History Essay Competition

20 Oct 2022

Witold Pilecki Essay Competition 2022
The Foundation for the History of Totalitarianism is a non-profit organisation established to provide information and education about the history of totalitarianism, particularly in the 20th century. It aims to encourage study and research in a variety of ways including the creation of an annual history essay prize on a different subject each year. Last year Ben Buffery won its inaugural prize and you can read his essay This Is Why I Write here. This year we wanted to challenge students to think and write more critically by having three in-school competitions to enter with significant prizes for winning entries.

Competition details - Three age groups of essay

  1. Key Stage 3 Years 7-8 (Project length 800 -1000 words) - British Biography project: Who has done the most to further minority or women’s rights in the UK. Choose ONE figure from British History who you would like to research. Read about their early life, their active years and their legacy. Put together a project with pictures and sources that shows what they have done to improve minority and/or women’s rights in the UK. Also, provide a bibliography/list of sources of reference you have used. Figures you could research: Mary Seacole, Marcus Garvey, Sophia Duleep Singh, Doreen Lawrence, Darcus Howe, Emily Wilding Davison, Malala Yousafzai or any others you are interested in.
  2.  Key Stage 4 Years 9-11 (Essay length 1000-1400 words) -‘Wars between states create more problems than they solve.’ To what extent do you agree with this observation? Develop your answer by specific reference to any historical period or periods before the end of the twentieth century that you have studied. Provide a bibliography.
  3. Years 12 & 13 (Essay length: 1,800-2,000 words)- The subject for the history essay prize for students who will be 6th formers in 2022-23 will be: The Hungarian Revolution of 1956. This was the first major revolt against one of the governments imposed on Central and Eastern Europe by the Soviet Union. It began with university students and dramatically escalated. The communist government was successfully overthrown. A new government declared Hungary’s withdrawal from the Warsaw Pact and promised free elections. Initially the Soviet leadership was divided over how to respond but eventually resolved to send in the Soviet army to crush the revolt. Soviet tanks were deployed on the streets of Budapest. As many as 200,000 Hungarians fled the country. Why did Hungary revolt against its government? Why did the Soviet Union send in the tanks? And what were the repercussions?

The first national prize is £1,500 divided between the student and the school. There are also prizes for 2nd, 3rd and those highly commended.
Please see the website https://historyoftotalitarianism.com for details and registration. Participation in the essay competition would enrich understanding of 20th century history and enhance personal statements in applications to universities. We have announced the subject early so that students already in year 12/13 can consider writing the essay in the half term holiday.
All entries must be submitted by email to mcdermottj@staff.watfordboys.org or via your History teacher. Prize money for each category £40 for first prize, followed by two runners up at £15. There will also be highly commended. Entries must include your name, form, a bibliography and word count.
Deadline Friday 2nd December 2022

Mr McDermott
Head of History