Event that changed the world

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In this assignment, you are asked to conduct research and write an essay on an “event that changed the world”. The event must have occurred during the twentieth century.
Central Question: To what extent did the event change the course of history?
Your essay must not simply describe the event. Although you must discuss details in your assessment, your essay must analyze the event.
Step 1: Choose your event and get it approved. Here are some suggestions:

  • Riots: Bonus Army March (USA, 1932), Regina Riot (1935), Direct Action Day (India, 1946), Rocket Richard Riots (Montreal, 1955), Watts Riot (USA, 1965), Attica Prison Riot (USA, 1971), Soweto Uprising (South Africa, 1976)

  • Massacres: Amritsar Massacre (India, 1919), Nanking Massacre (China, 1937), Katyn Massacre (USSR, 1940), Sharpeville Massacre (South Africa, 1960), My Lai Massacre (Vietnam, 1968), Kent State Massacre (1970, USA), Munich Massacre (Germany, 1972), Bloody Sunday (1972, Northern Ireland), Tiananmen Square Massacre (China, 1989), Ecole Polytechnique Massacre (Montreal, 1989)

  • Assassinations: Archduke Franz Ferdinand, (1914), JFK (1963), Dr. King (1968)

  • Speeches: FDR’s “This day will live in infamy”, Churchill’s “Finest Hour”, Goebbels “Do you want total war?”, Castro’s “History will absolve me”, JFK’s inaugural address, MLK’s “I have a dream”, Malcolm X “The ballot or the bullet”, Reagan’s “Tear Down this Wall”

  • Protests: Winnipeg General Strike (1919), March on Washington (1963)

  • Coups d’état – Kapp Putch (Germany, 1920), March on Rome (1922), 1973 Chilean coup

  • Battles: attack of Pearl Harbour (1941), D-day (1944), dropping atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki (1945)

  • Leaps in technology: launch of Sputnik (1957), Apollo 11 space flight (1969), release of first Macintosh computer (1984)

  • Dramatic medical advancements: development of insulin (1922), USA approves “the Pill” (1960), First heart transplant (1967).

  • Political controversies: Hitler appointed chancellor (1933), partition of India (1947), Nixon impeached (1974), fall of the Berlin Wall (1989), release of Nelson Mandela (1990).

  • Cultural events: the first commercial “talkie” movie (1927), Jesse Owens wins 4 Olympic medals (1936), Elvis appears on the Ed Sullivan show (1956).

Step 2: Brainstorm your central questions. For example: What caused the event? What happened during the event? What were the effects of the event? Why is this event so important? What makes this event a “watershed” moment (things were different after the event?
Step 3: Locate your resources and produce an annotated bibliography. You must locate at least three different sources on your topic (not Wikipedia!). Record these sources on a draft bibliography sheet and complete the annotated bibliography worksheet.

Step 4: Conduct your research. You must take detailed point form notes that answer the central question. These notes will be handed in for marks.
Step 5: Write your essay. Use one of the templates provided. This step is also worth marks. Pay attention to the rubric on the reverse of this page.

Name: _______________________ Block: _______ Date: ___________________

Before you hand in your essay, make sure it:

  • is about 800 words,

  • is double spaced,

  • has a cover page (title of essay, your name, the block, the date, the course),

  • has this page attached to it.






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Thesis is missing or unclear. Information is organized in a purely descriptive fashion. Information may be randomly chosen, and inserted without explanation as to why it is important.

Thesis is evident, but does not always direct writing. An attempt is made to organize the information in a way that proves the thesis, but much of the essay may be purely descriptive in nature.

Thesis evident and directs writing. Most information in relevant and usually informs the thesis. Historical details are mostly used to illustrate the thesis.

Clear thesis that addresses the central issue is clearly evident and effectively directs writing throughout. All information is relevant and used to inform the thesis. Historical details are skillfully used to illustrate the thesis.

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Many significant errors in organization, meaning may be unclear.

Written and organized moderately well. May be simplistic or have some important errors.

Written and organized with skill, but with some minor errors.

Writing is extremely engaging, is well organized, and has few if any errors.


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Not enough research done to write the essay. Many errors in recording and formatting bibliographic information.

Adequate research conducted. Some major errors in recording and/or formatting bibliographic information.

Several sources used well in research. All bibliographic information is recorded, but some minor errors in formatting.

Evidence of deep and varied research is shown. All bibliographic information is formatted and recorded correctly.

Total Mark:


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