JC History Tuition Online - Did the Korean War end in a stalemate

Did the Korean War end in a stalemate?

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)

Recount how a truce was made between two opposing forces led by external powers in the Korean War [Video by British Pathé]

Historical context: A two-year stalemate
Following the North Korean invasion on 25 June 1950, the South Korean forces fought back with the support of the Americans. With the overwhelming military might of the USA, General MacArthur led the coalition force across the 38th parallel, entering North Korean territory on 7 October.

“You tell the boys that when they get to the Yalu (River) they are going home. I want to make good on my statement that they are going to eat Christmas dinner at home.”

An excerpt from the “Home by Christmas” statement by General MacArthur, 28 November 1950.

Instead, MacArthur had miscalculated as the Chinese troops entered the fray on 25 November, numbering nearly 200,000. Likewise, the opposing force had the backing of a superpower – the Soviet Union. As both sides suffered heavy casualties, MacArthur managed to repel the Chinese forces back to the 38th parallel in March 1951.

Notably, the hawkish general suggested to Truman the use of atomic bombs to defeat the Chinese forces. The terrifying notion of a nuclear holocaust had convinced Truman to pursue a ‘limited war’, such that his clashes with MacArthur ended with the general’s dismissal. Subsequently, General Matthew Ridgeway replaced MacArthur’s role.

In the simplest of terms, what we are doing in Korea is this: We are trying to prevent a third world war.

… So far, by fighting a limited war in Korea, we have prevented aggression from succeeding, and bringing on a general war. And the ability of the whole free world to resist Communist aggression has been greatly improved.

An excerpt from a radio report to the American people on Korea and on U.S. Policy in the Far East, 11 April 1951.

Rise of Ike: A push to end the war
After the US Presidential election in 1952, Dwight D. Eisenhower took a more aggressive stance than Truman, hinting the use of nuclear weapons to end the military stalemate in Korea. Meanwhile, People’s Republic of China (PRC) and North Korea were facing economic problems as the war dragged on, thus increasing their desires to sign a ceasefire agreement with the South.

What influenced China more was the devastating impact of the war. By summer 1952, the PRC faced huge domestic economic problems and likely decided to make peace once Truman left office. Major food shortages and physical devastation persuaded Pyongyang to favor an armistice even earlier.

… Also, by early 1953, both Washington and Beijing clearly wanted an armistice, having tired of the economic burdens, military losses, political and military constraints, worries about an expanded war, and pressure from allies and the world community to end the stalemated conflict.

An excerpt from “The Korean War 101: Causes, Course, and Conclusion of the Conflict” by James I. Matray, Education About Asia, Winter 2012.

On 27 July 1953, an armistice was signed, bringing the Korean War conflict to an end. In a radio and television broadcast to the American population, President Eisenhower expressed sorrow towards the tragedies that befell on the Korean people. He highlighted the brave acts of the Republic of Korea (South). As Korea remained divided, Eisenhower declared the the USA and the rest of the United Nations would pay close attention to any possible threats in the region.

In this struggle we have seen the United Nations meet the challenge of aggression–not with pathetic words of protest, but with deeds of decisive purpose. It is proper that we salute particularly the valorous armies of the Republic of Korea, for they have done even more than prove their right to freedom. Inspired by President Syngman Rhee, they have given an example of courage and patriotism which again demonstrates that men of the West and men of the East can fight and work and live together side by side in pursuit of a just and noble cause.

An excerpt from the radio and television address to the American people announcing the signing of the Korean Armistice, 26 July 1953.

Notably, US military involvement increased a year later after the First Taiwan Strait Crisis in August 1954, as evidenced by the signing of the Mutual Defense Treaty in December 1954.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– Assess the view that the USA had achieved victory in the Korean War.

Join our JC History Tuition to analyse the consequences of the Korean War. The H2 and H1 History Tuition feature online discussion and writing practices to enhance your knowledge application skills. Get useful study notes and clarify your doubts on the subject with the tutor. You can also follow our Telegram Channel to get useful updates.

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JC History Tuition Online - How did Margaret Thatcher influence the end of the Cold War

How did Margaret Thatcher influence the end of the Cold 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 3: End of Bipolarity

Learn more former British Prime Minister contributed to the end of the Cold War [Video by ieaLondon]

Historical context
Margaret Hilda Thatcher was the former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1979 to 1990. Described by the Soviet propagandist Krasnaya Zvezda as the ‘Iron Lady‘, she was known for her firm anti-Communist stance after rising to power in 1979.

A cold war warrior, an amazon philistine, even a Peking plotter. Well, am I any of these things? (No!) Well yes, if that’s how they … . (Laughter) … . Yes I am an iron lady, after all it wasn’t a bad thing to be an iron duke, yes if that’s how they wish to interpret my defence of values and freedoms fundamental to our way of life.

An excerpt from a speech by Margaret Thatcher, 6 February 1976.

A show of strength
Two years later, Ronald Reagan became the US President. Thatcher and Reagan then made joint efforts to counter the Soviet threats through military build-up.

In spite of anti-nuclear demonstrations such as the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, Thatcher agreed to deploy 160 cruise missiles as a form of nuclear deterrent against Soviet missile threats in Europe. Likewise, other NATO members like Helmut Schmidt of West Germany accepted the deployment of Pershing-II and cruise missiles.

Cards on the table: Negotiations with Gorbachev
In 1984, Thatcher met Gorbachev in London. Notably, she held the belief that Gorbachev was “a man with whom I could do business”. During the meeting, the two discussed arms control, which was a point of contention following Reagan’s announced plans for a Strategic Defence Initiative (SDI).

The other point which emerged was the Soviets’ distrust of the Reagan Administration’s intentions in general and of their plans for a Strategic Defence Initiative (SDI) in particular. I emphasised on more than one occasion that President Reagan could be trusted and that the last thing he would ever want was war.

… As the discussion wore on it was clear that the Soviets were indeed very concerned about SDI. They wanted it stopped at almost any price. I knew that to some degree I was being used as a stalking horse for President Reagan. I was also aware that I was dealing with a wily opponent who would ruthlessly exploit any divisions between me and the Americans.

An excerpt from a book titled “The Downing Street Years” by Margaret Thatcher.

Subsequently, Thatcher informed Reagan that Gorbachev was a Soviet leader that could be reasoned with. She believed that with the support of Gorbachev, it was possible for an improvement in East-West relations.

Interestingly, Gorbachev expressed similar sentiments towards Thatcher, following her passing on 8 April 2013. He described Thatcher as a “woman of character“, whose contributions had enabled him to work with Reagan in ending the Cold War. During the 1984 meeting, Gorbachev was already contemplating arms control, but his attempts were stopped short by the continuation of the military build-up by the West.

I then unfolded in front of Margaret a diagram divided into 1,000 squares. I said that if all nuclear weapons stockpiled primarily by the US and the Soviet Union were divided into 1,000 parts, then even one of them would be enough to cause irreparable damage to all life on Earth. The question was, why continue the race, what is the point of this insane competition?

Margaret argued the western viewpoint – and she was fully committed to it. In fact, she was the ideologue for the view that nuclear weapons were a necessary deterrent to the USSR. … I have to say that even later, and even after my meeting with Reagan at Reykjavik and the signing of the treaty eliminating all INF missiles, she continued to uphold her view of nuclear weapons. In one of our conversations, when we had already come to know each other well and were talking amicably, though as always, earnestly, I asked her why she felt so comfortable sitting on a nuclear powder keg.

An excerpt from an article titled “Mikhail Gorbachev: the Margaret Thatcher I knew” written by Mikhail Gorbachev and published in The Guardian, 8 April 2013.

Thatcher: A principal cheerleader
Although Thatcher had supported Reagan’s foreign policies to fight Communism, she had expressed her anger at the US invasion of Grenada in 1983 to topple the Marxist regime in a Commonwealth state. Later, a recorded conversation between the two had revealed that Reagan was apologetic over the Grenada invasion.

Nevertheless, the British Prime Minister was known to be a key supporter of Reagan even though they had contrasting personalities. Reagan had considered Thatcher’s advice and comments during his terms as President of the USA.

Reagan’s most stalwart partner abroad, however, was British prime minister Margaret Thatcher. Their philosophies on the role of government, the economy, and the approach to Cold War issues were nearly identical, even though Thatcher did not share Reagan’s dream of eliminating nuclear weapons or his enthusiasm for missile defense. Unlike some of her colleagues on the European continent, she seemed to understand Reagan’s qualities as a leader. She became, in her words, “his principal cheerleader in NATO.”

An excerpt from “Reagan and Gorbachev: How the Cold War Ended” by Jack Matlock.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– How far do you agree that political leadership was key in explaining the end of the Cold War?

Join our JC History Tuition to analyse contributing factors that led to the end of Bipolarity. The H2 and H1 History Tuition feature online discussion and writing practices to enhance your knowledge application skills. Get useful study notes and clarify your doubts on the subject with the tutor. You can also follow our Telegram Channel to get useful updates.

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 Lower Secondary English Tuition, 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.

JC History Tuition Online - What are the Points of Agreement of 1990 - Interstate Tensions

What are the Points of Agreement of 1990?

Topic of Study [For H2 History Students]:
Paper 2: Regional Conflicts and Co-operation
Source Based Case Study
Theme III Chapter 1: Inter-state tensions and co-operation: Causes of inter-state tensions: historical animosities & political differences

Historical context
In 1990, then Prime Minister of Singapore Lee Kuan Yew and the Malaysian Finance Minister Daim Zainuddin signed a Points of Agreement (POA). The POA was a declaration that the Malayan Railway station would no longer occupy the land at Tanjong Pagar. In exchange, a joint venture company would be formed to develop a plot of land of equivalent value in Marina South.

In 1993, both countries were supposed to move the Customs, Immigrations and Quarantine (CIQ) facilities in Tanjong Pagar to the Woodlands Train Checkpoint by 1 August 1998. Yet, in that same year, Zainuddin informed Lee on behalf of the Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad that the government had to re-look at the terms of the POA.

Points of Contention: The POA
As such, disputes arose due to differing views over the terms stated in the POA. The following was taken from a reflection made by the former Secretary General of Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Malaysia about the matter.

Daim Zainuddin had the mandate from Mahathir Mohamad to secretly negotiate and sign the POA of 1990 with Lee Kuan Yew. That Mahathir Mohamed apparently changed his mind three years later could only indicate another thing: either Daim Zainuddin had exceeded his mandate when he signed the final version of the POA, or certain provisions in the final version had changed the character of the document, thus inviting the disapproval of Mahathir Mohamad.

An excerpt from “Malaysia-Singapore Fifty Years of Contentions: 1965-2015” by Kadir Mohamad.

On 1 August 1998, when Singapore re-located its CIQ from Tanjong Pagar to Woodlands, Malaysia stood its ground, sowing confusion among the travellers and local authorities in Singapore. Subsequently, Singapore published its official correspondence with the Malaysian government.

Tun Daim too does not consider the POA to be of “treaty” status but simply points of agreement between the two Governments signed by him and Lee Kuan Yew as Prime Minister of Singapore in November 1990.

… As disagreements had arisen over its interpretation and status, Singapore offered to refer it to arbitration or, if both sides agreed, to submit it to the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

An excerpt from “Malaysia: Fifty Years of Diplomacy 1957-2007” by Jeshurun Chandran.

The Singapore government had made clear emphasis in its press release through the Ministry of Law that the POA was an agreement signed between two governments that came into effect on 27 November 1990.

The relocation of Malaysia’s rail CIQ operations from Tanjong Pagar to its own territory is a completely different and separate issue from the POA and status of Malayan Railway land in Singapore or the railway station at Tanjong Pagar. It is the sovereign right of any country to check entry into its territory at its borders as is done for ships, cars and aeroplanes between Singapore and other countries, including Malaysia.

An excerpt from a press statement issued by the Ministry of Law, 8 July 1998.

Negotiations
Afterwards, the Singapore government sought to address the matter amicably through further negotiations.

On 4 March 2002, Prime Minister Mahathir wrote a letter to Senior Minister Lee Kuan Yew, giving his stand on the POA issue. Mahathir stated that Malaysia would resume operations of railway service to Tanjong Pagar and that the Malaysian CIQ in Tanjong Pagar would be relocated in Johor Bahur. However, Malaysia is to be given “adequate compensation for all MRA land south of Kranji”.

Then Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong responded to Mahathir’s letter on 11 April as seen below:

2. Railway

I note that you have decided to relocate your CIQ to Johor Baru.

… I recall, however, that you had proposed at our meeting in Hanoi in 1998, to relocate your railway station to Kranji. I agreed to this proposal in my meeting with Abdullah Badawi when he visited Singapore in February last year. I confirm here that Singapore is prepared to accommodate such a variation to the POA within the bilateral package.

An excerpt from a letter by the Prime Minister of Singapore Goh Chok Tong to Prime Minister of Malaysia Mahathir Mohamad, 11 April 2002.

However, negotiations had stalled as Mahathir replied to Goh’s letter on 7 October that Malaysia had decided to discontinue the discussions. In March 2008, when Abdullah Ahmad Badawi assumed leadership in the Malaysian government, the new Foreign Minister Rais Yatim restarted negotiations with Singapore. In particular, Yatim acknowledged the 1990 POA as a ‘valid and legally binding document’.

Notably, both parties were undergoing proceedings in resolving the Pedra Branca dispute in the same year.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– How far do you agree that the Malaysian railway land dispute was effectively managed by Singapore and Malaysia?

Join our JC History Tuition to study other examples that explained the causes and consequences of inter-state tensions in independent Southeast Asia. The H2 and H1 History Tuition feature online discussion, class practices and post-practice review. We also conduct free timed practices for students to assess their level of competency in answering essay and source based case study questions.

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 Lower Secondary English Tuition, 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.

JC History Tuition Online - Why was the Solidarity movement important - End of the Cold War

Why was the Solidarity movement important?

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

Learn more about the role of Lech Walesa, leader of the Solidarnosc in contributing to the end of the Cold War in Europe [Video by Deutsche Welle News]

Historical context: Protests in the mid-1970s
In the 1970s, the Polish government had increased food prices, raising the cost of living even though wages remained stagnant. Labour unions such as the Workers’ Defense Committee (KOR) was formed to challenge the government’s policies. Yet, dissent was swiftly crushed by the government during the 1976 protests.

The Polish government and police worked against KOR, harassing its members, and in one extreme example, were likely responsible for the murder of Stanisław Pyjas, a student who was affiliated with KOR.

Nevertheless, KOR’s pressure on the Polish government was influential in securing the 1977 general amnesty of workers. The group then shifted its focus and name to become Social Self-Defense Committee KOR (KSS-KOR) in September 1977. KOR also reached out to dissident groups in Czechoslovakia, Hungary, and the Soviet Union, meeting with Charter 77 activists on the Polish-Czechoslovakian border twice and issuing a joint statement on the occasion of the tenth anniversary of the Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia.

An excerpt from “Human Rights Activism and the End of the Cold War: A Transnational History of the Helsinki Network” by Sarah B. Snyder.

As the dissident movements formed in Poland, similar instances were observed in Czechoslovakia. “Charter 77” was developed as a advocacy group for human rights. Following the arrest of a Czech psychedelic rock band in 1976, a group of musicians, artists and writers came up with Charter 77. Although the Czech Communist government had imprisoned and tried some of the signatories, the Charter had left its mark in rousing public opinions to gave rise to the popular movement in 1989, known as the Velvet Revolution.

Formation of the Solidarność and Martial law
In August 1980, workers at the Lenin Shipyard in Gdańsk, Poland, organised a trade union called the Solidarność. The shipyard was a production facility for the global market, bringing in substantial foreign currency into Poland.

A year before, the Polish-born Karol Wojtyla (Pope John Paul II) delivered a speech, mentioning a phrase that inspired millions of Poles to challenge the oppressive government – “Do not be afraid”. Although the membership swelled to nearly 10 million, the Polish military led by General Wojciech Jaruzelski imposed martial law on 13 December 1981. Many Solidarity leaders were caught, such that the opposition was brought underground.

Then John Paul took an initiative. He wrote directly to Leonid Brezhnev in French, in his own hand… He also pointed out that an invasion would break the Helsinki Final Act of 1975, which had ratified the post-Yalta arrangements confirming the status quo of Soviet domination of Eastern Europe.

An excerpt from “The Pope in Winter: The Dark Face of John Paul II’s Papacy” by John Cornwell.

Martial law was lifted in 1983. However, by that stage, nearly 10,000 dissidents were rounded up. The Solidarity was not permitted to register again until 1989.

The resurgence of the Solidarity during the Gorbachev era
After Mikhail Gorbachev rose to power, a fresh wave of strikes occurred in Poland 1988, as the Poles demanded improvements in economic conditions and greater political participation. General Jaruzelski facilitated the round-table talks that lasted till April 1989. Eventually, the Solidarity was allowed to take part in free elections, securing a democratic victory.

Notably, Gorbachev’s hint that Soviet military intervention in Poland was an opportunity for the Poles to rise up, as exemplified by his speech at the United Nations on 7 December 1988 shown in the excerpt below:

“It is obvious,” he said, “that force and the threat of force cannot be and should not be an instrument of foreign policy… Freedom of choice is [mandatory,] a universal principle, and it should know no exceptions… The growing variety of options for the social development of different countries is becoming an increasingly tangible hallmark of these processes. This applies to both the capitalist and the socialist systems.”

An excerpt from “The Walls Came Tumbling Down: The Collapse of Communism in Eastern Europe” by Gale Stokes.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– Assess the view that popular movements were the main cause of the End of the Cold War in 1989.

Join our JC History Tuition to analyse contributing factors that led to the end of Bipolarity. The H2 and H1 History Tuition feature online discussion and practices to improve your essay writing and source based case study answering techniques. Get useful summary notes and tutor feedback.

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 Lower Secondary English Tuition, 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.

JC History Tuition Online - What is APEC and its Purpose - ASEAN Notes

What is APEC and its purpose?

Topic of Study [For H2 History Students]:
Paper 2: Regional Conflicts and Co-operation
Source Based Case Study
Theme III Chapter 2: ASEAN (Growth and Development of ASEAN : Building regional peace and security)

Examine the origins of APEC to understand its role in promoting economic development in the Asia-Pacific region in the 1990s [Video by APEC]

Historical context: Desire for economic cooperation
Following the economic recession in the early 1980s, ASEAN held conferences at the ministerial level, in which member states have expressed interest to engage in economic cooperation between developed and developing nations.

By the mid-1980s, countries around the world had anticipated the end of the Cold War ushering a new dawn. In the absence of superpower rivalry and the end of proxy wars, markets could finally become integrated. This vision was realised when regional trading blocs were created, such as the European Union (EU) (after the reunification of Germany). Likewise, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was signed in 1994 to develop a free trade zone for USA, Canada and Mexico.

In the Asia Pacific, more countries identified the economic interdependence of the region, thus expressing desire to forge a regional organisation to promote free trade as well.

Role of the APEC
In November 1989, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) was formed as an inter-governmental grouping. When it was formed, there were only twelve members inside, including Singapore and other ASEAN member nations. Till date, APEC has twenty one members.

In 1991, the Seoul Declaration reflected the APEC member economies’ aim to create a liberalised free trade zone around the Pacific Rim. Then, a meeting was held in Bogor, Indonesia, to expand APEC’s aim to include targets like the development of ‘free and open trade and investment’ for the region. ‘Bogor Goals‘, as they were known, specified that industrialised economies should fulfil this aim by 2010 and by 2020 for the developing counterparts.

One main characteristic of APEC is its laissez-faire enforcement mechanism. There is no over-arching supra-national authority that governs APEC or any aspect of its member’s economic policies. The APEC process deliberately avoids impinging on its members’ sovereignty. Its importance and influence, and where it lies, derives entirely from consultation and persuasion in order to encourage commitment to regional goals and policy cooperation.

An excerpt from “APEC at 20: Recall, Reflect, Remake” by Lim Kesavapany.

An ‘ASEAN-nised APEC: EAEC
The United States played a significant role in promoting economic cooperation within APEC. President Bill Clinton hosted the first annual meeting in Seattle, Washington, in 1993. However, not all members were fully supportive of the APEC’s involvement with Western nations.

In 1990, the Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir suggested an alternative to APEC, known as the East Asia Economic Group (EAEG). Mahathir was concerned with the rise of other regional trading blocs that may undermine the economic development of Southeast Asian states, namely the EU and NAFTA.

Yet, within ASEAN, Indonesia disagreed with Malaysia’s proposal as the formation of an East Asian alternative may alienate themselves from key trade partners like the USA and Japan. Notably, this concern was partly addressed when the ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA) was announced in 1992.

Mahathir remains lukewarm at best about APEC, still preferring his EAEC idea as an alternative. He views the APEC forum as a grouping that will likely come under the dominance of the United States, become institutionalized, and lead to Western economic control in Asia, creating a situation wherein Asian members would become minor players with virtually no voice in the economic affairs of their own region.

An excerpt from “Malaysian Politics Under Mahathir” by Diane K. Mauzy and R. S. Milne.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– How far do you agree that ASEAN’s successes at promoting regional economic cooperation hinged on the ASEAN Way?

Join our JC History Tuition to evaluate efforts to promote regional economic integration in Southeast Asia. The H2 and H1 History Tuition feature thematic discussion, question application for essay and source based case studies. Sign up now to start your productive online learning classes to prepare for the 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 Lower Secondary English Tuition, 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.