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NSW Syllabuses

History K–10 - Stage 5 The Modern World and Australia


The overview is approximately 10% of the teaching time for The Modern World and Australia. The overview may be taught separately or may be integrated with the depth studies. 

Historical context of the overview

Despite attempts to create a lasting peace at the end of World War I, the world was engaged in another global conflict within 20 years. Not only did this conflict cause greater loss of life, it witnessed the Holocaust and the first use of nuclear weapons. In the aftermath of this war decolonisation saw the end of the great European empires and the emergence of new nations, particularly in Asia and Africa. At the same time, the United States and the Soviet Union emerged from World War II as hostile superpowers armed with nuclear weapons in a tense confrontation known as the Cold War. Despite a peaceful end to the Cold War in 1991, the emergence of global terrorism and a shift in economic power to Asia have contributed to ongoing uncertainty. The period since the end of the twentieth century has also been characterised by rising concerns about issues such as globalisation, the environment and sustainability. In spite of these uncertainties, there have been significant advances in technology, especially in communications, public health and living conditions across the world.

  • Students briefly outline:
  • continuing efforts post-World War II to achieve lasting peace and security in the world, including Australia's involvement in UN peacekeeping
  • the major movements for rights and freedoms in the world and the achievement of independence by former colonies
  • the nature of the Cold War and Australia's involvement in Cold War and post-Cold War conflicts (Korea, Vietnam, the Gulf Wars and Afghanistan), including the rising influence of Asian nations since the end of the Cold War
  • developments in technology, public health, longevity and standard of living during the twentieth century, and concern for the environment and sustainability
  • Depth Studies

  • The following three (3) depth studies focus on the history of the modern world and Australia from 1918 to the present, with an emphasis on Australia in its global context.
  • Key inquiry questions:
  • How did the nature of global conflict change during the twentieth century?
  • What were the consequences of World War II? How did these consequences shape the modern world?
  • How was Australian society affected by other significant global events and changes in this period?
Rights and Freedoms (1945–present) OR The Globalising World OR School-developed topic
    Popular culture

Migration experiences
  A list of suggested topics is provided.