Possible DBQs 2016/17

DBQ’s context questions as provided by the #LCHist Twitter community on Dictatorship and Democracy for Leaving Cert. 2016 and 2017.

Twitter handles to any contributor have been included. Of course all deserve a follow.

Thanks to all who helped out. 

The Jarrow March:

Describe the British Government’s response to Britain’s post war economic problems. @bcs_historydept

What were the causes and consequences of the Jarrow March, October 1936? @Hist_Matters 

To what extent did the Jarrow March succeed? @ConnollyTrevor

Did the Jarrow March reflect the reality of Britain’s economic problems? @historyjk

What were the economic and social conditions in Britain that led to the Jarrow march in October 1936? @Tumedel

Why did the Jarrow march (October 1936) take place and what did it achieve? @Tumedel

The Nuremberg Rallies:

How significant were contributions of Leni Riefenstahl and Joseph Goebbels to Nazi Propaganda? 

Besides the Nuremberg rallies what were the other features of Nazi propaganda? @bcs_historydept

What role did the Nuremberg Rallies play in Nazi propaganda?

What part did Leni Riefenstahl play in Nazi propaganda?

How significant a role did the Nuremberg Rallies play in Nazi propaganda?

How did the Nuremberg Rallies promote Nazi ideology in Germany between 1927 and 1939?

How successful were the Nuremberg Rallies? @ConnollyTrevor

What was the purpose of the Nuremberg Rallies between 1927 and 1939? @historyjk

How did the Nuremberg Rallies help to create propaganda for Hitler and the Nazi regime? @Tumedel

What were the Nuremberg Rallies and what was their importance? @Tumedel

How did the Nuremberg Rallies help to bring support to the Nazi regime in Germany? @Tumedel

Stalin’s Show Trials:

How important were the Show Trials in consolidating Stalin’s power? @bcs_historydept

What was the importance of Stalin’s show trials in Soviet Russia? (2006)

What impact did Stalin’s show trials have on the Soviet Union? (2007)

What was the purpose of Stalin’s show trials in the 1930s? (2008)

Why did Stalin set up show trials and to what extent did they achieve their result? (2011)

How did Stalin use the show trials and the Purges to consolidate his rule in the Soviet Union?

To what extent were the Purges and Show Trials part of Stalin’s scheme to establish a totalitarian state?

How important was terror for Stalin’s regime? @ConnollyTrevor

What did the Show Trials reveal about Stalin’s approach to leadership? @historyjk

Why did Stalin introduce a series of show trials and what was their impact on the USSR? @Tumedel

What was the purpose of Stalin’s Show Trials and were they effective? @ashjclery


Discuss the nature and impact of Nazi Anti-Semitism?


Anti-Semitism and the Holocaust had a massive impact in Europe between 1920 and 1945. The term anti-Semitism is used to describe the discrimination against Jewish people. This played a major part Hitler’s Germany. 3

Hitler came into power in 1933. He blamed the Jews for Germany’s defeat in the Great War and for ruining the economy. He believed that they were part of an international conspiracy, profiting from the misery of others and trying to take over the world. In his book “Mein Kampf” he constantly calls the Jews derogatory names such as “dirty”, “sly” and “eternal bloodsuckers.” He claimed that Jews were inferior to pure “Aryan” Germans. 5

In April 1933 the first anti-Jewish law banned Jews from having certain professions. September 1935, the Nuremberg laws were introduced. The Nuremberg Rallies had become a huge celebration of everything German, so Hitler had no problem using the rallies to promote these laws. Jews could no longer marry or have sexual relations with Aryans. Over time the laws were expanded. Jews were no longer allowed to go to the public swimming pool, parks or restaurants. Public buildings were closed to Jews and they were not allowed to join the army. They were no longer Citizens of Germany which meant they no longer had the vote. In 1939, a curfew was was added to these laws. They could no longer use public transport or own a bike or radio. Jews had to choose their child’s name from a list of approved names. This made Jews more recognisable and further isolated them from the Aryans. These laws were enforced in all countries controlled by the Nazis. 11

Hitler and Joseph Goebbels manipulated millions of Germans through use of anti-Semitic. Goebbels once said “if you tell a big lie often enough , people will believe it”. They used newspapers, films like “The Eternal Jew” and the radio to condemn Jews. There was a quota put on how many Jews were allowed a third level education. Organisations like “Hitler Youth” helped Hitler spread his views and isolate Jews even further. 5

In 1938 the killing of the German ambassador in Paris by a Jew sparked fury among the Nazis. Himmler , leader of the SS ordered troops not to wear uniform and attack Jewish shops and businesses during the night. This night became known as Kristallnacht, or night of broken glass. Huge damage was done to Jewish property. The Nazis did everything in their power to encourage the Jewish people to emigrate. By 1939 more than 130,000 jewish people did manage to emigrate. However the majority couldn’t due to lack of money which led to their inability to pay the emigration tax levied on them. Another factor was that other countries prevented immigrants entering their country without some financial security. 8

As World War 2 progressed millions of Jews fell under their control. Einsatzgruppen were set up to execute as many Jews as possible, However they were deemed ineffective as the number of Jews was just too high. Many Einsatzgruppen members had developed severe cases of mental trauma due to the violent mass killings they carried out. A new method of gassing Jews using mobile gas vans now became the preferred method. 5

Jewish residential districts were set up in Nazi occupied cities, usually the part where the slums were to be found. They became known as ghettos. High walls were built around the ghettos to prevent escape. Anyone who tried to escape could be shot dead on the spot. The Warsaw Ghetto was by far the biggest with over 450,000 Jews. As the war proceeded a plan was made to send Jews to Madagascar. They were to be loaded onto ships in various ports in Vichy France. The operation was almost underway, but a breakdown in transport communication prevented it from ever happening. 6

Instead the “Final Solution” was created. A plan was drawn up to conduct the largest genocide in history; The Holocaust. The Holocaust was the term used to describe the mass murder of over 6 million Jews by the Nazis. On the 20th of Jan 1942 the Wansee Conference was held. It was here that the fate of the Jews was decided. The meeting involved various senior officials of Nazi Germany. It was finally decided that all Jews would be sent to death/concentration camps where they would be worked to death or killed. 5

The most famous of these camps was Auschwitz in Poland. It was built to resemble a railway station on arrival. All new arrivals went through a selection process where they would be divided. Those who were able to work were sent to work camps where they would be killed through a process called ‘destruction through work’. Mothers,children, the old and sick were all sent straight to the gas chambers which were disguised as ‘showers’. The Nazis would force large groups into small cement rooms and pour acid in its crystal form through tiny holes in the roof. The prisoners died within minutes. Dr Joseph Mengele(The Angel of Death) was head of the selection process in Auschwitz. He specifically asked to be sent to Auschwitz because of the opportunities such a place presented. He kept a special eye out for twins who if found were destined for his lab. He viewed himself as strictly a scientist who had a great passion for his work. Some Jewish twins he would kill for pathological reasons while also operating on them without anesthesia. He even attempted to change eye colour to blue. He’d inject the eyes of children with a chemical that caused immense pain and even blindness. Even so Mengele escaped the Nuremberg trials by fleeing to South America. 10

At the end of World War Two, the Soviet army rolled into eastern Europe and the Nazis’ attempted to cover their tracks by forcing the Jews to evacuate the concentration camps and march westwards. Thousands of Jews died from exhaustion, hunger and the freezing cold on these ‘Death Marches’. By the end of the Holocaust more than six million Jews had been killed. A total of roughly nine million Jews lived in the countries that would be occupied by Germany during World War II. By the end of the war, two out of every three of these Jews would be dead, and European Jewish life would be changed forever. 6

(A “team essay” done by my Leaving Cert Students)

Marked as a Leaving Cert Essay

Cumulative Mark 60/60
Overall Evaluation 37/40


This map shows the approximate number of Jewish people killed in each country.
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

How effective were the internal and external policies of Benito Mussolini?


(A team essay done by my Leaving Cert. students)

Mussolini founded his Fascist Party in 1919. Because of the weakness of both Italian democracy and economy, Fascism quickly became a mass movement with over 2300 Fascist squads established throughout Italy, On the 30th of October, Mussolini staged a “coup d’etat”, when 30,000 Fascists marched on Rome from different parts of Italy. The King refused to order the army to move against the Fascists. Instead, fearing trouble he offered Mussolini to become Prime Minister of Italy. This gave him the chance to introduce both internal and external policies. 7

Mussolini introduced the Acerbo Law to strengthen his power ; this allowed a party with the largest vote to have two thirds of the seats in parliament. This proved to be highly effective as it was popular amongst the Italian public, as it saw an end to the terrible P.R system that was in Italy since WW1. This law was welcomed as it would end the instability in Italian politics. 5

During the first election campaign under this new system(1924), the Fascists used violence and terror to influence the vote. Giacomo Matteotti published a pamphlet called “ The Fascist Exposed” where he gave detailed information on the abuses that had taken place during Mussolini’s campaign. He also demanded an enquiry to be carried out. .As a result of this, Matteotti was brutally murdered by Backshirts. The Italian public held Mussolini responsible for his murder. However Mussolini survived. After this incident Mussolini quickly made Italy a dictatorship. In 1925 when Mussolini removed all the rights of the King to appoint or dismiss any government minister. All laws were now signed by Mussolini and strict censorship was applied to the media. Newspapers and any other forms of media had to promote Fascist values. Mussolini was now “Il Duce”(the leader) and had effectively established the first Fascist dictatorship in the world. 8 (A lot of information, but you need to make it more relevant to the set question)

After WW1, Italy’s economy was in turmoil. High unemployment, poverty and inflation were out of control. Mussolini promised to solve all these problems. First, he attempted to make Italy self- sufficient by introducing two battles: “The Battle for Wheat” and “The Battle for Land”. These however only brought limited success. However, the most important economic reform was the formation of the Corporate State. Mussolini wanted to build a “Third Way” to run the economy by taking the “best bits of both capitalism and communism”. Trade unions and strikes were forbidden and 1934, 22 corporations were formed, each representing a major part of the economy eg agriculture, mining, industry. The corporations were made up of employers, workers’ representatives and govt representatives; the Fascist party. Workers pay and conditions would be fixed by the corporations hoping to end the conflict between employers and employees. However the Corporate State was far from effective. It only benefited employers and most Italians suffered a decline in their standard of living. The governments’ representatives sided with employers. Even though there were short term improvements in unemployment the Italian economy did not improve under Mussolini. Italy’s disastrous performance in WW2 is proof of how ineffective Mussolini’s internal economic policy was. 11 (should have broken this par. in two for more marks)

One of the main characteristics of Mussolini’s Fascist State was his use of Propaganda. Mussolini’s son-in-law, Galeazzo Ciano was minister for propaganda and had a huge part to play in the development of Mussolini’s cult of personality. Mussolini’s effective propaganda machine depicted him as Italy’s “new messiah”. He was also presented as a family man, a talented musician, a brave conqueror, a man of adventure and new technology and a hero amongst the peasants. Pictures of Mussolini were everywhere. His slogans “Believe, Obey, Fight” and “Mussolini is Always Right” were inscribed on the walls throughout Italy. Newsreels, radio broadcasts and newspaper stories all glorified Mussolini. Mussolini was well aware that sport could be used as a useful propaganda tool and saw the 1934 World Cup as an opportunity to boost his Fascist regime. Also the Fascist Party organised mass rallies where Mussolini gave rousing speeches. His powerful propaganda machine portrayed him as a heroic figure, a man who could do no wrong. 9

Mussolini’s youth groups and education were also very effective. Schools were forced to teach Fascist ideas . Teachers were expected to take an oath of loyalty to the state .Those who didn’t lose their jobs. History was rewritten to emphasise the glories of the Roman empire, Italy and Mussolini. There was fascist youth groups one for both boys and girls .Girls joined the Picole Italiane, which promoted ideas of motherhood and domesticity. The Fascists were most successful in enrolling eight to fourteen year old boys into the Balilla organisation. It promoted physical fitness and military training . they wore uniforms blackshirt. During military exercises they were armed with toy yet sometimes real guns. At fourteen to seventeen boys joined the Avanguardisti. At eighteen years boys were compulsorily recruited into the Fascist Party. 8

Mussolini very effectively ended the sixty year dispute between church and state. When Mussolini signed the Latern Treaty on February 1929. This stated that Catholicism was the official religion of Italy . The Pope controlled the Vatican in turn the pope recognised the Italian State . The treaty was Mussolini greatest success. Pope Pius XI stated: “We have given God back to Italy, and Italy to God”. 5

Mussolini’s foreign policy was very unsuccessful. He wanted to make Italy ‘great,respected and feared’. Mussolini and Hitler disagreed at first as Hitler wanted to unite Austria with Germany. Mussolini stopped this as he feared that Hitler would claim the land that Italy had acquired from Austria after WW1. Mussolini even formed the Stresa Front with Britain and France against Hitler. After the Abyssinian War however, Mussolini and Hitler drew increasingly close as Hitler supported Mussolini during it. They both supported fellow Fascist, General Franco in the Spanish Civil War. They both sent weapons to help him with the war against the Communists. Then from 1936 onwards, they both signed a series of agreements, the most famous being the ‘Pact of Steel’, which was signed in 1939. This pact meant that if either Germany or Italy declared war, the other country would help and support the other country. 7

However when Germany did declare war, Italy did not join at first. Mussolini knew that Italy was both military and economically ill prepared. But after Germany took over France, Mussolini wanted a share in the spoils and joined WW2 in1940. Mussolini said that all he needed ‘was a few dead soldiers to sit at the victory table’. However, Mussolini under estimated the Allies and as a result, Italy suffered defeat in both South Africa and Greece. On both occasions, Hitler had to send some of his own troops to help the Italians. Hitler described Mussolini as a ‘school boy without his homework done’. 7

Overall, I think Mussolini was a bad leader. He took away the parent rights to care for their own children, ‘entrusting’ them to the State. He also brainwashed the Italian nation, as well as a lot of international leaders, such as Winston Churchill and Pope Pius XI, who described him as being a ‘great statesman’. Granted, however, he had a few successes such as improving Italy’s transport infrastructure by building the autostrasse.. He also dealt with the Italian Mafia more effectively than any other leader. However, both his economic and foreign policies proved to be highly ineffective and would later lead to Italy’s destruction in WW2. 7

CM 74/ 60

OE 37