The Changing World Order 1945-2011

Brad Kelly
Brad teaches, writes and leads tours in the area of Modern History, with a focus on the Cold War and Changing World Order
The Changing World Order 1945-2011 is for any NSW Modern History teacher who wants to deepen their understanding of the forces that have shaped the world since 1991.
Target Audience
This course will appeal to those teachers wanting to teach The Changing World Order 1945-2011 for the New Modern History syllabus.

Learning Areas

Teaching Standards

General Description

The world entered the 1990s on a note of optimism. Seventy years of Soviet communism had collapsed. The United States emerged as the world’s sole superpower. Chinese reforms began to open it up to the rest of the world. Europe drifted towards greater integration and cooperation. And the United Nations, released from the shackles of the Cold War, finally seemed able to fulfil its Charter of promoting international peace and security.

But the end of the Cold War had lifted the lid on darker forces. Dormant nationalist and ethnic tensions in the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda reintroduced genocide and ethnic cleansing into the political lexicon. Post-Soviet reforms resulted in the rise of an oligarchy in Russia instead of evenly re-distributing former state assets. Peace was stubbornly difficult to achieve in the Middle East. Hopes for an end to the Arab-Israeli conflict ended in the assassination of Yitzak Rabin and the second intifada. The American military presence in Saudi Arabia after the Persian Gulf War provided the pretext for a succession of terror attacks which culminated on the events of September 11, 2001.

The collapse of the World Trade Center twin towers led the United States to adopt a militaristic and unilateral foreign policy, which arguably eroded American moral authority in the world. The global financial crisis of 2008 exposed serious weaknesses in American and European economies, and it seemed central bankers had few solutions to the crisis. At the same time, Russia and China were asserting their power in their respective regions.

By 2011, Fukuyama’s earlier prediction of the ‘end of history’ ushering in a triumphant liberal democratic world had given way to a declining America, a rising China, an extreme militant Islam, and a financial crisis that threatened the future of the European Union. The world order was indeed changing.


This course will appeal to those teachers wanting to teach The Changing World Order 1945-2011 for the New Modern History syllabus.

Available Delivery Formats

Format Description

The course will be broken into 4 sessions during the day.

This course contributes to 5.5 professional development hours.


There are no occurrences of Face to Face in Australia (NSW) at this time.


The Role of the United States in the World

1 hour and 30 minutes

SESSION 1: 90 minutes

• Outline how Cold War shaped the second half of the 20th century and how its end meant hopes of a ‘new world order’ in which the promise of collective security would finally be realised.
• Examine the emergence of the ‘American century’ against the backdrop of isolation, the Cold War, the post-Cold War and the global war on terror.
• Identify the supporters and opponents of US foreign policy in Europe, Middle East and Asia.


1 hour and 30 minutes

• Analyse the key points in the shift from Gorbachev to Yeltsin to Putin in post-Soviet Russia.
• Evaluate the re-emergence of the nationalist impulse in Europe in response to the global financial crisis and greater integration in the European Union.


1 hour and 30 minutes

• Analyse the rise of China as an economic superpower and the emergence of the BRIC.
• Evaluate the power of non-state actors in shaping identity and policy, including international media outlets, militant Islamic groups and the reach and consequences of technology.

The Role of the United Nations After 1991

1 hour

• Examine the concept to state sovereignty in the light of changing forms of conflict after 1991. Is the nation-state still relevant?
• Case studies: The failures of the UN mission in Rwanda 1994 and the former Yugoslavia 1991.

No Reviews

There are no reviews of this format at this time.

About the team

Brad Kelly


Brad Kelly teaches at St. Marys Star of the Sea College in Wollongong, NSW. He is a writer and teacher with over 15 years of experience in the classroom. Brad is the author of World Order 1945-2011, A Globalised World 1945-2010, The Cold War 1945-1991 and co-author of The Changing World Order and Investigating Modern History for Cengage Nelson. He is passionate about professional learning and has been a presenter at the HTA state and regional conferences and a contributor to Teaching History. Brad is also a tour manager for Academy Travel, where he has the opportunity to bring history alive for his students across Europe. Brad has a deep knowledge of and interest in the global forces that have shaped the modern world between the end of World War II and today, and approaches the subject with a focus on teachers and the effective delivery of the content.