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Big Era Nine: Landscape Unit 9.3

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A Multitude of Sovereign States
1945-1975

Why This Unit?

The second half of the twentieth century witnessed the creation of more than fifty independent sovereign states. Many of these states achieved their independence as consequences of nationalist movements and decolonization. At the beginning of the twenty-first century, these states comprise a significant part of the membership of the United Nations. Though many of these new states are economically developing and are facing tremendous social and economic challenges, their very existence as sovereign states influences the powerful industrialized states. For example, in recent years “first world” states have contemplated offering debt-forgiveness programs to newly-independent nations. Human rights abuses, including mass killings, have also focused world attention on these new states. As citizens of the world, our students must understand the geopolitical transformation that occurred throughout the world, predominantly in Africa and Southeast Asia, during the second half of the twentieth century. In order to understand current events that involve these regions, students should possess an awareness of the processes that shaped these regions’ political terrains.

Unit Objectives

Upon completing this unit, students will be able to:

1. Identify states that gained their independence during the third quarter of the twentieth century.

2. Evaluate the ways in which nationalistic impulses have benefited and impeded social and economic advances in newly-independent states.

3. Analyze the influence that the Soviet Union and the United States of America held over new states during the Cold War.

4. Present research findings explaining the specific contexts of one newly-independent African state and one newly-independent Southeast Asian state.

Time and Materials

Five class periods (3 classes at 40 minutes or 2 classes at 60 minutes)
Markers or crayons
Multi-colored construction paper
Unlined white paper

Table of Contents

Why this unit?

  2

Unit objectives

  2

Time and materials

  2

Author

  2

The historical context

  3

This unit in the Big Era timeline

  5

Lesson 1: Nationalism and Nation-States

  6

Lesson 2: Social and Economic Conditions: Pre- and Post-Decolonization

14

Lesson 3: Newly-Independent States and the Cold War

21

Lesson 4: Case Study of a Newly-Independent State in Africa

27

Lesson 5: Case Study of a Newly-Independent Nation-State in Southeast Asia

32

Assessment

37

This unit and the Three Essential Questions

38

This unit and the Seven Key Themes

38

This unit and the Standards in Historical Thinking

39

Resources

39

Correlations to National and State Standards and to Textbooks

40

Conceptual links to other lessons

41

Complete Teaching Unit in PDF Format

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