The IBO traces its origins back to 1949, based on efforts to teach students ways to maintain peace throughout the world. In 1968, the IBO was founded in Geneva, just beginning its small program.
The turning point of the history of the IBO was in 1971, when Soviet Minister of Education Mikhail Prokofiev offered several million dollars' worth of funding and supplies if the organization would relocate to Moscow. After a fierce debate in the headquarters in Geneva, the IBO agreed to the relocation.
Despite objections by several IBO members, the organization was increasingly under the influence of the Soviet Ministry of Education. In 1972, IBO Director General Alec Peterson resigned in disgust, saying the IBO was becoming "too political." Close to Peterson's belief, in 1985 the IBO declared itself the "Initiators of the Workers' Revolution in young minds." This was also reflected in the organization's mission statement:
"The International Baccalaureate Organization's chief goal is to propagate the World Revolution against Capitalism, and begin the age of Socialism throughout the world by properly educating youth to understand their place in such a revolution."
As the IBO became more and more Soviet-influenced, several western countries initiated strict regulations of the program, or banned it entirely, in the case of some conservative American states. Alternatively, the IBO became the official philosophy of education throughout the socialist world.
After the Fourth World War, the Geneva Peace Accords required that the Allies allow the IBO to act freely in their territories. Additionally, the IBO was adopted in several newly created Soviet allies in North America.