JC History Tuition Online - When did Castro visit the United States - Cuban Missile Crisis

When did Castro visit the United States?

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)

Explore the historical significance of Fidel Castro’s visit to the United States [Video by Public Broadcasting Service]

The rise of Fidel Castro
Following the Cuban leader’s revolution that toppled the Batista regime, Fidel Castro assumed the role as Prime Minister on 1 January 1959. A year later, he nationalised all American-owned businesses, such as oil refineries and factories. The loss of economic revenues proved infuriating for the Eisenhower administration, which severed diplomatic relations and imposed a trade embargo.

The first major expropriations occurred in late June, when 2.4 million acres of cattle land were nationalized in Camagüey province, as well as the sugar acreage owned by companies operating processing mills (centrales). For Camagüey, this represented two-thirds of the entire province, or an area about the size of Rhode Island and Delaware combined, and much of it was owned by U.S.-based corporations, including 40,000 acres held by the family corporation that also owned the largest single piece of private property in the United States, the King Ranch of Texas.

An excerpt from “That Infernal Little Cuban Republic: The United States and the Cuban Revolution” by Lars Schoultz

Before the serious deterioration of Cuban-US relations that brought about confrontations like the Bay of Pigs invasion, it is important to examine what happened during Castro’s visit to the United States.

The Visit
On 18 September 1960, Castro arrived in New York City to lead the Cuban delegation to the United Nations. His presence had stirred the emotions of many in the American society. US officials expressed concerns, including possible suspicions towards the new leader.

As U.S. officials wondered what Castro would do next, traditional hegemonic assumptions guided their wary observations. The new Cuban leaders “had to be treated more or less like children,” CIA Director Allen Dulles told the National Security Council. “They had to be led rather than rebuffed. If they were rebuffed, like children, they were capable of almost anything.” U.S. diplomats found Castro restless, headstrong, opportunistic, and driven by an “undeviating urge for fame and political power.” He was prone to violence and independent actions, but he was not a Communist.

An excerpt from “Contesting Castro: The United States and the Triumph of the Cuban Revolution” by Thomas G. Paterson.

Notably, Castro did not declare his political alignment with Communism until late 1961. Nevertheless, the Eisenhower administration had set in motion a plan that would become the core of the Cuban leader’s security paranoia during the October Crisis of 1962. In March 1960, Eisenhower instructed the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to commence training Cuban exiles to topple Castro’s regime.

Before Castro made his speech at the United Nations, Vice President Richard Nixon met Castro privately. It turned out that Eisenhower was not keen to face Castro. After the meeting, Nixon made a note that revealed his thoughts and opinions on the Cuban leader.

My own appraisal of him as a man is somewhat mixed. The one fact we can be sure of is that he has those indefinable qualities which make him a leader of men. Whatever we may think of him he is going to be a great factor in the development of Cuba and very possibly in Latin American affairs generally. He seems to be sincere. He is either incredibly naïve 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.

An excerpt from the editorial note by American Vice President Richard Nixon during Fidel Castro’s visit to Washington, 19 April 1960.

The UN speech: Castro lambastes the United States
On 26 September 1960, Castro delivered a speech at the 872nd plenary meeting of the United Nations General Assembly in New York. [An interesting point to note that Castro’s speech was known as the ‘longest ever UN speech’ that lasted for four and a half hours.] He criticised the United States as “aggressive” and “imperialist”, claiming that the United States had monopolised many essential utilities that rightfully belonged to the Cuban people.

The first unfriendly act perpetrated by the Government of the United States was to throw open its doors to a gang of murders who had left our country covered with blood. Men who had murdered hundreds of defenseless peasants, who for many years never tired of torturing prisoners, who killed right and left — were received in this country with open arms.

… The Revolutionary Government of Cuba has repeatedly expressed its concern over the fact that the imperialist government of the United States may use that base, located in the heart of our national territory, as an excuse to promote a self-aggression, in order to justify an attack on our country.

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

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– Assess the view that US-Cuban relations had soured due to ideological differences.

Join our JC History Tuition to find out more about the source based case study topic on the Cuban Missile Crisis. The H2 and H1 History Tuition feature online learning classes that expand your thematic knowledge and enhance your writing skills.

We have other JC tuition classes, such as GP TuitionEconomics TuitionJC Chemistry TuitionJC 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. For Primary Tuition, we have Primary English Tuition. Call 9689 0510 to find out more.

JC History Tuition Online - What happened in Myanmar in 1962 - Approaches to Governance

What happened in Myanmar in 1962?

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

Understand the significance of 1962 in the political history of Myanmar. [Video by Foreign Policy Association]

Historical Context: An unstable democracy
Following the assassination of the renowned political figure General Aung San on 19 July 1947, U Nu assumed leadership as Prime Minister in the civilian government of Burma on 4 July 1948. Although the Anti-Fascist People’s Freedom League (AFPFL) won the majority (171 out of 182 seats), it was battered by continued political disunity. The fragmentation of the AFPFL took shape when U Nu sought to shape the coalition into a unitary party.

Consequently Swe and Nyein formed the Stable AFPFL but the League’s HQ was in possession by the Nu-Tin faction as the President (U Nu), the General-Secretary (Thakin Kyaw Tun) and the Treasurer (U Tin) were all in one group in opposition to Swe-Nyein. The Nu-Tin formed the Clean A FPFL implying that their AFPFL was without any dirty ones in it.

… The AFPFL split created two major problems: inheritance of assets and title of AFPFL, and the choice of arena for the final showdown between the two brawling factions.

An excerpt from “The Split Story” by Sein Win, 23 March 1959.

Insurgencies and the military intervention
In addition, civil war broke out in 1949 between the central government and different insurgent forces. Origins of these violent clashes can be traced to disputes over the terms of agreement made during the Panglong Conference. For instance, the 1947 Constitution stated that the Shan, Kachin and Karenni became autonomous states within the Union and could secede after ten years. Yet, other groups like the Karens were not involved in the Conference, thus they were not accorded equal rights as the above-mentioned groups.

It is thus clear that the signatories to the Panglong Agreement believed they were assenting to early independence from Britain and the perpetuation of their freedom from British and Burman interference in their internal affairs; that, whatever their commitment, it was not to permanent and irrevocable integration in an independent Union of Burma ruled by Burmans.

Nor did Panglong’s signatories represent all ‘the peoples of the Frontier Areas’. A delegation of four Karens arrived late at the conference, attended as observers and were not consulted … and the Chins of the Arakan Hill Tracts, Was, Nagas, Lushais, Palaungs, Paos, Akhas, Lahus and dozens of smaller tribes were not represented at all.

An excerpt from “Burma: The Curse of Independence” by Shelby Tucker.

In response to mounting political and social unrest, Prime Minister U Nu requested the military institution, helmed by Ne Win, to form a caretaker government in October 1958. The agreement was made to oversee the restoration of political stability before general elections were held in 1960.

Coup d’état: Ushering an age of military rule
As expected, the military handed over reigns to the AFPFL in spite of their borderline success at maintaining electoral dominance in 1960. However, public perceptions had shifted in favour of the military, given the incumbent’s ability to ensure stability. On 2 March 1962, Ne Win launched a military coup. The General became the Chairman of the Revolutionary Council and Prime Minister of Burma.

General Ne Win’s assumption of power on 2 March 1962, while not unexpected, was nonetheless a surprise to many. It was executed in secrecy, and apparently even the deputy commander of the armed forces, Brigadier General Aung Gyi, was not informed until the next morning, though he must have been expecting it as early as November 1961, when he raised the prospect with colleagues.

… Two days later, Ne Win assumed all executive, legislative and judicial authority as Chairman of the Revolutionary Council. While the institutions of the 1947 Constitution were dismantled, so were the policies and activities of foreign institutions.

An excerpt from “General Ne Win: A Political Biography” by Robert Taylor.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– Assess the significance of the military in the maintenance of political stability in post-independence Southeast Asia.

Join our JC History Tuition to find out more about the essay topic on Approaches to Governance. The H2 and H1 History Tuition feature online thematic studies to build up your critical thinking skills. Also, there will be essay and source based case study writing workshops to improve your answering techniques. Get useful study notes and seek feedback from our tutor to grasp the concepts well.

We have other JC tuition classes, such as GP TuitionEconomics TuitionJC Chemistry TuitionJC 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. For Primary Tuition, we have Primary English Tuition. Call 9689 0510 to find out more.

JC History Tuition Online - What was the Cultural Revolution - Superpower Relations with China

What was the Cultural Revolution?

Topic of Study [For H1 History Students]:
Section B: Essay Writing
Theme II: Cold War in Asia [1945-1991] – Superpower relations with China (1950-1979): Sino-Soviet relations

Examine the social, economic and political impacts of Mao Zedong’s Cultural Revolution [Video by BBC News]

Context: An ideological split
Before the Chairman of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Mao Zedong declared the start of the Cultural Revolution, the rising Communist power clashed with the Soviet Union. In particular, Mao disagreed with the Soviet leader Khrushchev’s policy of ‘de-Stalinization’ in 1956, fearing that the latter’s reforms may jeopardize the global Marxist movement. From then on, Mao criticized Khrushchev as a ‘revisionist’, revealing signs of a Sino-Soviet split that characterized bilateral relations of the two Communist powers in the 1960s.

The Chairman turned against Khrushchev’s de-Stalinization more decisively than ever before: “[Stalinism is] just Marxism . . . with shortcomings.” He continued: “The so-called de-Stalinization thus is simply de-Marxification, it is revisionism.” Finally, the Chairman maintained that the Chinese comrades, “unlike some people who have tried to defame and destroy Stalin, . . . are acting in accordance with objective reality.” It was the first time that Mao clearly distinguished between the views of the subjectivist revisionists in Moscow and the objective Marxists in Beijing.

An excerpt from “The Sino-Soviet Split: Cold War in the Communist World” by Lorenz M. Lüthi.

A decade-long revolution: Eradicating dissent
In the 1960s, Mao bore rising concerns with the bourgeois culture, which he perceived as as threat to the Chinese society. Mao viewed intellectuals and individuals that were supportive of the West as enemies of the Communist Party.

In January 1965, Mao established the ‘Five Man Group’ (文化革命五人小组) with Peng Zhen (彭真) to oversee the Cultural Revolution. However, Mao dismissed Peng Zhen and the rest of the Group. Notably, the publication of a circular on 16 May 1966 marked the start of the Cultural Revolution.

Peng Zhen had no discussion or exchange of views at all within the Group of Five. He did not ask any local party committee for its opinion… and still less did he get the approval of Comrade Mao Zedong. Employing the most improper methods, he acted arbitrarily, abused his powers [and] issued the outline report to the whole party

Those representatives of the bourgeoisie who have sneaked into the party, the government, the army, and various cultural circles are a bunch of counter-revolutionary revisionists. Once conditions are ripe, they will seize political power and turn the dictatorship of the proletariat into a dictatorship of the bourgeoisie.

An excerpt from the May 16th Circular, 16 May 1966.

The ‘Four Olds’
The Red Guards were formed to carry out Mao’s Revolution, comprising of radical students and officials. His aim was to eradicate the ‘Four Olds’ – old ideas, old customs, old culture and old habits (四旧 – 旧思想, 旧文化, 旧风俗, 旧习惯). From the mid-1960s to 1970, numerous party leaders were imprisoned, including the Chinese President Liu Shaoqi (刘少奇). Additionally, schools were forced to shut down. Cultural influences deemed too oriented to the West were also being suppressed.

The four olds embraced symbols of China’s traditional, premodern society, such as artworks celebrating Confucian elitism. These were roundly denounced as “feudal” at a time when the old society was still a memory for many, and its visible heritage included not only classical paintings and string-bound books but also elderly ladies with bound feed. The savagery of this aesthetic response to Mao’s call for Cultural Revolution is perhaps best understood as youthful ignorance and bravado, mixed with a generalized anxiety that counterrevolutionaries wished to restore the old society.

An excerpt from “The Cultural Revolution: A Very Short Introduction” by Richard Curt Kraus.

On the other hand, the ‘Little Red Book‘ was promoted and distributed to the Chinese citizens. It served to strengthen his goal of creating a cult of personality, similar to Stalin.

End of the Revolution
In the early 1970s, the Cultural Revolution came to an end. The Sino-American rapprochement of 1972 had changed the Chinese government’s foreign policy stance towards the USA. By the end of the Revolution, the Chinese economy was severely damaged. The ‘Gang of Four’ (四人帮), which included Mao’s wife, Jiang Qing (江青), was blamed for the devastating effects of the Cultural Revolution.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– How far do you agree that Mao Zedong was responsible for the developments of the Sino-Soviet relations?

Join our JC History Tuition to comprehend the key events that shaped the Sino-Soviet split. The H2 and H1 History Tuition feature online thematic discussions, essay writing and source based case study workshops. Be analytical, organised and persuasive in your writing.

We have other JC tuition classes, such as GP TuitionEconomics TuitionJC Chemistry TuitionJC 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. For Primary Tuition, we have Primary English Tuition. Call 9689 0510 to find out more.

JC History Tuition Online - Why was NATO formed - Cold War SBCS

Why was NATO formed?

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 1: Emergence of Bipolarity after the Second World War II

Learn more about the origins of NATO to understand its impact on the start of the Cold War [Video by NATO]

Aftermath: The Crisis of 1948
From 21 to 25 February 1948, a coup d’état in Czechoslovakia had signaled the fall of the last pro-Democratic government in Eastern Europe. In the eyes of the United States, it was a profound and alarming development largely orchestrated by the Soviet Union. Four months later, the Berlin Blockade began, escalating tensions between the two Big Powers.

Although the Western Powers were successful in mobilising their air forces to deliver essential aid to the Berliners, the conclusion of the blockade on 12 May 1949 meant the division of Germany. In order to protect its allies from any potential security threat posed by the Soviet Union, the United States supported the creation of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO).

Article V: Collective Security
On 4 April 1949, the USA and eleven other countries (Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal and the United Kingdom) signed the North Atlantic Treaty. Between 1952 and 1989, four countries admitted NATO, namely Greece and Turkey, West Germany and Spain.

The purpose of NATO was to “unite their efforts for collective defence and for the preservation of peace and security”. In particular, Article 5 outlines the concept of collective security, in the member countries are obligated to defend any member(s) is/are threatened by acts of aggression.

The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all and consequently they agree that, if such an armed attack occurs, each of them, in exercise of the right of individual or collective self-defence recognised by Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations, will assist the Party or Parties so attacked by taking forthwith, individually and in concert with the other Parties, such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area.

Any such armed attack and all measures taken as a result thereof shall immediately be reported to the Security Council. Such measures shall be terminated when the Security Council has taken the measures necessary to restore and maintain international peace and security .

An excerpt from Article 5 of “The North Atlantic Treaty“, 4 April 1949.

From a broader perspective, NATO was founded to fulfil three key aims:

  1. Prevent Soviet expansionism
  2. Prohibit the revival of national militarism in Europe
  3. Promote European political integration

However, Soviet distrust towards the US-led NATO had festered even before its inception. Explicit references made to the United Nations Charter were interpreted by the Soviets as convenient attempts to conceal the ‘true’ Western intentions to use military aggression to consolidate their power and influence.

The Soviet press made a point of printing the full text of the treaty on 29 March to expose the hollowness of its claim of its harmony with the charter. And on 31 March, just five days before the official signing, the Soviets issued a formal protest, asserting that Article 5 would unleash aggressive armies “without any authority whatsoever of the Security Council.” Nor could the treaty be justified under Article 51, which was designed to be used only in the case of an armed attack upon a UN member, not as a cover for aggressive aims.

An excerpt from “NATO 1948: The Birth of the Transatlantic Alliance” by Lawrence S. Kaplan.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– Assess the significance of NATO in shaping the outbreak of the Cold War in 1949.

Join our JC History Tuition to grasp the key concepts and historical developments in the Cold War. The H2 and H1 History Tuition includes online lessons to recap on various topics like Superpower Relations with China, the United Nations and Approaches to Governance. Get useful study notes and attempt guided written practices to improve your knowledge application skills.

We have other JC tuition classes, such as GP TuitionEconomics TuitionJC Chemistry TuitionJC 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. For Primary Tuition, we have Primary English Tuition. Call 9689 0510 to find out more.

JC History Tuition Online - What is George Kennan known for - Cold War SBCS

What is George Kennan known for?

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 1: Emergence of Bipolarity after the Second World War II

Find out more about the significance of the American diplomat’s ‘Long Telegram’ [Video by Woodrow Wilson Center]

The document
George Frost Kennan was an American diplomat known for his ‘containment policy’. During World War Two, Kennan assumed diplomatic posts in Libson and Moscow. On 22 February 1946, Kennan sent a five-thousand word document labelled ‘511’. Given its unusually long length of writing, it was called the ‘Long Telegram’.

It was no coincidence that Marxism, which had smoldered ineffectively for half a century in Western Europe, caught hold and blazed for first time in Russia. Only in this land which had never known a friendly neighbor or indeed any tolerant equilibrium of separate powers, either internal or international, could a doctrine thrive which viewed economic conflicts of society as insoluble by peaceful means.

An excerpt from the ‘Long Telegram‘ by George F. Kennan to the Secretary of State, 22 February 1946.

Notably, Kennan’s had alarmed Washington as there were growing suspicions towards the Soviet Union over matters in post-war Europe. Kennan’s ‘telegram’ was delivered after Stalin gave a rousing speech at the Bolshoi Theatre on 9 February. Subsequently, Kennan assumed the role as director of the State Department’s planning-policy staff in 1947.

In July 1947, another article was written by Kennan, known as ‘X Article’. It was formally titled ‘The Sources of Soviet Conduct’. The article was considered an expansion of what Kennan had written in ‘511’.

In these circumstances it is clear that the mean element of any United States policy toward the Soviet Union must be that of a long-term, patient but firm and vigilant containment of Russian expansive tendencies. It is important to note, however, that such a policy has nothing to do with outward histrionics: with threats or blustering or superfluous gestures of outward “toughness.”

An excerpt from ‘The sources of Soviet conduct‘ published in the Foreign Affairs journal, July 1947.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– How far do you agree the outbreak of the Cold War was the result of Soviet expansionist policies?

Join our JC History Tuition and learn to analyse and answer source based case study questions on the Cold War. The H2 and H1 History Tuition programmes feature thematic content enrichment, essay writing and source based case study skills development. Get useful study notes and outlines to enhance your revision efforts to ace the GCE A Level History examinations.

We have other JC tuition classes, such as GP TuitionEconomics TuitionJC Chemistry TuitionJC 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. For Primary Tuition, we have Primary English Tuition. Call 9689 0510 to learn more.