Key Terms of World History: Definitions and Explanations

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Assembly line:

System of production using a moving belt, in which each worker repetitively completes one part of the production process.


Formal agreement between two or more countries to cooperate.


Give up the title of monarch or emperor.


Agreement to stop fighting.


Russian word meaning “majority”.

Consumer society:

Society in which the buying and selling of goods and services is the most important activity.


Take direct control of a region or country.


Desire to acquire more and more goods; it is also beneficial to the economy.


Based on the ideas of Karl Marx; describes a person or political party which advocates the dictatorship of the proletariat, the elimination of private property and a society in which everyone is equal.


Non-democratic system of government in which one person has all the power.


Designed to increase a country’s influence and expand the amount of territory that it controls.


Person who leaves one country to live in another country.

First World War:

Military conflict that lasted from 1914 to 1918, also known as the Great War.


Zone where the fighting is taking place; also the area where the territory controlled by one side meets the territory controlled by the other side.


Domination of one country or people by another, usually involving direct control.

Consumer society:

Society in which the buying and selling of goods and services is the most important activity.


Money put into a business with the expectation of making a profit.


General term for the movement of people from other countries coming to live in a country.

Light bulb:

Glass bulb which provides light when an electric current passes through it.


Money that is borrowed and which must be paid back, usually with interest.


Russian word meaning “minority”.

Means of production:

All the productive resources of a society, such as land, capital, factories and machinery.


Impartial, not supporting any side in a war or dispute.

Raw material:

Basic substance from which a product is made.

Racial segregation:

System of separating people defined as belonging to different racial groups.


Limiting the amount of certain goods that people can have when there is a shortage.


Use of violence or the threat of violence to stop a particular activity or political movement.


Competition for superiority.


Russian word meaning “council”.


Woman who participated in the movement for women’s suffrage.


Portion of a company’s value.

Stainless Steel:

Form of steel which is resistant to oxidization.

Stock Exchange:

Place where shares are traded.

Trench warfare:

Type of fighting in which there is a little movement on either side; both armies.


Title of the Emperor of Russia.

War-guilt clause:

Section of the Treaty of Versailles in which Germany accepted responsibility for starting the First World War.

Women's suffrage:

Women's right to vote in elections.


Collective term for workers.

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