What Is Unit 6 of AP World History?

Unit 6 of AP World History is a crucial component of the course that covers the period from 1900 CE to the present day. This unit explores the political, economic, and social changes that have taken place in the world during this time period. It encompasses topics such as World War I, World War II, and the Cold War, as well as more recent events like globalization and terrorism.

The Key Themes of Unit 6

One of the key themes of Unit 6 is conflict and change. The world has seen significant political upheaval over the past century, with two world wars and several other major conflicts taking place.

These events have had a profound impact on global politics and economics. Another important theme is globalization, which has become an increasingly important force in shaping our world. This includes everything from international trade to cultural exchange.

World War I

World War I was one of the most significant events of the early 20th century. It was a global conflict that involved many of the world’s major powers, including Britain, France, Germany, Russia, and the United States.

The war had a profound impact on global politics and economics. It led to the collapse of several empires (including Germany) and paved the way for World War II.

The Causes of World War I

There were many causes of World War I. One was imperialism – European powers were competing for colonies and resources around the world.

Another was militarism – countries were building up their military forces in preparation for war. Nationalism was also a factor – people were proud of their country and willing to fight for it.

World War II

World War II was an even larger conflict than its predecessor, involving more countries and resulting in more casualties. It began with Germany’s invasion of Poland in 1939 and ended with the dropping of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. The war had a profound impact on global politics and economics, leading to the rise of the United States as a superpower and the beginning of the Cold War.

The Causes of World War II

The causes of World War II were similar to those of World War I. Imperialism, militarism, and nationalism all played a role. Additionally, the harsh terms imposed on Germany after World War I (in the Treaty of Versailles) contributed to the rise of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi party.

The Cold War

The Cold War was a period of tension between the United States and Soviet Union that lasted from 1947 to 1991. It was characterized by proxy wars (such as in Korea and Vietnam), nuclear arms races, and ideological conflict. The end of the Cold War marked a major shift in global politics.

The End of the Cold War

The end of the Cold War was brought about by several factors, including economic pressures on the Soviet Union, reforms instituted by Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, and shifts in global politics. The fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 symbolized this shift.


Globalization is a relatively recent phenomenon that has become increasingly important over the past few decades. It refers to the process by which economies, societies, and cultures become more interconnected through trade, communication, and technology.

The Pros and Cons of Globalization

Globalization has both pros and cons. On one hand, it has led to increased economic growth and cultural exchange. On the other hand, it has also led to increased inequality within countries (as some groups benefit more than others) and environmental degradation.


Terrorism is another important topic in Unit 6. It has become an increasingly common tactic used by groups around the world to achieve political goals. The events of September 11, 2001, marked a turning point in global politics and led to increased attention on terrorism.

The Impact of Terrorism

Terrorism has had a profound impact on global politics and economics. It has led to increased security measures, changes in foreign policy, and a heightened sense of fear and uncertainty.

  • In conclusion: Unit 6 of AP World History covers the period from 1900 CE to the present day and explores topics such as World War I, World War II, the Cold War, globalization, and terrorism. These themes are explored through a variety of lenses (political, economic, social) and help students understand how our world has evolved over time.