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What really happened in Petrograd in October 1917?

LeninIs Orlando Figes right or wrong? What really happened in Petrograd on 25 October 1917?

This Russian Revolution enquiry takes Orlando Figes’s  Amazon review writing scandal as its focal point.

The class is introduced to this and told that Figes’s books are now under scrutiny. Some people believe that he exaggerated his work on the ‘Storming of the Winter Palace’. The pupils need to investigate to see if this is true.

They analyse two examples of his ‘suspect’ text by focusing in on his style of writing. They then compare his work to the classic 1927 interpretation of the ‘storming’, namely Eisenstein’s ‘October’.

Next they cross reference both with other available evidence to find out if Figes can be really be accused of failing in his duty as a historian. They actually find that he hasn’t.

One of the big aims here is for the pupils to understand that history is a mixture of agreed historical fact and historian inference. The end task is for them to respond to a message on an online forum.

This extended enquiry can also be used to spice up your GCSE Modern World Russia unit.

Download lesson

  • Lesson presentation: PowerPoint
  • Lesson write-up: PDF
  • Resource 1 – Figes Preparations: PDF
  • Resource 2 – Figes on the ‘storming’: PDF
  • Resource 3 – Source Packs: PDF
  • Worksheet 1 – Cross-referencing Grid: PDF

Price: £12.99

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