Route 2: 20th Century World History Topics

Topic 1: Causes, practices and effects of wars
War was a major feature of the 20th century. In this topic the different types of war should be identified, and the causes, practices, and effects of these conflicts should be studied.

Major Themes
1. Different types and nature of 20th century warfare
  • Civil
  • Guerrilla
  • Limited war, total war
2. Origins and causes of wars
  • Long-term, short-term, and immediate causes
  • Economic, ideological, political, and religious causes
3. Nature of 20th century wars
  • Technological developments, tactics and strategies, air, land and sea
  • Home front: economic and social impact (including changes in the role and status of women)
  • Resistance and revolutionary movements
4. Effects and results of wars
  • Peace settlements and wars ending without treaties
  • Attempts at collective security pre-and post-Second World War
  • Political repercussions and territorial changes
  • Post-war economic problems

Topic 3: Origins and development of authoritarian and single-party states
The 20th century produced many authoritarian and single-party states. The origins, ideology, form of government, organization, nature and impact of these regimes should be studied.

Major themes
1. Origins and nature of authoritarian and single-party states
  • Conditions that produced authoritarian and single party states
  • Emergence of leaders: aims, ideology, support
  • Totalitarianism: the aim and the extent to which it was achieved
2. Establishment of authoritarian and single-party states
  • Methods: force, legal
  • Form of government, (left-and right-wing) ideology
  • Nature, extent and treatment of opposition
3. Domestic policies and impact
  • Structure and organization of government and administration
  • Political, economic, social and religious policies
  • Role of education, the arts, the media, propaganda
  • Status of women, treatment of religious groups and minorities

Topic 5: The Cold War
This topic addresses East-West relations from 1945. It aims to promote an international perspective and understanding of the origins, course and effects of the Cold War – a conflict that dominated global affairs from the end of the Second World War to the early 1990s. It includes superpower rivalry and events in all areas affected by Cold War politics such as spheres of interest, wars (proxy), alliances and interference in developing countries.

Major Themes
1. Origins of the Cold War
  • Ideological differences
  • Mutual suspicion and fear
  • From wartime allies to post-war enemies
2. Nature of the Cold War
  • Ideological opposition
  • Superpowers and spheres of influence
  • Alliances and diplomacy in the Cold War
3. Development and impact of the Cold War
  • Global spread of the Cold War from its European origins
  • Cold War policies of containment, brinksmanship, peaceful coexistence, détente
  • Role of the United Nations and the Non-Aligned movement
  • Role and significance of leaders
  • Arms Race, proliferation and limitation
  • Social, cultural and economic impact
4. End of the Cold War
  • Break-up of the Soviet Union: internal problems and external pressures
  • Breakdown of Soviet control over Central and Eastern Europe