The Modern History ATAR course enables students to study the forces that have shaped today’s world and provides them with a broader and deeper comprehension of the world in which they live. While the focus is on the 20th century, the course refers back to formative changes from the late 18th century onwards and encourages students to make connections with the changing world of the 21st century. Modern history enhances students’ curiosity and imagination and their appreciation of larger themes, individuals, movements, events and ideas that have shaped the contemporary world.

View Syllabus on School Curriculum and Standards Authority Website

Year 11

Unit 1 Understanding the modern world

This unit examines developments of significance in the modern era, including the ideas that inspired them and their far‐reaching consequences. Students examine one development or turning point that has helped to define the modern world. Capitalism – the American experience (1907–1941).

Unit 2 – Movements for change in the 20th century

This unit examines significant movements for change in the 20th century that led to change in society, including people’s attitudes and circumstances. These movements draw on the major ideas described in Unit 1, have been connected with democratic political systems, and have been subject to political debate. Through a detailed examination of one major 20th century movement, students investigate the ways in which individuals, groups and institutions have challenged existing political structures, accepted social organisation, and prevailing economic models, to transform societies. Nazism in Germany.

Year 12

Unit 3 Modern nations in the 20th century

This unit examines the characteristics of modern nations in the 20th century; the crises that confronted nations, their responses to these crises and the different paths nations have taken to fulfil their goals. Students study the characteristics of one nation. Students investigate crises that challenged the stability of government, the path of development that was taken and the social, economic and political order that was either established or maintained. Students examine the ways in which the nation dealt with internal divisions and external threats. They emerge with a deeper understanding of the character of a modern nation. The key conceptual understandings covered in this unit are the reliability and usefulness of evidence; cause and effect; continuity and change; significance; empathy; contestability; and changing representations and interpretations.

Unit 4 – The modern world since 1945

This unit examines some significant and distinctive features of the modern world within the period 1945–2001 in order to build students’ understanding of the contemporary world – that is, why we are here at this point in time. These include changes to the nature of the world order: shifting international tensions, alliances and power blocs; the emergence of Asia as a significant international political and economic force, and the nature of engagement by and with Australia; the nature of various conflicts and regional and international attempts to create peace and security. Students study one of these features. As part of their study, they should follow and make relevant connections with contemporary events. The key conceptual understandings covered in this unit are: causation; continuity and change; historical significance and changing perspectives and interpretations of the past; and contestability.