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ACARA Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority

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Unit 1: Understanding the Modern World

Unit Description

This unit examines developments of significance in the modern era, including the ideas that inspired them and their far-reaching consequences. Students examine TWO topics, including at least ONE study of a development or turning point that has helped to define the modern world. Students explore crucial changes for example the application of reason to human affairs; the transformation of production, consumption, transport and communications; the challenge to social hierarchy and hereditary privilege, and the assertion of inalienable rights; and the new principles of government by consent. Through their studies, students explore the nature of the sources for the study of Modern History and build their skills in historical method through inquiry. The key conceptual understandings covered in this unit are: what makes an historical development significant; the changing nature and usefulness of sources; the changing representations and interpretations of the past; and the historical legacy of these developments for the Western world and beyond.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this unit, students:

  • understand key developments that have helped define the modern world, their causes, the different experiences of individuals and groups, and their short and long term consequences
  • understand the ideas that both inspired and emerged from these key developments and their significance for the contemporary world
  • apply key concepts as part of a historical inquiry, including evidence, continuity and change, cause and effect, significance, empathy, perspectives and contestability
  • use historical skills to investigate particular developments of the modern era and the nature of sources; determine the reliability and usefulness of sources and evidence; explore different interpretations and representations; and use a range of evidence to support and communicate an historical argument.

Content Descriptions

Historical skills

All the following skills will be studied during this unit. Relevant skills will be emphasised for each topic.

Chronology, terms and concepts
  1. Identify links between events to understand the nature and significance of causation, change and continuity over time (ACHMH001)

  2. Use historical terms and concepts in appropriate contexts to demonstrate historical knowledge and understanding (ACHMH002)

Historical questions and research
  1. Formulate, test and modify propositions to investigate historical issues (ACHMH003)

  2. Frame questions to guide inquiry and develop a coherent research plan for inquiry (ACHMH004)

  3. Identify, locate and organise relevant information from a range of primary and secondary sources (ACHMH005)

  4. Practise ethical scholarship when conducting research (ACHMH006)

Analysis and use of sources
  1. Identify the origin, purpose and context of historical sources (ACHMH007)

  2. Analyse, interpret and synthesise evidence from different types of sources to develop and sustain an historical argument (ACHMH008)

  3. Evaluate the reliability, usefulness and contestable nature of sources to develop informed judgements that support a historical argument (ACHMH009)

Perspectives and interpretations
  1. Analyse and account for the different perspectives of individuals and groups in the past (ACHMH010)

  2. Evaluate critically different historical interpretations of the past, how they evolved, and how they are shaped by the historian’s perspective (ACHMH011)

  3. Evaluate contested views about the past to understand the provisional nature of historical knowledge and to arrive at reasoned and supported conclusions (ACHMH012)

Explanation and communication
  1. Develop texts that integrate appropriate evidence from a range of sources to explain the past and to support and refute arguments (ACHMH013)

  2. Communicate historical understanding by selecting and using text forms appropriate to the purpose and audience (ACHMH014)

  3. Apply appropriate referencing techniques accurately and consistently (ACHMH015)

Historical knowledge and understanding

Students study TWO topics with at least ONE to be chosen from the topic electives below. An alternative significant development may be chosen as one of the two topics of study in this unit.

  • The Enlightenment, 1750 – 1789
  • The American Revolution, 1763 – 1812
  • The French Revolution, 1774 – 1799
  • The Industrial Revolutions, 1750 – 1890s
  • The Age of Imperialism, 1848 – 1914

An alternative significant development or turning point may be chosen as one of the two topics of study in this unit. This could facilitate comparisons in terms of the far-reaching consequences of the developments. Any topic other than the suggested topic electives should be selected on the basis of the following criteria.

Students study at least ONE of the following topic electives which is to be taught with the requisite historical skills described at the start of this unit:
The Enlightenment (1750 – 1789)
  1. The main factors contributing to the emergence of the Enlightenment, including the decline in the power of both the Church and Absolute Monarchy, the Scientific Revolution; and the spread of Enlightenment ideas across Europe (ACHMH016)

  2. The motivation and role of individuals in the development of the Enlightenment, and conflicting ideas, with particular reference to Locke, Voltaire, Mill and Rousseau (ACHMH017)

  3. The key ideas that emerged from the Enlightenment, including the belief in reason and opposition to superstition; the belief in the importance of free expression; the belief in the value of learning and education as reflected in the rise of universities and academies; and support for humanitarianism (ACHMH018)

  4. The significant changes that occurred as a result of the Enlightenment, for example: movements for social and political reform; the rise of enlightened monarchies; increased interest in technological change; and belief in equal rights (ACHMH019)

  5. The experiences and responses to the Enlightenment, for example those of scientists, intellectuals, monarchs, church leaders and revolutionary leaders (ACHMH020)

  6. The significance and impact of the Enlightenment beyond Europe in the 19th century (ACHMH021)

The American Revolution (1763 – 1812)
  1. The main causes of the American Revolution, including the significance of the Seven Years War (1756-1763); the influence of republican ideology; the imposition of taxes, repressive acts, and lack of American representation in British government; and the campaigns that were fought to achieve independence (for example Saratoga and Philadelphia) (ACHMH022)

  2. The aims and contribution of significant individuals to the revolutionary movement, with particular reference to Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, John Hancock and John Adams (ACHMH023)

  3. The key ideas of liberalism, democracy and republicanism that emerged from the American Revolution as illustrated by the 1776 Declaration of Independence; the creation of a national constitution and Bill of Rights; and the establishment of constitutional government (ACHMH024)

  4. The different experiences of revolutionaries, royalists, neutrals, native Americans, slaves and women during the period and their response to the challenges in the formation of the United States of America (ACHMH025)

  5. The significant political, social and constitutional changes brought about by the American Revolution, for example: the separation of powers; treatment of the opponents of the new republic; losses during the war; and the emergence of the Federal system (ACHMH026)

  6. The significance of the American Revolution into the 19th century: for example its impact on other revolutionary movements; and the implications for Australia of the cessation of British convict transportation to the United States (ACHMH027)

The French Revolution (1774 – 1799)
  1. The main causes of the French Revolution including the influence of the Enlightenment; the increasingly prosperous elite of wealthy commoners who resented their exclusion from political power; and the financial crisis of the government (ACHMH028)

  2. The motivation and role of significant individuals in the struggles of the Revolution, with particular reference to Danton, Marat, Louis XVI, Marie Antoinette, Robespierre and Saint-Just, and of significant groups including the sans-culottes, the bourgeoisie and the peasants (ACHMH029)

  3. The key ideas and their significance in the French Revolution, including liberty, equality, fraternity, citizenship and inalienable rights (ACHMH030)

  4. The significant changes that occurred during the French Revolution, including the overturning of the ‘ancien regime’, changes to the social structure of France, foreign policy and the revolutionary wars (ACHMH031)

  5. The consequences of the French Revolution, including the difficulties and crises that were faced by revolutionary groups and government as the new state was consolidated, the counter-revolution and the ‘Reign of Terror’, the abolition of monarchy, the advent of democracy and the rise of the middle class (ACHMH032)

  6. The significance of the French Revolution into the 19th century including, the rise and influence of Napoleonic France and the growth of nationalism as an outcome of the French Revolution (ACHMH033)

The Industrial Revolution (1750 – 1890s)
  1. The main causes of the Industrial Revolution in the second half of the 18th century as debated by historians, including the invention of new technologies and use of coal and iron; population increase; European imperialism and the capital accumulated from trade (ACHMH034)

  2. The role and significance of key individuals involved in the period of the Industrial Revolution, with particular reference to Watt, Darby, Thoreau and Smith (ACHMH035)

  3. The impact of new processes and ideas on economic life, for example: the development of mining; the mechanisation of the textile industry; the rise of the factory system and production lines; the development of a steel-based second Industrial Revolution; and new forms of transport and communications (for example, canals, roads, and trains) (ACHMH036)

  4. The emergence of key ideas and ideologies that supported or challenged the Industrial Revolution, for example capitalism; liberalism; laissez–faire; Chartism; socialism; the commodification of labour; and the Protestant work ethic (ACHMH037)

  5. The experiences of factory owners, workers, women and children in the Industrial Revolution; and responses to the Industrial Revolution of Luddites, Chartists, trade unionists (ACHMH038)

  6. The effectiveness of official responses to the challenges of the Industrial Revolution, including Royal Commissions, Factory Acts (1802-1850), ‘Peterloo Massacre’, and the Factory Act of 1833 (ACHMH039)

  7. The significance of the Industrial Revolution in Britain up to the 1890s for the organisation and use of labour as a commodity, for living and working conditions; for the environment, urbanisation and transportation (ACHMH040)

The Age of Imperialism: 1848 – 1914
  1. The main causes of imperial expansion, including the emergence of market economies in Europe, industrialisation, the competing naval powers of Britain, Germany and Russia and the competition to establish colonies and markets in Africa, Asia and the Pacific (ACHMH041)

  2. The different forms of imperialism, including trade, exploitation of resources and strategic considerations (ACHMH042)

  3. An overview of the extent of imperial expansion by 1914 in Africa, Asia and the Pacific (ACHMH043)

  4. The key ideas of the ‘imperial age’ including nationalism, the glorification of ‘empire’ and the ‘Christian mission’ (ACHMH044)

  5. With particular reference to ONE or more colonies, the methods and motivations of the colonisers; the experiences and responses of the colonised people; and the changes that occurred within the colony/colonies as part of imperial expansion (ACHMH045)

  6. The significance of imperialism in this period, including the spread of Christianity, the growth of world trade and capitalism, and the growth of imperial rivalry and militarism (ACHMH046)

An alternative significant development

An alternative significant development or turning point may be chosen as one of the two topics of study in this unit. This could facilitate comparisons in terms of the far-reaching consequences of the developments. Any topic other than the suggested topic electives should be selected on the basis of the following criteria.

The development:

  • is within the period 1750–1918
  • affected large numbers of people
  • had a profound effect on people’s lives at the time
  • had longer-term consequences
  • has relevance for contemporary concerns, ideas, beliefs, values and motivations.

Relevant examples of significant developments could include: the American Civil War and its aftermath; World War I and its legacy; advances in health and medicine; development of one or more of the following: capitalism; liberalism; nationalism; socialism.

Unit 2: Movements for Change in the 20th century

Unit Description

This unit examines significant movements for change in the 20th century that led to change in society, including people’s attitudes and circumstances. These movements draw on the major ideas described in Unit 1, have been closely connected with democratic political systems, and have been subject to political debate. Through a detailed examination of TWO major 20th century movements, students investigate the ways in which individuals, groups and institutions have challenged existing political structures, accepted social organisation, and prevailing economic models to transform societies. The key conceptual understandings covered in this unit are: the factors leading to the development of movements; the methods adopted to achieve effective change; the changing nature of these movements throughout the 20th century; and changing perspectives of the value of these movements and how their significance is interpreted.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this unit, students:

  • understand the key features of the movements for change, including the conditions that gave rise to these movements, the motivations and role of individuals and groups, and the short and long term consequences
  • understand the significance of these movements, the influence of ideas that were central in their development, and the methods employed
  • apply key concepts as part of a historical inquiry, including evidence, continuity and change, cause and effect, significance, empathy, perspectives and contestability
  • use historical skills to investigate these movements in the modern period; judge the reliability and usefulness of sources and the value of different kinds of evidence; explore different interpretations and representations; and use a range of evidence to support and communicate an historical argument.

Content Descriptions

Historical skills

All the following skills will be studied during this unit. Relevant skills will be emphasised for each topic.

Chronology, terms and concepts
  1. Identify links between events to understand the nature and significance of causation, change and continuity over time (ACHMH047)

  2. Use historical terms and concepts in appropriate contexts to demonstrate historical knowledge and understanding (ACHMH048)

Historical questions and research
  1. Formulate, test and modify propositions to investigate historical issues (ACHMH049)

  2. Frame questions to guide inquiry and develop a coherent research plan for inquiry (ACHMH050)

  3. Identify, locate and organise relevant information from a range of primary and secondary sources (ACHMH051)

  4. Practise ethical scholarship when conducting research (ACHMH052)

Analysis and use of sources
  1. Identify the origin, purpose and context of historical sources (ACHMH053)

  2. Analyse, interpret and synthesise evidence from different types of sources to develop and sustain a historical argument (ACHMH054)

  3. Evaluate the reliability, usefulness and contestable nature of sources to develop informed judgements that support a historical argument (ACHMH055)

Perspectives and interpretations
  1. Analyse and account for the different perspectives of individuals and groups in the past (ACHMH056)

  2. Evaluate critically different historical interpretations of the past, how they evolved, and how they are shaped by the historian’s perspective (ACHMH057)

  3. Evaluate contested views about the past to understand the provisional nature of historical knowledge and to arrive at reasoned and supported conclusions (ACHMH058)

Explanation and communication
  1. Develop texts that integrate appropriate evidence from a range of sources to explain the past and to support and refute arguments (ACHMH059)

  2. Communicate historical understanding by selecting and using text forms appropriate to the purpose and audience (ACHMH060)

  3. Apply appropriate referencing techniques accurately and consistently (ACHMH061)

Historical knowledge and understanding

Students study TWO of the following 20th century movements:

  • Women’s movements
  • Recognition and rights of Indigenous peoples
  • Decolonisation
  • The Civil rights movement in the USA
  • Workers’ movements

An alternative significant movement for change may be chosen as one of the two topics of study in this unit. This could facilitate comparisons in terms of the far-reaching consequences of the developments. Any topic other than the suggested topic electives should be selected on the basis of the following criteria.

The movement:

  • is within the 20th century period
  • affected large numbers of people
  • led to profound change within society
  • had longer-term consequences
  • has relevance for contemporary concerns, ideas, beliefs, values and motivations.

Relevant examples of significant movements could include: the end of Apartheid in South Africa; the pro-democracy movement in Burma; and movements related to one or more of the following: internationalism, anti-nuclear, environmental sustainability.

Students study TWO of the following 20th century movements which are to be taught with the requisite historical skills described at the start of this unit:
Women’s movements

Students study this topic with reference to Australia and one other society to investigate:

  • The legal and political entitlements of women in Western societies, for example the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Great Britain and France at the start of the 20th century, including their right to vote, their right to stand for Parliament, marriage law and property law (ACHMH062)

  • The role of suffrage movements in the 20th century, for example the reasons why political participation was a key objective of the movement for women’s rights (ACHMH063)

  • The significance of World Wars I and II for women and the effect of international agreements, for example the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights on the status of women (ACHMH064)

  • The early contribution of important individuals, including Vida Goldstein and Emmeline Pankhurst and the subsequent influence of authors, influential women and activists, for example Simone de Beauvoir, Betty Friedan, Kate Millett and Germaine Greer, on the changing nature of women’s demands after World War II (ACHMH065)

  • The post-war economic and technological improvements that changed women’s lives, for example new technologies in the home, the rise of consumerism and social networking (ACHMH066)

  • The post-war changes in social conditions affecting women, for example birth control with the introduction of the contraceptive pill; improved pay and employment opportunities; affirmative action; campaigns against violence, war and discrimination and the development of child care services (ACHMH067)

  • The importance of legislation in securing changes for women since World War II, for example, Roe vs Wade (US); the Sex Discrimination Act 1984 (Australia); the failure of the United States to ratify the 19th amendment on Equal Rights; the Equality Act of 2010 (UK); and the Human Rights Act of 2001 (New Zealand) (ACHMH068)

  • The achievements and legacies of women’s movements (ACHMH069)

Recognition and rights of indigenous peoples

Students study Australian society and ONE other relevant 20th century society, to investigate:

  • The nature of the relationship of indigenous peoples with their land and their response to perceptions of, and feelings about, the arrival of the colonisers (ACHMH070)

  • The basis on which the colonists claimed sovereignty and imposed control, including conquest, treaty and the doctrine of ‘terra nullius’; and the consequences for the legal status and land rights of Indigenous peoples (ACHMH071)

  • The nature of government policies and their impact on indigenous peoples, for example protection, assimilation (including the Stolen Generations), and self-determination (ACHMH072)

  • The role of individuals and groups who supported the movement for indigenous recognition and rights, including the methods they used and the resistance they encountered (ACHMH073)

  • The economic, political and social challenges and opportunities indigenous peoples have faced, including the role of cultural activity in developing awareness in society (ACHMH074)

  • The achievements of indigenous peoples at the end of the 20th century, including the right to vote, land rights/native title, and attempt at reconciliation (ACHMH075)

  • The continued efforts to achieve greater recognition, reconciliation, civil rights, and improvements in education and health (ACHMH076)

Decolonisation

Students select TWO countries from Algeria, Congo, India, Vietnam and East Timor to investigate:

  • The reasons for colonisation and how the country became colonised, including the different situations of the chosen countries, and the nature of those differences (ACHMH077)

  • Conditions in the colony at the start of the 20th century, with specific reference to the living conditions of the colonisers and the colonised, the political structure in place, the aspirations of those living under colonisation, and the nature of the economy (ACHMH078)

  • The economic and moral challenges to Europe’s ability to maintain colonies that resulted from the impact of World Wars I and II (ACHMH079)

  • The emergence of movements for decolonisation, the key groups and individuals that pressed for liberation of the colony, the ideas that influenced them, and their struggle to achieve independence (ACHMH080)

  • The significance of international movements for change that supported the decolonisation process, for example the emerging recognition of the rights of indigenous peoples, movements for international peace and cooperation, and the recognition of human rights (ACHMH081)

  • The outcomes of decolonisation, government, democratic freedoms, economic development, education and health care (ACHMH082)

  • The key developments over time in the independent country, for example increasing urbanisation, and matters related to governance (single party or democratic representation), internal security, social equality, and independent foreign policy (ACHMH083)

The Civil rights movement in the USA

Students investigate:

  • The circumstances of African Americans in the United States at the turn of the 20th century, including the legacy of the Civil War, the limitation of voting rights, the extent of segregation, and various forms of discrimination (ACHMH084)

  • The formation and role of groups supporting civil rights and their ideas for change, for example the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured Peoples (NAACP) in 1909, the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) in 1941, the Regional Council of Negro Leadership (RCNL) in 1951, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) in 1957 and the Black Panthers (1960s -1970s) (ACHMH085)

  • The role and significance of individuals in the struggle for civil rights, for example Martin Luther King Jr, Rosa Parkes, and Malcolm X (ACHMH086)

  • The methods employed by civil rights movements in the United States across the period, including local and national boycotts, direct action and political agitation (for example voter registration) (ACHMH087)

  • The nature and extent of the opposition to civil rights, with particular reference to the role of the Lily-White Movement, the Ku Klux Klan, and the White Citizens’ Council (ACHMH088)

  • The significance of key events in bringing about social and political change, including the role of African Americans in World War II, the Montgomery Bus Boycott, the desegregation of Little Rock High School, the Freedom Rides, the March on Washington and the ‘Mississippi Freedom Summer’ of 1964 (ACHMH089)

  • The significance of legislative change, including the United States Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education (1954), the Civil Rights Act (1964), and the attitudes of presidents for example Franklin Roosevelt, John F Kennedy and Lyndon B Johnson (ACHMH090)

  • The influence of the US civil rights movement beyond the US (ACHMH091)

Workers’ movements

Students study this topic with reference to Australia and one other Western society to investigate:

  • The development of protest movements during the Industrial Revolution, for example the Tolpuddle Martyrs; Chartists; and the International Workingmen’s Association; the formation of trade unions, moves to regulate employment; and demands for an eight-hour day (ACHMH092)

  • The emergence of political parties (labor and non-labor) in Western countries in the 19th and 20th centuries, the role of trade unions in their formation, and the policies and methods of workers’ parties (ACHMH093)

  • The different aims and objectives of international organisations, for example: Industrial Workers of the World (1905), the International Labour Organisation (1919), and the International Federation of Trade Unions (1919), and the methods they used to advance workers’ interests (ACHMH094)

  • Specific achievements relating to workers’ rights, including the eight-hour day and the minimum wage, the significance of Articles 23 and 24 in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948), and the strategy of recognising inalienable workers’ rights on a global scale (ACHMH095)

  • The post-war economic boom and the increase in the wage standards of workers’ in the West in the second half of the 20th century; and increased opportunities including education, training and social mobility (ACHMH096)

  • The significance of changes to workers’ rights during the 20th century, including the provision of minimum wages; limitations on working hours; restrictions on child labour; the right to industrial arbitration; and changing rights and responsibilities of employers, and their role in supporting workers’, including occupational health and safety (ACHMH097)

An alternative significant movement

An alternative significant movement for change may be chosen as one of the two topics of study in this unit. This could facilitate comparisons in terms of the far-reaching consequences of the developments. Any topic other than the suggested topic electives should be selected on the basis of the following criteria.

The movement:

  • is within the 20th century period
  • affected large numbers of people
  • led to profound change within society
  • had longer-term consequences
  • has relevance for contemporary concerns, ideas, beliefs, values and motivations.

Relevant examples of significant movements could include: the end of Apartheid in South Africa; the pro-democracy movement in Burma; and movements related to one or more of the following: internationalism, anti-nuclear, environmental sustainability.

Unit 3: Modern Nations in the 20th century

Unit Description

This unit examines the characteristics of modern nations in the 20th century; the crises that confronted nations, their responses to these crises and the different paths nations have taken to fulfil their goals. Students study the characteristics of TWO nations, including ONE from List 1 and ONE from List 2. In their study of a List 1 nation, students investigate crises that challenged the stability of government. In their study of a List 2 nation, students study the path of development that was taken and the social, economic and political order that was established. In their study of both nations, students examine the ways in which the nations dealt with internal divisions and external threats. They emerge with a deeper understanding of the character of modern nations. The key conceptual understandings covered in this unit are the reliability and usefulness of evidence; cause and effect; change and continuity; significance; empathy; contestability; and changing representations and interpretations.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this unit, students:

  • understand the characteristics of modern nations, the internal divisions and external threats that they encountered, and the different experiences of individuals and groups within those states
  • understand the significance of the changes experienced by modern nations and the different paths of development they have taken
  • apply key concepts as part of a historical inquiry, including evidence, continuity and change, cause and effect, significance, empathy, perspectives and contestability
  • use historical skills to investigate the history of selected nations, frame questions for research, determine the reliability and usefulness of sources and evidence, explore different interpretations of the past, and use a range of evidence to analyse interpretations and representations, and communicate historical arguments.

Content Descriptions

Historical skills

All the following skills will be studied during this unit. Relevant skills will be emphasised for each topic.

Chronology, terms and concepts
  1. Identify links between events to understand the nature and significance of causation, change and continuity over time (ACHMH098)

  2. Use historical terms and concepts in appropriate contexts to demonstrate historical knowledge and understanding (ACHMH099)

Historical questions and research
  1. Formulate, test and modify propositions to investigate historical issues (ACHMH100)

  2. Frame questions to guide inquiry and develop a coherent research plan for inquiry (ACHMH101)

  3. Identify, locate and organise relevant information from a range of primary and secondary sources (ACHMH102)

  4. Practise ethical scholarship when conducting research (ACHMH103)

Analysis and use of sources
  1. Identify the origin, purpose and context of historical sources (ACHMH104)

  2. Analyse, interpret and synthesise evidence from different types of sources to develop and sustain a historical argument (ACHMH105)

  3. Evaluate the reliability, usefulness and contestable nature of sources to develop informed judgements that support a historical argument (ACHMH106)

Perspectives and interpretations
  1. Analyse and account for the different perspectives of individuals and groups in the past (ACHMH107)

  2. Evaluate critically different historical interpretations of the past, how they evolved, and how they are shaped by the historian’s perspective (ACHMH108)

  3. Evaluate contested views about the past to understand the provisional nature of historical knowledge and to arrive at reasoned and supported conclusions (ACHMH109)

Explanation and communication
  1. Develop texts that integrate appropriate evidence from a range of sources to explain the past and to support and refute arguments (ACHMH110)

  2. Communicate historical understanding by selecting and using text forms appropriate to the purpose and audience (ACHMH111)

  3. Apply appropriate referencing techniques accurately and consistently (ACHMH112)

Historical knowledge and understanding

Students study TWO of the following topic electives, one from List 1 and one from List 2, which are to be taught with the requisite historical skills described at the start of this unit.

List 1

List 2

United States of America, 1917 – 1945

Australia, 1918 – 1949

Germany, 1918 – 1945

Russia and the Soviet Union, 1917 – 1945

Japan, 1931 – 1967

India, 1947 – 1974

Indonesia, 1942 – 1974

China, 1937 – 1976

List 1
United States of America, 1917 –1945 (Entry into WWI – End of WWII)
  1. An overview of the United States of America in 1917 as background information for more intensive study of the period (ACHMH113)

  2. The nature and causes of internal divisions within American society and the aims and beliefs of different groups: for example African Americans, urban workers, rural workers, immigrants, industrialists and members of Indian Nations; and the consequences of divisions for example the rise of the Ku Klux Klan, the Scopes ‘Monkey’ Trial and the Trial of Ossian Sweet (ACHMH114)

  3. The significance of prohibition and the ‘Jazz Age’ in shaping American values, for example music, film and fashion (ACHMH115)

  4. The consequences of the Great Depression for different groups and the effectiveness of political responses, including the New Deal (ACHMH116)

  5. The changing nature of American foreign policy between 1917 and 1945, including its international alliances and relationships; and the policy of isolationism (ACHMH117)

  6. The nature and scope of America’s war effort in Europe, Asia and the Pacific (1941-1945), including the reasons for US involvement in World War II, and the decision to use the atomic bomb (ACHMH118)

  7. The role and impact of significant individuals in the period, for example Woodrow Wilson, Herbert Hoover, Harry S. Truman, F. D. Roosevelt, Booker T Washington, Jessie Owens, Amelia Earhart (ACHMH119)

Australia, 1918 –1949 (End of WWI – Election of Menzies)
  1. An overview of Australia in 1918 as background information for more intensive study of the period (ACHMH120)

  2. The adjustment of national priorities in the 1920s, including the tensions between urbanisation, industrialisation and rural development; the difficulties of soldier settlement; the exclusion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples; and the changing role of women (ACHMH121)

  3. The impact of the Great Depression on different groups within Australian society and the effectiveness of political responses to the crisis (ACHMH122)

  4. The changing nature and significance of Australia’s foreign policy from 1916-1949 (ACHMH123)

  5. The nature and scope of Australia’s war effort in Europe, Asia and the Pacific (1939-1945) (ACHMH124)

  6. The key features of post-war reconstruction, including industrialisation, immigration, the provision of social welfare, and attitudes and policies towards Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, and women (ACHMH125)

  7. The impact of the rise of communism, its influence on the election of Robert Menzies and the Coalition in 1949, and the contrasting economic and social policies offered at the 1949 election (ACHMH126)

  8. The role and impact of significant individuals in the period, for example W.M. Hughes, Sir John Monash, Vida Goldstein, Ben Chifley, John Curtin, Robert Menzies (ACHMH127)

Germany, 1918 –1945 (End of WWI – End of World War II)
  1. An overview of Germany in 1918 as background for more intensive study of the period (ACHMH128)

  2. The democratic changes under the Weimar Government and reasons for its failure to deal with social, political and economic problems (ACHMH129)

  3. The reasons for the Nazi Party’s rise to power, including the Treaty of Versailles, the impact of the Great Depression, the nature of Nazi ideology and hostility to communism, the ability of Hitler and theNazi Party to utilise popular fears, and the Party’s organisational and tactical skills (ACHMH130)

  4. The nature and effects of key aspects of the Nazi state, including military mobilisation, Lebensraum (living space), propaganda, terror and repression (SA and SS), the Hitler Youth, and policy on religion (ACHMH131)

  5. Nazi policies of antisemitism and the promotion of the Aryan race resulting in efforts to exterminate minorities in German-controlled lands and the Holocaust (ACHMH132)

  6. Germany’s war effort, including its early successes and subsequent failures leading to the defeat of Germany by the Allies and the division of Germany (ACHMH133)

  7. The role and impact of significant individuals in Weimar and Nazi Germany, for example Gustav Stresemann, President von Hindenburg, Leni Riefenstahl, Alfred Krupp, Joseph Goebbels, Hermann Göring and Albert Speer (ACHMH134)

Russia and the Soviet Union, 1917 – 1945 (Revolution – End of World War II)
  1. An overview of Russia in 1917 as background for more intensive study of the period (ACHMH135)

  2. The internal divisions and crises within Russian society, including the causes, events and outcomes of the February and October Revolutions in 1917; the opposition to the Bolsheviks, the civil war and the reasons for the Bolshevik victory (ACHMH136)

  3. The significance of the struggle of Josef Stalin and Leon Trotsky for power and the reasons for the success of Stalin (ACHMH137)

  4. The changes that transformed Russia, including the New Economic Policy, the creation of the USSR, the Five Year plans and how they contributed to state control of the economy, forced rural collectivisation, state-created famine and the modernisation of the Soviet Union (ACHMH138)

  5. The different experiences of individuals and groups in the period to 1945, including peasants and factory workers, and the methods the regime employed to control them, including mobilisation and propaganda, repression, the Purges and the Great Terror (ACHMH139)

  6. The impact of World War II and the methods that enabled the USSR to secure victory (ACHMH140)

  7. The role and impact of significant individuals in the period, for example Vladimir Lenin, Leon Trotsky, Joseph Stalin, Nikolai Yezhov, Sergei Kirov, Alexandra Kollontai, Vyacheslav Molotov and Georgy Zhukov (ACHMH141)

List 2
Japan, 1931 − 1967 (Invasion of Manchuria – Foundation Day Ceremony)
  1. An overview of Japan in 1931 as background for more intensive study of the period (ACHMH142)

  2. Japan’s first invasion of Manchuria in 1931 for political, military and social reasons (ACHMH143)

  3. Japan during World War II, including the extent and nature of Japanese imperial expansion in Asia and the Pacific; the formation of the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere; the external threats to Japan, including tension with the USA over trade before WWII; the bombing of Pearl Harbor; the scope and nature of fighting in Asia and the Pacific during WWII; and the US atomic attacks in 1945 (ACHMH144)

  4. The immediate post-war effects of Japan’s defeat, including opposition to democratic government; political division within the Japanese military; opposition to the Allied occupation after the war; the changes introduced during the American occupation (ACHMH145)

  5. The internal development of Japan after the Occupation and the nature of its foreign policy, including the nature of the constitution and political system; the terms of the US-Japan Security Treaty, and the nature of the political order that followed; and the reasons for Japan’s low-profile role in world affairs and post-war economic development to the 1960s (ACHMH146)

  6. Japan’s role and situation in the initial Cold War period, including membership of the UN, the limits on its military role and territorial disputes with the USSR, China, and North and South Korea (ACHMH147)

  7. The role and impact of significant individuals in the period, for example Hideki Tojo, Emperor Hirohito, General Douglas MacArthur, Hayato Ikeda, Eisaku Sato, Eiji Toyoda, Akio Morita, and Yoshida Shigeru (ACHMH148)

India, 1947 – 1974 (Independence – First Nuclear Test)
  1. An overview of India in 1947 as background for more intensive study of the period, including the impact of World War II (ACHMH149)

  2. The nature of the division in India that resulted in the creation of Pakistan (1947) and Bangladesh (1971), including the different paths taken by the two nations, and the response of India (ACHMH150)

  3. The establishment and significance of the Indian constitution (1950); the subsequent role of the Indian Congress Party, Hindu nationalism and the leadership of Jawaharlal Nehru (1947-1964) (ACHMH151)

  4. The key features and significance of the Indira Gandhi leadership and policies (1966-1974) (ACHMH152)

  5. The changing nature of India’s foreign policy and external threats in the period, including relations with power blocs, wars with Pakistan over the disputed territory of Kashmir (1948, 1965 and 1971), recognition of Tibet as part of China, the liberation of Goa (1961), border war with China (1962), creation of Bangladesh (1971) and India’s nuclear test (1974) (ACHMH153)

  6. The experiences of different groups and castes in India, with particular reference to Hindus, Muslims, women, Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Backward Castes (ACHMH154)

  7. The role and impact of significant individuals in India in the period, including Jinnah, B.R Ambedkar, Nehru, Vallabhbhai Patel, Rajendra Prasad and Indira Gandhi (ACHMH155)

Indonesia, 1942 – 1974 (Japanese occupation – invasion of East Timor)
  1. An overview of Indonesia in 1942 as background for more intensive study of the period, including the Indonesian nationalist movement in the 1930s and the idea of Indonesia (ACHMH156)

  2. The reasons for the Japanese occupation of Indonesia, the nature of the occupation and its effects on different groups, including forced labourers; the effects of the occupation on Indonesian nationalism; the declaration of Indonesian independence in 1945 and its aftermath; and the Netherlands’ attempts to re-establish colonial rule (ACHMH157)

  3. The background, role and significance of Sukarno’s presidency, with particular reference to ‘Guided democracy’; the reasons for the growth of the Indonesian Communist Party; and the role of the military (ACHMH158)

  4. The reasons for the deterioration in Indonesia’s economy up to 1965 and its impact on the population, including hyperinflation and food shortages (ACHMH159)

  5. The nature and causes of internal divisions in Indonesian society, including the ethnic and religious differences, and the role of Chinese Indonesians (ACHMH160)

  6. Indonesian foreign policy to 1965, including the Bandung Conference, relations with the USSR, China and the USA, confrontation with Malaysia and the annexation of West Irian (ACHMH161)

  7. The nature and significance of the 1965 coup, including the mass killings 1965-1966; the rise to power of Suharto and the army, the transmigration program and conflicts between settlers and indigenous populations; pro-democracy movements; and the reasons for the invasion of East Timor in 1974 (ACHMH162)

  8. The role and impact of significant individuals and groups in the period, for example Sukarno, Mohammad Hatta, Dipa Nusantara Aidit, Suharto and Parmudya Ananta Toer, the LEKRA and Muhammadiyah groups (ACHMH163)

China, 1937-1976 (Second Japanese Invasion of Manchuria – Cultural Revolution)
  1. An overview of China in 1937 as background for more intensive study of the period (ACHMH164)

  2. The purpose and nature of the ‘Yan’an Way’, including the Long March; Mao Zedong’s rise to prominence; life in the base areas including gender relations, rectification movements, and the role of the Chinese Communist Party’s participation in the war against Japan (ACHMH165)

  3. Similarities and differences in both structure and philosophy between the KMT and the Chinese Communist Party, and the conflict that led to a change in the regime in 1949 and the creation of a Communist state (ACHMH166)

  4. Chinese involvement in the Cold War and relations with the United States in the Korean conflict (1950-53), and the nature and practice of China’s subsequent international relations until the 1960s (ACHMH167)

  5. The characteristics and impact of the Great Leap Forward (1958-1961), including the role of communes, methods of production, and the difficulties faced by workers (ACHMH168)

  6. The significance of the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976) as a continuing attempt to organise Chinese social and economic life and to suppress dissent, and the implications for groups within China, including rural peasants and political dissidents (ACHMH169)

  7. The role and impact of significant individuals in the period, for example Mao Zedong, Jiang Qing, Jiang Jieshi, Zhou Enlai and Lin Piao (ACHMH170)

Unit 4: The Modern World since 1945

Unit Description

This unit examines some significant and distinctive features of the modern world within the period 1945 – 2010, in order to build students’ understanding of the contemporary world - that is, why we are here at this point in time. These include changes to the nature of the world order: shifting international tensions, alliances and power blocs; the emergence of Asia as a significant international political and economic force and the nature of engagement by and with Australia; the nature of various conflicts and regional and international attempts to create peace and security; and the implications of globalisation with the ever-increasing mobility of people, the growth of the global economy and overall rise in living standards. Students study ONE of these features. As part of their study, they should follow and make relevant connections with contemporary events. The key conceptual understandings covered in this unit are: causation; change and continuity; historical significance and changing representations and interpretations of the past, and contestability.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this unit, students:

  • understand the distinctive features of the modern world that have emerged since World War II and the historical forces that provided their impetus
  • understand the changes that took place over time, and their significance to the experiences of individuals, groups, nations and the international community
  • apply key concepts as part of a historical inquiry, including evidence, continuity and change, cause and effect, significance, empathy, perspectives and contestability
  • use historical skills to investigate some distinctive features of the world since 1945; frame questions for research; interpret sources and evidence with a focus on reliability and usefulness; and use evidence to evaluate interpretations and representations, and communicate historical arguments.

Content Descriptions

Historical skills

All the following skills will be studied during this unit.

Chronology, terms and concepts
  1. Identify links between events to understand the nature and significance of causation, change and continuity over time (ACHMH171)

  2. Use historical terms and concepts in appropriate contexts to demonstrate historical knowledge and understanding (ACHMH172)

Historical questions and research
  1. Formulate, test and modify propositions to investigate historical issues (ACHMH173)

  2. Frame questions to guide inquiry and develop a coherent research plan for inquiry (ACHMH174)

  3. Identify, locate and organise relevant information from a range of primary and secondary sources (ACHMH175)

  4. Practise ethical scholarship when conducting research (ACHMH176)

Analysis and use of sources
  1. Identify the origin, purpose and context of historical sources (ACHMH177)

  2. Analyse, interpret and synthesise evidence from different types of sources to develop and sustain a historical argument (ACHMH178)

  3. Evaluate the reliability, usefulness and contestable nature of sources to develop informed judgements that support a historical argument (ACHMH179)

Perspectives and interpretations
  1. Analyse and account for the different perspectives of individuals and groups in the past (ACHMH180)

  2. Evaluate critically different historical interpretations of the past, how they evolved, and how they are shaped by the historian’s perspective (ACHMH181)

  3. Evaluate contested views about the past to understand the provisional nature of historical knowledge and to arrive at reasoned and supported conclusions (ACHMH182)

Explanation and communication
  1. Develop texts that integrate appropriate evidence from a range of sources to explain the past and to support and refute arguments (ACHMH183)

  2. Communicate historical understanding by selecting and using text forms appropriate to purpose and audience (ACHMH184)

  3. Apply appropriate referencing techniques accurately and consistently (ACHMH185)

Historical knowledge and understanding

Students study ONE of the following topics, with a focus on the period 1945 – 2010:

  • The Changing World Order
  • Engagement with Asia
  • A Globalised World
  • Movements of People
  • The Struggle for Peace in the Middle East
  • The Search for Peace and Security.
Students study ONE of the following topics, with a focus on the period 1945-2010, which are to be taught with the requisite historical skills described at the start of this unit:
The Changing World Order
  1. An overview, as background, of the nature of the world order at the end of World War II, colonialism in the Eastern communist bloc and Western capitalist bloc, and the emerging role of the United Nations (ACHMH186)

  2. The nature of the origins and early development of the Cold War to 1948, including the ideological, cultural and political differences between the United States and the Soviet Union; and the significance of the Truman Doctrine and Berlin Blockade (ACHMH187)

  3. The evolving nature and character of the Cold War in Europe and the Asia-Pacific from 1948 through to détente, including the arms race and threat of nuclear war, and the new Cold War of the 1980s (ACHMH188)

  4. The involvement of Australia in the Cold War, with particular reference to foreign policy, nuclear testing at Maralinga, and the war in Vietnam (ACHMH189)

  5. Significant developments that followed the end of the Cold War in 1989, including the breakup of the Soviet Union, the development of European governance and extension of the ‘European Union’, and the emergence of China and India as significant Asian powers (ACHMH190)

  6. The changing nature of world order in the period 1989-2010, for example the peaceful reunification of Germany, the US as superpower, the exercise of military power, and economic influence (ACHMH191)

  7. The role of significant individuals during the period, for example Josef Stalin, Harry Truman, Mao Zedong, John Kennedy, Nikita Khrushchev, Jawaharlal Nehru, Richard Nixon, Deng Xiaoping, Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher and Mikhail Gorbachev (ACHMH192)

Engagement with Asia

Students investigate the following with specific reference to Australia’s relationship with Asia:

  • An overview, as background information, of the impact of World War II on Australia and Asia, including the significance of the fall of Singapore, the political and social impact of the war with Japan, the increasing regional involvement of the United States, and movements towards decolonisation (ACHMH193)

  • The nature of Australia’s response to key developments in the period, including the success of the Communists in China, the Tokyo War Crimes Tribunal, the return of the French to Vietnam, Indonesian claims for independence, Australia’s adherence to the White Australia Policy until 1973, and the implications of Australia’s involvement in the Vietnam War (ACHMH194)

  • The significance of Australia’s immigration policies on regional relationships after World War II, including the reasons for the gradual dismantling of the White Australia Policy in the period 1945-1973 (ACHMH195)

  • The formation of formal alliances and forums, for example ANZUS, SEATO and APEC, and cultural ties with Asia (ACHMH196)

Students investigate Australia’s relationship with ONE Asian country chosen from China, India, Indonesia, Japan or Vietnam in relation to the following:

  • The changing characteristics of the chosen nation over the period, including political independence and alliances; system of government; political, social and cultural policies; economic growth; and the development of education and technology (ACHMH197)

  • The nature of the connections between the chosen country and Australia in the areas of migration, trade, culture, membership of alliances, and political affairs (ACHMH198)

  • The significance of the chosen country’s political and economic development since 1945 for its relationship with Australia (ACHMH199)

  • The role of individuals and groups, for example national leaders, businessmen, and sporting and cultural identities, in promoting or questioning closer links between the chosen country and Australia (ACHMH200)

A Globalised World
  1. An overview, as background information, of economic and social conditions in 1945-46, including social displacement and austerity in Europe, Australia and other parts of the world following World War II (ACHMH201)

  2. The background to, and the key features of, post-war capitalism and communism as competing economic and social systems in the 1950s (ACHMH202)

  3. The emergence of regional blocs in the 1950s and 1960s, including the EEC (European Economic Community) and the Soviet bloc and their contribution to the economic and social well-being of member countries (ACHMH203)

  4. The nature of economic and social changes in Australia and one other country up to the 1970s and the impact and significance of these changes for individuals and groups within each society and for relations with other countries (ACHMH204)

  5. The global significance of the economic recession of the 1970s for western capitalist economies, including the collapse of the Bretton Woods system and the OPEC Middle East Oil Crisis (1973) (ACHMH205)

  6. The global impact of the failure of the command economies in the 1970s and 1980s and the revival of market economies from the 1980s, including reference to the collapse of the Soviet bloc and the economic liberalisation of China (ACHMH206)

  7. The economic and social impact of global popular culture and technology advances on Australian society in the period 1990-2010 (ACHMH207)

Movements of People
  1. An overview, as background, of the volume and forms of migration before 1945, including legal and illegal migrants, mass migration to former settler colonies and refugee movements (ACHMH208)

  2. The nature, extent and global distribution of populations in 1945 and then in 2010 (ACHMH209)

  3. The circumstances in 1945 contributing to mass movement of people, including the impact of World War II on migration from Europe and its impact on Australian migration policies and on movements within the British Commonwealth (ACHMH210)

  4. The international legal and organisational frameworks for the movement of people, including the 1948 Universal Declaration, the 1951 Refugee Convention and the 1967 Protocol, the anti-trafficking protocol of the Palermo Convention (2000), International Labor Organisation (ILO) and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) (ACHMH211)

  5. Displacement arising from conflict and persecution (1945 -1975) for example Communist regimes in Europe (Hungarian uprising 1956), conflicts in the Middle East (Israeli military interventions in Lebanon) (ACHMH212)

  6. Displacement arising from conflict and persecution (1975 - 2010), for example fleeing from Communism in Asia (Vietnam War) and civil wars in Africa (Horn of Africa) (ACHMH213)

  7. The consequences of the movement of peoples in the period 1945 – 2010, for example urban migration and labour migration, and the experiences of groups that moved and the implications for Australia, Great Britain and the British Commonwealth (ACHMH214)

The Struggle for Peace in the Middle East
  1. An overview of the background to the establishment of the British mandate in Palestine and the establishment of the state of Israel, including the immediate consequences for relations between Jews and Arabs (ACHMH215)

  2. The significance and consequences of key conflicts between Arabs and Israelis, including the Arab-Israeli War of 1948-49, the Suez War (1956), the Six-Day War (1967), the Yom Kippur War (1973), Israeli military intervention in Lebanon (1978, 1982, 2006), and Israel’s decision to withdraw from Gaza in 2005 (ACHMH216)

  3. The nature and consequences of Palestinian reactions to Israel, including the Intifada (1987–94) and the 2nd Intifada (2000–2006) (ACHMH217)

  4. Reasons for, and consequences of, other conflicts in the Middle East, for example the Lebanese Civil War (1975-1990), the Iran/Iraq War (1980-1988), Iranian Revolution (1979) and the Gulf Wars I (1990–1991) and II (2003) (ACHMH218)

  5. The attempts to settle conflicts between Arabs and Israelis, for example: the 1949 Armistice, Security Council Resolution 242 (1967), Camp David Accords (1978), the 1979 Peace Treaty, the Oslo Accords (1993), the Camp David Summit (2000), and the role of the United Nations (ACHMH219)

  6. The impact of significant individuals and groups both in working for and in opposing peace for example David Ben-Gurion, Anwar Sadat, Menachem Begin, Yasser Arafat, Yitzhak Rabin, Ariel Sharon, Golda Meir, the Palestinian Liberation Organisation, Hezbollah, Hamas, and ‘Peace Now’ (ACHMH220)

  7. The consequences of the involvement of the United States, Britain and the Soviet Union in the Middle East over the period, in both the continuing conflict and the peace process (ACHMH221)

The Search for Peace and Security
  1. An overview of the threats to world security in 1945, including austerity, border disputes, refugee movements, and the peace settlement in 1945 (ACHMH222)

  2. The reasons for the creation of the United Nations and its immediate successes, including the UN Security Council; the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; the Genocide Convention 1948; and the Geneva Convention 1949 (ACHMH223)

  3. The development of post war peace movements, with particular reference to their objectives, methods and influence, for example disarmament in response to the Cold War, and the use of non-violence (ACHMH224)

  4. The role and outcomes of the United Nations as peacekeeper in specific conflicts and disputes, for example Korea 1954-1955, the former Yugoslavia after 1989; Rwanda (1993-96); Cambodia up to the first elections in 1993; and East Timor/Timor-Leste (1999-2008) (ACHMH225)

  5. The contribution of Australia as a peacekeeper since World War II, including the military, civilian police, mine-clearers, weapons inspectors and diplomats (ACHMH226)

  6. The changing nature of global terrorism to 2010, as represented by the objectives, methods and influence of terrorist groups, including state-based terrorism; anticolonial conflicts (such as Ireland and the United Kingdom) and international tensions (such as Al Qaeda and Western countries) (ACHMH227)

  7. The nature of responses and the success of governments and the UN to conflicts and threats in the post-Cold War period (1991-2010), including national counter-terrorism actions, efforts to ensure disarmament and non-nuclear proliferation; and the resolutions of the UN Security Council (ACHMH228)

  8. The impact of significant individuals in the period, for example Eleanor Roosevelt, H V Evatt, Dag Hammarskjold, Ralph Bunche, Lester Pearson, Gareth Evans and Kofi Annan (ACHMH229)