International Baccalaureate (IB) History I (Higher Level)

IB History is offered at the standard level (HL) and is designed as a two-year course for students pursuing an IB Certificate or IB Diploma.

The IB history course is designed to explicitly reinforce the emphasis on the development of international-mindedness. One of the key concepts that weaves throughout the course is perspectives, and, more specifically, an emphasis on encouraging students to appreciate multiple perspectives. In addition, all students are required to study case studies and examples from different regions of the world, with comparison of such examples helping to ensure that the course adopts a transnational perspective.

The aims of the HL history course are to:

  • Develop an understanding of, and continuing interest in, the past.
  • Encourage students to engage with multiple perspectives and to appreciate the complex nature of historical concepts, issues, events, and developments.
  • Promote international-mindedness through the study of history from more than one region of the world, develop and understanding of history as a discipline, develop historical consciousness, including a sense of chronology and context and an understanding of different historical perspectives, and develop key historical skills, such as engaging effectively with sources.
  • Increase students’ understanding of themselves and of contemporary society by encouraging reflection on the past.

IB History HL 1 is the intensive first year of the two-year IB History HL sequence. The main themes examined are the causes and effects of war and the development of authoritarian states. The majority of the case studies this course examines are closely intertwined with the major European powers: Great Britain, France, Germany, and the former Soviet Union (Russia). However, the course also explores the at times combating and at times symbiotic relationship between leaders and ideologies. As a case study, the course examines Fidel Castro’s nationalist revolution and subsequent embrace of communism and his regime’s subsequent antagonist relationship with the United States. We will begin our studies by examining World War I. World War I marked a turning point in world history. Its inconclusive and poorly conceived conclusion led to the development of authoritarian regimes in the recently established republics and democracy collapsed under the twin burdens of political fascism and economic collapse. World War II introduced the concept of total war to a global community on an unprecedented scale. Pivotal to the outbreak of World War II was German leader Adolf Hitler. World War II’s end led to the definitive collapse of the nineteenth-century empires. Following the dissolution of these global entity, bloody conflicts erupted over local political, economic, and social conditions. The process of decolonization was particularly evident in the Algerian Civil War and the Revolutionary War in Vietnam.

NOTE: Non IB diploma or certificate candidates may take IB History Year I HL, as a one year, stand alone course in either their junior or senior year. For this course, their transcript would read 20th Century World History. It receives no IB designation.

* International Baccalaureate (IB) courses are two years in length, taken during a student’s 11th and 12th grade years.

International Baccalaureate (IB) History I (HL) Instructor: Tim McCall