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how do i avoid being narrative in my history essays? watch

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    my teacher constantly tells me that my essays are too narrative. i know i have to write analytically but i actually dont know how to. help
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    Have the exact same problem my teacher described me as telling a story much help ne
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    (Original post by 1nconnu)
    my teacher constantly tells me that my essays are too narrative. i know i have to write analytically but i actually dont know how to. help
    Hey, I used to have this problem (in my first history essay I got a C) then my teacher just said 'at the end of each paragraph you must explain how the information you chose answers the question'. So if it's 'how far do...something contributes to something', you'd say how far that 'something' created the outcome, then you'd say how another thing contributes to the outcome, not just the subject addressed in the question. (Sorry if I didn't explain it too well) In the next essay I got an A and following essays, seriously, it was that off-hand comment that brought it home to me. Just keep asking yourself 'so what? why did you include that information in order to answer the question being asked? Constantly go back to the question', even if it's obvious to you, you still have to put it down.
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    (Original post by can'tbeleftblank)
    Hey, I used to have this problem (in my first history essay I got a C) then my teacher just said 'at the end of each paragraph you must explain how the information you chose answers the question'. So if it's 'how far do...something contributes to something', you'd say how far that 'something' created the outcome, then you'd say how another thing contributes to the outcome, not just the subject addressed in the question. (Sorry if I didn't explain it too well) In the next essay I got an A and following essays, seriously, it was that off-hand comment that brought it home to me. Just keep asking yourself 'so what? why did you include that information in order to answer the question being asked? Constantly go back to the question', even if it's obvious to you, you still have to put it down.
    i dont know if you can be arsed to read my essay but here it is.this is how i did it.
    USSR advanced more under Stalin than at any other point since 1900.” How far do you agree?

    Towards the end of the 20th century, the USSR had become one of the most influential powers in the world. Under Stalin, one of the most ruthless dictators the world had ever seen, the USSR did not only politically transform but vastly improved its economy and society. However, it is the question of whether the country’s advancement in the previous years was stronger than that of Stalin that I will be questioning in this essay.

    After Lenin’s death in 1924, Stalin transformed Russia’s political character. He changed the country into a totalitarian state by ruthlessly removing all forms of what he suspected was threat/opposition to his power. The infamous Great Purge, which occurred in the years 1934 and 1938, saw many prominent communist party members such as Bukharin, Rykov, Yagoda executed. Bukharin in particular stood out as a threat to Stalin because of his intellect in which he had helped Lenin design the ‘socialism in one country’ doctrine. Despite being allies with Bukharin over the issue of the doctrine, historian Isaac Deutscher believes that Stalin felt ‘uneasy in the alliance’ because of Bukharin’s later influence in Leningrad. Hence, the reason he felt Bukharin was a large threat to his authority of power. Stalin justified the purges by stating that he was punishing those who had assassinated Kirov. Not only party officials were attacked, but counter revolutionaries and Trotskyites. They were accused of attempting to start up a counter revolutionary. It is estimated 14 executions took place of party officials. Furthermore, after 1936, show trials were introduced in which the accused would “confess” their guilt and the implication would be on other notable figures. By the end of 1938, Robert Conquest believes that the amount of people killed in the purges "can hardly be lower than some fifteen million". The reason for this is because when prominent party members were executed their friends, families, associates would also be killed just in case they would try and vendetta against Stalin over their loved one’s death. Overall, by 1938, Stalin had managed to eliminate all those he felt would threaten his authority.

    In contrast to the political changes of Stalin, Russian political advancement under the provisional government was significant. This is because the provisional


    government was very democratic, unlike the autocratic system that many had been used to under the Tsars. Following the abdication of Nicholas II after the revolution of 1917 which saw workers and soldiers take to the streets, the Tsar criticising ‘provisional committee’ changed to be the ‘provisional government’ with a new constituent assembly. This was truly democratic and a massive advancement for Russia because it finally caught up with the other western powers Britain, France etc, which by this time had already started exercising democracy. The government promised liberal reforms in which an amnesty was announced for all prisoners held for political or religious reasons to be freed. Furthermore, they allowed the right for freedom of speech and the right to hold political meetings and protests. This was considered a massive advancement because during the Tsars’ autocratic power, all these liberal reforms were not exercised and if one took part in voicing their own opinions or protested they could face exile, punishment or execution.

    Overall, politics in Russia had advanced more under the Provisional government because they attempted to create a democratic nation whereas Stalin had turned USSR into a fascist tightly controlled nation. Despite the provisional government facing difficulties, like the influence of power, they still attempted to liberalise Russia. The ‘dual power’ they had with the Petrograd Soviet weakened them into being later crushed by Lenin’s Bolsheviks in 1917. Furthermore, the fact that they were mainly middle class based made many look to the soviet because most members were mostly of peasants and workers’ backgrounds. Stalin on the other hand, had set the country back to its origins of repression, just like the autocracy that the Tsars attained. In other words, he did not benefit the USSR’s politics.

    The economy of the USSR changed drastically under Stalin. He wanted the country to reach the level of the west and maybe even surpass them. He aimed to make a good a deficit of “fifty or a hundred years” in “ten years” in which some historians regard as barbaric and incoherent. He launched the Five Year Plans in 1927 in order to rapidly industrialise USSR and rapid collectivisation enforced through a strict centralised control. This development became known as the “second revolution”. Although, the economy had reached its pre-war levels under Lenin’s New Economic policy, after the devastating effects of the war, Stalin felt that it was not enough and mentioned that if USSR did not


    progress then "the advanced countries...will crush us". A government body was created in order to oversee the 3 five year plans which lasted until 1941. This was called the Gosplan. It overlooked the output expenditure, aimed to improve the communications network, discover and exploit new resources and aimed to also set and achieve ambitious production quotas. The emphasis on heavy industries such as oil, steel, electricity saw success as the production of electricity more than trebled. Furthermore, USSR statistics show that by 1937 the USSR was virtually self-sufficient in machine making and metal working. Other sectors in coal and iron production doubled. Also huge new tractor works were built in Stalingrad, Kharkov and other places to meet needs of mechanised agriculture.

    In comparison to Stalin’s time, during Tsar Nicholas II’s reign, Russian economy progressed under finance minister Sergei Witte. Historian Abraham Ascher regards the progress as ‘remarkable’. This was due to a number of factors. For example, the railway trackage doubled through the creation Trans-Siberian Railway which helped the transportation of goods. Industrial expansion, which was aided by foreign investors e.g. France, benefitted coal output in southern Russia. It increased from 183 million to 671 million in 1900. Furthermore, industrial workforce increased to 2.3 million around 1900 which helped the economy because there were more goods being produced. Russian currency became the strongest it had ever been when the ruble was put on the Gold Standard. Witte’s reign as finance minister was short-lived because a year after the 1905 revolution a new finance minister was introduced; Peter Stolypin. He was more agriculturally based and believed that the way to make a great economy is through agriculture. As Russia was predominantly populated with peasants, he issued the ‘virgin lands’ in order for them to start individual farming and be ‘profit minded’. This was proved successful as capital stock in agriculture rose by 23%.

    Despite Russia evolving from being an agrarian nation to a major industrial superpower during Stalin’s time, there was correlation of decline in consumer industries. Food, house building, fertilisers, wood and textiles were all low in production. This is because Stalin emphasised industrial growth rather than in the consumer goods field. In addition there is evidence that the Five Year Plans were not well planned because many quotas that the Gosplan issued were not


    met. While the economy looked to have changed on the surface, it had not because Stalin made similar mistakes to Nicholas II. For example, unskilled workers in factories were never taught or instructed to work with machinery. This lagged the target achievements meaning that the economy could not progress successfully. Furthermore, despite Witte and Stolypin’s efforts to make the economy strong, they weren’t effective. This is because during WW1; the Ruble became weak due to inflation which was caused by the requirement of sustained expenditure on arms and military equipment by the state. It cost Russia fifteen times more than the Russo-Japanese war of 1904–5. In addition the economy was further worsened by the failure in transporting raw materials to main manufacturing centres: the economy was dependent on the railway network and they proved unable to cope with the twin demands of transporting soldiers and materials to the front and keeping Russian manufacturing industry supplied.

    Regarding all these factors, it seems that the economy did much better under Stalin because it was recognised by the rest of the world as the world’s second biggest industrial power for a long time.

    Towards the end of the 1920s, a cultural revolution occurred. It changed Russian society heavily because all things considered ‘socialist offensive’ were denounced. The kulaks participation in agriculture, the bourgeois specialists (Nepmen) in industry, and non-Marxists working in academic subjects all had to be replaced in order to find a truly ‘proletarian’ approach in these fields. Spearheaded by the Komosols, who were ‘altruistically devoted’ to the communist cause, the church was attacked. Priests were hounded out of their towns/villages because of their support for peasants who did not want collectivisation. Church bells were also melted in order to fund industrialisation. In addition the state imposed punitive taxes on the churches. As a result 1 in 40 churches was active by late 1930s and 12 out of 168 bishops were active by late 1930s. The attack didn’t just stop on religion but also on education. Shulgin a radical communist believed that the value of school was ‘withering away’. He felt that education must focus on ‘socially useful work’ which meant that children should be educated on how to operate within factories so that when they were old enough to work they would not struggle. Teachers were not in favour and expressed their concern. However, they were labelled ‘bourgeois specialists’ and replaced by ‘red specialists’. Literature was transformed by a


    group named RAPP who aimed to fight ‘deviations in literature’ in other words the socialist works, the religious works etc. They wanted all communists’ writers to write about the good of collectivisation and industrialisation.

    Similar to USSR’s emphasis on changing society by cleansing it from anti-communist factors, was Lenin’s attack on churches after the 1917 revolution. The Marxist belief is that religion gives people an opportunity to complain about the ways of the world and the dehumanised state of their lives because of the contents of the bible. Therefore, because of this influence that it had on the religious majority of Russia, Lenin felt it was necessary to eliminate religion. Despite, the Soviets' declaration that there was "religious freedom or tolerance”, in the RSFSR, the state established atheism as the only scientific truth. Destruction of churches, arrests and executions of many clerics occurred under the soviet government. It is estimated that 28 bishops and 1,200 priests were executed. In addition, criticism of atheism was strictly forbidden and sometimes led to imprisonment. Lenin had also argued that theProvisional Governmentwas unrepresentative of the proletariat's interests because, in his estimation, they represented the "dictatorship of the bourgeoisie". So he declared that Russia was to undergo a process of ‘dictatorship of the proletariat’. A lot of industry and factory owners were disenfranchised. This saw Russia’s society look to Lenin as he had denounced the much hated capitalists and made the workers feel accommodated.

    Overall, Stalin’s changes to society were similar to those of Lenin. The elimination of all anti-communist elements within Russia advanced the country vastly into favouring the majority of workers and peasants. Although, it did not benefit the capitalists, it brought support to the leaders and the communist cause. In comparison to the Tsarist society, the society under Stalin along with Lenin’s approach significantly changed the workers’ social standing.

    In conclusion, USSR did advance under Stalin but remained backward in its political outlook because of Stalin’s mass slaughters of innocent people which were carried out in order to gain authoritarian power. This advancement is signified in the progress of the economy in which the USSR became second largest industrial superpower during the 20th century.Although there was attack on any elements deemed to be anti-communist within society, the state made it possible for average workers and peasants to feel appreciated and accommodated within the USSR which was a massive advancement ,since many citizens had not felt appreciated in Russia under other leaders who didn’t care for them e.g. Nicholas II, Provisional Government.




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    Ok, first and foremost what exam board are you doing it with? That'll alter the exam technique because I must say, for Edexcel, it's too long.
    There's brilliant detailed knowledge in here, but you must be selective about what you use. The historical evidence you use must be directly in support of your answer. And the analysis must balance with the knowledge. I'd have combined how Russian advanced economically with under Stalin and the Tsar and draw a conclusion by comparing the two and use my evidence as to why I draw this conclusion.

    I'll try to give you a more in-depth answer later but I've just done my HAT test and I'm historied out
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    [QUOTE=can'tbeleftblank;45074588]Ok, first and foremost what exam board are you doing it with? That'll alter the exam technique because I must say, for Edexcel, it's too long.

    im with AQA
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    is this analytical enough? this is just a point i wrote but im wondering if it's okay.
    Did the Nazis create loyal citizens in Germany after 1933?
    The Nazis tried to mould loyal Nazi minded citizens.Perhaps in the ambition of creating a sense of volksmeinshaft. A particular targeted were the youth. This could have been because Hitler saw young people as Germany's future. Nevertheless,universities were transformed in order to create a Nazi cultivation to the students. Many lecturers were demoted off their positions because of their "selfish acquisition of knowledge". This shows that the nazi government feared the lecturers would teach things opposing the Nazi ideologies and beliefs and possibly encourage independent thinking. Considering the fact that 1200 lecturers left ,critics believe the country lost some of its "greatest thinkers". This highlights the damaging impact on Germany's education system that the Nazis created. It is unclear to what extent the educational reform affected the universities however,there is evidence of university students' decreasing,113.000 in 1933 to 57.000 in 1939. Suggesting that they were not successful in changing university goers minds.
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    (Original post by 1nconnu)
    is this analytical enough? this is just a point i wrote but im wondering if it's okay.
    Did the Nazis create loyal citizens in Germany after 1933?
    The Nazis tried to mould loyal Nazi minded citizens.Perhaps in the ambition of creating a sense of volksmeinshaft. A particular targeted were the youth. This could have been because Hitler saw young people as Germany's future. Nevertheless,universities were transformed in order to create a Nazi cultivation to the students. Many lecturers were demoted off their positions because of their "selfish acquisition of knowledge". This shows that the nazi government feared the lecturers would teach things opposing the Nazi ideologies and beliefs and possibly encourage independent thinking. Considering the fact that 1200 lecturers left ,critics believe the country lost some of its "greatest thinkers". This highlights the damaging impact on Germany's education system that the Nazis created. It is unclear to what extent the educational reform affected the universities however,there is evidence of university students' decreasing,113.000 in 1933 to 57.000 in 1939. Suggesting that they were not successful in changing university goers minds.
    oh, I get the problem. This is good, but you haven't actually answered the question, it may seem self-evident to you but you've got to put it down. WHY does this explain that the Nazis did/didnot create loyal citizens. I'd say 'clearly, due to the decreased number of university students, it would appear that they were successfully enforcing their vision onto the German citizens and since they readily obeyed, illustrates an extent of loyalty to nazis ideology. However, this rapid decrease in numbers attending could be accounted for by the various laws imposed on admissions to universities and the persecution of university lecturers, highlighting that this obeying of the nazis's was down to fear of persecution, not genuine loyalty.
    Moreover, there is a lot of surplus information in here which is not needed. Like the comment on how the country lost it's greatest thinkers, a valid point for an essay on the downfall of the nazis, but not in this essay since it does not highlight an actual fact demonstrating increased/decreased loyalty of the citizens.
    It's about discussion of your facts, and sticking to the question, why does what I've mentioned preceding the final analysis answer this question!? One advice I got from a teacher was ATDQ - answer the dammed question! It's true, stick to that constantly in any essay you write.
    You're on the right tracks to a good essay, it's just all about practise!
    Hope I helped a bit, sorry I didn't reply before
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    (Original post by 1nconnu)
    my teacher constantly tells me that my essays are too narrative. i know i have to write analytically but i actually dont know how to. help
    You know, it is quite difficult to advise you something on this problem because I have just the same(( I always tried my best... I suppose one should recite the historical events because it is after all the history essay! To this very day I use only this help -> http://goo.gl/H7fJVI . I wish I wrote such great essays like they do it for me by MY own. God knows, maybe soon I'll catch the idea how to write it in a proper way.
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    How far would you agree that politics advanced under Stalin?(this is just a overall analysis)

    Overall, Stalin’s rise and consolidation of power did not democratically advance politics in Russia. Even though the country was supposed to be following the communist cause which was about democracy, under Stalin that notion was exploited by the killing of the masses in USSR . Further to this , when the west became aware of political events within communist Russia, support for the USSR was robbed and made Stalinist communism “so repugnant that few would follow it again”. However, from Stalin's point of view politics would have seemed to advance because with the removal of other parliamentary parties he had established a governement with no opposition and no open criticism. Also, he had managed to be the all powerful leader.
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    Being narrative is an easy trap to fall into, as you stated previously, you get all the content in and it is brilliantly detailed and you think that you are answering the question. No no

    You need to be argumentative throughout

    I know it is basic, but follow the PEE structure; make your point, give your evidence and link that back to the question

    Try that for one of your paragraphs and you will see the difference
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