VCE History

This information is based on the study information provided by VCAA.

Rationale

History is the practice of understanding and making meaning of the past.  It is also the study of the problems of establishing and representing that meaning.  Students learn about their historical past, their shared history and the people, ideas and events that have created present societies and cultures.

This study builds a conceptual and historical framework within which students can develop an understanding of the issues of their own time and place.  It seeks to extend students’ cultural, economic, social and political understanding while developing analytical skills and using imagination.

Units 1 and 2: Twentieth Century History

Unit 1

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. The period after World War One was characterised by significant social and cultural change in countries as diverse. 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 particular, the Nazi Government of Germany persecuted the Jews of Europe in an escalating sequence of events culminating in the Holocaust.

Unit 2

In Unit 2, students explore the nature and impact of the Cold War with a focus on causes and consequences of the Cold War, the competing ideologies that underpinned events, the effects on people, groups and nations, and the reasons for the end of this sustained period of ideological conflict.

Students also analyse challenges and changes to existing political, economic and social arrangements in the second half of the twentieth century, with a particular focus on the anti-Apartheid movement in South Africa, and the terrorist campaign of the Irish Republican Army in Northern Ireland.

Areas of Study

Both Units 1 and 2 are comprised of two Areas of Study:

Unit 1 AOS1: Ideology and conflict – the Inter-War period.
Unit 1 AOS2: Social and cultural change – Nazi Germany and the Holocaust.
Unit 2 AOS1: Competing ideologies – the Cold War.
Unit 2 AOS2: Challenge and change – the anti-Apartheid movement in South Africa and the Irish ‘Troubles’.

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this course of study, the student should be able to satisfy the following outcomes for each Area of Study:

Unit 1 AOS1: Explain the consequences of the peace treaties which ended WWI, and the impact of ideologies on nations and the events that led to WWII.
Unit 1 AOS2: Explain patterns of social life and cultural change in Nazi Germany, and analyse the factors which influenced changes to social life and culture.
Unit 2 AOS1: Explain the ideological divisions in the post-war period, and analyse the nature, development and impact of the Cold War on nations and people.
Unit 2 AOS2: Explain the causes and nature of challenge and change in relation to protest movements in South Africa and Northern Ireland, analysing the consequences for the nations and people involved.

Assessment

The student’s level of achievement in Units 1 and 2 will be determined by school assessed coursework. They will also sit an examination for each Unit. Students complete the following four tasks as school assessed coursework to satisfy the outcomes for Units 1 and 2:

  • An historical inquiry
  • An analysis of primary sources
  • An evaluation of historical interpretations
  • An essay

Units 3 and 4: Revolutions

In Units 3 and 4 Revolutions students investigate the significant historical causes and consequences of political revolution. Revolutions represent great ruptures in time and are a major turning point which brings about the collapse and destruction of an existing political order resulting in a pervasive change to society. Revolutions are caused by the interplay of ideas, events, individuals and popular movements. Their consequences have a profound effect on the political and social structures of the post-revolutionary society. Revolution is a dramatically accelerated process whereby the new order attempts to create political and social change and transformation based on a new ideology. Progress in a post-revolutionary society is not guaranteed or inevitable. Post-revolutionary regimes are often threatened internally by civil war and externally by foreign threats. These challenges can result in a compromise of revolutionary ideals and extreme measures of violence, oppression and terror.

In these units students develop an understanding of the complexity and multiplicity of causes and consequences in the revolutionary narrative. They construct an argument about the past using primary sources as evidence and evaluate the extent to which the revolution brought change to the lives of people. They consider how perspectives of the revolution give an insight into the continuity and change experienced by those who lived through dramatic revolutionary moments. Students evaluate historical interpretations about the causes and consequences of revolution and the effects of change instigated by the new order.

Areas of study

Both Units 3 and 4 are comprised of two Areas of Study:

  • Causes of Revolution
  • Consequences of Revolution

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this course of study, the student should be able to satisfy the following outcomes for each Area of Study:

AOS1: Analyse the causes of revolution, and evaluate the contribution of significant ideas, events, individuals and popular movements.
AOS2: Analyse the consequences of revolution and evaluate the extent of change brought to society.

Unit 3 – The French Revolution

AOS1: French Revolution 1774 to October 1789 (Coronation of Louis XVI Rendu to the October Days)
AOS2: French Revolution October 1789 to 1795 (The October Days to the Convention of Year III)

Unit 4 – The Russian Revolution

AOS1: Russian Revolution 1896 to October 1917 (Coronation of Nicholas II to the October Revolution)
AOS2: Russian Revolution November 1917 to 1924 (Early decrees to the end of the NEP)

Assessment

The student’s level of achievement in Units 3 and 4 will be determined by school assessed coursework (50%) and an end of year examination (50%). Students complete the following four tasks as school assessed coursework to satisfy the outcomes for Units 3 and 4, with each task making up 12.5% of the final study score.

  • A historical inquiry
  • An analysis of primary sources
  • An evaluation of historical interpretations
  • An essay