Text: Palmer, R.R., J. Colton and L. Kramer. A History of The Modern World (9th edition). Toronto: McGraw Hill, 2002. ISBN 0-07-112137-4. *
*Purchased through school as not available through Learning Resources Development Centre. *8th edition is also suitable.

Course Outline:


History 4285 is an International Baccalaureate course that is completed after IB European History 3285. Both courses form the IB Higher Level Diploma history syllabus taught as part of the IB Diploma Program at Holy Heart Regional High School. Students are required to study one prescribed subject, two 20th century world history topics, one regional option (Europe), and one historical investigation (2000 words). This study is completed over two years with students writing three IB papers (exams) in May of the second year of study. Listed below are the major topics and themes for IB 4285:


1. THE USSR UNDER STALIN, 1924-1941 (Paper 1/Prescribed Subject)


  • Stalin’s dictatorship up to the German invasion of the USSR during the Second World War. Focus areas are:
  • struggle for leadership
  • collectivization and agricultural policies
  • Five Year Plans, industrialization and rearmament
  • nature of the Soviet state, constitution, extent of Stalin’s Power, cult of personality
  • purges and their impact on society
  • foreign relations, USSR and Nazi Germany and the Nazi/Soviet Pact.


2. 20th CENTURY HISTORY (Paper 2)

Topic 1 – Causes, Practices and Effects of War



War was a major feature of the 20the century. In this topic various types of war will be identified, and the causes, nature, effects and results will be studied. Themes are as follows:




    • Russian Revolutions (1905 and 1917)
    • First World War (1914-18)
    • Spanish Civil War (1936-39)
    • Second World War (1937-45)
    • Cuban Revolution (1959)

Topic 2 – The Rise and Rule of Single Party States




The 20th century produced many single party states. The origins, ideology, form of government, organization, nature and impact of these states will be studied. Focus areas are:




    • Vladimir Lenin (USSR)
    • Josef Stalin (USSR)
    • Benito Mussolini (Italy)
    • Adolf Hitler (Germany)
    • Francisco Franco (Spain)
    • Fidel Castro (Cuba)




  • Tsarist Russia to Communist USSR
  • Causes, Course and Effects of the First World War
  • The Interwar Years (1919-39)
  • Totalitarian Europe (1922-1953): Fascist Italy, Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia
  • Causes, Course and Consequences of the Second World War (1939-45)



*Note: Themes from 1789 to 1900 are studied in European History 3285.



Students receive two marks on evaluation: one mark (1 to 7) for IB performance and one mark (%) for provincial performance.

International Baccalaureate Mark


Written IB Exams


  • Paper 1 (1 hour/4 questions) 20%
  • Paper 2 (1.5 hours/2 questions) 25%
  • Paper 3 (2.5 hours/3 questions) 35%


Internal Assessment


  • Historical Investigation (2000 words) 20%


Provincial Mark


  • January Exam 65% *World History Exam Format
  • Tests 15%
  • Assignments 20%