chapter  30
5 Pages

Genealogies: ideas and their family trees

A similar evolutionary trail could be traced for the GCSE components on Germany and the two world wars around the concept of lebensraum or ‘living space’, for this cannot be fully understood without reference to Nazi Germany’s racial and expansionist policies. These, in turn, require an understanding of concepts such as ‘racial superiority’, ‘militarism’ and ‘expansionism’. One pupil’s attempt to depict the family tree:

Romantic nineteenth-century notions of Germanism and the Germanic race ↓

Wilhelmine notions of Weltpolitik, etc. ↓

Social Darwinism ↓

Post-Versailles frustration ↓


A similar genealogical tree of social reform initiatives could be constructed, running from ‘poverty’ and the Poor Law through to ‘the welfare state’. It could be used to link these components of the syllabus.