World History For Us All Logo Teaching
at a Glance
of this Curriculum
Questions and
Glossary Testimony and
Critical Studies
This Site
WHFUA YouTube Channel
World History For Us All Spacer Image
History, Geography, and Time Big Eras 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Past and Future
Home >

Big Era Eight: Landscape Unit 8.4

menu Complete Teaching Unit in PDF format

Nationalism and Social Change in Colonial Empires
1914 – 1950 CE

Why This Unit?

The large number of nationalist movements protesting against various types of colonial rule formed a major theme in this Big Era. In many cases European and American ideologies, especially Marxism and liberal democratic philosophy, exercised major influences on these movements and often caused some of them to splinter into competing factions. Leaders in each area had their own visions of how their independent state would look.

Most nationalist movements had elements in common. They sought sovereign independence for their territory; mobilized people on a mass scale; used newspapers, magazines, and radio to communicate with supporters; enjoyed help from overseas communities; and, to one degree or another, engaged in violent action. But each nationalist movement was also unique in its adaptation to local culture, history, and the nature of colonial rule.

This unit is important because the nationalist movements under study were largely successful. After World War II, the colonized peoples created a large number of new nation-states that have increased the world’s states to more than 190.

Unit Objectives

Upon completing this unit, students will be able to:

1. Compare the goals, methods, and tactics of at least two nationalist movements in this unit.

2. Identify the various groups that participated in the movements and compare the roles of students, labor, peasants, and intellectuals in the various countries.

3. Analyze the role that violence, peaceful demonstrations, and political organizations played in nationalist movements.

4. Describe how colonial administrations, colonial educational policies, and indigenous cultural forms influenced various nationalist movements.

5. Analyze and compare how democracy, religious revival, and/or authoritarian rule emerged in the various nationalist movements.

6. Identify and compare the different visions leaders in each area had for their nation.


Time and Materials

This unit should take approximately eight days. If time is limited the teacher may concentrate on one or two of the four case studies. Because India was the first colonial territory to achieve independence after World War II and because its freedom inspired many other nations in Asia and Africa to intensify their struggles, we recommend that teachers start with India. Alternatively, teachers may use the information in this unit for a single jigsaw lesson.

Materials required are an overhead projector, maps of colonized areas of the world, a CD player and projector, and access to the Internet.

Table of Contents

Why this unit?


Unit objectives


Time and materials




The historical context


This unit in the Big Era timeline


Lesson 1: Gandhi and Indian independence

Lesson 2: Vietnam seeks independence
Lesson 3: Korean independence
Lesson 4: Kenya and the Mau Mau
This unit and the Three Essential Questions
This unit and the Seven Key Themes
This unit and the Standards in Historical Thinking
Correlations to National and State Standards
Conceptual links to other lessons

Complete Teaching Unit in PDF format

(Note: documents in Portable Document Format (PDF) require Adobe Acrobat Reader 5.0 or higher to view, download Adobe Acrobat Reader.)