Endel555
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Attempted my first History Essay I got for a class project over the Summer. I'd appreciate some constructive criticism so I can improve. I also couldn't find any exemplar essays and was really unsure with my conclusion.
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04MR17
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Long post incoming.


I'd recommend you lose the first person.

Repeating the question verbatim as your opening sentence is a waste of time.
"It is only partially accurate to describe the cold war as an ideological inevitability."

Your list of factors is getting long and you're not telling me what connects them all - which a good introduction will.
To assess whether that this is an agreeable statement I must go over the different factors of the Cold War including the ideological differences in Capitalism & communism, how ideological differences affected the Potsdam conference, Truman’s Presidency and doctrine, NATO, and finally Soviet expansion in Eastern Europe (‘The Iron Curtain’).
Could instead be:
This essay shall include various events during the early cold war from the Potsdam conference to the formation of the iron curtain and assess the ideological differences between East and West during this time.

You're saving yourself time and you're being more clear to the examiner.

I'm now jumping to your conclusion.
Your first sentence is comprised of 3 sentences merged together to make a 4.5 line string.
"To say that one factor would cause the Cold War’s inevitability is invalid, since there are several reasons that the Cold War could have (don't use contractions) been made inevitable other than primarily ideological differences. The Berlin Blockade, formation of NATO and (most importantly) Truman’s Presidency all clearly contributed to an escalation of tensions and arguably set both sides into an irreversible policy."

The punchier the better, as above. ^


Going back up to your second paragraph now, your first sentence is a copy and paste from the introduction.
The majority of the paragraph consists of basic statements that don't bring anything in particular to the essay.
The USA was a capitalist nation and the USSR was a communist nation. Each believing their way of life was superior. The USA believed that the USSR wanted to convert the world to communism, this increased suspicions of the USSR. On the other side of the spectrum, The USSR believed the USA wanted to destroy capitalism.
So what?

I'd return to the question at the end of each paragraph too.

You don't need to compare whether the current argument is stronger than the one in the previous paragraph. If you want to do that it is best served in the conclusion I feel.

You also don't need to tell me how NATO formed, instead tell me why it is or isn't significant.
This resulted in Europe being divided into two different sides. Though one could say this is a weaker argument as many believed that the Cold War was already inevitable by this point.
This is the bit that needs expanding, the rest of the paragraph needs trimming down.


Your Truman paragraph is considerably better than the rest. Well done.
I'd suggest you either select fewer, or trim down your use of quotes. But most importantly analyse what's been said, build on it, rather than list what 1 historian after another thinks about the subject.
"Alan Offner described x,y,z - therefore it is reasonable to say that Truman made the Cold War inevitable. This is further supported by Joseph Siracusa who argues that...."
You don't even have to quote them in order to use them.

Be careful about being too narrative in that last paragraph. Stick very firmly to the question. This isn't a documentary. You're telling me what was more significant and why, not what happened.


Overall this is a good attempt and you demonstrate some good knowledge and excellent use of other historian's viewpoints. You need to seriously think about how you're tackling the question and avoid answering in ways that are narrative.
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04MR17
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(Original post by 999tigger)
What level is the essay?
AS according to the label in the forum
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999tigger
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(Original post by 04MR17)
AS according to the label in the forum
My TSR Forums Study Help Arts and humanities academic help History study help

Didnt, couldnt, can't see it.
Anyway as you have done the feedback, which am sure is more than enough I shall delete my post.
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Endel555
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(Original post by 04MR17)
Long post incoming.


I'd recommend you lose the first person.

Repeating the question verbatim as your opening sentence is a waste of time.
"It is only partially accurate to describe the cold war as an ideological inevitability."

Your list of factors is getting long and you're not telling me what connects them all - which a good introduction will.
To assess whether that this is an agreeable statement I must go over the different factors of the Cold War including the ideological differences in Capitalism & communism, how ideological differences affected the Potsdam conference, Truman’s Presidency and doctrine, NATO, and finally Soviet expansion in Eastern Europe (‘The Iron Curtain’).
Could instead be:
This essay shall include various events during the early cold war from the Potsdam conference to the formation of the iron curtain and assess the ideological differences between East and West during this time.

You're saving yourself time and you're being more clear to the examiner.

I'm now jumping to your conclusion.
Your first sentence is comprised of 3 sentences merged together to make a 4.5 line string.
"To say that one factor would cause the Cold War’s inevitability is invalid, since there are several reasons that the Cold War could have (don't use contractions) been made inevitable other than primarily ideological differences. The Berlin Blockade, formation of NATO and (most importantly) Truman’s Presidency all clearly contributed to an escalation of tensions and arguably set both sides into an irreversible policy."

The punchier the better, as above. ^


Going back up to your second paragraph now, your first sentence is a copy and paste from the introduction.
The majority of the paragraph consists of basic statements that don't bring anything in particular to the essay.
The USA was a capitalist nation and the USSR was a communist nation. Each believing their way of life was superior. The USA believed that the USSR wanted to convert the world to communism, this increased suspicions of the USSR. On the other side of the spectrum, The USSR believed the USA wanted to destroy capitalism.
So what?

I'd return to the question at the end of each paragraph too.

You don't need to compare whether the current argument is stronger than the one in the previous paragraph. If you want to do that it is best served in the conclusion I feel.

You also don't need to tell me how NATO formed, instead tell me why it is or isn't significant.
This resulted in Europe being divided into two different sides. Though one could say this is a weaker argument as many believed that the Cold War was already inevitable by this point.
This is the bit that needs expanding, the rest of the paragraph needs trimming down.


Your Truman paragraph is considerably better than the rest. Well done.
I'd suggest you either select fewer, or trim down your use of quotes. But most importantly analyse what's been said, build on it, rather than list what 1 historian after another thinks about the subject.
"Alan Offner described x,y,z - therefore it is reasonable to say that Truman made the Cold War inevitable. This is further supported by Joseph Siracusa who argues that...."
You don't even have to quote them in order to use them.

Be careful about being too narrative in that last paragraph. Stick very firmly to the question. This isn't a documentary. You're telling me what was more significant and why, not what happened.


Overall this is a good attempt and you demonstrate some good knowledge and excellent use of other historian's viewpoints. You need to seriously think about how you're tackling the question and avoid answering in ways that are narrative.
Yeah thanks, those tips are very helpful. One question I have though is would you be able to give an example of linking back to the question, not really sure how to do it without it being forceful.
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04MR17
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(Original post by Endel555)
Yeah thanks, those tips are very helpful. One question I have though is would you be able to give an example of linking back to the question, not really sure how to do it without it being forceful.
Watch Dragon's Den. Deborah has a catch-phrase. She summarises her problems with the business, makes a concluding remark and then says "and for that reason, I won't be investing and I'm out." Touker does the same thing - there are tonnes of clips on YouTube. So for instance at the end of your Truman paragraph you could say "Therefore, it is reasonable to suggest that the Truman presidency did far more to damage East / West relationships than a mere ideological divide and as such, the Cold War should not be seen as inevitable for this reason alone.
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