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AP World Period 6 Review: 1900 C.E. to Present

⏱️  7 min read

written by

Amanda DoAmaral

amanda doamaral

August 3, 2020


Period 6:  Accelerating Global Change & Realignments (1900 CE to the present)

In AP® World History, period 6 spans from 1900 CE to the present and accounts for 20% of the material on the exam. The following guide will be updated periodically with hyperlinks to excellent resources. As you are reviewing for the contemporary era, focus on the key concepts and use the essential questions to guide you.

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Period 6 Dates To Know

STUDY TIP: You will never be asked specifically to identify a date. However, knowing the order of events will help immensely with cause and effect. For this reason, we have identified the most important dates to know.

1905 CE - Russo-Japanese War

1910 - 1920 CE - Mexican Revolution

1911 CE - Chinese Revolution

1914 - 1918 CE - World War I

1917 CE - Russian Revolution

1929 CE - Start of Great Depression

1931 CE - Japanese Invasion of Manchuria

1939 CE - German invasion of Poland

1945 CE - End of WWII

1947 CE - Partition of India & Pakistan

1948 CE - Creation of state of Israel

1949 CE - Mao Zedong comes to power in China

1950 - 1953 CE - Korean War

1954 CE - Vietnam defeats France, Dien Bien Phu

1959 CE - Cuban Revolution

1962 CE - Cuban Missile Crisis

1967 CE - Chinese Cultural Revolution

1979 CE - Iranian Revolution

1989 CE - Fall of Berlin Wall

1991 CE - Fall of USSR/First Gulf War

2001 CE - 9/11 Terror Attacks on US


Period 6 Essential Questions

STUDY TIP: Use the following essential questions to guide your review of this entire unit. Keep in mind, these are not meant to be practice essay questions. Each question was written to help you summarize the key concept.

  1. How did changes in science impact global issues?
  2. What were the causes and consequences of 20th century global conflicts?
  3. In what ways did the global economy and culture change during the 20th century?


Past Essay Questions from Period 6

STUDY TIP: Content from the contemporary era has appeared on the essays sixteen times. Take a look at a few of these questions before you review the key concepts & vocabulary below to get a sense of how you will be assessed. Then, come back to these later and practice writing as many as you can!

**The AP World History exam was revised in 2017, so any questions from before then are not representative of the current exam format or rubric. You can still use prior questions to practice, however DBQs will have more than 7 documents, the LEQ prompts are worded differently, and the rubrics are completely different. Use questions from 2002-2016 with caution.

2018 - SAQ 1: Mass violence by totalitarian states

2018 - SAQ 4: Green Revolution

2018 - LEQ 3: Political ideologies

2017 - SAQ 4: Technology & globalization

2017 - LEQ 3: CCOT global balance of power

2016 - DBQ: Gender and politics in Latin America

2015 - DBQ: Responses to spread of influenza after WWI

2014 - DBQ: Relationship between peasants & CCP

2013 - LEQ: Compare economic development

2012 - DBQ: Relationship between cricket & politics

2011 - DBQ: Green Revolution

2008 - DBQ: Modern Olympic movement

2007 - LEQ: CCOT formation of national identities

2006 - LEQ: Compare Revolutions (Mexico, China, Russia)

2005 - DBQ: Muslim Nationalism

2004 - LEQ: Compare effects of WWI


Period 6 Key concepts - Course Outline

*The following outline was adapted from the AP® World History Course Description as published by College Board in 2017 found here. This outline reflects the most recent revisions to the course.

6.1. Science & Technology

  1. Rapid advancements in science spread around the world.
    1. New communication (Internet, radio, cell phones) and transportation (planes).
    2. Green Revolution and commercial agriculture increased food production.
    3. Medical advancements including vaccines and antibiotics extended life expectancy.
    4. Energy technologies increased productivity with petroleum and nuclear power.
  2. Global population exploded & changed human interaction with the environment.
    1. Increased consumption led to deforestation, desertification, etc.
    2. Increased greenhouse gases has led to climate change.
  3. Demographic shifts because of disease, innovation, and conflict.
    1. Diseases associated with poverty persist in some areas and are eradicated in more wealth places (malaria, TB, cholera), new epidemics spread (1918 flu, ebola, AIDS), and new diseases appeared because people are living longer (diabetes, alzheimer’s).
    2. Birth control transformed women’s roles.
    3. Military technology & tactics increased casualties because of total war.

6.2. Global Conflict

  1. Global political order shifted from Europe to new powers.
    1. Older land-based empires collapsed (Ottoman, Russian, Qing).
    2. European powers maintained control over colonies until after WWII.
    3. After WWII, colonies negotiated power (India, Gold Coast) or fought for independence (Algeria, Vietnam, Angola, Kenya).
  2. Empires dissolved and restructured because of emerging anti-imperialist ideologies.
    1. Nationalist leaders in Asia and Africa sought independence (Gandhi, Ho Chi Minh, Kwame Nkrumah).
    2. Regional, religious, and ethnic movements challenged colonial rule (Muslim League, Quebecois, Biafra).
    3. Transnational movements united people across boundaries (communism, pan-Arabism, pan-Africanism).
    4. Movements to redistribute land sparked in Mexico, and across Latin America, Africa, and Asia.
    5. Religious movements sought to redefine relationship between individual and state.
  3. Political changes led to demographic and social consequences.
    1. Redrawing of territories led to conflicts (India/Pakistan, Israel/Palestine).
    2. Migrations of former colonial subject to imperial cities (Indians to Britain, Algerians to France, Filipinos to USA).
    3. Rise of extremist groups led to genocide (Armenia, Holocaust, Cambodia, Rwanda).
  4. Global military conflicts reached unprecedented scales.
    1. WWI & WWII caused because of increased militarism, webs of alliances, competitive imperialism, and increasing nationalism. Populations at home and abroad were mobilized for total war, especially under fascist and communist regimes.
    2. Economic crises from the Great Depression led totalitarian regimes to take power.
    3. Global balance of power shifted as US and USSR last superpowers after WWII. Cold War developed between capitalism and communism.
    4. New alliances produced by Cold War including NATO and the Warsaw Pact, which promoted proxy wars between and within Latin America, Africa, and Asia.
    5. Military spending continuously increased until the USSR collapsed.
  5. Responses to global conflict.
    1. Non-violence movements challenged change by war (Gandhi, King, Mandela).
    2. Protest and opposition movements to resist violent regimes (Anti-Apartheid in South Africa, global uprisings in 1968, Tiananmen Square in China).
    3. Militarized states responded to conflicts in ways that further intensified conflicts (dictatorships in Chile, Spain, Uganda).
    4. Violence against citizens to achieve political goals (IRA, ETA, Al-Qaeda).

6.3. Globalization & Economics

  1. State responses to economic challenges of the 20th century.
    1. Communist states (USSR & China) developed state-controlled economies, which included repressive policies and negative consequences (5-year plans, Great Leap).
    2. Governments became more active in economy after Great Depression (New Deal).
    3. Newly independent nations took on strong roles in economic life (Nasser, Nehru).
    4. Many countries promoted free-market policies (Reagan, Thatcher, Xiaoping).
    5. Growth of knowledge economies in developed areas and manufacturing in developing areas.
  2. States became increasingly interdependent.
    1. New international organizations to promote peace (League of Nations, UN).
    2. Economic institutions (IMF, World Bank, WTO) and trade agreements (EU, NAFTA).
    3. Movements to protect the environment (Greenpeace, Green Belt, Earth Day).
  3. Increased education and political participation challenged societal norms.
    1. Challenges to assumptions about race & class (UN Declaration of Human Rights, feminist movements, Negritude, Liberation theology, Islamic renewal).
    2. Increased access to education & politics (right to vote for women, female literacy, Civil Rights Act, end of Apartheid).
  4. Global popular culture more connected than ever before (reggae, Bollywood, Olympics).


List Of Concepts & Vocabulary from Period 6

STUDY TIP: These are the concepts and vocabulary from period 6 that most commonly appear on the exam. Create a quizlet deck to make sure you are familiar with these terms!

  • 9/11

  • AIDS
  • Adolf Hitler
  • ANC
  • Algerian Civil War
  • Americanization
  • Amnesty International
  • antibiotic
  • Apartheid
  • appeasement
  • Arab Spring
  • Archduke Francis Ferdinand
  • Asian Tigers
  • Berlin Wall
  • Blitzkrieg
  • Bollywood
  • Bolsheviks
  • Chinese Civil War
  • Climate change
  • Cold War
  • collectivization
  • containment
  • Cuban Missile Crisis
  • Cultural Revolution
  • decolonization
  • Deng Xiaoping
  • detente
  • domino theory
  • European Union (EU)
  • fascism
  • feminism
  • Fidel Castro
  • glasnost
  • globalization
  • Great Depression
  • Great Leap Forward
  • Green Belt Movement
  • Green Revolution
  • Greenpeace
  • Ho Chi Minh
  • Holocaust
  • human rights
  • hydrogen bomb
  • influenza epidemic
  • Iranian Revolution
  • Irish Republican Army (IRA)
  • Iron Curtain
  • Islamism
  • Island-hopping
  • Joseph Stalin
  • Khmer Rouge
  • Korean War
  • League of Nations
  • mandate system
  • Mao Zedong
  • Marshall Plan
  • Mexican Revolution
  • Mikhail Gorbachev
  • militarism
  • military-industrial complex
  • Mohandas Gandhi
  • Muslim League
  • Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD)
  • Negritude Movement
  • Neocolonialism
  • New Deal
  • Non-Aligned Movement
  • Non-governmental org.
  • Pan-Africanism
  • Pan-Arabism
  • Partition
  • perestroika
  • reparations
  • Russian Revolution
  • Soviet Union
  • Space race
  • Sputnik
  • total war
  • Theory of Relativity
  • Transnational corp.
  • Treaty of Versailles
  • trench warfare
  • United Nations (UN)
  • Vietnam War
  • Weapons of mass destruction
  • World Bank
  • World Trade Organization (WTO)
  • World War I
  • World War II
  • Yalta Conference
  • Zhenotdel
  • Zionists

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