Year 11
Year 11
Girls Working

VCE History Units I & 2

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. World War One is regarded by many as marking the beginning of twentieth century history since it represented such a complete departure from the past and heralded changes that were to have an impact for decades to come. The post-war treaties ushered in a period where the world was, to a large degree, reshaped with new borders, movements, ideologies and power structures. These changes affected developments in Europe, the USA, Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Economic instability caused by the Great Depression also contributed to the development of political movements. Despite ideals about future peace, reflected in the establishment of the League of Nations, the world was again overtaken by war in 1939.


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.



Ideology and Conflict

Social and Cultural change


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, resolving political tensions and addressing threats to human life and safety. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted in 1948 was the first global expression of human rights.


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. The continuation of moves towards decolonisation led to independence movements in former colonies in Africa, the Middle East, Asia and the Pacific. New countries were created and independence was achieved through both military and diplomatic means. Old conflicts also continued and terrorism became increasingly global. The second half of the twentieth century also saw the rise of social movements that challenged existing values and traditions, such as the civil rights movement, feminism and environmental movements.



Competing Ideologies

Challenge and Change