Recent Posts by Alexis Mamaux

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 ...

Teaching Russia, killing 3 Birds with One Stone and Auld Lang Syne

My last post for the student blog that I finished yesterday, in honor of the centennial of the murder of Rasputin led me to re-examine how to include the Russian Revolutions in the curriculum.  When the World History Topics were 20th century World History Topics, and before Route 1 and Route 2 were ever conceived of, certain topics were taught by most IB History teachers, most notably World War I and the Russian Revolutions.  This was further reinforced by the ...

Whither the Prescribed Subjects? Next month’s exams are the end of an era

We are now one month out from the final IB exams of the session that began with the exams in 2010.  On 8 November, the final set of Paper 1s will be given, and after that, these subjects will be put to rest.  The peacemaking, peacekeeping material is easily integrated into most regional options and it can be used with 20th century wars as part of the effects - although the level of detail is probably impractical for many of ...

Bulgaria enters the war, October 1915

Nearly 102 years ago, the Bulgarians entered the Great War on the side of the Central Powers.  While it began the 20th century as a client state of Russia it had become increasingly alienated from its patron.  As a member of the Balkan League it found itself in an unlikely alliance of Balkan countries.  The desire to, well, balkanize, the Ottoman Empire was a shared goal but the countries had very little else in common, and all wanted to expand ...

Mess – o – potamia (homage to Jon Stewart) in World War I

World War I took place on may different fronts, but the focus tends to be on the Western front and a few key battles here and there.   This post will focus on the Mesopotamian campaigns. As you read through this, consider the following question: How did the Mesopotamian campaign affect the course and outcome of the First World War? This is a very long post, and to do the subject justice would be even longer, so I have tried to ...

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