How to answer cartoon questions

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A guide to answering cartoon questions for OCR Modern World History students

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How to answer cartoon questions

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The first question on paper 1 is a cartoon. You are asked ‘what is the message of the source?’ The skills being tested are inference. Inference means reading between the lines To do this remember the following: Comment Content Context Judgement Comment – means you comment on what you think the cartoons message is. Content – you use details from the cartoon to back up your comment Context – you use your own knowledge on the topic that the cartoon is about to back up your comment Judgement – you finish your answer by summarising what you think the message is This power point shows one way of answering these questions

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The caption says: The Awful Warning France and England together ‘we don’t want to fight, but, by jingo, if you do, we shall probably issue a joint memorandum, suggesting a mild disapproval of you’. Step one: Content Look for the main points of the picture.

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The caption says: The Awful Warning France and England together ‘we don’t want to fight, but, by jingo, if you do, we shall probably issue a joint memorandum, suggesting a mild disapproval of you’. Step Two: Comment work out what the main points are saying Britain and France are warning Mussolini what will happen over Abyssinia. The awful warning is a sarcastic caption. It suggests Britain and France are telling Mussolini off however they are also saying they don’t want to fight.

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The caption says: The Awful Warning France and England together ‘we don’t want to fight, but, by jingo, if you do, we shall probably issue a joint memorandum, suggesting a mild disapproval of you’. Step Three Context – use your own knowledge to explain the cartoon. The awful warning is referring to the fact that Britain and France did not want to fight Italy. They wanted to keep him as an ally against Hitler. The awful warning could also Be referring to the Leagues use of moral condemnation, the fact that the sanctions did not include war materials, the Suez canal was left open and Hoare-Laval's plan.

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Step Four: Writing the answer In your answer to get the most marks you need to: Say what you think the cartoon is saying (comment) You could use the sentence ‘The message of the cartoon is…’ 2) Use evidence from the cartoon to back this up (content) ‘The cartoon shows…’ 3) Also use your own knowledge to back this up (context) ‘From my own knowledge…’ 4) Finish with your overall summary of what the cartoon is saying (judgement) ‘Overall …)

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An example answer to the question. Look for comment, content, context and judgement. The message of the source is that Britain and France are weak in dealing with Italy’s invasion of Abyssinia. The cartoon shows Britain and France pointing at Mussolini and saying that if Italy attacks then they would give a mild telling off, this could be referring to the league and moral condemnation. Mussolini is shown holding papers called the Abyssinia dispute and is wearing his military uniform which shows he is prepared to be aggressive. From my own knowledge when Italy invaded Abyssinia Britain and France did little as they wanted to keep Italy as an ally against Germany furthermore they did not want to be involved in war due to the effects of the depression and memories of world war one. Also their punishment for Italy was very ineffective as their sanctions did not include war materials and the Suez canal was left open. Moreover with the Hoare-Laval plan Britain and France also offered Italy the best parts of Abyssinia. Overall this cartoon is mocking Britain and France’s reaction to Italy’s invasion of Abyssinia and the fact that they failed to stop Mussolini.

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An example answer to the question. Look for comment, content, context and judgement. The message of the source is that Britain and France are weak in dealing with Italy’s invasion of Abyssinia. The cartoon shows Britain and France pointing at Mussolini and saying that if Italy attacks then they would give a mild telling off, this could be referring to the league and moral condemnation. Mussolini is shown holding papers called the Abyssinia dispute and is wearing his military uniform which shows he is prepared to be aggressive. From my own knowledge when Italy invaded Abyssinia Britain and France did little as they wanted to keep Italy as an ally against Germany furthermore they did not want to be involved in war due to the effects of the depression and memories of world war one. Also their punishment for Italy was very ineffective as their sanctions did not include war materials and the Suez canal was left open. Moreover with the Hoare-Laval plan Britain and France also offered Italy the best parts of Abyssinia. Overall this cartoon is mocking Britain and France’s reaction to Italy’s invasion of Abyssinia and the fact that they failed to stop Mussolini.

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