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Why is there more peace than war in Europe?

This activity was created by Helen Snelson and Richard Kennett.

I saw their tweets about the linked session they ran at a Euroclio conference and asked them if they’d like to make their plans and material available. So here they are.

To follow more of Richard and Helen’s work see:

• Helen and @SnelsonH

• Richard and @KenRadical

Here is their description of the activity:

Helen and Richard Write …

This material was developed to help students engage with the history of Europe in the 20th century.  It is quite a neglected area in most English schools’ schemes of work.  Yes, we often teach Europe under the Cold War.  Yes, we teach the Western Front and possibly some of World War Two.  However, when do we engage our students with some big questions about the continent across the 20th century?  Do they know how and why Europe has changed?  Do they know why the EU was set up?  Do they know what the impact of the Cold War or the end of the Cold War was on Europe? As some of our older students will be part of big decisions on Britain's role in the European project, and there is so much in the news about issues relating to Europe as a whole, shouldn't we be engaging with the history to help our students understand the present?  We think the answer to these questions is: 'YES!' and the two lessons here are part of that project.  

These two lessons are designed to help year 8/9 students discuss some of the ways Europe was different in 1900 than in 2000, and to learn about, and get engaged with, the debate about why most of Europe has had an unprecedented period of peace since 1945.  The first lesson uses source material to enable students to create hypotheses about how Europe changed in the areas of technology, crime, wealth, education, politics.  They then discuss which of these seem to have changed the most.  In the second lesson students study some interpretations put forward to explain why Europe was more peaceful by the end of the 20th century.  They discuss the contents and connections of these and present their own thoughts in a diagram. The idea is to provide them with some reasoned arguments about the rather large question 'Why is there more peace than war in modern Europe?' and to encourage them to develop their own informed views.  


Download the resources:

• Lesson Plans [ here … ]

• Lesson 1 PowerPoint [ here … ]

• Lesson 1 Factor Headings [ here … ]

• Lesson 1 Picture Starter [ here … ]

• Lesson 1 Source Pack [ here … ]

• Lesson 1 Worksheet [ here … ]

• Lesson 2 Interpretations [ here … ]


Constructive feedback is always welcome, particularly anything that will help other teachers.

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