This is the final selection from Guns of August. These three chapters fit together well in a coherent narrative as a concluding section of the book. Note that even as German forces loomed near Paris, squabbling within and between the Allied armies continued,
As you read the final chapter and afterword, you will see Tuchman develop her conclusion and discuss the significance of this history of August 1914. You should now have enough time to review the book, complete your questions, and draft the creative essay.
If you have been following the informal pacing guide on this blog, you will finish McPherson’s Drawn With the Sword this week. Chapter 14 is more directly relevant to your preparation for the IB exam than chapter 15, but both are worth reading. The essay in chapter 14 is a helpful introduction to one of the major themes of the Civil War unit, the global impact of the war. Pay special attention to the complex reaction to the war and emancipation in Great Britain and France.
The following essay will provide perspective as you examine and compare academic and “popular” history in coming years, and the tension within the historical profession between maintaining high professional standards of research and reaching the public.
I have uploaded the detailed rubric for the creative essay response to Guns of August on the IB History Year 1 webpage.
This week’s reading in Guns of August covers the retreat from the Battle of the Frontiers and preparations to defend Paris in the face of the coming German offensive. In this section, I recommend paying attention to relations between French forces and their British allies. How well do these allies cooperate, and what factors hinder effective collaboration? You might also consider comparing and contrasting the generalship of Joffre, Lanrezac, Gallieni, and French.
Another important theme to consider is the significance of Paris. Pay attention to the significance of Paris and the disagreement over whether the city should be defended. Also note Tuchman’s ability as a writer to build suspense, a respectable feat considering that she is writing history (and we already know the ending.)
If you have been keeping up with my pacing suggestions, this week’s selection is the penultimate excerpt of Drawn With the Sword. The two essays for this week both deal with the legacy of Abraham Lincoln. The first discusses the historical memory of Lincoln, and why he has remained the iconic American president. McPherson also analyzes the Gettysburg Address, which we will spend some time examining this fall. You may agree or disagree with McPherson’s application of modern political ideology to Lincoln, which may be another interesting area for discussion this year.
The second essay deals with a question that we discussed to a limited extent in AP US History, and will be talking about more in the coming months. McPherson does an excellent job of explaining both sides of the debate and then arguing his view. I would recommend this essay as a model for constructing arguments in your EEs and IAs.
In this week’s reading you will find two excellent essays on Robert E. Lee and Ulysses S. Grant. Both generals are included in the list of leaders assigned as case studies on the IB History of the Americas syllabus. These chapters are thus directly relevant to studying for Paper 3, and I recommend taking careful notes. The first essay in particular is useful for historiography. Both essays will serve as a good starting point for lecture and discussion this year on generalship and strategy in the Civil War.
I also cannot recommend highly enough the indirect advice on writing offered on pages 165-166.
This week’s selection begins with the decisive Battle of Tannenberg on the Eastern Front. We will spend less time this coming year discussion the Eastern Front than the Western Front during the First World War unit, but it is certainly significant when the longer term repercussions are considered. The following two chapters are related in that they both discuss reasons for the later transition of the United States from a neutral to a belligerent.