Stalin’s sausage roll war . . . latest exam gaffes revealed
What was Stalin’s key weapon in controlling Eastern Europe? Sausage rolls, according to one student.
Apparently, the Russian dictator was not building up a buffer zone in the region after the end of the Second World War, but a “buffet zone”.
The blooper is just one of the many exam howlers submitted to the Times Higher Education magazine for its annual competition.
This year’s entries reveal how university students have been stumped by historical events, or caught out by spelling mistakes.
In a paper on the Cold War, the student for whom Stalin’s actions were more along the lines of a street party than a military move wrote: “In 1945, Stalin began to build a buffet zone in Eastern Europe.”
Kevin Ruane, a professor of modern history at Canterbury Christ Church University, told the magazine: “[It] conjures an image of Uncle Joe constructing a trestle table ‘curtain’ from the Baltic to the Adriatic to keep the rapacious capitalists at bay with canapes, sausage rolls and cocktail sausages.”
Another student confused medievalist David Ganz, emeritus professor in palaeography at King’s College London, by suggesting that during the Middle Ages “most books were written on valium” rather than the more traditional vellum.
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Wednesday 19 June 2013
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