World History

Strategy and guidelines for World History Preparation for UPSC IAS Mains Exam:

How To Study World History for UPSC Civil Services Mains?

  • World History is a newly added section for UPSC Civil Services Mains. But, interestingly, only events from 18th century is included in the syllabus for GS Paper ie. events from and around AD 1700.
  • A thorough understanding of world history will help candidates not only in GS Paper 1, but also for International Affairs Section in GS Paper 2 and also in the Essay Paper.

UPSC Syllabus for History of the World in GS Mains

History of the world will include events from 18th century such as

  • industrial revolution,
  • world wars,
  • redrawal of national boundaries,
  • colonization,
  • decolonization,
  • political philosophies like communism, capitalism, socialism etc.- their forms and effect on the society.

How to prepare World History for UPSC Mains?

Minute details from World History are not expected in UPSC Mains, and a more generalistic approach is advised for this section when compared to Indian History. Don’t focus too much on facts and figures, but try to develop an analytic frame of mind focused on causes and results. Questions may not be direct, but  without understanding the basics, aspirants might not get a clear picture of many situations.



Geographical discoveries




American Revolution


French Revolution




Unification of Italy and Germany


Imperialism and colonialism – Decolonialism


World War – I


Russian Revolution


World War – II


Political Philosophies


The League of Nations


United Nations


Cold War

Understanding the basics

Some related areas to be covered for World History in accordance with the UPSC IAS syllabus are listed below.

  1. American Revolution
  2. French Revolution
  3. Unification of Italy
  4. Unification of Germany
  5. Imperialism
  6. Nazism
  7. Fascism
  8. Russian Revolution
  9. Bi Polar World and Cold War
  10. Disintegration of USSR
  11. Uni Polar World

Books and Online Study Materials for World History for UPSC Mains:

  1. NCERT Books.

  2. Modern World History  – Jain and Mathur.

  3. Modern World History  – BV Rao.

  4. Mastering Modern World History – Norman Lowe (Reference).