ISC Class 12 History Syllabus 2024: A new school year has commenced, and the first task for every student should be to inspect the latest course syllabus. The Council For The Indian School Certificate Examinations (CISCE) conducts the higher secondary Indian School Certificate (ISC) exams for class 12. A popular subject in class 12 is history (code: 851) and forms the core of the humanities stream.

ISC class 12 History is a must for students hoping to pursue a career in fields like research, archaeology, teaching or government jobs. History is largely a theory-based subject, but students shouldn’t take it lightly. It can often lead to silly errors students can miss out on important topics even. The history syllabus in ISC Class 12th had been reduced and revised so it’s especially important to stay up to date with the latest syllabus. On that note, get here the ISC Class 12 History syllabus 2024 in PDF format, and get an idea of the important topics, marks distribution, and practical details.

ISC Board Class 12 History Syllabus

The ISC class 12 History course is divided into two papers: theory and project work. Paper 1: Theory carries 80 marks and a duration of 3 hours. The project work consists of 20 marks.

  • The theory paper is further segregated into two parts.
  • Part I (20 marks) consists of compulsory short answer questions testing fundamental factual knowledge and understanding of the entire syllabus.
  • Part II (60 marks) contains two sections A and B, each consisting of five questions. Each question carries 12 marks.
  • Candidates will be required to attempt two questions from each Section and one question from either Section A or Section B. A total of five questions have to be attempted from Part II.

View here the 2024 ISC Board Class 12 History Syllabus.



  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 in the late 1930s and 1940s are to be done briefly.

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

The main features of Provincial Autonomy should be explained. A critical account of the election of 1937 and the working of the Congress ministries must be given. A summary of main developments under non-Congress ministries should be included.

(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.

Bose’s role in the national movement and his differences with Gandhi to be discussed. 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.

Reasons for change in the attitude of the British government after World War II -Cabinet Mission: its aims and the major provisions of its Plan. Election to the Constituent Assembly and the results. Controversy between Congress and League over the question of: (a) grouping of provinces under the terms of the Plan (b) being part of the Constituent Assembly (c) being part of the Interim Government. Muslim League’s Direct Action and communal riots. Congress and Muslim League’s decisions on these issues.

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.

  1. Establishment and development of Indian democracy (1947 – 1966)

The following should be discussed:

  • The refugee problem, the transfer of assets and the river waters dispute.
  • Origin of the Kashmir problem. The role of Sardar Patel in the reorganisation and integration of princely states with special reference to Junagarh and Hyderabad.
  • The foundation of Indian Democracy: significance of the first general election

based on universal adult suffrage (1952): role of political parties, problems of preparation and their solutions, process, result and impact of the elections.

  • The linguistic reorganisation of states: movement for linguistic reorganisation with particular reference to Andhra, Bombay and Punjab; redrawing of the map of India on the basis of linguistic identity.
  1. Challenges to Indian Democracy (1964 – 1977)

The following to be discussed:

  • The role of the Syndicate: (a) In the appointment of Lal Bahadur Shastri in 1964 and Indira Gandhi in 1966 as prime minister. (b) Importance of the election of 1967: the factionalism in the Congress (Syndicate vs. Indira Gandhi) leading to its split in 1969.

Emergence of Opposition political parties and their main leaders.

  • Naxal Movement: causes of its rise; Historic Eight Documents (main points) as the origin of its ideological basis (1967), main leaders (Charu Majumdar and Kanu Sanyal); areas where they operated (West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh) and the struggle carried out by peasants and students.; government measures against it; reasons for its decline in the 1970’s and its impact.
  • JP Movement (1974-75): Origin: Jai Prakash Narayan’s disputes with Mrs. Gandhi; main features of its course; leadership; measures to suppress it. Assessment of its significance and impact (positive and negative features).
  • Emergency (1975-76): reasons for imposition; main features of the suspension of democratic rights. Assessment of its impact (positive and negative aspects). Possible reasons for withdrawal.

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  1. Changing face of the Indian Democracy (1977 – 1986)

(i) The Janata Government (1977 – 1979).

Restoration of democracy: formation of party and government, its programme and implementation; reasons for its downfall.

(ii) Return of Congress to power (1979 – 1986).

Centre-State relations to be studied with reference to:

(a) Punjab: separatist demands and the Centre’s response.

(b) Demands in the North-East:

  • Assam’s agitation against foreigners and the Centre’s response (1947-85); main events to be done in detail.
  • Nagaland’s demand for autonomy and its resolution (1947-80); main events to be done briefly.
  • Mizoram Movement (1959-1986) to be touched upon.
  1. 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 (brief outlines of India’s stance during significant Cold War events): the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the invasion of Hungary, the Arab Israeli conflicts (1956-1979) and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.

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

Indo-Pak wars: causes, course and consequences of each to be done separately.

(iii) Sino-Indian War

Background: Initial relations with the Peoples’ Republic of China; disputes over (a) Tibet issue: Chinese takeover and asylum of the Dalai Lama in India; (b) Border issues.

Sino-Indian War (1962): immediate causes and consequences.

  1. Movements for Women’s Rights

A brief outline of the significance of the Towards Equality Report (1974) with regard to women’s issues.

Developments in the anti-dowry movement and struggle against domestic violence in the 1970s and 1980s.



  1. World War II

(i) Factors leading to the War: aggressive foreign policies of Germany, Italy and Japan.

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

Reasons for Japan’s alliances with Italy and Germany should be briefly explained, leading to the attack on Pearl Harbour.

(ii) Anglo-French appeasement policies.

Appeasement: why Britain and France chose to follow this policy and how it was carried out.

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

Main theatres of the War during 1939-1945 should be done separately in chronological order; the main battles should be done in some 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.

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

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

  1. De-colonisation – in Asia (China) and 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.

A brief overview of the developments after Chiang Kai-shek’s rise to power (1924) to the truce between the KMT and the CCP in 1936 to be given.

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 (1957-69).

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

(iii) Kenya: conflict and independence (1947 – 1969).

Background: conflict over independence and role of Kenyatta.

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

(i) Origins of the Cold War: End of wartime unity; Yalta and Potsdam Conferences; Truman Doctrine and Marshall Plan; Molotov Plan, COMECON and Cominform. The rift widens – Soviet expansion in Eastern Europe (1945-1948) including the communist coup in Czechoslovakia.

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 1948 and the major causes of the Cold War should be done in this context.

(ii) The Cold War expands: Berlin Blockade; NATO; division of Germany; “thaw” in the Cold War (1953-59) – how partial was it? Warsaw Pact; the Vietnam War (1954-75); crisis in east-west relations (1960-62); 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 and escalation after the Tonkin Gulf incident to be done. In the 1960-62 period, the U-2 affair and the Berlin Wall incident should be mentioned; the Cuban

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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 (1985): Glasnost and Perestroika.

Role played by Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush (with reference to the Cold War).

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

  1. Protest Movements

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

(i) Racial problems and civil rights in USA in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s: 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 (1948-1994): main features of Apartheid, opposition to Apartheid (Dr Nelson Mandela’s role), transition to black majority rule and the end of Apartheid.

(iii) Second Wave Feminist Movement in USA (early 1960s – early 1980’s): reasons for its origin (the impact of the Presidential Commission, Betty Friedan’s book and the Civil Rights Movement; 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). Socio-cultural impact of the Movement to be mentioned briefly.

  1. Middle East: Israeli-Palestine conflict (1916-1993)

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

Aims of Arab nationalism and Zionism. Impact of World War I: the conflicting promises made by the British 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 in the British Mandate of Palestine from 1919 to the Arab Revolt of the late 1930s (the increased immigration of Jews 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 (1979).

The following conflicts should be studied – First Arab- Israeli Conflict (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.

The origin and formation of the PLO.

(iii) Oslo Peace Accords (1993).

Intifada and the change in attitude of Israel and the PLO leading to the Oslo Peace Accords: assessment of the main features: why it failed to bring peace.


– 20 MARKS

Candidates will be required to undertake one project which may be any one of the following:

  1. A case study.
  2. A field visit/ investigation.
  3. A local history.
  4. Interview/oral evidence.
  5. Book review/ film review/ posters/ newspapers/ advertisements/ cartoons and art.

The project must not be based primarily on the syllabus; students must be encouraged to produce original, creative and insightful perspectives on an allied aspect of the topic.

For example, if the theme is economic development in India, the project could be on a 5-year plan. However, it would have to give the historical perspective and impact.

The written outcome of the project, in the form of a 2000-word essay, should be structured as given below:

  1. The research question
  2. Abstract: it must contain the following information:-
  • Reason for choosing the topic
  • Methods and material to be used in the investigation
  • Hypothesis: the conclusion the student is hoping to draw.

C. Main essay: it must follow the structure given below:-

  • Background and context – to be discussed very briefly
  • Explanation of the theme and specific issue of the research question in the context of the background given above
  • Interpretation, Analysis and Critical Evaluation of a range of evidence: the research material gathered by the student
  • Conclusion – whether hypothesis stands or not
  • Bibliography – a list of all material referred to in the essay, including print, electronic, oral & audio-visual material, referenced correctly, in a standard format
  • Appendix – optional, only if it is crucial for the better understanding of the project essay.

List of suggested Projects:

  1. Martin Luther King.
  2. The West Asian radical organisations – ideologies, methodologies, acts and impact.
  3. Protests Movements – a detailed study on any one – political ideologies, civil rights, women, workers, caste, environment.
  4. Nelson Mandela.
  5. Karl Marx – Wealth of Nations – Its influence on the Russian Revolution.
  6. Mao Zedong and the Chinese Communist Revolution.
  7. Collapse of the Russian and Chinese Communism.
  8. Strands in the late 20th Century – military and economic organisations.
  9. UN – Peacekeeping actions and Weaknesses.
  10. The Cultural Movement (1968).
  11. Trends in India’s Foreign Policy – dynamics and the changing trends.
  12. Theatres of World War II – changes in warfare.

Download and read the full ISC Class 12th History Syllabus 2023-24


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