The Congress System Course Outline



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The Congress System

Course Outline

  • Vienna and post-Napoleonic settlement, attitudes of the Great Powers

  • Later Congresses: Aix-la-Chapelle, Troppau, Laibach and Verona

  • Metternich's influence in Austria-Hungary and Europe

  • Demands for parliamentary/constitutional reform

  • 1848 revolutions: causes, events, suppression, results

Past Questions

    1. How far do you agree with the statement that “security not revenge” was the main objective of the Statesmen at the Congress of Vienna in 1815?




    1. Examine the aims and principles of the European powers who took part in the Congress of Vienna, September 1814 to June 1815.




    1. Explain whom you consider were the winners and losers of the Vienna settlement (1814/15).




    1. How far did the Congress of Vienna solve the problems faced by its delegates?




    1. “The success of the Congress of Vienna has been much exaggerated.” How valid is this assessment of the short-term and long-term results of the Congress?




    1. In what way did the Congress of Vienna and the Congress System reflect Metternich’s aims?




    1. Analyse the successes and failures of both the Congress of Vienna and the Congress System.




    1. How far do you support the claim that the Congress of Vienna and the Congress System were “a study in allied unity”?




    1. Examine the working of the Congress System between 1815 and 1825.




    1. “Selfish manipulation (exploitation) by great powers”. To what extent is this a fair judgement of the Congress System in the period 1815-1825?




    1. Why did Europe erupt into revolution in 1848?


The Hapsburg Empire 1815-1918

Course Outline

  • Austria and Prussia, 1815 to 1848

  • Economic developments, the Zollverein

  • 1848 revolutions

  • Wars, unification of Germany

  • The dual monarchy, Austria-Hungary

  • Dissolution of the Empire

Past Questions

  1. In 1820 Metternich complained: “Today I must devote myself to propping up rotten buildings”. What did he mean and how successful was he?




  1. Evaluate the extent to which Metternich achieved his aims for Austria and for Europe.




  1. For what reasons, and with what justification, is the period 1815 to 1848 known as “The Age of Metternich”?




  1. Account for the outbreak of any two revolutions in 1848 and assess their results.




  1. Analyse the causes and results of political and economic unrest in any two European countries between 1830 and 1850.




  1. Why and with what results did revolutions occur in 1848 in two of the following: Austria; Germany; Hungary; Italy?




  1. What were the causes and results of the 1848 revolutions in the Austrian Empire?




  1. Examine the strengths and weaknesses of Austria in the first half of the 19th century.




  1. With what justification can it be said that the first half of the 19th century witnessed the inevitable decline of Austria?




  1. How and why did events concerning Austria-Hungary effect Europe between 1867 and 1914?




  1. In what ways was the Ausgleich (compromise) of 1867 a turning point in Austrian history?




  1. Explain the importance for Austria of the Ausgleich (the agreement which provided for the Dual Monarchy) of 1867, and the Congress of Berlin, 1878.




  1. “The establishment of the Dual Monarchy in 1867 delayed, but could not prevent, the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.” How justified is this view?




  1. Account for the weakness and decline of Austria-Hungary between 1867 and 1914

Italy 1815-1871

Course Outline

  • Separatism, the Papacy, Rome

  • Republicanism, 1848 revolutions

  • Growth of power of Piedmont-Sardinia

  • Contribution of Mazzini, Garibaldi and Cavour

  • Foreign involvement


Past Questions

    1. “The involvement of foreign powers was of crucial importance to the Unification of Italy.” How far do you agree with this statement?




    1. Show how Italian unification was achieved in spite of the problems caused by the existence of various secular states and the Papal states.




    1. How serious an obstacle to Italian unification was the Papacy between 1815 and 1870?




    1. Why did it take so long to unify Italy?




    1. How and why did Piedmont/Sardinia play an important part in Italian unification?




    1. How, why, and with what results did Rome remain outside a unified Italy until 1870?




    1. How and why did Cavour contribute to Italian unification?




    1. Analyse the aims, motives and policies of Cavour between 1852 and 1861.




    1. “Cavour’s main aim for Italy was independence rather than unification.” How far do you agree with this quotation and consider that it explains his success?




    1. In 1861 Cavour said, “Rome must be the capital of Italy because without Rome Italy cannot be constituted.” Assess Cavour’s attitude to and contribution to Italian unification in the light of this statement.




    1. Why has it been claimed that Italian unification needed both a Cavour and a Garibaldi?




    1. Compare and contrast the aims and achievements of Mazzini and Cavour.




    1. Compare and contrast the aims and achievements of Mazzini and Garibaldi.




    1. Why and with what justification is Garibaldi regarded as an Italian patriot?




    1. Compare and contrast the contributions of Mazzini and Garibaldi to Italian unification.


German Unification

Course Outline

  • Austria and Prussia, 1815 to 1866

  • Bismarck, Prussian domestic and foreign policies, to 1871

  • Wars, unification of Germany

Past Questions


  1. In what ways were the seeds of German unification sown between 1800 and 1815 and how much progress had been made towards this goal by 1853?




  1. What did the 1848 Revolutions reveal about the strengths and weaknesses of Austria and Prussia?




  1. How far is it true to say that Austria lost control of Germany rather than Prussia gained it?




  1. Show how the policies of Metternich and Bismarck contributed to the defeat of Austria by Prussia in 1866.




  1. Why was it that Prussia, rather than Austria, had achieved the dominant position in Germany by 1866?




  1. It has been claimed that Germany was united “more by coal and iron than by blood and iron”. How far do you agree that economic power contributed more to the unification of Germany than did the military victories of the 1860s?




  1. To what extent were Bismarck’s successes due to the mistakes of his opponents?




  1. Explain how the inherent strength of Prussia combined with Bismarck’s political skills achieved German unification.




  1. To what extent is it true to say that Bismarck gave Germany many years of prosperity and legal government and Europe a period of peace?




  1. In 1867, Bismarck said: “Anyone who has looked into the eyes of a soldier dying on the battlefield will think hard before starting a war.” Analyse Bismarck’s foreign policy in the light of these words.




  1. What advantages and disadvantages did Bismarck inherit when he became Minister President of Prussia in 1862 and how did he use the advantages to bring about German unification?




  1. “Bismarck’s greatness lay not in mastering events but in going with events so as to seem to master them.” How far do you agree with this judgement?




  1. To what extent should Bismarck receive credit for the unification of Germany?




  1. Compare and contrast Bismarck’s policies towards Austria and France between 1862 and 1871.

The Kaiserreich
Course Outline

  • Bismarck and Prussia/Germany, 1871-1890

  • Wilhelmine Germany, 1890 to 1918; domestic and foreign policies

Past Questions

  1. What were the main problems faced by Bismarck after 1871 and how successfully did he resolve them?




  1. “No man has had so great an effect on Germany and none a more profound effect on Europe.” Evaluate this quotation on the career and importance of Bismarck.




  1. What problems did Bismarck face at home after 1871?




  1. What were the main political, social and religious problems which affected the German Empire between 1871 and 1914?




  1. “Bismarck’s policies both at home and abroad, between the years 1871 and 1890, merely stored up problems for the future, both for Germany and Europe.” To what extent do you agree with this verdict?


France 1815-1871

Course Outline

  • The Restoration, Louis XVIII, Charles X

  • The 1830 Revolution

  • Louis Philippe and 1848

  • Napoleon III, domestic and foreign policies

  • 1870-1871

Past Questions


    1. How far do you agree with the claim that the restoration of the Bourbons to the French throne was “doomed to failure”?




    1. Compare and contrast the aims and policies of Louis XVIII and Charles X.




    1. How far is it true to say that, “Louis XVIII’s policies proved that the Bourbon restoration in France could work, but that the policies of Charles X ensured it would fail.”




    1. Why did Louis Philippe replace Charles X as the French King in 1830?




    1. How far is it true to say that the so-called Revolution in France in 1830 was inevitable?




    1. In what ways was the 1830 Revolution in France conservative, and how did the nature of his accession affect the policies of Louis Philippe?




    1. Account for the changes in the way France was governed between 1830 and 1875.




    1. How and why were the hopes of revolutionaries in France frustrated between 1848 and 1853?




    1. Why were so many people in France prepared to vote for Louis Napoleon in 1848 but accept his coup d’état in 1851?




    1. Analyse the successes and failures of Napoleon III’s domestic policies.




    1. To what extent, and with what results, did Napoleon III liberalise the Second Empire in France?




    1. Which of Napoleon III’s policies reflected genuine care for the well-being of his subjects?




    1. To what extent was Napoleon III responsible for his own downfall?




    1. How far would you agree that Napoleon III was more successful in his domestic than in his foreign policy?




    1. How far was Napoleon III responsible for the dangers that overwhelmed him ?

Alexander II & Tsarist Russia


Course Outline


  • Tsarism and Russia

Past Questions

  1. In what ways, and for what reasons, did Alexander II attempt to reform Russia between 1855 and 1866?




  1. Evaluate the motives for an results of Alexander II’s reforms?




  1. To what extent did the reforms of Alexander II fulfill his aims?




  1. What problems did Alexander II face in 1855 and how far was he successful in solving them?




  1. Alexander II believed that it was his duty to improve the structure of the State when necessary. Why did he believe this, and what were the results of his belief?




  1. Why, in spite of his efforts to reform Russian institutions, was Alexander II assassinated?




  1. How far was Alexander II responsible for the dangers that overwhelmed him?




  1. How far is it true to say that Russia was transformed into a modern country between 1855 and 1900?




  1. What factors led to the increase of opposition to the ruling Romanov dynasty in Russia between 1855 and 1905?




  1. Why, in spite of efforts to reform, was Russia still a backward country at the end of the 19th century?




  1. How successful were the efforts to modernize and reform Russia in the second half of the 19th century?

The End of Tsarist Russia


Course Outline

  • Alexander III, economic policies, Witte, repression

  • Nicholas II

  • Growth of revolutionary opposition and Soviets

  • 1905 Revolution, reforms and reaction

  • Impact of the war, 1914-1917

  • 1917 Revolutions


Past Questions

  1. Assess how successfully the Tsarist government dealt with the needs and demands of the Russian people between 1881 and 1917.




  1. Why did the Tsarist regime survive the 1905 revolution, but perish in the 1917 revolutions?




  1. Compare and contrast the causes of the 1905 and February/March 1917 revolutions in Russia.




  1. With what justification can it be said that the First World War affected the timing of the 1917 Russian Revolutions but not their outcome?




  1. Account for the failure of Russian Liberals after 1905 and the success of Lenin from 1917.




  1. Account for the survival of Nicholas II in 1905 and his overthrow in 1917.




  1. Why was the Tsarist regime in Russia overthrown in 1917 and not in 1905?




  1. Why were there two revolutions in Russia 1917? Explain why the first could be considered a failure and the second a success.




  1. Account for the failure of the Provisional Government in Russia to retain power in 1917.



The Causes of the First World War


Course Outline

  • Great Power diplomacy and alliances

  • The Balkans as a factor

  • Imperialism as a factor

  • The arms race

  • Fisher thesis

Past Questions


  1. Why and with what results did relations between Britain and Germany deteriorate between 1890 and 1914?




  1. “Of all the factors that led to the outbreak of World War One in 1914, imperialism was by far the most important.” How far do you agree with this statement?




  1. Why, how and with what results did conflicting interests in Africa cause tensions between Europe states between 1880 and 1914?




  1. In what ways was nationalism a force for disruption between 1870 and 1914?




  1. How did events in the Balkans cause disruption in Europe between 1878 and 1914?




  1. Assess the relative importance of long and short term causes of the First World War.




  1. Analyse the main issues that caused tensions among European nations at the end of the 19th century.




  1. Evaluate the relative importance of imperialism, the arms race and the failure of diplomacy in causing the First World War.



  1. Why were diplomatic efforts unable to prevent the outbreak of war in 1914



USSR: 1917 – 1991


Course Outline

  • 1917

  • The Bolshevik Party, Lenin, Trotsky

  • Civil war, war communism, NEP

  • Nature of the USSR, ideology, propaganda, repression, the state, the party

  • Power struggle and the emergence of Stalin

  • Collectivization, Industrialization, Purges

  • The Great Patriotic War

  • Stalin, Krushchev & Brezhnev's domestic policies

  • Gorbachev, perestroika & glasnost

  • Disintegration of the USSR


Past Questions

  1. Account for Lenin’s success in establishing himself as ruler of Russia.




  1. “Much of Lenin’s success was no doubt explained by his towering domination over his (Bolshevik) party.” To what extend does this explanation account for his rise to power and rule, 1917 to 1924?




  1. Compare and contrast the economic policies of Lenin and Stalin and evaluate their success.




  1. Compare and contrast the roles of Lenin and Trotsky in the Russian Revolution and establishment of the Bolshevik regime.




  1. Compare and contrast the roles of Lenin and Trotsky in establishing the USSR up to 1924.




  1. Explain the circumstances in which Stalin followed Lenin as the ruler of USSR, and analyse the nature of his power between 1927 and 1939.




  1. “The fact that Stalin became the dominant leader of Russia by 1929 indicates that he was a more skilful politician than Trotsky.” How far do you agree with this statement?




  1. With what justification has the period 1928 to 1939 been called “Russia’s industrial revolution”?




  1. Brutal and dictatorial though it was, the Soviet system was not totalitarian. How far do you agree with this assessment of the USSR under Stalin?




  1. Evaluate the claim that Stalin’s greatest war achievements were as much diplomatic as military.




  1. Analyse the factors which enabled the USSR to survive the German invasion of 1941.




  1. How successful were the major changes which took place in Soviet industry and agriculture between 1928 and 1941, and how did they affect the lives of the people?




  1. Compare and contrast the policies of Khrushchev and Gorbachev.



Spain & Franco



Course Outline

  • Primo de Rivera and the dictadura

  • Spain to 1931

  • Causes, events and results of the Spanish Civil War

  • The role of foreign powers

  • Franco's dictatorship

  • The transition to democracy



Past Questions


  1. Why did the Constitutional Monarchy in Spain collapse in 1931?




  1. Why did civil war break out in Spain in 1936?




  1. Analyse the causes and results of the Spanish Civil War.




  1. Why did civil war break out in Spain in 1936 and what were the political, social and economic results of the war for that country?




  1. Analyse the strengths and weaknesses of the opposing sides in the Spanish Civil War.




  1. Assess the impact of political and constitutional developments in either Spain between 1930 and 1939, or Portugal between 1968 and 1976.




  1. Explain why Franco’s forces won the Spanish Civil War, and why the Republican forces lost.




  1. Account for the relative success up to 1939 of Franco.




  1. Why did internal tensions in Spain during the 1920’s and 1930’s erupt into war in 1936?




  1. Analyse the ideological, economic and strategic aspects of the causes and the course of the Spanish Civil War.




  1. To what extent did the reaction of foreign powers dictate the course and outcome of the Spanish Civil War?




  1. Assess the aims and achievements of Franco between 1936 and 1970.




  1. After 1939 did Franco heal the wounds that had resulted from Spanish Civil War or profit from the divisions it had created?




  1. To what extent can you call the rule of Franco a fascist dictatorship?




  1. Assess the achievements of Franco in Spain.




  1. How far had the divisions caused by the civil war in Spain been healed by 1980?


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