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History is the practice of understanding and making meaning of the past. Students learn about their historical past, their shared history and the people, ideas and events that have created present societies and cultures. VCE History is relevant to students with a wide range of expectations, including those who wish to pursue formal study at tertiary level, as well as providing valuable knowledge and skills for an understanding of the underpinnings of contemporary society.

Unit 1     Twentieth Century History 1918–1939

In Unit 1 students explore the events, ideologies and movements of the period after World War One. Students gain an understanding of new ideologies at the end of the WWI including socialism, communism and fascism. They will investigate the rise of the Nazi Party in Germany in 1933, the persecution of the Jews and the Holocaust. Students also 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 the context of Germany. They will explore the ways in which particular forms of cultural expression such as art, literature, architecture, film and music both influenced and reflected social, economic and political change. Economic instability, territorial aggression and totalitarianism combined to draw the world into a second major conflict in 1939.

Topics covered are:

  • Political Ideologies: Socialism, Communism, Fascism
  • Nazi Germany
  • Holocaust
  • Cultural Expression

Unit 2     Twentieth Century History 1945–2000

The focus of Unit 2 is on the causes of the Cold War in the aftermath of World War Two. In this area of study students focus on causes and consequences of the Cold War in the period 1945-1991. Students will have the opportunity to investigate the competing ideologies of Communism in the USSR, and Democracy in the United States that underpinned the tensions of the Cold War.We look at significant features of the Cold War with a focus on the:

  • Vietnam War
  • Building of the Berlin Wall
  • Cuban Missile Crisis
  • Space race
  • Propaganda

Students will also investigate the significant causes of challenge to, and change in, existing political and social orders in the second half of the twentieth century, including conflicts such as the anti-Apartheid movement in South Africa and social and political movements such as Civil Rights campaigns in the USA.


History Revolutions

Unit 3 Russian Revolution 1905-1927 and

Unit 4 American Revolution 1754-1789

Outcome 1          Causes of Revolution

Students analyse the long-term causes and short-term triggers of revolution. They evaluate how revolutionary outbreaks are caused by significant events, ideas, individuals and popular movements and assess how these were directly or indirectly influenced by the social, political, economic and cultural conditions.

Students investigate the conditions, ideologies and individuals that contributed to the outbreak of the October 1917 revolution. Topics include:

  • The influence of ideologies such as Marxist-Leninist theory
  • The actions of individuals such as Tsar Nicholas II, Lenin and Trotsky
  • The role of popular movements and revolutionary groups including workers’ protests, peasants’ uprisings and soldiers’ mutinies

In America, students investigate oppressive conditions of British colonialism, revolutionary ideas, and the role of key revolutionaries in achieving change. Topics include:

  • British oppression, tax and Coercive Acts, the Boston Massacre and the Boston Tea Party
  • The influence of revolutionary ideas such as Enlightenment, Natural Rights and Representative Government
  • The actions of individuals such as Samuel Adams and Benjamin Franklin
  • The role of popular movements, such as the Patriots and the Sons of Liberty

Outcome 2          Consequences of Revolution

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 after the initial outbreak of revolution. Furthermore, they evaluate the success of the new regime’s responses to these challenges and the extent to which the consequences of revolution resulted in dramatic and wide reaching social, political, economic and cultural change, progress or decline.

In Russia, students explore the challenges to the new regime. Topics include:

  • The Civil War and period of Red Terror
  • Compromises of revolutionaries
  • Success of the revolution in achieving change

In America challenges to the new establishment are explored. Topics include:

  • The War of Independence
  • Economic challenges and the treatment of Native Americans and African Americans
  • Reasons for compromise on issues including slavery and the Bill of Rights
  • Experiences of social groups and changes to their everyday lives.