Thursday, February 23, 2006

Exam question

I was looking through the 2005 Environment & Social Studies Junior Cert exam and came across this True or False question: "Russia was an ally of Germany during World War II".

Now I could get all nit-picky and say the answer must be FALSE because Russia was not an independent state at the time, but a part of the USSR. Okay, this is a test for 14 & 15 year-old kids so I'll let that go. Let's assume they mean the USSR where they say Russia. Is it true or false?

The Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact of 1939 essentially made the Soviets and Germans allies. Ask the Finns. Ask the Poles, who were allies of the British and French when the Soviets jointly occupied Poland with Germany. So, I think TRUE could be considered right.

But, of course, after June 22, 1941 the Soviets and Germans were definitely not allies so FALSE is also right.

I wonder what would have happened if a kid had answered BOTH. I'm sure whoever set the exam was expecting a 'FALSE', but I'd also like to bet that few of our Polish immigrants would accept that as correct. Their children might just argue with the exam board.