VCE History

Unit 1 & 2 Modern History

History provides students with an opportunity to explore the significant events, ideas, individuals and movements that shaped our world in the twentieth century. 

Unit 3 & 4 History Revolutions

Revolutions represent great ruptures in time and are a major turning point in the collapse and destruction of an existing political order which results in extensive change to society. Students will learn about the causes and consequences of revolution though the study of the American Revolution of 1776 and the Russian Revolution of October 1917. There are two Areas of Study for each revolution.  


The first Area of Study takes students from the chaotic period after World War One to the emergence of new conflicts, ideologies and movements that within twenty years had dragged European countries and their allies into another global war. 

Students examine the rise of fascism through a detailed examination of Adolf Hitler and the rise to power of the National Socialist (NAZI) Party in Germany. Students examine how economic instability, territorial aggression and tyranny contributed to this rise. 

Area of Study 2 focuses on the changes to the way of life of ordinary people in Germany during this tumultuous time. Through a study of social life and cultural expression such as art, film and architecture, students will learn how the NAZI party came to control every aspect of German life and the consequences of this control both within, and outside Germany’s borders. 


Unit Two focuses on the period from the end of World War Two in 1945 until the current day. 

In Area of Study 1, students explore the causes of the Cold War and its consequences for world order. While the USA and the USSR never engaged in direct armed conflict, they opposed each other in a range of international conflicts such as those in Berlin, Korea, Cuba, and Vietnam. The Cold War was also ‘fought’ in other places including space, the arts and in sport. Students consider the reasons for the end of this long- running period of ideological conflict and the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.  

In Area of study 2, students focus on the ways in which traditional ideas, values and political systems were challenged and changed by individuals and groups since the end of World War Two.  

Students explore the causes and consequences of significant political and social events and movements such as the rise of terrorism, civil rights movements and regional conflicts such as the Arab Israeli conflict. 


All assessments for Units 1 & 2 are school based. Tasks will include the following:  

  • an analysis of primary sources  
  • a historical inquiry  
  • an analysis of historical interpretations  
  • an essay  
  • examinations  

Students analyse the long-term causes and short-term triggers of revolution. They evaluate how revolutionary outbreaks are caused by the interplay of significant events, ideas, individuals and popular movements.  They also assess how these were directly or indirectly influenced by the social, political, economic and cultural conditions. Students analyse significant events and evaluate how particular conditions profoundly influenced and contributed to the outbreak of revolution.  

Revolutions can be caused by the motivations and the intended and unintended actions of individuals who shape and influence the course of revolution. Popular movements showed that collective action could be transformed into revolutionary forces that could contribute to or hinder revolution as they sought to destroy the old order.  


Students evaluate the extent to which revolutionary ideals were achieved or compromised in the creation of the new society. The success of the revolution was not inevitable; therefore, students analyse the significant challenges that confronted the new regime after the initial outbreak of revolution. Furthermore, they evaluate the success of the new regime’s responses to these challenges and the extent to which the consequences of revolution resulted in dramatic and wide reaching social, political, economic and cultural change, progress or decline. 

As new orders attempted to consolidate power, post-revolutionary regimes were often challenged by those who opposed change. The consequences of these challenges sometimes resulted in a compromise of revolutionary ideologies, as the leaders of the new order became more authoritarian and responded with violence and policies of terror and repression. Individuals attempted to create significant changes to the system of government and the fabric of society. These revolutionary leaders could not predict some of the consequences of their political, social, economic and cultural actions often resulting in opposition and unforeseen reactions.  


The level of achievement for Units 3 and 4 is assessed by School-assessed coursework and an end of year examination.  

School-assessed course work for Unit 3 will contribute 25% to the study score.  

School-assessed course work for Unit 4 will contribute 25% to the study score. 

The external VCAA examination will contribute 50% to the study score.