IB History SL & HL Paper 2 Causes and Effects of 20th-century Wars: The Second World War
Edition: 1
Number of pages: 122
ISBN: 9781910689356OSC Publishing

This revision guide supports exam preparation for IBDP History Paper 2, focusing on the Second World War to explore Topic 11: Causes and Effects of 20th-century Wars. Structured to mirror the syllabus, it will help you to understand the essential issues and approaches that examiners will be looking for in your essays.

Coverage includes:

  • The political developments and crises that preceded war
  • The nature and course of the war in its main theatres and campaigns
  • The impact of naval, aerial, and total war on civilian populations
  • The economic, social, and geopolitical consequences of the conflict

Key features:

  • Guidance, tips, and advice from an expert revision teacher
  • Recognises differing historical interpretations of core issues
  • Exam-style questions test understanding and recall, with guidance on potential approaches
  • Key Issues boxes explore the questions that are most important to historians and examiners
  • Key Terms boxes offer succinct definitions of essential technical and historical terms
  • Timelines help visualise and contextualise important events
  • Short biographies introduce key figures on all sides of the conflict

What Joe has to say about his book...

The guide’s overall structure mirrors the IB History syllabus for 20th-century Wars, making it easy for students to see how the guide can help them prepare to answer questions on each bullet point of the syllabus, using the Second World War as a discrete example.

Although, primarily, this guide is intended to help SL and HL candidates who are studying the Second World War as a case study for World History Topic 11: Causes and Effects of 20th-century Wars for Paper 2, it will also be of considerable help to HL candidates studying any of the following topics for Paper 3: Option 2: History of the Americas, Section 13: The Second World War and the Americas (1933–1945); Option 3: History of Asia and Oceania, Section 11: Japan (1912–1990), Section 12: China and Korea (1910–1950), Section 13: Impact of the World Wars on South-East Asia; Option 4: History of Europe, Section 15: Versailles to Berlin: Diplomacy in Europe (1919–1945).

Key Issues boxes are used throughout the text to focus readers on the questions that historians and examiners are interested in exploring for this topic and to help students understand the main points that they can use to address these questions. I have also used Key Terms throughout the guide to ensure that students understand important technical or historical terms relating to the topic.

In a number of places in the guide, I have highlighted differing historical interpretations of key issues. This will help students to develop an understanding of the ‘differing perspectives’, which the IB History Paper 2 and Paper 3 mark schemes refer to as a feature the examiner will expect to see in the higher mark bands.

At the end of the guide, there are two essay questions. By examining these questions, students will be able to test their understanding and recall of the material and, in addition, practise their essay-writing skills. For the first question, I have left space for students to map out an answer and then provided my plan for them to compare their own ideas to. In the second example, I have provided a student’s answer to a question on the Second World War and invite readers to evaluate its strengths and weaknesses, before providing my own suggestions for ways in which it can be improved.


Joe Gauci read Modern History at Lincoln College, Oxford and has taught History since 1984. He has taught IB History at Malvern College, UK, since 1995, where he oversees its academic life as Deputy Head. He has experience as an examiner and has been teaching revision to students from around the globe since 1996.