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Big World, Small Country: The 20th Century & New Zealand's Place In It

By | Copyright Year:2013 | ISBN-13: 9780170217125

Big World, Small Country is a richly illustrated textbook, aimed at NCEA Level 1 and 2, that focuses on the major political, military, economic and social events of the 20th century. The book begins with a timeline of the 20th century and a ‘status report’ as at the year 1900, in order to provide an overarching context for what follows. Subsequent chapters cover the major developments in the 20th century, in which New Zealanders were involved or which, due to their global significance, had an impact on New Zealand, even if indirectly. Where New Zealanders were involved in global events, their observations and experiences are included.

Big World, Small Country provides rich grounds for discussion, along with activities that explore and develop content understanding, key ideas, predictive reading, values, perspectives and historical empathy. Anecdotes, such as the fact that New Zealand boxer Clarrie Gordon was perhaps the only person to have punched Hitler and survived, help bring history alive.

Students are also challenged to consider the reliability and usefulness of sources, including the textbook itself.

Graeme Ball, the author of the popular textbook Making Kiwis, has written Big World, Small Country to embrace the flexibility inherent in the New Zealand Curriculum. Teachers may wish to focus on particular topics, and/or allow students to explore and pursue their own interests.



Timeline of the 20th Century

1. The 20th Century World: An Overview
An overview of the 20th Century

2. New Zealand @1900: ‘For King and Country’
Britain, America, The Pacific and Australia

3. Race Relations in New Zealand to World War Two
Government Policies – Maori Leadership: inside, outside or alongside the Pakeha system? – The colonization experience in Australia and America

4. World War One, 1914-1918
Background – The Wester Front forms – The Gallipoli Campaign – The Western Front – The Middle East Campaign – ‘Home Front’ – Remembering the war

5. Socialism versus Capitalism
New Zealand workers’ revolution?

6. The Russian Revolution, 1900-1939
Background – Revolution – The Bolsheviks in power – The rise and rule of Stalin

7. From World War One to World War Two
Treaty of Versailles and its aftermath – The Great Depression and the rise of aggressor nations

8. World War Two, 1939-1945
War in Western Europe – New Zealand’s War, overseas and at home – War in Eastern Europe – War in Asia and the Pacific

9. The Rise of Nazi Germany
From Autocracy to Democracy: Weimar Germany – The Nazis: gaining and keeping control – The Holocaust

10. Israel-Palestine
Background – Zionism – Creation of the State of Israel – War and Israeli occupation – Palestinian response

11. The Islamic World
Background – Islam in the 20th Century: ‘secular nationalism’ or the umma? – Islam and the West

12. The Post-World War Two World: Decolonisation; the Pacific; Race Relations in New Zealand
Decolonisation: Case study, India – Rise of consumerism – Rise of the teenager – New Zealand and its music – New Zealand, the Commonwealth and the United Nations – The Pacific: Case study, Tonga – Immigration and its issues – New Zealand and Asia – Maori and the search for mana motuhake – Waitangi Tribunal

13. Cold War
A new world order – Crises in Berlin – Western military alliances, ANZUS and SEATO – The death of Stalin: ‘socialism with a human face’ – The Korean War, New Zealand’s role – Communists everywhere! McCarthyism in America – The Cuban Missile Crisis – Détente: the Cold War thaws, briefly – Momentous changes: perestroika, glasnost and the end of the Cold War – New Zealand and the Cold War – Vietnam War – Nuclear issues

14. China: From and Manchus to Mao and Beyond
New Zealand and China – Background: China’s troubles – The rise of Mao Zedong – The war against Japan, and the communist revolution – The problem of being in power: revolutionary campaigns – The death of Mao and a new era: Deng Xiaoping

15. Changes: Discrimination, the Role of Women and Economics
The struggle for civil rights in the US – Influence of the Cold War and African decolonisation – The struggle for civil rights in South Africa – South Africa and America: the struggle compared – New Zealand’s sporting contact with South Africa – The changing role of women in New Zealand – Economic changes in New Zealand





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