UPSC Mains Subject Wise PYQs – World History (2023-2013)

The UPSC mains examination is a highly competitive exam for the recruitment of civil servants in India. One of the crucial components of this exam is the world history section. In this section, candidates are required to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of the historical events that have shaped the world. From the industrial revolution to decolonization, the questions asked in this section require candidates to analyze the impact of historical events on society, politics, and economics.

The questions asked in the world history section of the UPSC mains examination have been diverse and thought-provoking. The questions require candidates to think critically and evaluate historical events from multiple perspectives. For instance, in 2019, candidates were asked to explain how the foundation of the modern world was laid by the American and French Revolutions. In 2015, candidates were asked to analyze why the industrial revolution first occurred in England and compare the quality of life during industrialization in England with that in India. These questions test the candidate’s ability to analyze and synthesize complex information and articulate their thoughts in a coherent and concise manner.


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  • “There arose a serious challenge to the Democratic State System between the two World Wars.” Evaluate the statement.


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  • Explain how the foundation of the modern world was laid by the American and French Revolutions.


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  • What problems were germane to the decolonization process in the Malay Peninsula?


  • The anti-colonial struggles in West Africa were led by the new elite of Western-educated Africans. Examine.


  • Why did the industrial revolution first occur in England? Discuss the quality of life of the people there during industrialization. How does it compare with that in India at present?
  • To what extent can Germany be held responsible for causing the two World Wars? Discuss critically


  • What were the major political, economic and social developments in the world which motivated the anti-colonial struggle in India?
  • What were the events that led to the Suez Crisis in 1956? How did it deal a final blow to Britain’s self-image as a world power?
  • The New Economic Policy – 1921 of Lenin had influenced the policies adopted by India soon after independence. Evaluate.


  • “Latecomer” Industrial revolution in Japan involved certain factors that were markedly different from what west had experienced.
  • Africa was chopped into states artificially created by accident of European competition. Analyse.
  • American Revolution was an economic revolt against mercantilism. Substantiate.
  • What policy instruments were deployed to contain the great economic depression?

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