JC History Tuition Notes Bukit Timah Bishan Bedok Singapore - What happened at the Corfu Channel - United Nations

What was the Corfu Channel incident?

The Corfu Channel case [1947-1949] was the first-ever case that the newly-formed International Court of Justice (ICJ) presided over. It was a contentious case that involved a series of encounters between the United Kingdom (UK) and the People’s Republic of Albania. The case was based on the premise that Albanian vessels and mines caused significant damage to British ships and human casualties. Following the ruling passed by the ICJ, the Albanian government had to compensate the UK. Although the accused initially refused to comply, reparations were eventually paid to UK in 1996.

Topic of Study [For H2 History Students]: 
Paper 1: Safeguarding International Peace and Security 
Section B: Essay Writing
Theme III Chapter 2: Political Effectiveness of the UN in maintaining international peace and security – International Court of Justice: ensuring adherence to international law; arbitration and advisory opinion

In the following section, we will examine the background of the incident, the role of ICJ and the final outcome of the case. By doing so, knowledge of this case study will be useful for students when they answer United Nations essay questions that discuss the relevance and effectiveness of the ICJ. 

1. [Albania & UK] Three naval encounters: Trouble brewing in the seas
The incident took place in a time when the Cold War-related Greek Civil War (1946-1949) began.

The first incident involved the two British cruisers – HMS Orion and HMS Superb – that were fired upon by Albanian shore batteries on 15 May 1946, while passing through the northern part of the Corfu Channel. In response, the UK lodged a formal protest, demanding an apology from the Albanian government. However, the latter responded with the claim that the two British cruisers had entered Albanian territory, thus justifying their retaliation.

The second incident took place on 22 October 1946, in which a fleet of Royal Navy cruisers and destroyers (UK) entered the Corfu Channel. Then, two British destroyers – HMS Saumarez and HMS Volage were heavily damaged by naval mines. As a result, about 44 were killed and 42 were injured. Later, Albania claimed that the mines were laid by Greece, thus denying responsibility for the accident.

The third incident happened on two consecutive days: 12-13 November 1946. Following the tragic incident, the Royal Navy conducted a mine clearing operation (‘Operation Retail’) in the Corfu Channel. The Albanian government protested against this operation as it was carried out without their approval, given that it was done within Albanian territory.

2. [ICJ] The Proceedings: A score to settle
On 22 May 1947, UK brought the case to the ICJ, requesting Albania to pay reparations. After a substantial period of deliberation for nearly two years, the ICJ concluded that the UK did not violate Albanian territorial waters as the Corfu Channel was meant for international navigation. More importantly, Albania bore the responsibility to warn other states of the naval mines that were present. Hence, the ICJ ordered Albania to pay UK£843,947 as compensation to the UK.

However, ICJ’s ruling was met with non-compliance from Albania, reflecting the absence of enforcement powers to ensure strict adherence to the international law. During the Cold War era, Albania received strong political backing from the Soviet Union, given the former’s ideological inclination towards Marxism-Leninism.

3. Outcome: Significance of the Corfu Channel case
Nevertheless, the dissolution of Soviet Union in 1991 also led to the end of socialism in Albania. On 8 May 1992, both the UK and Albania arrived at a common consensus to end the case. Albania agreed to pay US$2 million to the UK, while the UK returned 1,574 kg of gold to Albania (which was looted by the Nazi Germany during WWII).

From then on, the Corfu Channel case had set the precedence for other contentious cases that the ICJ managed, particularly in matters pertaining to the naval international law. One notable implication was the provision of an international law pertaining to sea navigation. The case influenced the International Law Commission (ILC) to draft the United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS I) in 1958. Another significant legacy of the case was its impact on the questionable legality of force, which resurfaced during the Nicaragua v. United States (1986).

What can we learn from this case study?
Use the following questions to assess your understanding of this case:
– What were the factors that determined the political effectiveness of the ICJ in dealing with the Corfu Channel case? 
– Was compliance of member states the most important factor?

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JC History Tuition Notes Bukit Timah Bishan Bedok Singapore - What caused the Congo Crisis - United Nations

What was the Congo Crisis?

What was the Congo Crisis?

The Congo Crisis (5 Jul 1960 – 25 Nov 1965) was considered a proxy war in the Cold War era that lasted till 1991. Generally, it was an internal conflict between the Republic of the Congo (supported by USA and the UN) and secessionist states of Katanga and South Kasai (backed by the Soviet Union and Belgium). With the support of the United Nations, the Republic of the Congo succeeded in preventing the secession of Katanga and South Kasai. However, any semblance of political stability in Congo was absent as Coloniel Joseph-Désiré Mobutu took over and established a dictatorship that lasted until 1997.

Topic of Study [For H1/H2 History Students]: 
Paper 1: Safeguarding International Peace and Security 
Section B: Essay Writing
Theme III Chapter 2: Political Effectiveness of the UN in maintaining international peace and security 

In the following section, we will identify the challenges to understand the implications on the political effectiveness of the United Nations (UN) peacekeeping operations.

1. [Belgium, South Kasai and Katanga] The prelude to a crisis
Following the declaration of Congo’s independence from the Belgium colonials on 30 Jun 1960, many internal problems began to surface.

On 5 Jul 1960, a mutiny broke out, involving the army of the newly-independent Congo and the Belgians. In response, the Belgian government deployed military personnel into Congo to defend its fleeing citizens. Additionally, Katanga (led by Moïse Tshombe) and South Kasai undertook secessionist efforts with the support from the Belgians.

The Congolese government, which was led by Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba, objected to foreign intervention, given its newly-earned sovereign rights. As such, he requested aid from the UN. Although the UN Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld deployed UN peacekeepers (United Nations Force in the Congo – ONUC), he stated clearly that these troops would not be used to support Lumumba’s political agenda of preventing the secession as the UN was hamstrung by the neutrality principle.

2. [Soviet Union] Cold War expansion
The outraged Lumumba then turned to the Soviet Union, which sent its military advisors to Congo. However, the incompetence of the Lumumba government in handling the internal problems as well as the reliance on a new external power had caused an internal political disunity.

As a political deadlock between Prime Minister Lumumba and President Joseph Kasavubu was evident, Colonel Mobutu led the Congolese army and launched a coup d’état. Mobutu formed the new government and quickly removed the Soviet advisors.

Eventually, the deposed Lumumba was captured and executed in 1961. Khrushchev of the Soviet Union blamed the UN for the death of Lumumba and demanded the resignation of the UN Secretary-General as well as the replacement of the position with a troika – a three-man executive that held the power of veto. Dag Hammarskjöld responded diplomatically, earning a standing ovation from many delegates in the UN General Assembly.

However, while Hammarskjöld was on board an aircraft to oversee the ceasefire negotiations with Tshombe of Katanga, he died in a plane crash on 18 Sep 1961. Abruptly, U Thant was thrust into position as the new UN Secretary-General.

3. [United Nations] Knee-deep military intervention
In contrast to Hammarskjöld’s cautious diplomatic attempts, U Thant undertook a different approach that increased the UN involvement in the conflict between the Congolese government and the secessionists.

On 24 Nov 1961, the UN Security Council passed Resolution 169, which concluded that external intervention was necessary for conflict resolution to be achieved. U Thant was authorized to employ any necessary measures to end the secession in Katanga. Clearly, the notion of neutral peacekeeping was thrown out of the window.

The UN took on a new approach of ‘peace enforcement’, as illustrated by Operation Grandslam (Dec 1962 – Jan 1963), which involved a direct military offensive against the secessionists in Katanga. Their efforts had finally paid off, but at great cost. The UN had succeeded in fulfilling its mandate.

What was the outcome?
After the Katanga secession came to an end, the Congolese government sought to restore social and political stability. However, the peace was short-lived due to the Simba and Kwilu rebellions in 1964. This time, Colonel Mobutu stepped in and ruled Congo, which was then renamed as ‘Zaire’ in 1971.

What can we learn from this case study?
Consider the following questions to understand the case study better:
– What were the obstacles that hindered UN peacekeeping efforts during the Congo Crisis? 
– Comparing the actions of Dag Hammarskjöld and U Thant, what were the defining qualities of a UN Secretary-General that would determine the effectiveness of the UN in the Congo Crisis? [to be discussed in class]

Apart from this case study discussion, we also provide other complementary A Level programmes, like Economics Tuition and GP Tuition, that are instrumental in developing reflective thinking skills. Furthermore, our exam-driven approach that focuses on knowledge application through consistent and regular class practices will bring you closer to the ‘A’ at the GCE A Level examinations. 

JC History Tuition Notes Bukit Timah Bishan Bedok Singapore - What caused the 1948 Arab Israeli War - United Nations

What caused the 1948 Arab-Israeli war?

What is the Arab-Israeli conflict?

On 14 May 1948, Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, declared the independence of Israel, which then led to the outbreak of war. Following the termination of the British Mandate, armies belonging to five Arab nations (Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon, Syria and Egypt) formed a military coalition and invaded Israel. Eventually, Israel achieved victory against the Arab forces.

From the Israel’s perspective, the conflict was known as the ‘War of Independence’. In contrast, the displaced Palestinians described the incident as the ‘Nakba‘, also known as ‘Catastrophe’, given the expulsion of more than 50% of the Palestinian Arabs from their homes.

Topic of Study [For H2 History Students]: 
Paper 1: Safeguarding International Peace and Security 
Section B: Essay Writing
Theme III Chapter 2: Political Effectiveness of the UN in maintaining international peace and security 

In the following section, we will examine what are the factors that could have led to the start of this conflict as well as the involvement of the newly-formed United Nations. We will be discussing this topic from the four key roles: United Kingdom, Israel, Arab nations and the United Nations

1. [United Kingdom] Balfour Declaration: Seeds of Disaster
The first contributing factor relates to the United Kingdom’s proposed plans for the British Jewish community in creating a ‘home’ in Palestine. On 2 Nov 1917, British Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour signed the Balfour Declaration, which stated that:

His Majesty’s government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.

In short, the Balfour Declaration meant that the Jews were given the promise that a ‘national home’ would be established in the Palestine area, while ensuring the rights of the affected people were protected.

Following the end of World War I, the League of Nations oversaw the creation of Mandatory Palestine, in which the British was granted the right of rule.

However, the British support for the creation of a Jewish home had set the grounds for conflict, as seen by the series of Arab attacks in 1920, 1929 and 1936.

2. [Israel] Zionism: A National Movement
The second consideration for the outbreak of the Arab-Israeli War in 1948 can be traced to the 19th century, in which the founder of the Modern Zionist movement, Theodor Herzl, shared his vision of an independent Jewish state in the 20th century.

Zionism then became the leading national movement that guided the Jewish people to establish a ‘national home’ in Palestine, which they described as the biblical ‘Land of Israel’. As such, the Jewish community pursued the aim of ’emancipation and self-determination’, which were building blocks of statehood.

However, this zealous movement was met with resistance by the Arab nations. In response to the creation of an independent Israel, the five (above-mentioned) Arab countries were guided by their shared religious belief and waged a war.

3. [Arab Nations] Arab Nationalism: A United Front
The third factor involves Arab nationalism, which emerged due to the shared cultural-religions and historical background. The Arab nations held a common perception that the Western powers were more inclined to support Israel, as evidenced by the Balfour Declaration of 1917.

As such, the declaration of Israel’s independence in 1948 served as a pretext for the Arab coalition to fight against a ‘common enemy’ and challenge the Western powers.

4. [United Nations] Partition Plan: Resolution Attempts
Before the 1948 Arab-Israeli conflict began, the United Nations put forward a proposal, known as the Partition Plan for Palestine on 29 Nov 1947. The United Nations General Assembly passed Resolution 181 (II), which was an urgent attempt to resolve the conflict between Zionism and Palestinian nationalism.

The Plan involved the territorial division of Palestine into three areas, namely a Jewish state, Arab state and the ‘City of Jerusalem’ (corpus separatum). Given the shared religious significance of Jerusalem for both the Jewish and Arab people, the third area was to be ‘under a special international regime and shall be administered by the United Nations’.

However, the Partition Plan was rejected by the Arab governments as they claimed the arrangement violated the principles of ‘self-determination’, which was enshrined in the UN Charter. Subsequently, a civil war broke out between the Jews and Arabs in Palestine, lasting approximately five months until Ben-Gurion declared Israel’s independence in 1948.

What was the outcome?
After the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, Israel repelled the Arab coalition forces successfully and occupied about 60% of the area that was supposedly allocated to Palestine Arabs as stated in the UN Partition Plan. Also, the conflict led to the massive exodus of Palestinian Arabs from the area that was subsequently recognized as ‘Israel’. From then on, the Arab-Israeli relations were strained, as the following decades saw the outbreak of similar conflicts, such as the Suez Canal crisis and the Six-Day War.

What can we learn from this case study?
Consider the following questions to understand the incident better:
– Were political arrangements, such as the Partition Plan, doomed to fail?  
– How did the 1948 Arab-Israeli conflict affect the political effectiveness of the United Nations in the latter’s conduct of peacekeeping missions till 1991? [to be discussed in class]

On a separate note, we conduct other relevant A Level Tuition programmes, such Economics Tuition and GP Tuition that provide you the conducive environment for the development of critical thinking skills to write persuasively and in a concise manner. Hence, the attainment of ‘A’ is within your grasp at the GCE A Level examinations.

JC History Tuition Bishan Bedok Tampines Singapore - What happened in the Suez Canal Crisis - JC History Essay Skills

What happened in the Suez Canal Crisis?

What was the Suez Canal Crisis of 1956?
The Suez Canal Crisis broke out when Egyptian President, Gamal Abdel Nasser, nationalised the Suez Canal. In response, both the United Kingdom and France retaliated and sought to regain control of the canal. Eventually, Egypt managed to retain control of the canal. Subsequently, Israel invaded Egypt, in which this invasion was also known as the Second Arab-Israeli War.

Topic of Study [For H1/H2 History Students]: 
Paper 1: Safeguarding International Peace and Security 
Section B: Essay Writing
Theme III Chapter 2: Political Effectiveness of the UN in maintaining international peace and security 

In the following section, we will re-trace the historical steps and find out what exactly happened during the Suez Crisis and how the United Nations responded to this conflict. By understanding such case studies thoroughly, you will develop a wholesome comprehension of the political effectiveness of the United Nations in handling different forms of challenges.

1. How did the Suez Canal Crisis start?
As mentioned earlier, Nasser’s nationalisation of the Suez Canal angered both UK and France the latter group’s economic interests were at stake. In particular, the Suez Canal Company was a joint enterprise owned by the two countries. Therefore, the British and France were determined to restore control of the canal.

On a separate but related note, Israel perceived Egypt as a security threat due to the latter’s involvement in the 1948 War of Independence as part of the Arab coalition forces. As such, Israel invaded Egypt on 29 October 1956, while UK and France deployed troops under the pretext of defending their economic interests (i.e. Suez Canal).

2. How did the UN respond? 
On 31 October 1956, the UN Security Council called for an emergency General Assembly meeting. The 1950 ‘Uniting for Peace’ resolution was invoked to empower the General Assembly in the planning of recommendations to end the conflict. The UN came to a decision of restraining the aggressor nations and facilitating a ceasefire. As such, the UN formed the first-ever task force, known as the UN Emergency Force (UNEF) to oversee the resolution of the Suez Canal Crisis.  The UNEF played a supervisory role of ensuring the withdrawal of the opposing forces.

3. What was the outcome?
At the initial stage, UN was unaware that these three nations (i.e. Israel, UK and France) launched coordinated attacks. Over time, the realization of this combined military effort angered USA, which threatened to impose economic sanctions should they refuse to back down. Faced with international criticisms and pressures, both the British and French forces complied and withdrew their troops by December 1956. Similarly, Israel acceded to political and economic pressures of the US and withdrew its troops in March 1957.

In the wake of the crisis, Egyptian ownership of the Suez Canal was recognised by the United Nations. By April 1957, the canal was re-opened for shipping. Although the crisis had come to an end, the absence of a peace settlement between Egypt and Israel led to the outbreak of the Six-Day War.

Unfortunately, given the principal requirement of respecting sovereign rights, Egypt’s request for the departure of UNEF could not be ignored. Hence, the withdrawal of the UN allowed tensions to rise and manifest in the form of another military confrontation.

What can we learn from this case study?
Once you have understood the general idea of this UN case study, consider the following points:
– Did the UN play an important role in the resolution of this conflict? If so, how? 
– Were structural factors of the UN more important than the domestic conditions of the conflict zone in affecting the political effectiveness of the UN? [to be discussed in class]

In the subsequent articles, we will examine other related case studies to derive a more comprehensive understanding of the UN’s role in upholding international peace and security from 1945 to 2000. As part of the Paper 1 Theme 3 topic, you are expected to be familiar with a wide range of case studies to provide evidence to support your arguments on the assessment of the UN’s performance. You can consider joining our JC History Tuition to become better in organising your content and applying your knowledge to A Level History essay questions.

Additionally, you can complement your revision for the Preliminary and Promotional examinations by attending classes, like Economics Tuition and GP Tuition that will impart you with the essential knowledge and exam-smart skills to ace the A Level examinations. 

“It was character that got us out of bed, commitment that moved us into action, and discipline that enabled us to follow through.” – Zig Ziglar

JC History Tuition Bishan Bedok Tampines Singapore - How did Taiwan become a successful export economy - JC History Essay Skills

How did Taiwan become a successful export economy?

How did Taiwan become an economic power in Asia? 
In continuation of the previous article pertaining to the contributing factors that led to the economic transformation of South Korea, we will now examine how Taiwan, also known as the ‘accidental nation’, achieved its economic success from the 1960s to the 1990s. Taiwan also undergone a process of rapid industrialisation, shifting its focus from domestic production to export-driven production that propelled the nation to its developed status.

Topic of Study [For H2 History Students]: 
Paper 1: Understanding the Global Economy (1945-2000)
Section B: Essay Writing
Theme II Chapter 3: Rise of Asian Tigers from 1970s to 1990s [South Korea and Taiwan] 

In the following section, we will focus on four major roles that led to the economic miracle in Taiwan. Take note that these points are to be evaluated based on role and factor comparison, so as to improve your comprehension of these contributing roles to the economic development of Taiwan. For example, you should analyse the varying degrees of importance for government and private businesses in affecting the economic transformation of Taiwan.

1. Role of the Government
a. Target Setting and Planning
Taiwan began its planning phase with the establishment of the Council for United States Aid (CUSA) in 1948, which was later reformed as the Council for Economic Planning and Development (CEPD). The CEPD played the role as a government agency to draft plans and set targets for the economic development of Taiwan. As a planning body, the CEPD decided on the allocation of state resources for the growth of industries, such as the distribution of development funds.

b. Policy Implementation
From the 1950s to 1960s, Taiwan’s economic policies were centred on the the implementation of the ‘import-substitution industrialisation’ (ISI) strategy, which focused on the protection of infant industries. For instance, the government introduced import restrictions on consumer goods to protect local firms from external competition. As a result, the agricultural sector flourished, contributing to the growth of the Taiwanese economy.

However, the economic contribution of the agricultural sector was low in value. As such, the Taiwanese government shifted its focus to ‘export-oriented industrialisation’ (EOI), which emphasised on the production of exports in capital-intensive industries. The government oversaw this development by passing laws that reinforced export-based production, such as the Provisions for Export Zone in 1965. Consequently, the EOI strategy was met with great success, as evidenced by the domination of numerous exporting goods in the international markets by the 1980s. For example, Taiwan was known for its exports of motherboards and computer terminals as it occupied more than three-quarters of the global exports.

2. Role of the Private Businesses [i.e. SMEs]
On the other hand, not only the public sector contributed to the economic transformation of Taiwan, but also the private counterpart, particularly the small and medium enterprises (SMEs). In contrast to South Korea, which is known for its few and massive chaebols that dominated the entire economy, Taiwan’s economic growth was driven by the existence of many SMEs. These SMEs played a crucial role in pursuing the goals set by the government, as observed by the large-scale production of exports. In the 1960s and 1970s, SMEs accompanied the government’s focus on EOI by producing standardised light-industry products. These goods were produced and sold at the international markets.

Over time, SMEs dominated the Taiwanese export production, accounting for nearly two-thirds of the entire country’s exports. Given that Taiwan’s economic developed hinged on export gains, this implied that SMEs became the key driver of the economy.

3. Role of Culture
Although Taiwan had a stark difference in the role of private businesses as compared to South Korea, the cultural factor remained similar, in the sense that favourable cultural influences could explain the remarkable economic performance of Taiwan from the 1960s to 1990s. Taiwan was also shaped by Confucianism, which is a philosophy that encouraged diligence, frugality and respect for authority.

One of the notable consequences of such cultural traits is the emergence of SMEs. In this case, the Taiwanese people were entrepreneurial. Their willingness to innovate and battle against the odds was critical in supporting this significant development. As a result, many business owners possessed the business acumen to deal with economic uncertainties.

Furthermore, the relevance of frugality to economic development can be explained by the high savings rate, which means that many firms have sources of financing to conduct investment activities that propel economic growth even more. Therefore, cultural values were important in helping us to understand the vigour that drives these firms.

4. International Developments [i.e. Role of USA]
The economic development of Taiwan was also supported by the role of USA, which increased its presence in Asia as a response to the perceived ideological threat of Communism. This response was carried out in the form of advancing economic progress by providing financial aid and other forms of support. For example, Taiwan was given exclusive access to American market and the privilege to impose trade protection temporarily. As such, USA occupied nearly two-fifths of Taiwan’s exports. From 1960s to 1970s, USA became Taiwan’s major export market, accounting for a large proportion of its economic growth.

Points to Ponder
Now that you have looked into the four major roles that affected the economic transformation of Taiwan, do consider the following ideas to reinforce your study of this topic for essay writing:
– How did the role of SMEs contribute to the economic miracle of Taiwan? 
– In comparison between South Korea’s chaebols with Taiwan’s SMEs, analyse their approaches in supporting the economic development of these two Asian Tigers. [to be discussed in class]

Are you ready to sit for the A Level History examination? If you are experiencing difficulties in organising your materials and completing your essays on time, fret no more! In addition to these regular articles that are published on this site, we also offer JC History Tuition programmes for JC1 and JC2 students to support their revision efforts. Examine topics in International History and Southeast Asian History together in class with fellow students and our JC History Tutor Justin Ng. We teach you to analyse historical issues carefully, form arguments logically and express ideas systematically

On top of our JC History Tuition classes, we also provide other complementary tuition programmes, like Economics Tuition and GP Tuition that will improve your knowledge comprehension through active and meaningful class discussions. Learn how to use what you have read in past and recent news articles to the answering of essay questions. Our exam-oriented teaching approach is effective in honing your thinking and writing abilities, thereby bringing you closer to the much-desired A

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JC History Tuition Bishan Bedok Tampines Singapore - How did South Korea become a developed nation - JC History Essay Skills

How did South Korea become a developed nation?

What are the Four Asian Tigers? 
To understand how South Korea become a developed nation, we must start off the discussion with the understanding of the ‘Four Asian Tigers‘. The ‘Four Asian Tigers’ refer to the fast-developing nations of South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore. These four Asian economies were identified as remarkable case studies, given their high levels of sustained economic growth from 1960s to 1990s. Due to their extensive focus on export-oriented industrialisation, these countries have caught up with developed countries and competed at the international markets

Topic of Study [For H2 History Students]: 
Paper 1: Understanding the Global Economy (1945-2000)
Section B: Essay Writing
Theme II Chapter 3: Rise of Asian Tigers from 1970s to 1990s [South Korea and Taiwan] 

In the following section, we will examine the contributing factors that can explain the economic transformation of South Korea.

1. Role of the Government
a. Target Setting and Planning
At the stage of economic development, the South Korean government undergone a process of central planning that involved target setting and resource management. Central planning was essential in the prioritisation of promising industries to nurture and expand, especially the family-owned chaebols. Institutionalisation of planning procedures took the form of the Economic Planning Board (EPB was established in 1961), which took the lead in formulating Five-Year Plans (FYP), which were important in charting the direction on a progressive basis. The EPB was accredited for the successful policy shift from import-substitution industrialisation (ISI) to export-oriented industrialisation, which propelled the South Korean economy significantly.

b. Policy Implementation
The strategies employed by the South Korean government have evolved over time. At the initial stage, the South Korean economy was built upon the foundations of domestic production. This strategy is known as ‘import-substitution industrialisation‘, which refers to the use of artificial trade barriers to insulate the domestic economy from foreign competition. The main purpose of ISI was to nurture local firms, such that they will develop and expand to become the key driver of the South Korean economy. In this case study, the government imposed trade protection to develop labour-intensive sectors that produce textile, agriculture and light consumer goods.

However, the South Korean government realised the economic gains of ISI were not sustainable as the above-mentioned goods yielded low-value economic growth. Hence, they turned their gaze towards foreign markets. This approach involved ‘export-oriented industrialisation‘. In contrast to ISI, EOI involved the production of exports (i.e. domestically-produced goods to be sold in the international markets) to promote economic development. In order for exports to be competitive, the South Korean government provided financial support to exporting firms, such as tariff exemptions on the import of raw materials for export production. Given that the foreign markets were much larger than the domestic market of South Korea, it was evident that the country enjoyed tremendous success, which was indicated by the increase in per capita income from $100 from 1963 to $6614 in 1990.

2. Role of the Private Businesses [i.e. Chaebols]
In addition to the notable contributions by the South Korean government, the economic transformation was made possible through the efforts of the private enterprises. In this case, the chaebols played a crucial role in the economic development of this Asian Tiger. Chaebols are family-dominated conglomerates that serve as the key pillars of support for the development of the South Korean economy. These major business corporations (e.g. Samsung and Hyundai) were formed in the 1960s under the auspices of the government, which provided extensive financial support and exclusion from stiff foreign competition. As such, these companies expanded and dominated the economy.

It was an economic success as the chaebols could compete in international markets against multinational corporations (MNCs) as they possessed large capital to innovate and improve the quality of exports. By 1980s, these major companies were self-sustaining and no longer needed government support to function. In return, these companies acted as the lifeline of the South Korean economy. For instance, Samsung occupied nearly one-fifth of South Korea’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), implying that a single chaebol could support nearly 20% of the entire nation’s economy.

However, the remarkable achievements of these chaebols were blemished by structural flaws that began to appear over time. The over-bearing influence of these major companies was observed in the monopolisation of markets, which crowded out small and medium enterprises (SMEs). The nearly-absent competition cultivated a culture of complacency, which resulted in the deterioration of product quality. Furthermore, the family-oriented structure of chaebols encouraged the top management to appoint family members, which translated to the growing inefficiencies of these corporations. As such, it was imperative for the government to intervene and address the dominance of chaebols.

3. Role of Culture
The ‘Miracle on the Han River’ can also be explained by the inherent characteristics of the South Koreans, particularly the cultural traits shaped by Confucianism. Similar to the Japanese, many look up to the South Koreans for their work ethics, as they are described as industrious and reliable. In economic terms, many firms benefited in terms of higher labour productivity levels, which contributed to increase in economic growth rates.

Additionally, the frugal mindsets of South Koreans were beneficially for economic developments as savings rate was high. This meant that many firms could take loans from banks to finance their investment activities, thus promoting economic growth.

4. International Developments
South Korea’s economic development can also be explained by the tremendous economic support provided by USA during the Cold War period. During and after the Korean War (1950 to 1953), USA supported Korea’s industrialisation policy as part of its strategy to stem the tide of Communism in Asia. For example, USA provided post-war financial aid to South Korea, in which the financial resources were important for public infrastructure projects, like road-building and airport construction. From 1950 to 1980, the estimates of American aid to South Korea amounted to nearly US$6 billion. Due to the efforts of the USAID (United States Agency for International Development), South Korea’s exports increased from US$4 million to over $150 billion in 1980. Therefore, it can be observed that USA played a significant role in the development of the Korean economy.

Points to Ponder
Now that you have covered the four major factors that could explain the economic transformation of South Korea, consider the following pointers to integrate your knowledge for essay writing application:
– Which role was more important in the economic transformation of South Korea: Government or Private Enterprises [explain why]
– “The role of USA was most crucial in achieving the economic miracle of South Korea.” Assess the validity of this statement. [to be discussed in class]

We can value-add your learning experience of this A Level subject. You can join our JC History Tuition as we provide concise study materials and practice questions for your revision. We complement your study at school by covering the key chapters in preparation for your upcoming school assessments. Furthermore, we are focused on the aim of preparing you for the rigours of the A Level History examination at the end of this journey. Therefore, these lessons emphasise on knowledge application through the cultivation of analytical and writing skills for essay and SBQ.

Besides, you can sign up for other related A Level tuition programmes, like our GP Tuition and Economics Tuition classes. Under the guidance of renowned JC GP Tutor and Economic Tutor Simon Ng, you will learn how to analyse real world issues and apply what you have learnt to answer questions effectively.

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JC History Tuition Bishan Bedok Tampines Singapore - How to revise for A Level History

How to revise for A Level History?

How to study for A Level History?
The study of A Level History requires carefully planning and execution to make significant progress in your preparation for the examinations. Apart from the identification of common errors, development of SBQ answering techniques and essay writing skills, it is imperative that you have organised your study materials and practice questions. Therefore, in this issue, we will focusing on various aspects of revision to guide you through this meaningful journey that leads you to the goal of attaining A at the A Level History examination.

Step 1. Arrange your materials
Start your revision by arranging your learning materials that you have received. By organising your own notes, essays and SBQs, you are also de-cluttering your mind. This approach is important as it ensures that you are clear on where to source for the relevant information should the need arises.

One useful way is to separate your materials by Themes or Topics. For example, the Topic on Cold War, which features a three-part series [Emergence of Bipolarity, World divided by the Cold War and End of Bipolarity], can be organised as one individual set of materials. You can consider using a file divider or even a colored A4 paper as a make-shift divider.

Within each set of materials, make sure that you have separated them into the following: (i) Notes (ii) Questions [Essays/SBQs]. For Notes, you are encouraged to include a summary cover page to list down the areas of study (which will be elaborated later below). As for Questions, you can organise them into ‘Basic’ and ‘Challenging’ types.

Step 2. Plan your timetable
Now that you have organised your learning materials, the second step involves the development of a personal timetable. A timetable is important as it helps you to set priorities on your daily tasks, be it academic, recreational or personal matters. As quoted by many, ‘Fail to plan, plan to fail’. Getting your priorities right will ensure that you stay committed and focused on the ultimate aim of acing the A Level History examinations.

To get started, you can use a physical or online daily planner to organise your time. For example, you can use an Excel Spreadsheet that display the monthly calendar. First, fill in the time-slots that you are certain of, like the classes at school. Second, include time-slots that you want to revise for History, as well as other subjects. Personally, I am of the opinion that one day’s worth of revision should not exceed two subjects. For instance, your revision in one full day can be as such: History from morning till mid-afternoon; General Paper from mid-afternoon till late evening.

Step 3. Take notes during revision
In the context of A Level History, it is understandable that some students may dread the revision process as it requires thorough reading and comprehension of facts and figures. However, that is only partially true as students are not expected to regurgitate every single piece of information that they have access to. The third step involves the process of taking notes. This means that you take a given set of materials, then re-organise and summarise the essential parts that can be used for the examination questions.

There are many ways to take notes while reading the materials. One of the most common practices is writing out the points on a separate piece of paper. For some students, they have the preference of creating ‘mind-maps’ to form mental images of the information. Others may have the inclination to type the points out in soft copy and compile the pointers by topics or themes. Try out different approaches to determine your preference for note-taking.

Here are some useful pointers to guide you in your note-taking experience:
– List down the key events that took place. Include a brief description of the incident with the following considerations, like ‘what happened’, ‘why did it happen’ and ‘how does it relate to the topic of study’
– Create a timeline to obtain a clearer picture of the events that occurred in relation to the topic of study [For example, set a timeline of what happened before the Cold War began] 
– Leave out the intricate details in your personalised set of notes. Remember, you can always refer to your original copy of learning materials, like the additional readings or even online sources, if the need arises. Focus on the idea of preparing a condensed version of your notes  

Step 4. Attempt and review practice questions
After the note-taking process has concluded, assess its applicability by answering essay or source-based case study questions. By attempting questions, you can find out whether the information listed in your condensed notes are of relevance to the examination. If it is your first time preparing a personalised set of notes, do not be discouraged if you have left out any information. Revisit the original set of study materials and add the relevant parts into your notes.

Typically, the original set of notes should contain the examples and supplementary information to back up a common argument to a historical perspective. However, the notes may lack elaboration that provides direction in the discussion of the examination questions. Therefore, you can consider using a ‘basic’ question to organise your materials more effectively. For example, in the Paper 1 topic of United Nations, set a generic question, like the ‘Factors affecting the political effectiveness of the United Nations in the Cold War period’ to arrange your notes. Clearly, it would make more sense to re-organise your content from separate Case Studies into specific factors, since examination questions tend to focuses on the reasons why the UN was successful in certain cases.

Bonus: Keep trying!
Now that you have identified the basic methods to revise for A Level History, what matters most is that you incorporate these tips into your revision programme. Grasping historical concepts and mastering the ‘Art of Writing’ do not happen overnight. Persistence and consistent application are the key ingredients to realise your goal. Besides, you can also consider joining our JC History Tuition classes, which will give you exclusive access to condensed summary notes and practice questions to prepare you for the complexities of the A Level History examinations.

Also, we offer GP Tuition and Economics Tuition programmes that are effective in nurturing the right set of thinking and writing skills that bring you closer to grade A. Know that you are not alone in this enriching journey. With the help of our experienced tutors, we are certain that you have all the required resources to realise this goal of doing well for the A Level examinations. What matters is that you have the will to act. Are you ready?

JC History Tuition Bishan Bedok Tampines Singapore - What caused the end of the Cold War - JC History SBQ Skills

What caused the end of the Cold War?

Why did the Cold War come to an end? 
In this three-part series, we have learnt how the Cold War began and how it expanded beyond Europe [as seen in the Korean War, Cuban Missile Crisis and Vietnam War]. Lastly, we will be looking at how the Cold War ended.

Topic of Study [For H2 and H1 History Students]: 
Paper 1: Understanding the Cold War (1945-1991)
Section A: Source-based Case Study
Theme I Chapter 3: End of Bipolarity

1. Economic collapse of the Soviet Union 
One of the leading arguments put forth by historians is that the Soviet Union was affected by a sluggish economy that hindered its efforts to keep up with the arms race aspect of the Cold War. From 1964 to 1982, Gorbachev’s predecessors had expended vast amounts of state funds and resources to achieve nuclear parity with USA. Given that military arms accumulation had negligible benefits to the economic prosperity of the country, its people had to bear the consequences, such as the fall in production of consumer goods and decline in living standards.

2. Ineffective economic, social and political reforms 
Under the leadership of Mikhail Gorbachev (1985-1991), the Soviet Union had undergone a drastic reform that affected its political, economic and social developments.

One such policy is Glasnost, which implies ‘openness’. This policy demonstrated Gorbachev’s willingness to accept new (and Western) ideas into the Soviet Union. Also, the people were allowed to state their views towards the government’s policies openly. However, this seemingly-democratic approach gave rise to unintended open criticisms that damaged the government’s credibility. For instance, the disastrous Chernobyl incident (Apr 1986) was exposed.

The second policy is Perestroika, which refers to ‘restructuring’. This approach involved the political and economic reforms that sought to blend both capitalist and central planning concepts into the domestic markets. For example, state enterprises were allowed to decide the level of production to meet consumer demand. At the same time, the government had full control over the means of production for these enterprises, thus restricting the latter’s ability to manage the cost of production. Eventually, the policy backfired. By early 1990s, Gross National Product (GNP) decreased by 2%. Many households suffered from food shortages as the country experienced high inflation rates and a devaluation of the Soviet Ruble against the US Dollar. Therefore, poor policy implementation contributed to the growing anti-government resentments that led up to the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

3. The Sinatra Doctrine [Oct 1989] 
The aptly-named ‘Sinatra Doctrine‘ was a stark contrast to the Brezhnev Doctrine, as the former hinted at the notion that the Soviet government allowed more political autonomy to be granted to the satellite states (which formed the Warsaw Pact states). Initially, these satellites were ruled with an iron fist, as exemplified by the authoritarian responses to act on potential dissent and challenge to Moscow (e.g. end of the Hungarian Revolution in 1956).

On 7 December 1988, Gorbachev addressed the United Nations General Assembly. He supported the “principle of freedom of choice” by acknowledging it as a “universal principle to which there should be exceptions”. As a result, the satellite states interpreted Gorbachev’s statement as a clear indication that the Soviet Union would not intervene should they choose to form independent governments.

1989 was a significant year as the world witnessed a series of revolutions in Eastern Europe. The disintegration of the satellite states began in Poland, followed by other neighbouring countries, like Hungary, Bulgaria and Czechoslovakia. This process culminated in the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, which symbolised the reunification of Germany in 1990.

4. Dissolution of the Soviet Union (Dec 1991)
After observing the disintegration of the satellite states in Eastern Europe, many Soviet hardliners began to doubt Gorbachev’s intentions to address the challenges of the Soviet Union. Following the ineffective political and economic reforms of Glasnost and Perestroika, Gorbachev turned to a last-ditch effort to salvage the situation by proposing the Union Treaty that sought to create a voluntary federation in an increasingly democratised Soviet Union. However, Gorbachev was met with strong rejection by the hardliners. The country experienced a period of political instability.

During the attempted coup in August 1991, Gorbachev was placed under house arrest. Clearly, he had lost political influence. As such, Gorbachev resigned as the General Secretary and requested to dissolve all communist-related groups in the Soviet Union. Hence, Soviet Communism was no more. On 26 December 1991, the dissolution of the Soviet Union led to the creation of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).

Therefore, the decline of the Soviet Union meant that the Cold War was no longer relevant.

What’s Next?
Now that you have covered the entire spectrum of the Cold War study, it is important to take note of the following considerations to reinforce your learning of this theme:
– How did USA contribute to the end of the Cold War?  
– Did Gorbachev play the most important role in causing the end of the Cold War? [class discussion]

Improve your study of A Level History topics by attending our JC History Tuition programmes that are available for both JC1 and JC2 students. We conduct regular tuition classes for students who are taking either H1 or H2 History. These lessons include content re-teaching and skills-based development for SBQ and essay writing skills. Additionally, engage in class discussions to broaden your understanding of these historical issues, such that you can comprehend the significance of factors and form the arguments more logically and thoroughly.

On the other hand, join our GP Tuition classes to explore different current affairs issues and acquire proficient writing skills to answer A Level Comprehension and Essay questions. Our experienced JC GP Tutors will guide you through the analysis of thematic topics and impart you with the skills to ace the A Level General Paper examinations.

Besides, register for the Economics Tuition classes to examine economics issues in this complex day and age. Learn how to apply the concepts of Microeconomics and Macroeconomics to the analysis of CSQs (case study questions) and essay questions. Under the guidance of our JC Economics Tutors, rest assured that you will be ready for the A Level Economics examinations.

JC History Tuition Bishan Bedok Tampines Singapore - What caused the end of the Golden Age of Capitalism - JC History SBQ Skills

What caused the end of the Golden Age of Capitalism?

What led to the end of the Golden Age of Capitalism?
As the world observed a sustained period of phenomenal growth that accelerated the pace of economic development in many countries, problems began to emerge. The feasibility of existing international financial systems and frameworks, such as the Bretton Woods System, began to exhibit flaws that hindered growth. Eventually, the Golden Age of Capitalism came to an end.

Topic of Study [For H2 History Students]: 
Paper 1: Understanding the Global Economy (1945-2000)
Section B: Essay Writing
Theme II Chapter 2: Reasons for problems of the global economy 

In the following section, we will focus on the key factors that have contributed to the decline in the global economy.

1. Collapse of the Bretton Woods System [15 Aug 1971]
Initially, the Bretton Woods System was essential in creating financial stability through the fixed exchange rate system that pegged the U.S. dollar against gold [USD 35 per ounce of gold]. However, excessive domestic spending [Great Society program] and military expenditure in foreign campaigns [Vietnam War] caused the American dollar to be overvalued. This meant that USA was unable to provide adequate gold to match the vast volume of dollars in international circulation.

As a result, speculators foresaw the U.S government seeking to devalue USD, creating a widespread panic to sell the currency. Market pessimism was pervasive. Eventually, it culminated in the historic moment in August 1971, when American President, Richard Nixon, declared the suspension of the dollar-to-gold convertibility, signalling the end of the fixed exchange rate system. As such, many countries were given the choice to adopt fixed or flexible exchange rates, resulting in declining stock prices, rising oil prices and bank failures.

2. Twin Oil Shocks [1973 and 1979] 
In addition to collapse of the Bretton Woods System, there were two disastrous events that led to skyrocketing oil prices and declining economies, also known as the Twin Oil Shocks of the 1970s.

The first oil shock took place in 1973-1974, which was attributed to the actions of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC, in short). The OPEC sought to undermine USA for its provision of support to Israel in the Yom Kippur War [part of the longstanding Arab-Israeli War] by imposing an oil embargo. As a result of the sudden artificial shortage of oil, oil prices surged from $3 per barrel to $12 per barrel in one year. Consequently, the increase in oil prices had devastating impacts on the affected economies. Given that oil was an essential resource for production, many businesses declined. In contrast, OPEC benefited from the gains in revenue due to the sale of oil at artificially high prices.

The second oil shock occurred in 1979 due to the Iranian Revolution. Oil production was once again cut, causing an increase in price of oil. This had a severe impact on the developed economies, especially USA. Firms in oil-dependent industries, like car manufacturers, were undermined by this development. Furthermore, consumers had difficulty coping with the increase in price of fuel for domestic usage.

3. Third World Debt Crisis [1980s]
The Third World Debt Crisis was a regional economic challenge that plagued developing nations in the early 1980s. Countries, such as Mexico, were unable to finance the external debts. Although international financial institutions, like the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) extended loans and aid to these countries, their efforts were inadequate to resolve the persistent debts.

Furthermore, the twin oil shocks of the 1970s had worsened the government deficits, causing many Third World countries to suffer from the longstanding debt issue. For example, the Mexican government’s budget deficit was at 16.3% of its Gross National Product (GNP). Consequently, economic activities declined in these countries, causing growth rates to slow down.

4. Advent of Trade Protectionism
Although the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) was the reason for the economic boom that started the Golden Age of Capitalism, liberalisation of world trade did not benefit all countries evenly. In particular, developing countries were incurring losses, while developed nations gained from the freer movement of labour, commodities and capital.

Besides, the U.S. economic slowdown in the 1970s and emergence of developed countries, like Germany and Japan, as well as the ‘Four Asian Tigers’, influenced the shift in economic stance by the American government. As such, trade protectionism was imposed to insulate the domestic economy from the adverse effects of economic competition. For example, the American government introduced a Voluntary Restraint Agreement (VRA) that forced Japan to cut down its exports of automobiles into USA. Developed countries, like UK, raised tariffs.

As such, this artificial trade barriers began to undo the beneficial impacts of the free trade agreements, causing a decline in global output and the subsequent slowdown in economic development.

What’s Next?
Given this understanding of the devastating impacts that caused the decline in the global economy, you should examine the following questions and think about the significance of the above-mentioned factors to reinforce your knowledge comprehension to better apply them to your SBQ answers:
– Why was the Golden Age of Capitalism not sustainable? 
– What were the internal and external factors that contributed to the decline in the global economy? [class discussion]

In preparation for the examination, sign up for our JC History Tuition to be ready for the complexities of the essay and source based case study questions. We provide many useful revision materials and additional practice questions to supplement your school lessons. Furthermore, we make learning enjoyable and enriching, incorporating online resources and videos that can synergise your knowledge of past issues with the present.

Besides, you can consider signing up for our GP Tuition and Economics Tuition programmes, which are conducted by experienced tutors who will guide you through the study of different issues and conceptual analysis. Most importantly, our programmes will impart you with the critical thinking and problem solving skills to approach issues from multiple perspectives. Be ready.

JC History Tuition Bishan Bedok Tampines Singapore - What caused the Golden Age of Capitalism - JC History SBQ Skills

What caused the Golden Age of Capitalism?

What is the Golden Age of Capitalism?
The ‘Golden Age of Capitalism’ refers to a momentous period of economic growth that lasted from the end of World War Two in 1945 to the early 1970s. The economic recovery of Western Europe and East Asia had accelerated growth and expansion of the global economy. In this topic, we will find out what were the contributing factors that gave rise to this remarkable period of economic prosperity that improved the living standards of many countries.

Topic of Study [For H2 History Students]: 
Paper 1: Understanding the Global Economy (1945-2000)
Section B: Essay Writing
Theme II Chapter 1: Reasons for growth of the global economy 

In the following section, we will cover some of the key reasons for the growth and development of the world economy.

1. Post-War Economic Reconstruction [After 1945] 
Against the backdrop of a devastating war that left the affected countries in ruins, post-war economic reconstruction was of paramount importance to revive the industries. The emphasis on wartime production had affected the nature of industries [e.g. production of military supplies]. In particular, Western Europe and Japan were in poor shape due to the protracted military confrontations. As such, economic recovery was made possible through the provision of foreign aid, such as the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA) and the Marshall Plan.

With the substantial economic relief, these recipient countries revive their industries quickly. For example, Western European countries only required three years to restore pre-war production levels. By 1947, global industrial production was back to pre-war levels. As a result, the robust growth of developed countries contributed to higher consumption of goods and services. This development was then reinforced by the liberalisation of world trade.

2. Liberalisation of World Trade [General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, 1947]
During the Bretton Woods Conference of 1947, members of the United Nations (UN), including USA, deliberated on the creation of an international monetary system. This system was developed with the goal of ensuring financial stability at the global level. During the Conference, members planned to establish an International Trade Organisation (ITO) to set the rules and regulations for international trade. However, the plan failed to take shape. Nevertheless, a palatable alternative was formed, also known as the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT).

Before the World Trade Organisation was formed in 1955, the GATT played the primary role of pushing for periodic bargaining, in terms of the removal of trade barriers between member nations. The reduction in tariffs, for example, enabled freer flow of resources and commodities, raising world output and propelling growth of the global economy.

3. Establishment of an International Financial System [Bretton Woods System, 1944]
As mentioned earlier, the Bretton Woods Conference had the main aim of creating an international financial system to achieve financial stability. In the process, two financial international institutions were formed, namely the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank.

Initially, the World Bank was named International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD). It was responsible for the provision of loans that supported post-war economic reconstruction, since the late 1940s. Subsequently, the World Bank aided developing countries in their goal of achieving economic and social progress.

As for the International Monetary Fund (IMF), its role was to provide financial support to member countries and correct temporary payment imbalances. Members could access the financial support only if they met the requirements set by the IMF Articles of Agreement, which stipulated conditions, like the need to disregard foreign exchange controls. As a result, the IMF contributed to the freer flow of currencies between countries, promoting growth.

The third notable feature of the Bretton Woods System was the gold exchange standard that facilitated foreign exchange convertibility. From 1944 (Year of the Bretton Woods Conference) to 1971, all foreign currencies were pegged to the U.S. Dollar (USD). The USD was pegged to gold, specifically 35 USD per ounce of gold. Consequently, this gold exchange standard gave rise to the creation of foreign exchange markets that led to exchange rate stability. Hence, stable currency values boosted market confidence and promoted greater trading and investment activities. As such, the Bretton Woods System contributed to the remarkable growth of the global economy.

What’s Next?
In view of the above-mentioned factors, it may appear that the seemingly-sustained period of economic prosperity could last indefinitely. However, from the 1970s onwards, the expansion and growth of the global economy began to slow down. In the next issue, we will discuss the problems of the global economy, such as the twin oil shocks of the 1970s. To support your revision, consider these questions:
– How did the United States contribute to the growth of the global economy?
– Which was more important: The Bretton Woods system or the liberalisation of world trade [to be discussed in class]

Do consider joining our JC History Tuition to create and adopt an exam-focused revision plan that will prepare you for the demands of the A Level History examinations. Rest assured, you will experience a progressive learning structure that builds up a strong foundation in the historical knowledge for the essential areas of learning. Furthermore, we conduct essay and SBQ skills development workshops that hone your answering technqiues.

On a separate but related note, our tuition centres offer GP Tuition and Economics Tuition classes as well. These programmes will be instrumental in the cultivation of reflective thinking, knowledge application and intellectual acumen. At the end of the way, our classes will prepare you for the complex but exciting future.