AP European History Reading 2009: Too Much Hitler

It has been an excellent week at Colorado State University in Fort Collins – – site of the 2009 European history read. We spent our days reading essays while attending seminars, lectures, and forums at night;  I found myself dinning most nights with bright scholars, ambitious teachers, learners, and colleagues. Honestly, to call them just a colleague is an injustice. I see some of them every year at the reading, at the national conference, or other venues that requires both work and play. This was my second year to serve as Table Leader for the read; it was made easy by those I was leading through the reading process at my table. The writing process on exams is a complex task that many students are not equipped to do. I have been fortunate to teach a number of highly intelligent students; I have discovered, though, that not all students can do this type of work …. Some on my campus and others.

AP history exams require students to answer 80 complex multiple choice questions in a span of 55 minutes; they have to write a total of three highly organized essays showcasing their ability to construct a well developed thesis that is categorically supported by relevant facts. Of the three essays, one is a document based question (DBQ). A student has 60 minutes to study, analyze, evaluate, and categorize 10 – 12 primary documents in a constructive manner that answers the DBQ question. If a student achieves a score of 3 (out of 5) or better, he or she depending on the college will earn college credit. AP courses by nature are very demanding.

The Advanced Placement European History reading is done; I read this essay question in which students had to write (below is 1 of the 3). I learned that many students do not know the difference between a Nazis and a communist.

Analyze the long-term and short-term factors responsible for the disintegration of communists rule in TWO of the following states: Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Hungary, Poland.

Below are a few comments students “actually” wrote on their exam. If you know much about eastern European history and the Cold War, you will find much humor here:

1. Germany was divided into two parts with Otto Von Bismarck controlling one part of Germany and Hitler controlling East Germany after he erected the Berlin Wall.

2. Communist leader Hitler invaded Czechoslovakia and forced communism on the people.

3. As a result of the Marshall Plan, Czechoslovakia gained its independence.

4. At the end of WWII, communism collapsed in Eastern Europe.

5. The Belgium Wall was erected in Czechoslovakia.

6. The Eastern Bloc countries were not really countries.

7. The European Empire was a dominate force in history.

8. The Social Democratic Party of Germany was against imperialization of Africa because the socialists do not like capitalism and that was the impetus of invading the country of Africa.  In addition, the Democrats did not support the conquering of Africa because they are peaceful and are not mean like that.

9.  Communism was doomed to failure because of all the unstable leaders.

10. Pope Julius II was instrumental in the rise of Polish solidarity.  He, along with Lech Welesa, brought an end to communism.

11. In East Germany, Hitler was a major reason for the switch from communism to Nazism.

12. The Truman Doctrine helped the Czech’s gain independence.

13. Napoleon led the Czechs to overthrow communist rule.

14. The USSR emerged as a power within Russia alongside the Bolsheviks and Lenin.

15. Hitler wrote a book a called the Kulturkampf.

16. After WWII, Germany was split into pieces to be looked after and rebuilt. Once rebuilt, Eastern Germany got the Soviet Union as its ruler. Germany happened to be democratic and allowed Hitler to hold annual elections that brought about communism.



10 thoughts on “AP European History Reading 2009: Too Much Hitler

  1. 10. Pope Julius II was instrumental in the rise of Polish solidarity. He, along with Lech Welesa, brought an end to communism.

    Besides having his or her wires crossed on Julius II and John Paul II, this sentence at least stands out as the person actually knowing something.

    I just got a funny picture of Julius II being alive in the 60s.

  2. 9 and 15 are probably my favorites. Let’s just hope that these students don’t find your blog…that would be embarrassing!

  3. Dillon: Come on, I hardly think we should harp on people who said dumb things. I know I’ve made an idiot out of myself plenty of times, and I’m sure you have too. I find it funny though that you chose the two remarks that you did as your favorites. Think about it:

    -Kulterkampf: at least it had to do with Germany and didn’t make such a claim like the eastern bloc countries were not really countries.

    -Corrupted: I kind of agree with this one unless you can give me proof of a prosperous country where communism has been practiced successfully.

  4. Keep all of those in a file.

    My first college chair and mentor, Ray Muncy, had a file full of that kind of stuff and I’ve always wish I had followed his example.

    • I took the test this spring, and I actually answered this prompt. Although I do not believe any of those excerpts were authored by me, I do believe the question was very difficult. By the time our class got to this era, we were seriously crunched for time and it was over-looked. I know it was our mistake, but when you are in a predictament lkike that, you just have to respond any way you can. I do see how you can find these funny though.

  5. Pingback: AP European History - tutorial aa035

  6. I’m in 10th grade and took AP Euro, I’ve been worrying about my scores since May but seeing those answers really made me feel better 🙂

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