IBDP History: Study Guide and Notes – New Syllabus 2017-2025 -HL option 3: History of Asia and Oceania

IBDP History- Syllabus content- HL option 3: History of Asia and Oceania

1: Trade and exchange: The Silk Road in the medieval world (750–1500)

This section focuses on the series of trade routes known as the Silk Road from 750 until 1500. It examines the important role of the Silk Road not only in facilitating interregional trade, but also the part it played in the transmission of ideas and cultures.

  • The Silk Road under the Tang dynasty
  • Connecting west and east: interregional trade; travellers and explorers; merchants; missionaries and pilgrims; Ibn Battuta and Marco Polo
  • Increase in trade under the Mongol Empire: role of Mongol expansion and empire in re-establishing and increasing trade; establishment of political centres of the Mongol Empire; Tamerlane; Samarkand
  • Political and cultural integration: connection of previously isolated nomadic societies; political unification of zones
  • Cultural interaction and exchange: transmission of religious ideas and art
  • Decline in the 15th century: causes of decline; rise in seaborne trade; fragmentation and loosening of political, cultural and economic unity after the end of the Mongol Empire

2: Japan in the Age of the Samurai (1180–1333)

This section focuses on Japan during the Kamakura Shogunate, and on the expanding role of the samurai during this period. In addition to exploring the increasing political influence of the samurai, this section also examines the characteristics of samurai life, as well as the impact of the samurai on Japanese society and culture.

  • The Gempei War (1180–1185) and the establishment of the Kamakura Shogunate
  • The expanding role of the samurai under Minamoto; rising military and economic power; replacement of court government with the samurai; role in developing law
  • Struggles between samurai clans
  • Establishment of the first samurai-dominated government; declining power of the emperor
  • Samurai life: samurai ethos/ethical code or “Bushido”—the way of the warrior; focus on group loyalty and discipline; influence of Buddhism; samurai weapons and armour; the role of samurai women
  • Impact of the samurai on Japanese society and culture
  • The Mongol invasions of Japan and the kamikaze storms (1274 and 1281)

3: Exploration, trade and interaction in East Asia and South-East Asia (1405–1700)

This section focuses on the reasons for, and impact of, European and East Asian exploration of the region. Early European settlements should be examined, with a focus on the impact the settlers had on the indigenous societies.

  • China “looking out”: Chinese shipbuilding programme; “treasure ships”; construction of an imperial fleet; the voyages of Zheng He (Cheng Ho); increased overseas trade
  • Japan “looking out”: trade links established with Portugal (1543); arrival of traders from other European countries; missionaries
  • The significance and impact of the beginnings of Indo-European trade: Vasco da Gama (1498); the capture of Malacca (1511); Magellan’s journey (1519)
  • Reasons for, and impact of, the expeditions, and nature of the settlements, of the Spanish, Portuguese, French, Dutch and British; impact of European settlements on the indigenous people; social, religious and cultural exchange; demographic and territorial changes
  • China “turning in”: increased Chinese isolationism; isolationist policies; restrictions on ships, including destruction of ocean-going ships (1525)
  • Japan “turning in”: Japanese isolationism in the 17th century; sakoku (closed country policy) restrictions on foreigners entering Japan and Japanese leaving Japan; strict regulations on trade and commerce; creation of four “gateways”
  • Social, political and economic impact of isolation on China and Japan

4: The rise and fall of the Mughal Empire (1526–1712)

This section provides the opportunity to study in depth the last dynasty before the arrival of Europeans in the subcontinent.

  • Origins and rise of Mughal power: Babur and Humayun
  • Consolidation of Mughal rule in the subcontinent: domestic, military, religious, economic and cultural policies
  • Significance of individual rulers for the Mughal Empire: Akbar, Shah Jahan I and Aurangzeb
  • Impact of religious cooperation and conflict in the Mughal Empire
  • Reasons for, and effects of, domestic opposition
  • Social, cultural and economic achievements
  • Role of internal and external forces in the decline of the Mughal Empire

5: Colonialism and the development of nationalism in South-East Asia (c1750–1914)

This section focuses on the impact of European and American imperialism and colonialism upon the indigenous societies and political systems of South-East Asia. It analyses the reasons for expansion into this area and the nature and effects of colonization.

  • Political structure and the economic, social and cultural effects of the Dutch colonial system in Indonesia: culture system; liberal policy; decline of the Dutch East India Company (VOC); increasing Dutch state control and the introduction of the Ethical Policy (1901)
  • Political structure and the economic, social and cultural effects of the French colonial system in Indo-China: factors that led to the formation of French Indo-China (1887)
  • Political structure and the economic, social and cultural effects of the Spanish colonial system in the Philippines: Philippine Revolution (1896); significance of Rizal, Bonifacio and Aguinaldo
  • The Philippines and the United States: Spanish-American War (1898); colonial rule by the United States
  • The beginnings of nationalism in Indonesia, Philippines and Indo-China
  • Siamese monarchy; internal and external factors that maintained independence; Rama IV (Mongkut), Rama V (Chulalongkorn)

6: India, Afghanistan and Burma (1750–1919)

This section focuses on the spread of European imperialism into the Indian subcontinent and surrounding countries, and the subsequent rivalry between Britain, France and Russia.

  • Expansion of the British East India Company: Battle of Plassey (1757); Anglo-Maratha Wars; Anglo-Mysore Wars
  • Economic, social and cultural effects of the British colonial system in India; role of the British East India Company (1773–1857); impact of the policies of Dalhousie and Bentinck
  • Causes of the Great Revolt (Indian Mutiny) of 1857; political, social and economic consequences of the Great Revolt
  • Key developments 1858–1914: Government of India Act 1858; the partition of Bengal (1905); the Morley–Minto reforms of 1909; outbreak of the First World War; social and economic impact of the British Raj
  • Development and significance of constitutional groups; growth of national consciousness; Indian National Congress (1885) and the All India Muslim League (1906)
  • Afghanistan: Russo-British rivalry; “The Great Game”; North-West frontier; First, Second and Third Anglo-Afghan Wars; policies of the Afghan monarchy; resistance to British influence
  • Burma: King Mindon; King Thibaw; reasons for loss of independence; First, Second and Third Anglo-Burmese Wars; economic, social and cultural effects of the British colonial system in Burma; rise of resistance and nationalism

7: Challenges to traditional East Asian societies (1700–1868)

This section focuses on imperial China and Japan in the mid-18th century to the mid-19th century as they responded to the challenges posed by the arrival of the western powers and their demands for trade, diplomatic representation and the rights of their citizens.

  • The nature and structure of imperial rule under the Qing dynasty; Qianlong
  • Causes and effects of internal challenges; White Lotus Rebellion
  • The Chinese tribute system and western trade missions
  • Causes and consequences of the First and Second Opium Wars; the unequal treaties
  • Taiping (Taip’ing) Rebellion: reasons for the rise and fall; consequences for Chinese society
  • The Tokugawa Shogunate’s rule in Japan: economic and social structure
  • Internal challenges; social and economic changes and reasons for discontent
  • Commodore Perry’s expedition and the crisis of the Bakumatsu period (1853–1868); reasons for the fall of the Tokugawa Shogunate

8: British colonialism and emerging national identities in Oceania (1788–1919)

This section focuses on the reasons for, and nature of, British colonial rule of Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands in the mid-19th century to the early 20th century. The nature and extent of the impact of settlers on indigenous societies should be assessed, along with the reasons why conflict emerged between the settlers and indigenous peoples.

  • Indigenous societies and the impact of early colonial settlements; Treaty of Waitangi (1840)
  • Settlement schemes; immigration to Australia and New Zealand; early colonial settlements; land distribution; pastoral society; squatters and the Selection Acts
  • Reasons for, and impact of, tensions between indigenous people and the settlers
  • Social and economic impact of the gold rushes; growth of cities; emergence of the labour movement
  • Constitutional developments; growth of national identity; the federation movement; National Australasian Conventions; the achievement of dominion status in Australia (1901) and New Zealand (1907)
  • Political, social and economic impact of the First World War on Australia and New Zealand; Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZACs); significance of Gallipoli
  • The nature and impact of British administration in the Pacific Islands

9: Early modernization and imperial decline in East Asia (1860–1912)

This section focuses on developments in China and Japan between the mid-19th century and early 20th century. It examines the largely unsuccessful attempts at modernization and reform in China.

  • Tongzhi restoration and Self-Strengthening Movement (1861–1894); Cixi
  • Impact of defeat in the Sino-Japanese War (1894–1895); Guangxu and the Hundred Days’ Reform (1898)
  • Boxer Rebellion (1900–1901); the late Qing reforms
  • Sun Yixian and the causes of the 1911 Xinhai Revolution; the reasons for its failure
  • Meiji restoration (1868) in Japan; the 1889 Constitution
  • Social, cultural and economic developments in Meiji Japan
  • The rise of Japanese military power; victory in the Sino-Japanese War (1894–1895) and the Russo-Japanese War (1904–1905)
  • Korean isolation: Queen Min; opening (1876); Tonghak Rebellion (1894); Japanese annexation (1910)

10: Nationalism and independence in India (1919–1964)

This section focuses on nationalism in India, from the end of the First World War to the achievement of Indian independence and the development of India to 1964.

  • Impact of the First World War: demands for Home Rule
  • Significance of key political developments, including Amritsar massacre (1919); Government of India Act 1919; Simon Commission (1928); Round Table Conferences (1930–1932); response to Government of India Act 1935
  • Role and importance of key groups and individuals: Indian National Congress and the All India Muslim League; Gandhi; Jawaharlal Nehru; Jinnah
  • Struggle for independence; non-cooperation movement; civil disobedience campaigns; Salt March (1930); Quit India campaign (1942)
  • Growth of Muslim separatism; “Two-Nation” theory; Lahore Resolution (1940)
  • Impact of the Second World War: Chandra Bose; the Cripps Mission (1942); weakening of British power; Mountbatten; achievement of independence; reasons for the partition of the South Asian subcontinent (1947)
  • Post-independence India: ethnic and religious conflicts; princely states; Kashmir; successes and failures of Nehru’s domestic policies

11: Japan (1912–1990)

This section begins with post-Meiji Japan and the reasons for Japan’s failure to successfully establish a democratic system of parliamentary government. It explores the rise of militarism and extreme nationalism that led to expansion in Manchuria and China.

  • The impact of the First World War and the post-war conferences
  • Taisho democracy: the growth of liberal values and the two-party system
  • Reasons for, and impact of, the rise of militarism and extreme nationalism: increasing influence of the army in politics; political coups and assassinations
  •  Invasions of Manchuria (1931) and China (1937), and impact on relations with the West; Three Party/Tripartite Pact (1940); US embargo (1940)
  • Japan and the Pacific War (1941–1945): decision to attack Pearl Harbor; initial successes; reasons for defeat
  • The US occupation (1945–1952): social, political and cultural changes; the reverse course (1950)
  • Reasons for Japan’s “economic miracle”; social, cultural and economic impact of globalization

12: China and Korea (1910–1950)

This section focuses on China and Korea between 1910 and 1950. It examines the rise of nationalism and communism in China after the establishment of the Chinese Republic, as well as the nature of Japanese rule of Korea, which had been formalized with the annexation in 1910, and which became more oppressive during the years of the Sino-Japanese War.

  • Rise of national identity in China: Yuan Shikai; Sun Yixian; 21 Demands (1915); new culture movement; Treaty of Versailles (1919); May Fourth movement (1919); effects of warlordism
  • Nationalist rule of China: Guomindang leadership and ideology; Jiang Jieshi; successes and failures of domestic policy during the Nanjing decade (1927–1937)
  • Rise of communism in China: Chinese Communist Party (CCP) ideology; First United Front; Shanghai massacre (1927); Yan’an; Jiangxi Soviet; Long March; Mao Zedong
  • Impact of Japanese invasion of China; Manchuria (1931); Second United Front; Sino-Japanese War (1937–1945); Chinese Civil War (1946–1949); nature of conflict; reasons for communist victory
  • Impact of Japanese rule of Korea: social, political and economic effects of annexation (1910); impact of the Sino-Japanese War on Korea: Japanese use of forced labour, conscription and comfort women; division of Korea at 38th parallel (1945); Syngman Rhee; Kim Il-Sung
  • Taiwan and Republic of China (ROC): nature of Jiang Jieshi’s rule: martial law (1949); White Terror (1950); beginnings of Taiwanese independence movement

13: Impact of the world wars on South-East Asia

This section focuses on the changes produced in the region by the First and Second World Wars. The region was affected by both wars, although the Second World War impinged more directly on the region itself. T

  • Impact of the First World War; Treaty of Versailles (1919)
  • Reasons for, and effects of, initial Japanese victories in South-East Asia (1940–1942)
  • The nature and impact of Japanese occupation
  • Growth of nationalism and role of independence movements during the war in Dutch East Indies/Indonesia; Vietnam; Malaya: resistance and collaboration
  • Emergence and influence of leaders: Sukarno; Ho Chi Minh; Tunku Abdul Rahman
  • The reasons for Indonesian independence (1949)
  • Case study on one country in South-East Asia (other than one already named in this section): political, social and economic effects of the First World War and the Second World War

14: The People’s Republic of China (1949–2005)

This section focuses on China under the rule of the Chinese Communist Party, and the great changes as the Communist Party under Chairman Mao Zedong (Mao Tse-tung) extended its rule and Mao’s vision of a socialist state.

  • Consolidation of the communist state (1949–1961) under Mao Zedong; key policies; land reforms; rectification campaigns; Hundred Flowers campaign (1956)
  • Transition to socialism; successes and failures in economic developments (1949–1961); First Five-Year Plan; Great Leap Forward; Second Five-Year Plan
  • Social developments; women’s rights; health; education
  • Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution: causes; Gang of Four; political, social and cultural impact
  • Foreign policy and foreign affairs 1949–1976; Sino-American relations; establishment and breakdown of Sino-Soviet relations; China as a regional and global power
  • Power struggle following the death of Mao Zedong; Hua Guofeng, the re-emergence of Deng Xiaoping and the defeat of the Gang of Four
  • China under Deng Xiaoping (1976–1997); economic developments; Four Modernizations; political developments; causes and effects of Tiananmen Square (1989); Jiang Zemin

15: Cold War conflicts in Asia

This section focuses on the impact of the Cold War and communism on Asia after the Second World War. It examines the reasons for the outbreak of conflict in Malaya, the Korean peninsula, Vietnam, Cambodia and Afghanistan, as well as the nature of these conflicts and the significance of foreign involvement.

  • Malaya: Emergency (1948–1960): the Malayan Communist Party (MCP); British/Commonwealth response; nature of conflict; resolution and legacy
  • Korea: Korean War (1950–1953): causes; international responses; outcome; economic and political impact on the Korea peninsula
  • Vietnam: League for the Independence of Vietnam (Viet Minh); Ho Chi Minh; French Indo-China War (1946–1954); Vietnam War (1956–1975): causes; nature of conflict; international involvement; outcome; economic and political effects on Vietnam
  • Cambodia: failures of Sihanouk’s rule; Khmer Rouge ideology; Pol Pot; impact of Vietnam War; nature and impact of Khmer Rouge’s regime; invasion by Vietnamese, and civil war; international response; 1993 elections
  • Afghanistan: reasons for, and impact of, Soviet invasion (1979); nature of conflict; international involvement; withdrawal of Soviet troops (1989); civil war (1989–1992)

16: Developments and challenges in South Asia after 1947

This section focuses on the history of South Asia post-1947. The challenges facing the newly created nations of Pakistan, Bangladesh and Ceylon/Sri Lanka should be examined, as well as the different approaches of governments/leaders to these challenges.

  • Foreign policy and economic developments under Nehru: relationship between India and Pakistan; Indo-Pakistani Wars—1947, 1965, 1971; causes and results; independence of Bangladesh (1971)
  • India: social, political and economic developments and challenges under Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi and Rao
  • Pakistan 1947–1991: nation building; social, political and economic developments and challenges; friction between East and West Pakistan; cultural and linguistic differences; constitutional referendum (1991); Jinnah; Ayub Khan; Zulfikar Ali Bhutto; Zia-ul-Haq; Benazir Bhutto
  • Bangladesh: nation building; social, political and economic developments and challenges
  • Ceylon/Sri Lanka: nation building; social, political and economic developments and challenges; conflict between Sinhalese and Tamils; 1971 uprising; civil war; Sirimavo Bandaranaike

17: Developments in Oceania after the Second World War (1945–2005)

The events of the Second World War in Asia undermined Australia and New Zealand’s reliance on Britain and they subsequently looked to the United States for help to combat the Japanese threat. The defeat of Japan altered strategic thinking in Australia and New Zealand, both joining in alliances with the United States and both following a strongly anti-communist line.

  • Social and cultural developments; changing role of women; growth of national identity
  • Immigration to Australia and New Zealand after the war, and the development of multicultural societies
  • Policies and achievements of governments in Australia: Curtin; Chifley; Menzies; Whitlam; Fraser; Hawke/Keating
  • Policies and achievements of governments in New Zealand: Fraser; Holyoake; Muldoon; Lange; Bolger
  • Attitudes and policies towards indigenous peoples in Australia and New Zealand
  • Australia and New Zealand: foreign policy and international alignments
  • Economic policies and realignment: Britain joining the EEC (later European Union); the rise of Asian economies
  • Reasons for, and results of, the emergence of independent Pacific Island states

18: Social, cultural and economic developments in Asia (excluding China, Japan and India) (1980–2005)

This section requires candidates to complete two case studies. They should choose any two countries from Asia (excluding China, Japan and India).

  • Impact of globalization: causes and effects of economic growth; technological development; urbanization; demographic changes; changes in standards of living; economic and social impact of the tourist industry
  •  Immigration/emigration: causes and effects
  • Social issues and developments: changes in social structures; gender roles; the environment; education; health reforms; impact of technology on society
  • Religion: role of religion in society; religious conflict and tensions
  •  Cultural change: nature of, and changes in, traditional arts and culture; cultural impact of globalization; nature and role of the media
  • Emergence of, and responses to, terrorism
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