Contents gcse history Exemplars for Controlled Assessment Topic Area 2



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SOURCES WHICH CHALLENGE THE INTERPRETATION

SOURCE B9
The evacuation of the British army from Dunkirk was a great defeat. Nearly 70,000 men were killed, wounded or taken prisoner. The survivors left 2,500 big guns, 90,000 rifles and 64,000 vehicles behind them. They also abandoned 150,000 of their French allies to become prisoners of the Germans. France was soon defeated and surrendered to the Germans. In private even Winston Churchill called Dunkirk, “the greatest military defeat for many centuries.”
[Josh Brooman, an author of school history text books, writing in a GCSE book, Global War (1999)]

SOURCE B10

The beaches were now packed with men who had been forced nearer to Dunkirk. A naval officer sent to embark 5,000 men, found on arrival they had swollen to 20,000. The sight of a queue of 1,000 waiting for a single dinghy was dreadfully depressing.

It was never easy anywhere. Some of the men trying to climb into the boats were often numb with shock, hunger or lack of sleep. For the men the water, despite the heat of the day, was cold and the current swift and many of the tired men were soon in difficulties. Along the tide-line were the rows of the dead, left there neatly by the receding sea, while among the crowds on the beaches were shell-shocked, dazed soldiers wandering about trying to find some shelter from the bombing. Some of the men were even bomb-happy and on the edge of hysteria, while dozens of abandoned horses, still on the sands, fell with packs of terrified starving dogs.

[John Harris, an historian, writing about Dunkirk in a book about great military battles, The Storms of War (1988)]


SOURCE B11





[An Italian cartoon called The triumphant English retreat? This cartoon was published just after the Dunkirk evacuation. Italy was soon to join the war on Germany’s side.]



SOURCE B12

Dunkirk was a military disaster – and it took the British public by surprise. But, almost at once, victory was being plucked from defeat and the newspapers began to manufacture the Dunkirk myth. The government allowed it to flourish – and allowed nothing to be published which might damage morale. Dunkirk was a military defeat but a propaganda victory.

[A BBC news reporter commenting in a BBC television news broadcast on the 60th anniversary of Dunkirk (2000)]
SOURCE B13






[A French photograph taken in early June 1940 of the beaches at Dunkirk. The photograph shows abandoned tanks and dead bodies on the beaches. The photograph was never published in Britain]


SOURCE B14

If you ask anybody what they remember most clearly about the retreat to Dunkirk they will all mention two things – shame and exhaustion. Shame – as we went back through those white-faced, silent crowds of Belgians, the people who had cheered us and waved to us as we came through their country only four days before, people who had vivid memories of a previous German occupation and whom we were now handing over to yet another. I felt very ashamed. We had driven up so jauntily and now, liked whipped dogs, we were scurrying back with our tails between our legs. But the infuriating part was that we hadn't been whipped. It was no fault of ours. All I could do as I passed these groups of miserable people was to mutter "Don't worry – we will come back." Over and over again I said it. And I was one of the last British most of them were to see for four long years.



[Brian Horrocks, a senior army officer evacuated from Dunkirk, remembering the events in his autobiography, A Full Life (1960)]



SOURCE B15

We were lost for words. I don't know how to put it. We were just so demoralised and humiliated.


The beaches were full of troops. We couldn't move, we just had to dig in and wait. We had no idea what was happening. There was no food and we thought we were going to starve.
I could not believe how well-equipped the Germans were. I had just a few months with a rifle and no proper field training and there they were with all this equipment and organisation
They were prepared for war and we weren't.

[Ivan Daunt, a soldier evacuated from Dunkirk, interviewed for a BBC project to capture memories of key events during the war (2004)]


SOURCE B16


Mr. Churchill said tonight that Britain now stands alone. Did he tell you that on 3rd September 1939? On the contrary, then he said that Germany stood alone, to be throttled by the British blockade without even the sacrifice of a single British soldier. How many of the BEF, how many of the British Navy and the RAF were sacrificed on the beaches of Dunkirk so that your Prime Minister could tell you that you now stand alone? Was it worth it? Surely not. Surely the time has come to meet the bill, the bill that Mr. Churchill and his accomplices ran up for you, and which you will be called upon to meet if you do not force your Government to meet it soon.



[William Joyce, ‘Lord Haw-Haw’, in his radio broadcast, Germany Calling, on 17th June 1940. Joyce broadcast propaganda from Germany aimed at undermining British confidence. After the war he was captured and hanged as a traitor.]



Topic area 2
The effects of war on Wales and England in

the nineteenth and twentieth centuries
Task 5: World War II: The Home Front / the ‘Blitz Spirit’



Controlled Assessment Task part (a)
The lives of the people of Britain were greatly affected by

World War Two


Select any FIVE sources from your pack.
How useful and reliable are these sources in explaining how people's lives were affected by World War 2?

Controlled Assessment Task part (b)
Some people have the view that the British people responded to the Second World War in a positive and optimistic way.
How far do your selected sources support or contradict

this interpretation?




CONTROLLED ASSESSMENT TASK part (a)
The lives of the people of Britain were greatly affected by World War II
Select any FIVE sources from your pack.
How useful and reliable are these4 sources in explaining

how people’s lives were affected by World War II?




Notes for teachers/candidates about approaching this task
How can part (a) be tackled?
Underneath is a suggested structure to approaching part (a) which should be accessible to most candidates following a GCSE History course. It is offered as guidance and should not be seen as a writing frame or the only or best way to tackle this exercise.


This needs to have a clear focus on the set question.

It needs to briefly set the issue in its historical context.

A short paragraph is sufficient here.


  • An evaluation of the selected evidence connected with the issue in the question set.

Here candidates can examine developments and issues, while making analysis and evaluation of the evidence selected. It is recommended that the sources be integrated into supporting and reflecting on a narrative of life in World War II. Candidates should evaluate up to five sources only, aiming to link the evidence to its use in the enquiry. Avoid a robotic trawl through the sources.
When looking at the evidence you should consider points such as:
What information does the source provide about …?

Does the source back up your knowledge about …?

Who was the author/maker?

When was the source written?

Why was it written?

Is there any doubt over the author/is she trustworthy?


It is recommended that the answer to part (a) should be about 800 words in total.
SOURCE A1

The Blitz on Britain began in the late afternoon of Saturday 7 September 1940. In the next nine hours, 348 German bombers escorted by 617 fighters dropped 600 tonnes of high explosives on the docks and East End of London. By the next morning 448 Londoners were dead. 57 consecutive nights of relentless aerial bombardment followed. Other British cities like Liverpool, Cardiff, Newcastle, Glasgow and Coventry were all bombed heavily by German bombers.

On the night of 14-15 November, 449 German bombers dropped 1,400 high explosive bombs and 100,000 incendiary bombs on Coventry. 50,000 buildings were destroyed, with 568 people killed and 1,000 seriously injured. Coventry's medieval cathedral was destroyed by incendiaries dropped by the bombers. The Germans coined a new word, 'to coventrate', meaning the total destruction of a city.

[From a Channel 4 web site set up to support its television programme

on the Blitz in 2005]
SOURCE A2

For three nights in February 1941 German bombers visited Swansea. The bombing of the town by the Luftwaffe - which brought a hell on earth to all its inhabitants - began on that cold, snowy night of 19 February 1941 when bombs fell on the deserted streets - 'causing houses to dissolve like heated butter'. Fires raged around the town as bombs rained from the sky. The town centre was engulfed in flames. The devastation of the town brought many important visitors to view the damage first hand and bring comfort to those most deeply affected. Mrs Gladys Fisher of Milton Terrace recalled the day the King and Queen stood on the terrace to see the destruction inflicted on the town by the enemy. The visit had been kept secret, but at the last minute, Mrs Fisher and her neighbours rushed out of their damaged houses to cheer the Royal party. The Queen enquired if anyone had been hurt or suffered damage to their home, adding that she too understood what they were going through as her own home had been hit by bombs just two months earlier.



[Royston Kneath, a local historian writing in a book, Remembering the Swansea Blitz (December 2005)]



SOURCE A3

[A government propaganda poster to encourage people to wear gas masks (1940)]

SOURCE A4

[A photograph of a London tube station in December 1940, taken in secret by a professional photographer, but not shown until after the war had ended.]

SOURCE A5

I was sent to Aberdare to join other pupils from Ilford County High School in 1941 and I was to stay there until 1943. I didn't have much luggage to carry on the train, just a small suitcase, gas-mask and carrier-bag. When I arrived at the first place that I was allocated to, the people were rather formal and insisted on me having a hot bath immediately. I don't remember missing my parents much but my first foster parents soon moved me on to another childless couple, Mr and Mrs Stevens, probably because I had wet the bed a couple of times.


I found the Aberdare County School for boys exciting but because there were so many pupils from our school (the Ilford County High School) there as well, we had to stagger play-times. Marbles and football games were our favourite recreations in the playground. When I went to stay with Mr and Mrs Stevens their house was much warmer and more friendly than the house before had been, apart from the outside toilet, which was cold and wet in the winter! We listened to comedy programmes, 'Worker's Playtime' and 'ITMA' (It's That Man Again) on the wireless during the week. When Mr Stevens came home from the pits he had to have a bath in a tin bath in front of the fire to get rid of all the black coal dust!
I soon made friends with a Welsh boy called Jimmy and we sometimes played on a disused railway line at the top of the town. I also enjoyed singing in the school choir and music came to play a very important part in my life from then onwards.

[Douglas Cook, remembering his experiences as an evacuee in his local history article, Memories of my evacuation to Aberdare (2000)]


SOURCE A6

You bought thick black-out material at 2 shillings (10p) a yard and you prevented any gleam of light shining out from the windows. When the Blitz began people feared even to strike a match. Many things including pavement edges were painted white; pedestrians on the street wore something white at night. People lost their way, walked into canals, bumped into lampposts. Car headlights were shielded so only a thin beam of light pointed towards the road. . I heard that more people died from traffic accidents than from Nazi bombs.


People said only criminals, lovers and astronomers loved the Blackout. Firewatchers and street wardens stayed awake all night listening for any attack. Things were not always as well organised as they might be; my mother was put on listening duty, even though she was deaf. When the sirens went off at night mothers grabbed their children and went out to their Anderson shelter in the garden.
We brightened up ours with flowers growing on the roof, and pictures and put wallpaper on the walls. We always took with us our birth certificates, Post Office books, First Aid kit and personal treasures. Some people I knew in Mardale preferred to shelter under the Morrison shelter in their sitting room, or in the cupboard under the stairs but people stopped doing this after one of the houses in Mardale took a direct hit. I knew the family that lived there. It was very sad.

[Olive Blore, a resident of Birmingham, recalling her life during the war. Her memories are taken from an oral history archive and were recorded in 1982.]


SOURCE A7

Mother made tea and served it in the parlour. "I'm really worried," she said, "sooner or later the bombs will hit us, and what will we do then? I've heard stories about whole streets being destroyed in the east end of London." Father leaned on the mantelpiece. He sucked on his pipe, and then tapped it on the back of his hand. This was always the start of one of his sermons. Julie glanced at Roland; he rolled his eyes as if to say we all know what is coming next. "That's exactly the sort of talk that will lose us this war," Father said. "Hitler knows that he will have to break us if he is going to succeed with his bombs. We can take this! True, we have to put up with a little inconvenience, going out into the Anderson shelter every night, rationing and the blackout. But that is no hardship!" "Dundee cake anyone?" Mother enquired. Father continued, ignoring Mother's offer. "This war will be won by all of us rallying together. No German bombs can destroy that! They can destroy bricks and mortar but there is nothing the Hun can do that will break our spirit. If London can take it then so can we!" "Scone anyone?" said Mother.



[Taken from the novel The Avenue Goes to War by R F Delderfield (1958). The book is a fictional account of life in a suburban city street and is set during World War 2]


SOURCE A8




[A photograph showing a bus that had fallen into a crater near Euston Station in London after the air raids on the night of 8th/9th September 1940]

SOURCE A9

The impact of bombing attacks on civilian morale was a key concern for the government. News was censored and photographs of damage only released in stages, all of which often made people think things were worse than they really were. There was some anger in Swansea when the BBC reported that people in the town were still smiling even if they had lost friends and relatives. More accurate was The Times reporter who noted in his diary, 'The men looked tired and lacking hope and most of the women seemed to be almost in tears, their sadness and helplessness is very clear. There was misery everywhere." People did endure the horrors of the bombing with courage but that did not make it easy and government observers noted grumbles, nerves and jitters. The bombing and the way it was faced also created a shared sense of suffering with other towns and cities in Britain. There was some looting of bombed out houses but there were many more examples of bombed families, neighbours and strangers helping each other.



[Martin Johnes, a university lecturer, writing in Bombing Raids in Wales (2003)]



SOURCE A10





German bombing campaign over Britain 1940-41

Allied bombing campaign over Germany 1942-45

Tons of bombs dropped

70,000


1,350,000

Estimated no. of civilian casualties

45,000

635,000 (minimum)

No. of cities that lost more than 400 acres of buildings

2

31

Examples of building destruction

London lost 600 acres

Plymouth lost 400 acres

Coventry lost 100 acres


Berlin lost 6,427 acres

Hamburg lost 6,200 acres

Dusseldorf lost 2,000 acres

[Official statistics about bombing campaigns released by the British and

German governments.]


CONTROLLED ASSESSMENT TASK part (b)
Some people have the view that the British people responded to the Second World War in a positive and optimistic way.
How far do your selected sources support or contradict

this interpretation?



Notes for teachers/candidates about approaching this task
Underneath is a suggested structure which should be accessible to most candidates following a GCSE History course. It is offered as guidance and should not be seen as a writing frame or the only or best way to tackle this exercise.


  • An introduction

This needs to have a clear focus on the set question and also needs to show an awareness of what an interpretation actually is.

It needs a clear reference to the different interpretations of the issue / topic.

There is a need to briefly set the issue in its historical context.

There is NO NEED to evaluate any sources or evidence in this part of the assignment.


  • A discussion/explanation of the first interpretation

There should be a clear statement of this interpretation. There should be a clear attempt to explain how people who support this interpretation have arrived at their views.

There should be discussion of evidence which can be used to support this interpretation. Both content and attribution need to be addressed





  • A discussion/explanation of the second interpretation

There should be a clear statement of this interpretation.

There should be a clear attempt to explain how people who support this interpretation have arrived at their views.

There should be discussion of evidence which can be used to support this interpretation. Both content and attribution need to be addressed


  • Summary

There should be a final answer to the set question.

There should be a judgement reached as so which set of evidence is considered to have most validity in addressing the interpretation.


It is recommended that the answer to part (b) should be about 1200 words in total.
It is also recommended that candidates use no more than 4 sources from each section (8 in total) to explain how and why each interpretation has been arrived at.




SOURCES WHICH SUPPORT THE INTERPRETATION




SOURCE B1
The people in the East End and in many areas in the south, although living under terrible and almost impossible conditions, did everything in their power to keep up their morale. Under the circumstances, they were cheerful, did everything they could to comfort and encourage others, and always offered a helping hand wherever and whenever it was needed. Often people met in shelters as strangers, but in the morning they left as friends.
[George Emery, a Londoner who lived through the Blitz, remembering life during the Second World War. His memories were recorded on the BBC Education website in 1999]

SOURCE B2


Fifty years ago during the blitz, the British people showed that they didn't have to be in uniform to be heroes. Out of terror and tragedy came courage and an unshakeable determination. Those at home in the most appalling circumstances kept their sense of humour. Their memories will break your heart and make you smile.

[Ben Wicks, an historian, writing in his history book, Waiting for the All Clear (1990)]


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