when English and Mathematics take place.  As a result, few students are focused on studying for their history exams right now - but some have begun their revisions and next weekend will be when they are focused on ...

Revision for IB History students

For those of you who are Diploma Candidates you are probably focused on Math, English and Biology at the moment, which is perfectly understandable. On Friday afternoon there will be a flurry of activity as you scramble to revise your notes, organize your thoughts and attempt to memorize hundreds of details.  However, one weekend of studying cannot replace 240 hours of class time and numerous assignments.  You should use some time over the course of the next week to go over the demands of ...

My semi-annual list of reminders for DP History exam prep

The IA grades have been entered, the samples are uploaded and we're all in that last race to finish the curriculum.  Teachers in the US are more than a little concern: their top students, all of whom were interested and engaged have been admitted to their dream schools and have decided that they don't have to do well on their IB exams and it is distressing as they see the realization of their predicted grades slipping away.  In the rest of the world where the IB results are ...

March was the anniversary of the February Revolution and Women’s history month

... and I was a complete slacker, so my apologies. However, I am going to address both of these topics now, in this post, as they are related. Where does the Russian Revolution fit into the IB DP History program? I would have to say just about everywhere if you teach 20th century history.  World War I and the Russian Revolutions were the most formative events of that century, and we feel their effects to this day.  Today, I am going to address Russia, ...

Extended Essay May 2017: the final countdown

This time of year is stressful for history teachers: we tend to have a lot EEs, we are trying to mark and enter our IA grades and we have to determine predicted grades.  We are also still teaching our classes, trying to finish the syllabus and also help students revise for the IB exams.  Just when we think everything is going well, a student raises her hand and asks, "What exactly is paper 1?" Well, at least the EE is drawing ...

The February 1917 Revolution

The February revolution took place from 23 February to 3 March according to the Julian calendar, or 8-16 March according to the Gregorian, or current calendar, in Russia.  Either way, the centennial of this revolution is upon us. This was a spontaneous rising that marked a convergence of factors. Since the revolution took place there have been numerous theories as to what was the most important cause but most can agree on a list of causes: War weariness Poor conditions on ...

Conditions in Russia in January 1917

Weather is really important in history but it isn't always easy to make historical arguments based on the weather.  I mean, winter in Russia can be an exception; after all, it defeated more armies than the ******** (you fill it in, I'm not risking accusations of cultural insensitivity). As January draws to a close it is worth it to consider the conditions in Russia a century ago.  Interestingly, many who study this time period make note of the weather: in Petrograd and ...

World History Topic 10: Authoritarian States

"May I choose Margaret Thatcher as an authoritarian leader?" This came from one of my cheekier students.  After we finished units on Lenin and Stalin, I thought I would try an experiment and allow students to choose their own authoritarian regimes.  I was expecting a number of different examples but this was far from what I expected to hear.  And he asked not once, but twice.  And yes, he's English. As I was trying to patiently explain why Thatcher would not be ...

December 30: the death of Rasputin and the beginning of the Russian Revolution

December 30th is the centennial of the death of Rasputin.  This is the story that you are most likely to remember from Russian history; years from now  you will be able to recount to your friends the death scene in minute detail, and you will be able to provide all of the salacious details regarding his life and hold over the female members of the aristocracy, but will you remember anything about the historical significance of this man?  And, if ...

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