Classroom ideas - the Korean War

This page contains a broad outline as to how the material on the Korean War could be used by teachers and learners studying history at NCEA Level 1 and in particular the popular topic of New Zealand's Search for Security 1945-1985. 

Students in particular will find this to be a concise summary that will assist them with revision. 

We welcome feedback. Please use the comments box at the bottom of this page.

NZ Forces in Asia 1948-72

NCEA History Level 1 

In the aftermath of the Second World War it became clear that New Zealand could no longer rely on Britain for it's defence. New Zealand and Australia both pursued the notion of collective security through organisations like the United Nations as well as turning to the United States as a new ally. This brought New Zealand into the Cold War as the United States was determined to contain the spread of communism in Asia. In support of this policy New Zealand became increasingly involved in Asia after the Second World War. New Zealand responded to the United Nation's call for help when South Korea was invaded by the North in 1950. Further military involvement would occur in places like Malaysia, Borneo and Vietnam. These campaigns were a mixture of New Zealand fulfilling what it believed to be the terms of agreements it had entered into such as SEATO as well as reflecting a desire to be seen to support the United States and its policy of containment regarding communism. The Vietnam War would ultimately see New Zealanders question the influence of the United States on New Zealand foreign policy.

This feature can provide students with a context in which to prepare for:

  • achievement standard 1.5, by describing the causes and course of this historical development as well as the consequences of these developments.
  • achievement standard 1.6 as the Cold War and emphasis on Asia had a significant impact on the shaping of the identity of New Zealanders
  • achievement standard 1.3 as there are any number of excellent historical sources relating to these developments which can be used as practice for final assessment
For more detail of specific activities relating to this topic see: New Zealand's Search for Security NCEA History Level 1

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How to cite this page

'Classroom ideas - the Korean War', URL:, (Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated 30-Aug-2012

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