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📑 Document Based Questions (DBQ)
🚀 Thematic Guides
Theme 1 (ENV) - Humans and the Environment
Theme 2 (CDI) - Cultural Developments and Interactions
Theme 3 (GOV) - Governance
Theme 4 (ECON) - Economic Systems
Theme 5 (SOC) - Social Interactions and Organizations
Theme 6 (TECH) - Technology and Innovation
🗺 Regional Guides
The Pacific from 1200 to the Present
🐎 Unit 1: The Global Tapestry
1.0Overview of Unit 1: The Global Tapestry
1.1East Asia from 1200-1450
1.2Dar al-Islam from 1200-1450
1.4The Americas from 1200 to 1450
1.6Europe from 1200 to 1450
🐫 Unit 2: Networks of Exchange
2.0Overview of Unit 2: Networks of Exchange
2.3Indian Ocean Trade Routes
2.4Trans-Saharan Trade Routes
2.5Cultural Effects of Trade
2.6Environmental Effects of Trade
🕌 Unit 3: Land-Based Empires
3.0Overview of Unit 3: Land-Based Empires
3.1Expansion of Land-Based Empires
3.2Governments of Land-Based Empires
🍕 Unit 4: Transoceanic Interconnections
4.0Overview of Unit 4: Transoceanic Interconnections
4.1New Technologies from 1450-1750
4.4Maritime Empires Established
4.5Expansion of Maritime Empires
4.6Resistance to European Expansion
✊ Unit 5: Revolutions
5.2Revolutions from 1750-1900
5.5Technology in the Industrial Age
5.7Economic Effects of Industrialization
🚂 Unit 6: Consequences of Industrialization
6.0Overview of Unit 6: Consequences of Industrialization
💣 Unit 7: Global Conflict
7.0Overview of Unit 7: Global Conflict
7.6Causes of World War II
🥶 Unit 8: Cold War & Decolonization
8.0Overview of Unit 8: Cold War & Decolonization
8.2The Cold War
8.3Effects of the Cold War
8.4Spread of Communism After 1900
8.5Decolonization After 1900
8.6Newly Independent States After 1900
8.8End of the Cold War
✈️ Unit 9: Globalization
🤓 Historical Thinking Skills
Causation in the AP Histories
Comparison in the AP Histories
👉 Introduction to AP World
⏱️ 7 min read
June 24, 2020
Causation is one of the historical thinking skills focused on in AP World History. Understanding causation is important, as much of AP World History deals with understanding the causes and effects of historical developments and/or processes.
The causation historical thinking skill asks students to examine the following:
The causes and effects of a specific historical development or process
The relationship between causes and effects of a specific historical process or development
Understanding the difference between primary and secondary causes and between short-term and long-term effects
The relative historical significance of different causes and/or effects
The purpose of this study guide is to examine each of the above reasoning skills in a bit more detail. So, let’s get to it!
In terms of causation reasoning skills, this is what we might call the “base level” skill. That doesn’t necessarily mean that it is easy, but that this is the first level of understanding causation.
When College Board asks you to find the causes and effects of a specific historical event or process, what they want you to do is to identify SPECIFIC causes and/or effects of said event or process. No generalizations here!
For example, if you are asked to find a cause of World War I, you couldn’t just say relationships between countries - that is too vague. In all honesty, anybody could say this about any war, and it would be true. This doesn’t show that you know the specific causes of World War I.
So, Instead, say a cause would be entangling alliances. You see, entangling alliances are specific to World War I, and this shows College Board that you know exactly what you are talking about when it comes to one cause of World War I.
💭Practice: See if you can find the causes and/or effects of ONE of the following events or processes
The rise of Islam (process)
The Opium Wars (event)
The Russian Revolution (event)
❗TIP: To help you identify causes and effects, it’s really beneficial to use some type of graphic organizer that will help you organize your information. The easiest one to use, and one of the most effective, for causation is a simple C/E chart
When looking at the relationship between causes and effects of a specific historical event or process, College Board wants you to go beyond simply identifying a cause and/or effect. It wants you to be able to EXPLAIN the “why” behind the cause or effect.
Simply put, it’s the next step in the causation process. First you have to identify the cause and/or effect, and now College Board wants you to explain WHY something is a cause of the event/process, and/or WHY the given effect happened.
🎥Watch: WHAP - Introduction to Historical Reasoning
💭PRACTICE: Breaking curfew😳😨😱
So, it’s 11:30 on a Thursday night, and your curfew was at 11:00. You knew you had to be home at 11:00, but you were hanging out at the coffee shop with your friends, and simply lost track of time. When you walked in the door to your dwelling at 11:30, your parents were standing right there, and within 2 minutes they had taken your cell phone and grounded you for a week.
In this case, breaking curfew was the event. The cause - losing track of time. The effects - losing your phone and being grounded for a week
Now that we have identified the cause and effects, we have to explain the “WHY” or the “HOW”
WHY did you break curfew
Why did you lose your phone and get grounded
See how the causes and effects are related? And that you’ve done more than just identify the cause and effects - you’ve EXPLAINED the why behind both.
Ooooh, now we are getting into the nitty-gritty of the causation reasoning skill. So far, we have learned how to:
Identify a specific cause or effect
Explain why something was a cause or effect
Now, we need to dig a little deeper, and differentiate (recognize) the difference between primary and secondary causes, and recognize the difference between short-term and long-term effects.
The principal, the main cause of an event or process
🎥Watch: WHAP - Annotating Primary Source Documents
A less important cause of an event or process
An effect that happens a short-time after the event/process
An effect that happens a significant amount of time after the process/event
💭Practice: Let’s take a look at World War I and see if we can identify both primary and secondary causes, and short-term vs. long-term effects
World War I
The assassination of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand
Military build-up in European countries
The ending of the Ottoman Empire
The rise of Adolf Hitler and the Nazis
In the above example, the primary cause of World War I was the assassination of the Archduke. His murder caused Austria-Hungary to declare war on Serbia, and from there, the rest of Europe exploded into war
A secondary cause of World War I was the military build up in most European nations. Though this was not the MAIN cause of the war, the military build up led most European nations to believe that if they went to war, they had a strong enough military to be successful.
For the short-term effect, the collapse of the Ottoman Empire happened in 1922. World War I had weakened the empire to such an extent, that it simply couldn’t recover. As well, the division of Ottoman territory among the victors ensured its collapse
The rise of Hitler and the Nazis was a long-term effect of World War I because it happened nearly a decade after the end of the war. And, it was the Treaty of Versailles, that came out of World War I, and the conditions placed upon Germany, that allowed a leader like Hitler to gain the support and backing of the German people.
Does this make sense? Want to take a shot at applying this skill? (Get it? Shot? Like the archduke got shot? 😂)
And here we are, the final step in the causation thinking skill process, at least for AP World History.
You will often hear, or be asked, about why certain events or people or causes/effects are historically significant. Well, to be able to answer that, you have to know what historical significance means
Historical Significance, to College Board, means “why should we care” or why is this important, or noteworthy, in history.
For you, this means you will have to be able to explain, usually through discussions or essays, why the causes, or effects, of a specific historical event or process matter. Why are they important to know? How will they impact future history?
Let’s take a look at the long-term effect from our example on World War I. One long-term effect of World War I was the rise of Hitler and the Nazis in Germany. So, I ask you: why is this important to know? Why was it significant in history? Why should we care?
Well, let’s answer that, in a variety of ways. That is what’s so cool about historical significance - there usually isn’t just ONE simple answer
The rise of Hitler the Nazis led to the Holocaust - a mass genocide that led to the deaths of 11 million innocent people. As a result of the Holocaust, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was created by the United Nations, guaranteeing human rights to almost every human on the planet. That’s significant
The rise of Hitler and the Nazis led to the destruction of a large part of Europe and Asia, leaving two main superpowers standing after the war: the United States and the Soviet Union. Due to differing viewpoints on government and economic decisions, a 45 year Cold War impacted nearly every nation of the world between 1945-1990. That’s significant
In the end, determining historical significance is the highest-level causation reasoning skill that you will have to do. It will require you to apply all the other causation reasoning skills in order to determine the importance of an event or process.
💭PRACTICE: Explain the historical significance long-term historical significance of the Korean War, 1950-1953
So that’s it for the Causation historical thinking skill in AP World History. Hopefully you have found this guide informative and it hasn’t “caused” you any anxiety (do you find that punny?!). Thank you for taking the time to read this, and good luck on the exam!
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