VCE History

Unit 1 can be taken in Year 10 in lieu of Year 10 Core History.

NOTE:   It is strongly suggested that if you are intending to study either Revolutions or Australian and Global Politics at Year 12, that you have satisfactorily completed a semester of History or Australian and Global Politics at Year 11.

Unit 1: Twentieth Century History 1918–1939

In Unit 1 students explore the nature of political, social and cultural change in the period between the world wars. The period after World War One was characterised by significant social and cultural change in the contrasting decades of the 1920s and 1930s. New fascist governments used the military, education and propaganda to impose controls on the way people lived, to exclude particular groups of people and to silence criticism. In Germany, the persecution of the Jewish people became intensified. In the USSR, millions of people were forced to work in state-owned factories and farms and had limited personal freedom. Japan became increasingly militarised and anti-western. In the USA, the consumerism and material progress of the 1920s was tempered by the Great Crash of 1929. Writers, artists, musicians, choreographers and filmmakers reflected, promoted or resisted political, economic and social changes.

Area of Study 1 Ideology and conflict
In this area of study students explore the events, ideologies and movements of the period after World War One; the emergence of conflict; and the causes of World War Two. They investigate the impact of the treaties which ended the Great War and which redrew the map of Europe and broke up the former empires of the defeated nations. They consider the aims, achievements and limitations of the League of Nations. While democratic governments initially replaced the monarchies and authoritarian forms of government in European countries at the end of the war, new ideologies of socialism, communism and fascism gained popular support. Economic instability, territorial aggression and totalitarianism combined to draw the world into a second major conflict in 1939.

Outcome 1
On completion of this unit the student should be able to explain the consequences of the peace treaties which ended World War One, the impact of ideologies on nations and the events that led to World War Two.

Area of Study 2 Social and cultural change
In this area of study students focus on the social life and cultural expression in the 1920s and 1930s and their relation to the technological, political and economic changes of the period. Students explore particular forms of cultural expression from the period in one or more of the following contexts: Italy, Germany, Japan, USSR and/or USA.

The period between the wars was characterised by significant social and cultural change.

The creative arts both reflected and challenged social life and change in this period where mass entertainment and information by means of radio and film became widespread.

Outcome 2
On completion of this unit the student should be able to explain patterns of social life and cultural change in one or more contexts, and analyse the factors which influenced changes to social life and culture, in the inter-war years.

Assessment Tasks

  • a historical inquiry
  • an analysis of primary sources
  • an essay
  • an examination


Unit 2:    Twentieth Century History (1945-2000)

In Unit 2 students explore the nature and impact of the Cold War and challenges and changes to existing political, economic and social arrangements in the second half of the twentieth century. The establishment of the United Nations in 1945 was intended to take an internationalist approach to avoiding warfare but despite internationalist moves, the second half of the twentieth century was dominated by the competing ideologies of democracy and communism, setting the backdrop for the Cold War.

The period also saw challenge and change to the established order in many countries. New countries were created while old conflicts also continued and terrorism became increasingly global. This period also saw the rise of social movements such as the civil rights movement, feminism and environmental movements.

Area of Study 1 Competing Ideologies
In this area of study students focus on causes and consequences of the Cold War; the competing ideologies that underpinned events, the effects on people, groups and nations, and the reasons for the end of this sustained period of ideological conflict. Students explore the causes of the Cold War in the aftermath of World War Two. They investigate significant events and developments and the consequences for nations and people in the period 1945–1991. While the USA and the USSR never engaged in direct armed conflict, they opposed each other in a range of international conflicts. Students also consider the reasons for the end of this long-running period of ideological conflict and the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

Outcome 1
On completion of this unit the student should be able to explain the ideological divisions in the post-war period and analyse the nature, development and impact of the Cold War on nations and people, in relation to one or more particular conflicts in the period.

Area of Study 2 Challenge and Change
In this area of study students focus on the ways in which traditional ideas, values and political systems were challenged and changed by individuals and groups in a range of contexts during the period 1945 to 2000. Students explore the causes and consequences of significant political and social events and movements. In this period, political and social challenge and change occurred within and between nations based on religion, nationalism, race, gender and human rights. Developments in mass communication meant that many of the political and social movements were exposed to a global audience. Independence movements led to the emergence of new nations. While terrorism was not a new historical phenomenon, it took on new dimensions and became increasingly globalised. Other conflicts, such as the Arab–Israeli conflict and the struggle against Apartheid in South Africa, continued in the second half of the century. Traditional attitudes to race, war, gender, sexuality, religion, the environment and human rights were questioned.

Outcome 2
On completion of this unit the student should be able to explain the causes and nature of challenge and change in relation to two selected contexts in the second half of the twentieth century and analyse the consequences for nations and people.

Assessment Tasks

  • a historical inquiry
  • an analysis of primary sources
  • an essay
  • an examination


Units 3 & 4:    Revolutions—France and Russia

Revolutions are caused by the interplay of ideas, events, individuals and popular movements. In Units 3 & 4 Revolutions students investigate the significant historical causes and consequences of the French and Russian revolutions.

Areas of Study

  1. Causes of Revolution. In this area of study students analyse the long-term causes and short-term triggers of revolution. For France this includes topics such as the Enlightenment, the role of the monarchy and other individuals such as Duc d’Orleans, Sieyes, Lafayette, Mirabeau and Desmoulins. Events and popular movements such as the revolt of the Notables, Estates General, Storming the Bastille, ‘Great Fear’ and the October Days are studied. For Russia this includes topics such as the tensions in Tsarist Russia, the formation of the Mensheviks and Bolsheviks, the social and economic impact of World War I on Tsarist Russia, the role of individuals such as Witte, Stolypin, Rasputin, Kerensky, Trotsky and Lenin. Events such as the Russo-Japanese War, Bloody Sunday, February and October 1917 revolutions will be studied so that students can analyse how these events contributed to the cause of the revolution.
  1. Consequences of Revolution. In this area of study students analyse the consequences of the revolution and evaluate the extent to which it brought change to society. Students analyse the significant challenges that confronted the new regime and they evaluate the responses to these challenges and the extent to which the consequences of revolution resulted in social, political, economic and cultural change, progress or decline. In France the new regime confronted a number of challenges including the outbreak and course of war and internal division over the aims of the Revolution that saw the compromise of revolutionary ideas and the policy of ‘terror until peace’.

Significant individuals that changed society included Louis XVI, Danton, Marat, Robespierre and Lafayette. In Russia the new regime confronted challenges such as the dissolution of the Constituent Assembly, the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, Civil War, War Communism, Red Terror, the 1921 Famine and the Kronstadt Revolt.
Some significant individuals that changed society included Lenin, Trotsky, Dzerzhinksy and Kollontai.

Outcomes

On completion of these units the student should be able to:

  • analyse the causes of revolution, and evaluate the contribution of significant ideas, events, individuals and popular movements.
  • analyse the consequences of revolution and evaluate the extent of change brought to society.

Assessment

  • School assessed coursework for Units 3 & 4 will contribute 50% to the final assessment.
  • The end of year examination will contribute 50% to the final assessment.

THE MAIN SCHOOL ASSESSED TASKS WILL INCLUDE:

  • a historical inquiry
  • an analysis of primary sources
  • an evaluation of historical interpretations
  • an essay
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