ISC History Class 12 Syllabus

Class 12 History

Part I (20 marks) consists of compulsory short answer questions testing fundamental factual knowledge and understanding of the entire syllabus. Part II (60 marks) is divided into two sections, Section A and Section B, each consisting of five questions. Each question carries 12 marks. You are required to attempt two questions from each Section and one question from either Section A or Section B. A total of five questions are to attempted from Part II.


1. Towards Independence and Partition: the Last Phase (1935-1947).

(i) Important political developments: growth of socialist ideas, trade union activities, Kisan Sabha movement; growth of communalism (Hindu & Muslim).

These developments can be done briefly.

(ii) Working of provincial autonomy: Congress and other ministries.

Provincial Autonomy should be explained briefly. A critical account of the election of 1937 and the working of the Congress and other ministries.

(iii) National Movement during the Second World War: The outbreak of World War II and the resignation of the Congress ministries, Lahore Session of the Muslim League in 1940 and the deadlock up to the August Offer (1940). Failure of the Cripps Mission; Quit India resolution; arrest of Congress leaders; violent public reaction; Government repression of revolt of 1942.

Why the Cripps Mission was sent to India should be explained along with its proposals. Reasons for the rejection of its proposals should lead directly to the Quit India resolution. A compact account of the movement, its repression and a brief analysis of its significance is needed.

(iv) Subhash Chandra Bose and the INA.

Subhash Chandra Bose’s background in the context of the freedom struggle: his escape and years in Germany should be touched upon; role in the national movement and his differences with Gandhi. Background to the formation of the IIL and INA; Bose’s revival of the INA should be emphasized, a brief account of its operations, eventual defeat and significance.

(v) Transfer of power (1945-1947): changed attitude of British Government; the Cabinet Mission Plan proposals; Congress and League reaction; Direct Action by League; communal riots; Attlee's declaration of 1947; the Mountbatten Plan; partition and independence.

Changes in the attitude of the British government after World War II – Wavell Plan and its failure: Cabinet Mission – major provisions. Election to the Constituent Assembly and the results – controversy between Congress and League over the question of grouping – Muslim League’s Direct Action and boycott of the Constituent Assembly – communal riots. League’s decision to join the Interim Government.

1947: Attlee’s Declaration of 20th February 1947; Mountbatten Plan - main features: acceptance of the Plan by major political parties; modifications in the Indian Independence Act. Reasons why the Congress accepted partition.

2. Establishment and development of Indian democracy (1947 - 1984)

(i) 1947 – 1967

The following should be discussed:

(a) The refugee problem, the transfer of assets and the river waters dispute.

(b) Origin of the Kashmir problem. The role of Sardar Patel in reorganisation and integration of princely states with special reference to Junagarh and Hyderabad.

(c) The foundation of Indian Democracy: significance of the first general election based on universal adult suffrage (1952): role of political parties, preparation, process, result and impact of the elections.

(d) The linguistic reorganisation of states: movement for linguistic reorganisation – case study of Andhra; redrawing of the map of India on the basis of linguistic identity.

(ii) 1967 – 1977

Importance of the election of 1967: the factionalism in the Congress (Syndicate vs. Indira Gandhi) and emergence of Opposition political parties and their main leaders.

Naxal Movement: causes of its rise; ideological basis (Eighth Historic Document) origin (1967), main leaders (Charu Majumdar and Kanu Sanyal); areas where they operated; government measures against it; decline in the 1970’s and its impact.

JP Movement (1974-75): main features (causes, origin, course, leadership), significance and impact. Emergency (1975-76): reasons for imposition, suspension of democratic rights, its impact and withdrawal.

(iii) 1977 – 1984

(a) The Janata Government (1977 – 1979). Restoration of democracy: formation, programme and its implementation; reasons for its breakup.

(b) Return of Congress to power (1979 – 1984). Centre-State relations to be studied with reference to Punjab: separatist demands and the Centre’s response.

3. India’s Foreign Policy

(i) Non-Aligned Movement (NAM)

Reasons for following a non-aligned policy in the context of the Cold War to be discussed.

Aims - Panchsheel

Establishment and growth – Bandung and Belgrade conferences; Cold War and NAM in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s (broad outlines of trends during significant Cold War events); Impact of the end of Cold War – shift in focus.

(ii) Pakistan (1948-49, 1965, 1971)

Indo-Pak wars: causes and consequences.

(iii) China

Tibet issue: Chinese takeover and asylum of the Dalai Lama in India. Indo-China War (1962): causes and consequences.

4. Social Developments

(i) Women’s Movements

Towards Equality Report (1974) – The status of women, Anti-Dowry Movement and struggle against domestic violence to be studied with reference to the Report.

(ii) Demand for Autonomy (North East)

Centre-State issues: identification of the North Eastern states and reasons for their demand for autonomy. Assam’s agitation for more autonomy and the Centre’s response to be done in detail; Mizoram and Nagaland to be touched upon.


5. World War II

(i) Factors leading to the War: aggressive policy of Germany and Italy; Anglo-French appeasement policies.

Should be discussed in some detail, showing how these aggressive policies made war more likely and worldwide in scope.

Appeasement: why Britain and France chose to follow this policy and how it brought war closer.

(ii) Course of the War: Europe, Africa and Far East. American entry and contribution.

Main theatres of the War should be done separately in chronological order; the main battles should be done in greater detail; El Alamein, Stalingrad, Midway, the Normandy landings and the policy of "island hopping" in the Pacific. The US contribution should be done separately for Europe and the Pacific.

(iii) Reasons for the defeat of the Axis Powers.

Each of the reasons for the defeat of the Axis should be explained.

6. De-colonisation - in Asia (China), Africa (Ghana & Kenya).

(i) China: civil war and the establishment of the People's Republic in 1949; Mao Tse Tung; agrarian and industrial policy; political and economic developments; contribution of Mao.

An outline of the post-war struggle between the KMT and CCP and the victory of the Communists. The causes of Communist victory should be stated and briefly explained. A short background of the problems facing the Communists in 1949: in agriculture, the gradual process from land distribution to collective farms should be outlined; in industry, the Five Year Plan and Soviet help. The 100 Flowers Campaign should be covered in brief. The Great Leap Forward should be covered in more detail, particularly the development of commune and assessment of the GLF. Finally, a brief outline of the Cultural Revolution and its impact on China. Estimate of Mao should be short and to the point.

(ii) Ghana: democracy, dictatorship and military government.

Brief background to independence, Nkrumah’s role, reasons for his overthrow; coup of 1966.

(iii) Kenya: conflict and independence.

Background: conflict over independence and role of Kenyatta.

7. Cold War 1945-91 – origin, course, end and impact:

(i) Causes of the Cold War. End of wartime unity; Yalta and Potsdam Conference; rift widens - Soviet expansion in Eastern Europe (1945-1947).

The main points raised at the two post-War Conferences as well as the major points of differences should be explained. A general account of the Soviet expansion in East Europe until 1947 and the major causes of the Cold War should be done in this context.

(ii) The Cold War and rival Alliances: Truman Doctrine; Marshall Plan; communist coup in Czechoslovakia; Berlin Blockade; NATO; division of Germany; “thaw” in the Cold War- how partial was it? Warsaw Pact (1953-1959); the Vietnam War (1964-75); crisis in east-west relations; detente (1970s).

Each of the events referred to above should be done in some detail; the two phases of the Vietnam War, the French and the US involvement after the Tonkin Gulf incident. In the 1960-62 period, the U-2 affair and the Berlin Wall incident should be mentioned; the Cuban Missile crisis should be done in detail – the easing of tension can be done as a result of the crisis. Only the outline of the reasons for détente and how it worked should be done.

(iii) Breakup of the USSR & changes in Eastern Europe – USSR, Germany, Poland, Czechoslovakia.

Reasons for collapse of USSR: economic failure; Gorbachev’s policies (Glasnost and Perestroika).

Fall of communism in East Europe in the following countries to be touched upon: Poland, Germany and Czechoslovakia.

8. Protest Movements

Civil Rights Movement, anti-Apartheid Movement; Feminist Movement.

(i) Racial problems and civil rights in USA: Racial discrimination, change in the government’s attitude, campaign for equal rights (Dr. Martin Luther King’s role).

(ii) Anti-Apartheid Movement in South Africa: main features of Apartheid, opposition to Apartheid (Dr Nelson Mandela’s role), transition to black majority rule and the end of Apartheid.

(iii) Feminist Movement in USA: Equal Pay Act of 1963 – its implications for American women, successive measures taken by Johnson (Civil Rights Act of 1964), role of National Organisation for Women (NOW) and its campaign for the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA).

9. Middle East: Israeli-Palestine conflict (1917- 1993).

(i) Post War conflict in Palestine after World War I, till the formation of the state of Israel.

A brief background of Arab nationalism and Zionism in the late 19th century. Impact of World War I: the conflicting promises made to the Arabs and the Jews: Husain- MacMahon correspondence, the Sykes- Picot Agreement and the Balfour Declaration. All these need to be understood clearly. A general outline of events from 1919 to the Arab Revolt of the late 1930s (the increased immigration of Jews under the mandate and the resultant conflict). The impact of World War II and the intensification of the conflict against Britain’s decision to withdraw – the UNO’s plan. Creation of Israel and the War of Liberation (a chronological account should suffice here).

(ii) The Arab-Israeli Wars from 1948 to Camp David Accord.

The following conflicts should be studied – (1948-1949), the Suez Crisis (1956), the Six Day War (1967), the Yom Kippur War (1973), Sadat and the Camp David Accord (1979). For each of these events, the causes and results should be studied in detail. Events to be covered briefly.

(iii) Israel PLO Peace Accord (1993).

Change in attitude of Israel and PLO leading to the Peace Accord: its main features.