For Schools
S Grade - Credit level questions
Unit 2, International Co-operation and Conflict (Context B, 1890s - 1930s)

Click here to download this page in PDF format

Click here to download Acrobat Reader, in either Windows or Macintosh format.

Section 1: Tensions before World War I

Source A was written by Winston Churchill as First Lord of the Admiralty in September 1912. The First Lord of the Admiralty is the politician in charge of the navy.

I visited Crombie [a Royal Naval base] yesterday and am wholly dissatisfied with the arrangements for securing the magazines* from overhead attack [by aircraft]...

Churchill then proceeds to recommend various measures to protect the ammunition stores, including:

...concealment by means of trees, shrubs and rapidly growing creepers; deception by means of a certain number of make-believe canvas houses like magazines which could be folded up and stored away until a period of war begins and which could then be brought out and erected in such a way as to mislead an aerial attack…Aerial guns are also to be planted in good positions where they can command* the magazines against overhead attacks.

*magazines - ammunition stores *command - protect

Extract from official minute by Churchill as First Lord of the Admiralty, 01 September 1912
(Churchill Papers: CHAR 13/3/9-10)
© Crown copyright

Source B was written by Winston Churchill on July 31, 1914.

There is still hope although the clouds are blacker and blacker. Germany is realising I think how great are the forces against her, and is trying tardily* to restrain her idiot ally…everybody is preparing swiftly for war…Germany has sent a proposal to us to be neutral if she promises not to take French territory nor to invade Holland [but] she must take French colonies and she cannot promise not to invade Belgium…Grey [the British Foreign Secretary] has replied that these proposals are impossible and disgraceful. Everything points therefore to a collision on these issues…Prices of foods are rising to panic levels.

*tardily - at last

Extract from private letter by Winston Churchill to his wife, Clementine, 31 July 1914 (Baroness Spencer-Churchill Papers, CSCT 2/7/19).
Reproduced by permission of Curtis Brown Ltd and the University of Southampton. Copyright Winston S. Churchill 1999

  1. How useful is Source A as evidence about Britain's readiness for war before 1914?
  2. How far do the Sources show concern about the possibility of war?
  3. Explain the reasons why Britain found the German proposals impossible and disgraceful.

S Grade - General level questions
Unit 2, International Co-operation and Conflict (Context B, 1890s - 1930s)
Section 1: Tensions before World War I

Source A was written by Winston Churchill as First Lord of the Admiralty in September 1912. The First Lord of the Admiralty is the politician in charge of the navy.

I visited Crombie [a Royal Naval base] yesterday and am wholly dissatisfied with the arrangements for securing the magazines* from overhead attack [by aircraft]...There may be arguments against converting old magazines so as to protect them from aerial attack, but there can be none against building new magazines with such protection...
Aerial guns are also to be planted in good positions where they can command* the magazines against overhead attacks.

*magazines - ammunition stores
*command - protect

Extract from official minute by Churchill as First Lord of the Admiralty, 01 September 1912
(Churchill Papers: CHAR 13/3/9-10)
©Crown copyright

Source B was written by Winston Churchill on July 31, 1914.

There is still hope although the clouds are blacker and blacker. Germany is realising I think how great are the forces against her, …everybody is preparing swiftly for war…Germany has sent a proposal to us to be neutral if she promises not to take French territory nor to invade Holland [but] she must take French colonies and she cannot promise not to invade Belgium…Grey [the British Foreign Secretary] has replied that these proposals are impossible and disgraceful. Everything points therefore to a collision on these issues...

Extract from private letter by Winston Churchill to his wife, Clementine, 31 July 1914 (Baroness Spencer-Churchill Papers, CSCT 2/7/19)
Reproduced by permission of Curtis Brown Ltd and the University of Southampton. Copyright Winston S. Churchill 1999

  1. Why is Source A valuable evidence about the state of Britain's naval base defences before First World War?
  2. How useful are Sources A and B as evidence of Churchill's feelings about the possibility of war?
  3. How fully does Source B describe the reasons for international tension in July 1914? You should use your own knowledge and give reasons for your answer.

S Grade - Foundation level questions
Unit 2, International Co-operation and Conflict (Context B, 1890s - 1930s)
Section 1: Tensions before World War I

Source A is about a visit by Winston Churchill to a naval base in Scotland in September 1912.

Churchill said he was worried about the defence of the naval base against air attack. Churchill suggested that anti-aircraft guns should be built to protect the base. He also suggested that fake buildings could be put up so as to confuse enemy attackers.
Summary of official minute by Churchill as First Lord of the Admiralty, 01 September 1912 (Churchill Papers: CHAR 13/3/9-10)
© Crown copyright
  1. Why is Source A valuable evidence about naval base defences before the First World War? Give three reasons.

    Reason 1 ______________________________________________
    Reason 2 ______________________________________________
    Reason 3 ______________________________________________

  2. What did Churchill suggest to make the naval base safer? Give two suggestions.

    Suggestion 1 ____________________________________________
    Suggestion 2 ____________________________________________

  3. Why is Source A useful evidence that people were concerned about a possible future war? Give two reasons.

    Reason 1 ______________________________________________
    Reason 2 ______________________________________________

    Source B was written by Winston Churchill on July 31, 1914.

    There is still hope although the clouds are blacker and blacker.
    Everybody is preparing for war.
    Everything points to a collision.
    Prices of foods are rising to panic levels.
    Summary of private letter by Winston Churchill to his wife, Clementine, 31 July 1914 (Baroness Spencer-Churchill Papers, CSCT 2/7/19)
    Reproduced by permission of Curtis Brown Ltd and the University of Southampton. Copyright Winston S. Churchill 1999

  4. Why is Source A valuable evidence of how people felt in Britain just before the First World War broke out?

    Give three reasons.

    Reason 1 ______________________________________________
    Reason 2 ______________________________________________
    Reason 3 ______________________________________________

  5. How can you tell that Churchill expected war to break out? Give two reasons.

    Reason 1 ______________________________________________
    Reason 2 ______________________________________________