JC History Tuition - Cold War Notes - Why did the superpowers get involved in the Korean War

Why did the superpowers get involved in the Korean War?

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 2: A World Divided by the Cold War – Manifestations of the global Cold War: The Korean War (1950)

Learn more about the political motivations that shaped US involvement in the Korean War. [Video by PragerU]

Historical context
The Korean War began as a civil war between North Korea and South Korea. Local leaders Kim II-sung and Sygnman Rhee pursued the aim of reunifying the Korean peninsula under diametrically-opposite ideologies. Notably, both governments turned to the superpowers for military support. Yet, it is myopic to claim that the conflict remained localised as the USA and Soviet Union were also influenced by their strategic motivations to aid the two Koreas, thus escalating the event to a proxy war.

1. Stalin’s tactical gambit
From the Soviet perspective, Stalin aided Kim II-sung to divert the attention of his Cold War rival from the European theatre of war. Distinguished historians Donggil Kim and William Stueck arrived at this conclusion after analysing Joseph Stalin’s telegram to the Czechoslovak President Klement Gottawald.

The reason we eventually allowed the war in Korea is because: let us suppose that the U.S. continues to be tied down in the Far East and also pulls China into the struggle. What might come out of this? It follows that America would over-extend itself in this struggle. It is clear that the United States of America is presently distracted from Europe in the Far East. Does it not give us an advantage in the global balance of power, especially back in Europe? It undoubtedly does, allowing us to use this war to our advantage.

An excerpt from Stalin’s telegram to Czech President Klement Gottwald, 27 August 1950.

The telegram was delivered on 27 August 1950, nearly two months after North Korean forces crossed the 38th Parallel and entered the South Korean territory. Interestingly, Stalin reassured his Cold War ally that Soviet Union’s absence in the Security Council was a calculated risk.

2. A litmus test for American commitment
As for the Truman administration, increased US involvement in the Korean War was largely influenced by the fear of ideological expansion in East Asia as well as domestic political pressure.

Chinese Communist leader Mao Zedong formed the People’s Republic of China (PRC) on 1 October 1949 after his victory against Chiang Kai-shek’s nationalists in the Chinese Civil War. Soon, Stalin forged diplomatic ties with Mao Zedong by signing the Treat of Friendship, Alliance and Mutual Assistance on 14 February 1950. These developments had alarmed the US government as the Soviet Union gained a new ally.

The “loss of China” became a partisan issue. Leading Republicans, especially Senator Robert A. Taft of Ohio and former President Herbert C. Hoover, assailed Truman, Acheson, and “treacherous Communists” in the State Department for Chiang’s defeat. MacArthur, considered the China Lobby’s ally, said that allowing the Communists to grow in power in China was “the greatest political mistake we made in a hundred years in the Pacific.”

An excerpt from “Truman, MacArthur, and the Korean War” by Dennis D. Wainstock.

Additionally, Truman also faced mounting pressure domestically to fight the Communists. Republican Senator Joseph McCarthy criticised Truman for being “soft” on Communism. As such, the American government became more determined to defend South Korea. These actions were also meant to demonstrate to its allies that the USA was ready to protect them from external aggression, as described by Dean Acheson at the National Press Club on 12 January 1950.

Although post-World War II anti-communism and the makings of the Second Red Scare can be traced all the way back to 1946, not until after the outbreak of hostilities in Korea and the Chinese intervention did McCarthy reach full fury, hurling wild accusations and contriving a political atmosphere so poisonous that it has since come to bear his name: McCarthyism.

…however, the overall political atmosphere he created certainly affected the parameters within which Truman and his advisers had to operate.

An excerpt from “Truman and Korea: The Political Culture of the Early Cold War” by by Paul G. Pierpaoli.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– How far do you agree that ideological concerns were the main motivation that shaped superpower involvement in the Korean War?

Join our JC History Tuition and learn more about the Korean War. We provide concise study notes and conduct writing workshops to improve your reading and writing skills to ace the GCE A Level History examinations. Be proficient in essay writing and the analysis of Source Based Case Study questions.

We have other JC tuition classes, such as GP Tuition, Economics Tuition, JC Chemistry Tuition, JC Math Tuition and China Studies in English Tuition. For Secondary Tuition, we provide Secondary English Tuition, Secondary Math tuition, Secondary Chemistry Tuition and Secondary Economics Tuition. Call 9689 0510 to find out more.

JC History Tuition - Cold War Notes - Cuban Missile Crisis Revisited

Cuban Missile Crisis: Revisited

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 2: A World Divided by the Cold War – Manifestations of the global Cold War: Cuban Missile Crisis (1962) 

Find out more about the developments of the October Crisis [Video by Ted-Ed]

Vienna Summit of 1961
After the disastrous Bay of Pigs invasion, Khrushchev and Kennedy met during the Vienna Summit on 4 June 1961. Earlier in February, Kennedy expressed his desire to meet the Soviet leader even though his advisors disagreed, given his lack of experience. Khrushchev perceived Kennedy as a young and inept American leader, given the latter’s failure in the Bay of Pigs fiasco.

Operation Anadyr
Also in June 1961, Turkey and the USA agreed to deploy fifteen nuclear-tipped Jupiter missiles in Turkey. Soviet Minister of Defence Rodion Malinovsky had a conversation with Khrushchev, discussing the capabilities of the Soviet and American missiles.

Malinovsky drew Khrushchev’s attention to the installation of American missiles just over the horizon of the Black Sea in Turkey. He told Khrushchev that the American missiles in Turkey could strike the Soviet Union in ten minutes, whereas Soviet missiles needed twenty-five minutes to hit the United States. Khrushchev then mused on whether the Soviet Union shouldn’t do the same thing in Cuba, just over the horizon from the United States.

Excerpt from “Reflections on the Cuban Missile Crisis” by Raymond L. Garthoff.

In 1962, the Soviets launched Operation ANADYR which involved the delivery of medium-range and intermediate-range missiles and nuclear missiles to Cuba. Interestingly, “Anadyr” refers to the name of a river flowing into the Bering Sea. On the surface, the operation was described as a strategic exercise conducted in the north of the U.S.S.R.

now they would know just what it feels like to have enemy missiles pointing at you, we’d be doing nothing more than giving them a little taste of their own medicine. And it was high time… America has never had to fight a war on her own soil, at least not in the past fifty years. She’s sent troops abroad to fight in two World Wars – and made a fortune as a result.

Excerpt by Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev from “Kennedy” by Hugh Brogan

A Naval Quarantine
After the U-2 spy plane discovered the missile bases in Cuba that were identified as Soviet-operated, Kennedy made a public address to the American citizens on 22 October 1962. It was intentionally described as a “quarantine” so as to avoid provocations to the Soviets.

…I have directed that the following initial steps be taken immediately:

First: To halt this offensive buildup, a strict quarantine on all offensive military equipment under shipment to Cuba is being initiated. All ships of any kind bound for Cuba from whatever nation or port will, if found to contain cargoes of offensive weapons, be turned back.

An excerpt by American President John F. Kennedy’s Address on the Naval Quarantine, 22 October 1962.

De-escalation: Bilateral exchanges
After the Soviet vessel turned back, Khrushchev wrote a letter on 26 October, offering to remove the missile bases in Cuba only if Kennedy agreed not to invade Cuba. On the same day, Castro sent a letter to the Soviet leader, proposing an attack on the USA.

Given the analysis of the situation and the reports which have reached us, [I] consider an attack to be almost imminent–within the next 24 to 72 hours…

If the second variant takes place and the imperialists invade Cuba with the aim of occupying it, the dangers of their aggressive policy are so great that after such an invasion the Soviet Union must never allow circumstances in which the imperialists could carry out a nuclear first strike against it.

An excerpt from Cuban leader Fidel Castro’s letter to Khrushchev, 26 October 1962.

On 28 October, Radio Moscow announced that the Soviet Union agreed to remove the missiles in Cuba in exchange for the US government’s pledge not to invade Cuba. As such, the Cuban Missile Crisis had finally come to an end.

Evidently, the private arrangements had angered the Cuban leader as he wrote to Khrushchev with much dismay.

I do not see how you can state that we were consulted in the decision you took

The imperialists are talking once again of invading our country, which is proof of how ephemeral and untrustworthy their promises are. Our people, however, maintain their indestructible will to resist the aggressors and perhaps more than ever need to trust in themselves and in that will to struggle.

An excerpt from Cuban leader Fidel Castro’s letter to Khrushchev, 31 October 1962.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– How far do you agree that the Cuban Missile Crisis was a superpower conflict?

Join our JC History Tuition and learn more about the Cuban Missile Crisis. We also cover other Cold War topics, such as the Korean War and Vietnam War, to prepare students for the GCE A Level History examination. Online learning programmes include thematic discussion and class practices to refine writing techniques for source based case study questions and essay questions.

We have other JC tuition classes, such as GP Tuition, Economics Tuition, JC Chemistry Tuition, JC Math Tuition and China Studies in English Tuition. For Secondary Tuition, we provide Secondary English Tuition, Secondary Math tuition, Secondary Chemistry Tuition and Secondary Economics Tuition. Call 9689 0510 to learn more.

JC History Tuition - Cold War Notes - Cuban Missile Crisis - What happened during the Bay of Pigs invasion

What happened during the Bay of Pigs invasion?

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 2: A World Divided by the Cold War – Manifestations of the global Cold War: Cuban Missile Crisis (1962) 

Find out more about the Bay of Pigs invasion [Video by Weird History]

Historical Context: Castro’s Rise
After Castro’s successful victory against the US-backed military dictator Fulgencio Bastista on 1 January 1959, he became the Prime Minister of Cuba on 16 February. Two months later, the new Cuban leader received an invitation from the American Society of Newspaper Editors to visit the United States. Although American President Dwight Eisenhower refused to meet Castro, Vice President Richard Nixon had a short discussion with him.

He seems to be sincere. He is either incredibly naive about Communism or under Communist discipline—my guess is the former, and as I have already implied his ideas as to how to run a government or an economy are less developed than those of almost any world figure I have met in fifty countries.

But because he has the power to lead to which I have referred, we have no choice but at least to try to orient him in the right direction.

An excerpt by Vice President Richard Nixon on Castro, during Castro’s visit to Washington, 19 April 1960.

A diplomatic relationship gone sour: Nationalization
In view of the previous administration’s cooperation with the US that led to the perceived economic exploitation of Cuban resources, Castro’s government embarked on a series of nationalization policies to restore domestic control.

Public utilities, electricity and telephone services all belonged to the United States monopolies. A major portion of the banking business, of the importing business and the oil refineries, the greater part of the sugar production, the best land in Cuba, and the most important industries in all fields belonged to American companies. The balance of payments in the last ten years, from 1950 to 1960, had been favorable to the United States with regard to Cuba to the extent of one thousand million dollars.

An excerpt from Fidel Castro’s address to the United Nations General Assembly, 26 September 1960.

As observed from his speech at the United Nations General Assembly (Interestingly, Castro’s speech is recognised as the longest ever made at the United Nations – 269 minutes) revealed his motives to pursue nationalization.

An anti-Castro rhetoric: The Bay of Pigs invasion
In retaliation, the Eisenhower administration severed diplomatic relations with Cuba on 3 January 1961. The Americans feared that Communism had taken root in the Latin American region. Subsequently, the US government planned to remove Castro from power, starting with Eisenhower’s allocation of $13 million to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to support Cuban counter-revolutionary forces (known as Brigade 2506). Before John F. Kennedy’s inauguration on 20 January 1961, he was made aware of the anti-Castro CIA plans.

However, the invasion was a disaster. On 17 April 1961, Brigade 2506 arrived at the Bay of Pigs and came under heavy fire. Castro commanded nearly 20,000 troops to storm the beach. Over the next 24 hours, nearly 1200 members surrendered and more than 100 were killed.

Deterioration of Cuban-U.S. relations
Following the humiliating defeat at the Bay of Pigs, Kennedy remained steadfast and launched Operation Mongoose. The main aim of the operation was to destablize the Cuban government. However, these acts of aggression convinced Castro that Soviet military support was necessary, thus bringing the world closer to the Cuban Missile Crisis in October 1962.

Still the strategies used under Operation Mongoose were the brainchild of two men, Air Force General Edward Lansdale , representing the Department of Defense, and William King Harvey of the CIA.

…Some of these plans were in the psychological operations realm, such as propaganda campaigns, and other plans were designed to denigrate the image of Castro among the Cuban people. Some involved acts designed to either disrupt or sabotage the Cuban government and economy, such as the destruction of Cuba’s sugar crop and mining of Cuba habors.

An excerpt taken from “Encyclopedia of U.S. – Latin American Relations” by Thomas Leonard, Jurgen Buchenau, Kyle Longley, Graeme Mount

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– How far do you agree that the Bay of Pigs invasion was the result of Castro’s nationalist policies?

Join our JC History Tuition and learn more about the Cuban Missile Crisis as well as other Cold War topics. We provide summary notes and practices to ensure that you are ready to ace the GCE A Level History examinations. Our online classes are available for those taking either H1 History or H2 History.

We have other JC tuition classes, such as GP Tuition, Economics Tuition, JC Chemistry Tuition, JC Math Tuition and China Studies in English Tuition. For Secondary Tuition, we provide Secondary English Tuition, Secondary Math tuition, Secondary Chemistry Tuition and Secondary Economics Tuition. Call 9689 0510 to find out more.

JC History Tuition Bishan Singapore - What is New Order - Approaches to Governance JC History Essay Notes

What is New Order?

Topic of Study [For H2 History Students]:
Paper 2: Search for Political Stability
Section B: Essay Writing
Theme I Chapter 1: Approaches to Governance

Examine the historical developments of Indonesia under Suharto’s New Order – Video by PinterPolitik TV

Historical Context: The 30 September movement
After President Sukarno declared the start of the “Guided Democracy” in 1957, the Indonesian government consolidated political control to restore peace and stability in the nation. However, Sukarno encountered difficulties in managing two notable roles – the military and the Partai Kommunis Indonesia (PKI). As such, he sought to re-energise the Indonesian society through the campaign in West New Guinea and the Konfrontasi, declaring a revival of the Indonesian Revolution.

On 30 September 1965, an abortive coup had resulted in the deaths of six senior generals (later known as the Gerakan 30 September). As the leader of the KOSTRAD (Komando Strategis Angkatan Darat, also known as the Army Strategic Command), General Suharto investigated the incident. Subsequently, the PKI was accused of launching the coup.

The end of Guided Democracy: Supersemar
On 11 March 1966, President Sukarno signed a decree that granted Suharto full political authority to restore order in Indonesia. The transfer of executive power was known as Supersemar (Surat Perintah Sebelas Maret)

III. Memutuskan/Memerintahkan:

Kepada: LETNAN DJENDRAL SUHARTO MENTERI PANGLIMA ANGKATAN DARAT

Untuk: Atas nama Presiden/Panglima Tertinggi/Pemimpin Besar Revolusi:

1. Mengambil segala tindakan yang dianggap perlu untuk terdjaminnja keamanan dan ketenangan, serta kestabilan djalannja pemerintahan dan djalannja Revolusi, serta mendjamin keselamatan pribadi dan kewibawaan Pimpinan Presiden/Panglima Tertinggi/Pemimpin Besar Revolusi/Mandataris M.P.R.S. demi untuk keutuhan Bangsa dan Negara Republik Indonesia, dan melaksanakan dengan pasti segala adjaran Pemimpin Besar Revolusi.

Excerpt from Supersemar (Order of Eleventh March), 11 March 1966.

From the above extract, it states that General Suharto was granted the authority to take any necessary measures to guarantee the security, stability and progress of the Indonesian Revolution.

The New Order
After the Supersemar was signed, the PKI was banned. Between June to July 1966, the membership within the People’s Consultative Assembly (Majelis Permusyawaratan Rakyat Sementara), which operated as the legislative branch of the Indonesian political system, experienced a purge. Individuals that formerly supported Sukarno were removed on the basis of being involved in the 30 September Movement.

Agains the Cold War backdrop, the USA also made observations that the rise of Suharto was a notable development that ushered a period of political stability in Indonesia after Sukarno’s inability to manage the Communist threat in the 1950s and 1960s.

The regime of General Suharto has brought Indonesia to a stage of imposed political stability and the beginnings of economic revival. Although the army holds predominant and ultimate political power, civilian participation in government is considerable and effective.

The New Order sees its basic tasks as the restoration of the economy, the continued suppression of Communism, and the development of stable representative government which would include a substantial political role for the army.

An excerpt taken from the Weekly Summary Special Report: The New Order in Indonesia, Central Intelligence Agency, 11 August 1967.

After the New Order was established, Suharto granted the military a political role to maintain stability. The concept of dwifungsi (dual function) was implemented as a policy to legitimise its role.

Until the fall of Suharto, the military considered dwifungsi to be its function, reason and spirit. The missions of security and socio-political development were inseparable. By directing socio-political development, the military served to support the goals of development, political and social stability, defence and national integrity. Any deviant social or political movement that threatened the status quo was seen as a threat to national security.

An excerpt from “Power Politics and the Indonesian Military” by Damien Kingsbury

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– Assess the significance of the military in maintaining political stability of Indonesia under the New Order regime.

Join our JC History Tuition and learn more about the history of Indonesia and other Southeast Asian states. We provide useful study notes, essay outlines and practices for source based case study questions. We conduct online learning programmes for H1 and H2 History students to prepare for the GCE A Level History examinations.

We have other JC tuition classes, such as GP Tuition, Economics Tuition, JC Chemistry Tuition, JC Math Tuition and China Studies in English Tuition. For Secondary Tuition, we provide Secondary English Tuition, Secondary Math tuition, Secondary Chemistry Tuition and Secondary Economics Tuition. Call 9689 0510 to learn more.