Course Name: World Affairs: Comparative Political & Economic Course Number: 917

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Course Name: World Affairs: Comparative Political & Economic Course Number: 917


Revision Date: October 13, 2006 Grade/level: 12

Course Length: .5 Credit/Qrt (90 minutes)

Course Description:

(Mission Linked)

This course analyzes the political and economic systems of capitalism, socialism, communism and fascism. The connection to and study of current issues is an important focus of the course. An intense knowledge base, critical thinking skills and media research are emphasized. Various performance tasks, within both collaborative and individualized areas are used to compare, contrast and assess these political and economic systems. Students are expected to present their views and defend their positions based on their research on a wide range of course issues.

Suggested Instructional Strategies:

Instructional strategies will include an array of both primary and secondary source readings, documentaries and film, media center research, class lecture, writing of statement/position papers, class discussion and collaborative group work. Current periodicals, newspapers and news programs will also serve as sources of knowledge for the course.

By the end of World Affairs: ISMS (12th Grade) students should:



Familiar with

Identify how the economic systems of socialism and capitalism can be both competing and cooperating systems, in areas such as but not limited to government/business relations, social programs, healthcare.

Analyze the strengths and weaknesses as well as the stresses and strains of capitalism.

Assess the economic and political agenda of neo-conservatives as they apply to domestic and foreign policy.

Identify fascist dictators and assess the historical factors that led to the establishment of fascist regimes in 20th century Europe.

Benito Mussolini – Italy

Adolf Hitler - Germany

List five (5) basic elements of fascism and apply to the fascist state.

Examine the political, social and economic goals of fascism in the first half of the 20th century.

Identify economic objectives of communism in Russi/USSR under the leadership of Lenin and Stalin.

War Communism

New Economic Policy


5 Year Plans

Compare and contrast the views of Marx and Lenin, in areas such as, but not limited to, dictatorship of the proletariat, inevitability of revolution, role of the communist party.

Analyze the practices of communism in countries of the world today (China, North Korea, Vietnam, Cuba) and report on their relationship with the United States.

Identify 4 areas of conflict between the United States and the Soviet Union during the Cold War such as, but not limited to, spheres of influence in Europe, Vietnam War, Cuban Missile Crisis, Berlin Wall, Afghanistan.

List and explain factors and events that led to the collapse of communism in the Soviet Union and the nations of Eastern Europe.

Identify specific programs and treaties associated with the easing of tensions between the USSR and the US known as détente.


Students will analyze the strengths and weaknesses of free market economies by contrasting capitalist and socialist systems.

Students will assess the influence of neoconservatives in the areas of foreign policy, de-regulation, and cultural values.

Students will identify 3-5 factors of post World War I Europe that enabled fascism to take root.

Students will identify the objectives of communism in the 20th century and analyze 3-5 conflicts that developed during the years of the Cold War.

Unit Title: Fascism Unit

Content Standard: New Hampshire Social Studies Framework

Standard Number (and/or) Text:

2.0 Essential Skills for Social Studies

7.1 Political Foundations and Development

7.2 Contacts, Exchanges & International Relations

7.4 Economic Systems & Technology
Enduring Understandings:

(Students will understand that)

Fascist regimes are able to come to power when more traditional forms of government become unstable and a sense of hopelessness becomes constant among the people.

Fascist governments share common characteristics that include totalitarian rule, a command economy, and the use of force and intimidation.
Essential Questions:

(Inquiry used to explore enduring understanding)

What conditions exist in post World War I Europe that made some nations ripe for fascism?

How important is the charismatic leader in establishing fascist rule and maintaining power under fascism?

What characteristics of fascism can be observed in Fascist Italy, Nazi Germany, and Franco’s Spain?

Knowledge and Skills: (Competencies)

(Students will know…)

Allied Powers and Central Powers of World War I

Common denominators of fascism

Post World War I conditions (economic, social, political)

Five characteristics of fascism
(Students will be able to…)

Analyze post World War I conditions in Europe

Assess the importance of charisma in the rise of fascism

Identify the characteristics of fascism

Differentiate between a free market and a command economy

Contrast and compare fascism in Italy, Germany, and Spain


Performance Tasks/Other Evidence:

Statement/Position Paper

“The primary reason dictators came to power in Europe in the early 20th century was the charismatic qualities of men such as Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler.”

Key Criteria: Position Paper Rubric

Focus Questions for readings

Questionnaire from the film Uprising

Class Discussions

Unit Test

Common Essay: Discuss four factors of post World War I Europe that led to the rise of fascism in both Italy and Germany.

Unit Title: Communism Unit

Content Standard: New Hampshire Social Studies Framework

Standard Number (and/or) Text:

2.0 Essential Skills for Social Studies

6.2 Contacts, Exchanges & International Relations

7.1 Political Foundations and Developments

7.4 Economic Systems and Technology

7.5 Social/Cultural
Enduring Understandings:

(Students will understand that)

The economic objectives of the Soviet leadership under Lenin and Stalin would call for many reforms and require extreme sacrifice from the people of the Soviet Union.

The competing interests of the United States and the West with the Soviet Union and communist bloc countries would result in both political and military confrontation.
Essential Questions:

(Inquiry used to explore enduring understanding)

What steps did Lenin advocate in order to transform czarist Russia to a communist state?

How did Stalin’s planned economic policies impact the Soviet people and the economy of the nation?
What factors contributed to the rivalry between the U.S. and the USSR resulting in the Cold War?
How did ideological differences between the two super powers lead to their military involvement in regional conflicts and civil wars?
Knowledge and Skills: (Competencies)

(Students will know…)

Czarist Russia’s role in World War I

Influence of Karl Marx on Lenin

Totalitarian/Stalinist rule over the Soviet Union

Warsaw Pact, NATO alliances

United States policies of containment (Marshall Plan, Truman Doctrine, SEATO)

Cuban Missile Crisis 1962
(Students will be able to…)

Compare and contrasts Marx and Lenin

Analyze the tactics used by the Bolsheviks to overthrow czarist Russia

Assess the Stalinist economic policies of collectives and Five Year plans

Differentiate between the opposing alliances of NATO and the Warsaw Pact

Assess the role of nationalism within communist movements

Analyze the status of today’s communist nations (China, Vietnam, Cuba, North Korea) and their relationship with the United States
Performance Tasks/Other Evidence:

Group Activity: Research and present on one of the following communist nations responding to the essential questions: China, Vietnam, Cuba, North Korea.

  1. When and how was communism introduced into the country you are researching?

  2. How effective was the communist leadership in winning control of the country?

  3. What specific economic policies were initiated by the communist government and were they successful?

  4. What has been the long term relationship between the United Sates and the country you are researching? (Timeline may be helpful)

  5. What is the status of the current government? (current news article)

Key Criteria: Presentation Rubric

Charts: Marx/Lenin

Writing Piece: Lenin Obituary

Focus Questions: Arms Race/Détente

Statement/Position Paper: Gorbachev

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