Modern History Stage 6 Syllabus

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Kollontai and the woman’s movement: Kollontai was ‘sidelined’ into the woman’s movement OR

PAIRS OF Kollontai chose to focus her work on improving conditions for women.


ABOUT Kollontai’s survival of the purges: Kollontai survived the purges because she avoided conflict with the party elite OR

KOLLONTAI Kollontai survived the purges because she was a sophisticated politician.
Kollontai’s political influence: Kollontai was the most active Bolshevik feminist OR

Kollontai was not important enough to be remembered as a revolutionary figure.

3.5.3 Sample HSC Program: International Studies in Peace and Conflict



H1.1 describe the role of key features, issues, individuals, groups and events of selected twentieth-century studies

H1.2 analyse and evaluate the role of key features, issues, individuals, groups and events of selected twentieth-century studies

H2.1 explain forces and ideas and assess their significance in contributing to change and continuity during the twentieth century

H3.1 ask relevant historical questions

H3.2 locate, select and organise relevant information from different types of sources

H3.3 analyse and evaluate sources for their usefulness and reliability

H3.4 explain and evaluate differing perspectives and interpretations of the past

H3.5 plan and present the findings of historical investigations, analysing and synthesising information from different types of sources

H4.1 use historical terms and concepts appropriately

H4.2 communicate a knowledge and understanding of historical features and issues, using appropriate and well-structured oral and written forms


Students investigate key features and issues in the history of the United Nations as peacekeeper 1946–2001.


origins and early challenges of the United Nations

the development of the UN

challenges to peace

the UN since the end of the Cold War


Ranked according to usefulness:

Basic Facts About the United Nations, United Nations, New York, 2000.
Hamper, David, A United World? The Untied Nations and International Agreements, McGraw-Hill, Sydney, 2005
Whittaker, David, United Nations in the Contemporary World, New York, 1997
Schlesinger, Stephen, Act of Creation: The Founding of the United Nations, 2004
Meisler, Stanley, United Nations: The First Fifty Years, 2004
Suter, Keith, In Defence of Globalisation, Sydney, 2000
Butler, Richard, Fatal Choice: Nuclear Weapons and the Illusion of Missile Defence, Sydney, 2001
McNamara, Robert and Blight, James, Wilson’s Ghost: Reducing the Risk of Conflict, Killing and Catastrophe in the 21st Century, 2001
Blum, William Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II, London, 2003.
Harries, Owen, Benign or Imperial? Reflections on American Hegemony, ABC Books, Sydney, 2004
Robertson, Geoffrey, Crimes Against Humanity: The Struggle for Global Justice, London, 1999


TEACHING AND LEARNING STRATEGIES (incorporating students learn to:)


Brainstorm what class knows about the UN today and its various roles and activities.

Critically view Fahrenheit 9/11 to identify key problems and issues presented and the debates about them.

Students discuss views about the UN represented in the film.

1 Origins and early challenges of the United Nations

reasons for the creation of the UN

key provisions and articles of the Charter of the UN and the Declaration of Human Rights
the Security Council, the General Assembly, the Secretariat and the role of the veto
impact of the creation of Israel, Communist China and the Korean War

Students review international situation at the end of World War I and the movements toward a world organisation

to settle disputes – eg Womens’ Hague Congress 1915, Pope Benedict XV, Woodrow Wilson.

Teacher exposition on the formation, activities and weaknesses of the League of Nations and its failure to prevent World War II.

Show relevant segments of DF Zanuck’s 1944 film Wilson to show increasing public support for the creation of the UN.

Divide class into two, one group hypothesises about the powers and responsibilities of such an organisation and constructs their own ‘charter’; the other group identifies what they consider to be basic human rights and creates a ‘declaration’. Students then share and discuss their documents.

Class then access UN versions of these to analyse their key features:

at (UN Charter)

and (UN Declaration of Human Rights).

Teacher provides blank diagram of the structure and organs of the UN (which can be created from Students complete diagram from teacher exposition or notes provided as a listening/note making activity.
Teacher explains the function of the veto in the UN context then provides examples of the use of the veto by members of the Security Council. (Records of the use of the veto can be found on the Security Council website

Students discuss/account for differing perspectives reflected in the vetoes.

Students investigate ONE of the three early challenges for the UN shown at left focusing on:

(a) immediate background of the issue (b) how the UN became involved (c) outcome of the issue and its impact on those involved

Israel:; Korean War:;

China :

Each group reports their findings to the class. Teacher leads discussion about the strengths and weaknesses of the UN in each case in the context of the Cold War

2. The development of the UN

  • effect of the Cold War on UN activities

  • pursuit of nuclear disarmament

  • impact of Third World countries and changing membership of the UN

  • assessment of the role and impact of the UN as international peacekeeper in any TWO of the following conflicts:

  • Angola

  • Cambodia

  • Congo

  • Cyprus

  • Arab-Israeli conflicts in 1967 and 1973

  • Kashmir

  • Nicaragua

  • West Papua/Irian Jaya

Students construct a table showing key events of the Cold War and their impact on the UN’s principles and/or activities.

Resource: UN in the Contemporary World, pp 14–27 for an overview.

Students identify and discuss arguments in support of the need to persevere with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty of 1968.

Relevant resources: UN in the Contemporary World, pp 57–67. Also see Fatal Choice by Richard Butler, and Basic Facts, pp 109–124 for a comprehensive treatment of the UN’s activities in relation to this issue.

Students research the issue of proliferation and assess the extent to which the USA, Russia, Britain and France are limiting their nuclear arsenals as an example to the rest of the world.

Discuss the effectiveness of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Students consider the question: Is it hypocritical to pursue North Korea and Iran over nuclear weapons while turning a blind eye to the activities of Israel, Pakistan and India?

Teacher gives an exposition on the links between post-war decolonisation, Third World countries and expanding membership of the UN 1945–2001.

Students consider factors contributing to Third World poverty and assess UN attempts to alleviate it.

Students investigate and make notes on issues relating to the impact of expanding membership on the UN, eg terms of membership, principle of state sovereignty (one vote/one nation), impact on voting in UN General Assembly, influence of Security Council, use of veto power.

Resources: UN in the Contemporary World, pp 68–79 has an excellent overview of policies affecting the developing world. For in-depth analysis see Globalization and Its Discontents. For list of members:;

Students choose TWO conflicts from those listed at left. They undertake the activities listed below and present their findings in either a poster or a PowerPoint format.

  • identify the issues that required UN involvement

  • describe the role played by the UN in the conflict

  • assess the impact of the UN on the conflict

  • evaluate the usefulness of at least TWO sources in relation to each study.


  • Cambodia. See A Problem From Hell, pp 87–155 for a definitive account (teacher reference). Students discuss Australia’s role in securing peace and elections in 1993 as part of the UN force. (Use AWM sources)

  • Congo: Basic Facts, p. 88; Killing Hope, pp 156–162

  • Angola: Basic Facts, pp 83–84; Killing Hope, pp 249–256.

  • Cyprus: Basic Facts, pp 103; UN in the Contemporary World, pp 53–54; Peacekeepers: Challenges for the Future, pp 202–203.

  • Middle East: Basic Facts, pp 95–99.

  • Kashmir: Peacekeepers: Challenges for the Future, pp 198–199

  • Nicaragua: Killing Hope: pp 290–304; see the ICJ case of Nicaragua vs United States. ( has summary)

3. Challenges to peace

  • major challenges facing the international community:

  • racism, poverty, refugees, child soldiers, landmines, gender inequity, war crimes, illiteracy, AIDS

  • role and effectiveness of the UN and its agencies in dealing with poverty, racism, refugees and AIDS

Students form groups to read and discuss some of the challenges shown at left. Groups compile a fact file sheet on their chosen issue for class distribution. Relevant sources include:

  • Racism: Basic Facts, pp 231–3

  • Refugees: Basic Facts, pp 253–5; United Nations in the Contemporary World, pp 89–99

  • Child Soldiers:

  • Landmines: Basic Facts, pp 117; Shelters From the Storm pp 109–114

  • Poverty: Basic Facts, pp 159–163

  • War Crimes: International Criminal Court (ICC):

  • Illiteracy:

  • AIDS: Basic Facts, p 167

Using the fact files as a starting point, students evaluate the role and effectiveness of the UN and its agencies in dealing with poverty, racism, refugees and AIDS.

4. The UN since the end of the Cold War

debate over the role and structure of the UN since the end of the Cold War

nature of the relationship with major powers and alliances

continuing efforts to promote disarmament and prevent nuclear proliferation

Students construct a comparative table to identify the change in structure and policies of the UN during and after the Cold War . Useful resources include Keith Suter’s article ‘New Age warfare Stifles New World Order’ in Macmillan Legal Studies 2, p 474; In Defence of Globalisation

Students identify the major powers and alliances that have emerged since the end of the Cold War and explain their relationship with the United Nations. The following sources would be useful: United Nations in the Contemporary World, pp 103–115; ‘The Revolution of Internationalism’ in Internationalism and the State in the Twentieth Century, pp 350–361; Peacekeeping in the Future: Peacekeepers, pp 101–121
Students make notes on the UN’s efforts to promote disarmament and prevent nuclear proliferation using the following:

Disarmament: Basic Facts, pp 109–112. Most important for this is Richard Butler’s, Fatal Choice. Also see The Global Factor, pp 81–92.

assessment of the role and impact of the UN as international peacekeeper in any TWO of the following conflicts:

  • the Gulf War and its aftermath

  • the former Yugoslavia

  • Somalia 1993 and Rwanda 1994

  • East Timor 1999–2001


Investigate the role and impact of the UN as international peacekeeper by completing the following task:

  • A: outline the major issues in East Timor AND one other of the conflicts shown at left.

  • B: Evaluate the effectiveness of UN peacekeeping in each case.

In relation to East Timor, address the following issues:

  • Was East Timor a textbook success story?

  • What long-term problems does East Timor face?

  • What effect did the International Court of Justice case over the Timor Gap have on relations between Australia and East Timor?

Present your findings of ONE of these conflicts as a news feature story of between 750 and 1000 words.

Use the sources below as a starting point:

  • Australian War Memorial website for Australia’s role in Somalia, Rwanda and East Timor

  • Gulf War and its aftermath: Basic Facts, pp 99–102. Tania Ewing, The Peace Broke.

  • Former Yugoslavia: Basic Facts, pp 104–9. Peacekeepers: Challenges for the Future, pp 101–121

  • Somalia: Peacekeepers, pp 210–11.

  • Rwanda 1994: Basic Facts, pp 84–6 and A Problem From Hell, pp 329–9

  • East Timor 1999–2001: Basic Facts, pp 283–5.

  • Viewing one or both of the films, Black Hawk Down (2001) and Hotel Rwanda (2004), might be a useful starting point for a discussion and/or review of the topic. The ways in which the film(s) represent history should be carefully evaluated.

Section IV – Resources for the HSC
4.1 HSC Core Study: World War I 1914–1919: A source-based study
The experiences of Australian soldiers on the Western Front
This collection of sources enables teachers and students to access and utilise Australian sources such as soldiers’ letters, diaries and memoirs in addressing the learn about statement in the Core topic: ‘the nature of trench warfare and life in the trenches dealing with experiences of Allied and German soldiers’.
While life in the trenches continues to be the focus, students may now use Australian sources as well as British and German sources. Australia has a rich variety of soldiers’ sources from the Western Front which can be readily accessed from the National Australian Archives and the Australian War Memorial.
The following are extracts from letters written by 23-year-old Corporal Alan Gordon, 4th Battalion AIF to his fiancée, Miss Nell Clark in 1916. Alan came from Roseville, Sydney and Nell lived in nearby Killara. Nell died on 24 October 1986, aged 90, and had never married. She kept her letters from Alan in her drawer for 70 years. Many women of her generation did not marry, as so many men of their generation were killed in the Great War. The chosen extracts relate to Alan’s experiences of warfare, from his arrival in France to his untimely death. Alan’s changing attitude towards the war can also be traced.
Other sources relating to Alan’s war experiences include:

  • embroidered card

  • postcards from France

  • official postcard

  • photo of Allan and Nell

  • attestation papers

Letter 1 France, 4/4/1916
Dear Nell,

… We landed at the pretty little or big spot I mentioned before, down south. Well, we had a most glorious trip, right through France. It was absolutely the most wonderful and glorious country I have seen, up to the present. I don’t think I will ever see a better. We saw all kinds of strange sights, a number of which, of course, I would not be allowed to mention … Following the rivers the whole way, are perfectly made white roads. By gum, Nell, it’s a grand country, and we both must come and see it again later on. We were in the train for 61 hours without a break. There were eight of us in each carriage so you can imagine, how much sleep we got … We landed here at 3.30 am and were bundled out in the cold and marched about 10 or 12 miles, over cobbled roads. It was the hardest march I’ve ever done and it jolly nearly killed me. We are close to the firing line, and can hear the continuous roar of big guns, night and day. It probably will not be long before we get right into the game. We are billeted on farms, and my platoon is in a big barn with plenty of straw. It is the best, and the softest bed we’ve slept on for a long, long time. It is bitterly cold and very much like rain at present …’

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