AP European History : The Modern State

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for AP European History

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Example Questions

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Example Question #1 : The Modern State

One of the chief weaknesses of the Weimar Constitution that led to the rise of the National Socialist Party in the early 1930s was __________.

Possible Answers:

the lack of powers given to the President and Chancellor against the Reichstag

the electoral rules that made one party dominant over the entire Weimar Republic period

the small threshold for representation in the Reichstag by a political party

the system of checks and balances that did not allow any single figure to take power

the use of a parliamentary system rather than a presidential system

Correct answer:

the small threshold for representation in the Reichstag by a political party

Explanation:

The Weimar Constitution of 1919 was intended to replace the German government as ruled by the Kaiser before the end of World War II, and as such featured universal suffrage, wide-ranging checks and balances, and a mix of parliamentary and presidential systems. The wide-ranging, democratic reforms in the Weimar Constitution created a flourishing republic in Germany in the 1920s and the early 1930s; however, the lack of thresholds for Parliamentary representation gave legitimacy to many different ideologies and political parties, while its checks and balances were placed so as to give individuals like the Chancellor and the President expansive powers. These parts of the Weimar Constitution enabled Adolph Hitler and the National Socialists to take power in Germany by 1933.

Example Question #2 : The Modern State

Initially, how were the monarchies of England and Scotland united?

Possible Answers:

Malcolm III of Scotland took control of England when London fell to the Scots in 1637.

King Henry VIII of England married Queen Mary of Scotland and together they held a joint monarchy over the newly combined kingdom.

The English monarch died without having produced an heir, and the closest relative was the King of Scotland.

Pope Alexander III negotiated the merger between the English Parliament and the Scottish nobles.

Edward I conquered the rebellion led by William Wallace and assumed the Scottish throne.

Correct answer:

The English monarch died without having produced an heir, and the closest relative was the King of Scotland.

Explanation:

Queen Elizabeth I of England died in 1603 without any children to succeed her. The issue of succession was one that worried many during Elizabeth’s lifetime, with some assuming that James VI of Scotland, the son of Elizabeth’s cousin, would become king. A lot of people also feared the possibility of war breaking out over the selection of the next monarch, which was extremely likely. Fortunately, many advisers and others within government had anticipated that possibility and contacted James to convey that he should come to England at once upon Elizabeth’s death. When Elizabeth died, James rode quickly to London where he was proclaimed king and became King James I of England, thus uniting the two monarchies. The countries would continue to be separate states until full unification in 1707, but that was only possible through the ascension of James.

Example Question #3 : The Modern State

The most significant outcome of the Battle of Bosworth Field was __________.

Possible Answers:

the loss of Wales by the King of England

the weakening power of Henry VII over his subjects in Wales

further civil conflict between the Houses of York and Lancaster over the English throne

the invasion of England by the French armies led by Charles VIII

the end of the Wars of the Roses and the establishment of a stronger England

Correct answer:

the end of the Wars of the Roses and the establishment of a stronger England

Explanation:

The Battle of Bosworth Field took place on August 22, 1485, and ended when the Lancastrian Henry Tudor defeated the Yorkist King Richard III to become King Henry VII of England. This event ended the Wars of the Roses, a century-long civil war that ripped England apart along the rival lines of the Houses of York and Lancaster. Henry took the throne and married the princess Elizabeth of York, which ended the conflict and brought stability to England for the first time in a century.

Example Question #4 : The Modern State

Which of these is a problem faced by Western European nations in the twenty-first century?

Possible Answers:

Declining birth rates and aging population

Less access to higher education

Less access to universal healthcare

Decline of capitalism and democracy

Lower standard of living

Correct answer:

Declining birth rates and aging population

Explanation:

The nations of Western Europe face a significant problem in the twenty-first century because declining birth rates and higher life expectancy have led to an aging population. This will mean that there will soon be a great many more people claiming retirement benefits and not contributing directly to the productive capabilities of the nation than at any other time in European history. Essentially, there may be too few people in the workforce to support the needs of the population.

Example Question #5 : The Modern State

In which two countries did environmental political parties first achieve active participation in coalition governments?

Possible Answers:

Britain and France

France and Germany

The Netherlands and Sweden

Belgium and Germany

Sweden and France

Correct answer:

Belgium and Germany

Explanation:

The environmental movement emerged in Europe in the 1970s and was quickly politicized in many countries. In most European countries, the environmental parties, often called “Green Parties,” have had little electoral impact. But, in first Belgium and then Germany, they quickly emerged as a significant political force and have participated in numerous coalition governments.

Example Question #6 : The Modern State

The Polish Solidarity movement __________.

Possible Answers:

was founded shortly after the Warsaw Pact was signed

was a political organization designed to resist the overthrow of communism

was a nationalist organization designed to get war reparations from West Germany

was the first independent trade union under the Soviet Union

was crushed under the direction of Mikhail Gorbachev

Correct answer:

was the first independent trade union under the Soviet Union

Explanation:

The Polish Solidarity movement was founded in 1980 and was the first trade union to operate independently of the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact. It was wildly popular in Poland in the 1980s and formed the first Polish government after independence from the Soviet Union.

Example Question #7 : The Modern State

Which of these countries is not a member of the European Union?

Possible Answers:

Hungary

Norway

Lithuania

Romania

Denmark

Correct answer:

Norway

Explanation:

All of these countries are members of the European Union except for Norway. Norway, although not a participant of the European Union, is a member of the European Economic Area (EEA), which allows Norway to be part of Europe’s single market.

Example Question #8 : The Modern State

Illegal immigration into the European union has __________.

Possible Answers:

remained static since 1991

decreased dramatically since 1991

decreased slightly since 1991

increased slightly since 1991

increased dramatically since 1991

Correct answer:

increased dramatically since 1991

Explanation:

When the Maastricht Treaty was signed in 1991, formally codifying the European Union, it is estimated that illegal immigration into the countries that make up the European Union was less than one-hundred thousand individuals per year. In recent years, by some estimates, more than a million people arrive illegally into the European Union each year. Although the exact numbers are not agreed upon, what is certain is that the number of illegal immigrants arriving in Europe each year has increased dramatically in the last two decades. This presents a significant challenge to the member countries of the European Union in the years to come.

Example Question #9 : The Modern State

All of the following were causes of the Yugoslav wars EXCEPT __________.

Possible Answers:

religious differences

rising tide of Communist sentiment in constituent nations

the fall of Communist rule in Yugoslavia

linguistic differences

political favoritism in favor of different regions

Correct answer:

rising tide of Communist sentiment in constituent nations

Explanation:

The Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was created in 1945, and contained Slavic, Balkan nations that had ethnic, religious, and cultural differences. In the late 1980s, these long-simmering problems boiled over, and the constituent nations sought greater autonomy from the Communist government and eventually to declare independence. From there, nationalist parties took over the local governments, with ethnically similar armies fighting wars that often bordered on genocide as the various nations established new boundaries and governments. Fighting continued until 2001, when the Republika Srpska army was fully disbanded.

Example Question #10 : The Modern State

Which statesman worked to create a unified Germany and was eventually the country’s first chancellor?

Possible Answers:

Heinrich Himmler

Otto von Bismarck

Frederick William I

Wilhelm II

Adolf Hitler

Correct answer:

Otto von Bismarck

Explanation:

Otto von Bismarck is credited with unifying the various Germanic states into one nation. He was appointed Minister of Prussia by Wilhelm I of Prussia in 1862, and he used that position to wield a great deal of power. One of his most famous tactics was engaging in wars with Austria, France, and Denmark in order to unify the various Germanic states behind a single cause and also to gain some territory. In 1871, von Bismarck's work culminated in the formation of the German Empire with Wilhelm the first as the Emperor and himself as chancellor. He held this post until 1890, when Wilhelm II became displeased with him. He initiated many reforms meant to create a strong unified state and is revered by German nationalists.

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