Course Description

  • IB History of the Americas (HOTA) is a two year curriculum that is part of the International Baccalaureate program. History of the Americas II is the senior year component, which focuses on a survey of historical developments in the western hemisphere from independence to twentieth century. There will be an in depth study of the various aspects of the history of the Americas and its interactions with other regions of the world, with special attention to the I.B. prescribed subject matter. This advanced course requires a high level ability of reading, writing, and analysis. 

    IB HOTA is generally presented in a lecture/discussion format; therefore, solid reading and writing skills, along with a willingness to devote considerable time to homework and study, are necessary to succeed. Students will learn to take notes from printed materials, lectures and discussions, write essay examinations, and analytical research papers. Thus providing students opportunities to learn how to express themselves with clarity and precision and know how to cite sources and credit the phrases and ideas of others. Aside from reading the textbook, students will be asked to evaluate topics through supplementary readings in the form of documents, essays, and specialized writings by historians. Students should be able to draw upon a reservoir of systematic factual knowledge in order to exercise analytic skills intelligently and will examine evidence and interpret historical data to determine the difference between factual knowledge and critical analysis. It is crucial that students devote extra study time outside the instructional day to achieve high success during the evaluation periods.

    The two-year program of History of the Americas will culminate in the I.B. “external assessment” exams at the end of the senior year in early May. Additionally, students will complete the major research paper known as the “internal assessment.” Students will conduct in-depth research, prepare a product of professional quality, and present their findings to appropriate audiences. Students, working independently or in collaboration with a mentor, investigate a problem, issue, or concern; research the topic using a variety of technologies; and present a product of professional quality to an appropriate audience. The final copy for this assessment is due on February.

Course Objectives

  • In accordance with the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills, Content requirements for IB History of the Americas HL are prescribed by the International Baccalaureate Organization. Subject guides may be obtained from International Baccalaureate of North America the students will center on the following concepts and skills over the two-year course: 

    1. Understanding and Evaluating Historical Continuity and Change
    2. Gathering and Sorting of Historical Evidence
    3. Evaluating Historical Evidence
    4. Recognizing and Understanding Historical Processes and Their Relationships To Human Experience, Activity and Motivation
    5. Organizing and Expressing Historical Ideas and Information
    6. Understanding Government Systems and Principles. Focus will be on the principles and beliefs upon which the United States was founded and on the structure, functions, and powers of government at the national, state, and local levels.
    7. Understanding Various Economic Concepts with Emphasis on the Free Enterprise System and Its Benefits

Course Evaluation

  • Evaluation will parallel those tasks required for the IB Papers. Success is linked to a student’s commitment to reading consistently throughout the year. Very little of the information is already known to the student, so willingness and interest in learning makes a big difference in student performance. To reinforce the learning a variety of educational activities will be assigned in class and for homework (completed out of class) throughout the year.

    Due to the nature and depth of information required on the papers; the material covered in class, alone, will not adequately prepare you for future summative evaluations. It is your responsibility to read and review external sources of information to increase your chances to score higher on the IB papers.


  • All of the work in History of the Americas will be assigned a point value. The number of points earned during a grading period will be divided by the total number of points possible to give a percentage grade in the Formative and Summative sections. As per SCUCISD policy, letter grades will be given as follows: 90%-100% = A, 80%-89% = B, 70%-79% = C, & 69% ↓ = F 

    Students are expected to participate in class discussions and in any other projects as they occur and will be assessed on their knowledge of the historical subject matter as well as the quality and clarity of their writing.

Topics of Study

  • During the senior year, History of the Americas will cover the following I.B. topics.

    All three Topics will be covered to prepare students for the Papers associated with the Topics.

Prescribed subject for exam paper 1

  • The Move to Global War 

    Case Study 1: Japanese expansion in East Asia (1931–1941) 

    Causes of expansion 

    • The impact of Japanese nationalism and militarism on foreign policy 
    • Japanese domestic issues: political and economic issues, and their impact on foreign relations 
    • Political instability in China Events 
    • Japanese invasion of Manchuria and northern China (1931) 
    • Sino-Japanese War (1937–1941) 
    • The Three Power/Tripartite Pact; the outbreak of war; Pearl Harbor (1941) Responses 
    • League of Nations and the Lytton report 
    • Political developments within China—the Second United Front 
    • International response, including US initiatives and increasing tensions between the US and Japan

    Case study 2: German and Italian expansion (1933–1940) 

    Causes of expansion 

    • Impact of fascism and Nazism on the foreign policies of Italy and Germany 
    • Impact of domestic economic issues on the foreign policies of Italy and Germany 
    • Changing diplomatic alignments in Europe; the end of collective security; appeasement Events 
    • German challenges to the post-war settlements (1933–1938) 
    • Italian expansion: Abyssinia (1935–1936); Albania; entry into the Second World War 
    • German expansion (1938–1939); Pact of Steel, Nazi–Soviet Pact and the outbreak of war Responses 
    • International response to German aggression (1933–1938) 
    • International response to Italian aggression (1935–1936) 
    • International response to German and Italian aggression (1940) 

World History topics for exam paper 2

  • I.  Authoritarian states (20th century): Emergence of authoritarian states 

    • Conditions in which authoritarian states emerged: economic factors; social division; impact of war; weakness of political system 
    • Methods used to establish authoritarian states: persuasion and coercion; the role of leaders; ideology; the use of force; propaganda Consolidation and maintenance of power 
    • Use of legal methods; use of force; charismatic leadership; dissemination of propaganda 
    • Nature, extent and treatment of opposition 
    • The impact of the success and/or failure of foreign policy on the maintenance of power Aims and results of policies 
    • Aims and impact of domestic economic, political, cultural and social policies 
    • The impact of policies on women and minorities 
    • Authoritarian control and the extent to which it was achieved 

    II. Causes and effects of 20th century wars: Causes of war 

    • Economic, ideological, political, territorial and other causes 
    • Short- and long-term causes Practices of war and their impact on the outcome 
    • Types of war: civil wars; wars between states; guerrilla wars 
    • Technological developments; theatres of war—air, land and sea 
    • The extent of the mobilization of human and economic resources 
    • The influence and/or involvement of foreign powers Effects of war 
    • The successes and failures of peacemaking 
    • Territorial changes 
    • Political repercussions 
    • Economic, social and demographic impact; changes in the role and status of women 

     III. The Cold War: Superpower tensions and rivalries (20th century): Rivalry, mistrust and accord 

    • The breakdown of the grand alliance and the emergence of superpower rivalry in Europe and Asia (1943–1949): role of ideology; fear and aggression; economic interests; a comparison of the roles of the US and the USSR 
    • The US, USSR and China—superpower relations (1947–1979): containment; peaceful co-existence; Sino-Soviet and Sino-US relations; détente 
    • Confrontation and reconciliation; reasons for the end of the Cold War (1980–1991): ideological challenges and dissent; economic problems; arms race Leaders and nations 
    • The impact of two leaders, each chosen from a different region, on the course and development of the 
    • Cold War 
    • The impact of Cold War tensions on two countries (excluding the USSR and the US) Cold War crises 
    • Cold War crises case studies: detailed study of any two Cold War crises from different regions: examination and comparison of the causes, impact and significance of the two crises 

Regional Study Topics for exam paper 3

  • The Americas:

    • Independence Movements (1763–1830)
    • The Mexican Revolution (1884–1940)
    • The Great Depression and the Americas (mid 1920s–1939) 
    • The Second World War and the Americas (1933–1945) 
    • Political developments in Latin America (1945–1980) 
    • Political developments in the United States (1945–1980) and Canada (1945–1982) 
    • The Cold War and the Americas (1945–1981) 
    • Civil rights and social movements in the Americas post‐1945 
    • The Americas (1980–2005)