JC History Tuition Online - Revised A Level History Syllabus

The revised A Level H2 History syllabus (9174)

H2 History (9174)

The Scheme of Assessment remains the same, featuring two papers, with a duration of three hours each. For each paper, candidates have to complete a compulsory source based case study (SBCS) and two essay questions.

Paper 1: The Changing International Order (1945-2000)

  • Section A: Source Based Case Study – Theme I
  • Section B: Essays – Themes II and III

Paper 1 Theme I: The Development of the Cold War (1945-1991)
This SBCS theme covers a heavily-studied topic, the Cold War. Candidates will explore the origins of the Cold War in the post-WWII phase, followed by the Globalisation of the Cold War and finally the End of the Cold War. It is imperative to draw references to recurring concepts, such as ideological rivalry between the superpowers that defined their motivations in proxy conflicts.

Note: Pretty much the same as before. There’s no drastic change to the syllabus content for this theme.

Paper 1 Theme II: The Development of the Global Economy (1945-2000)
For this essay theme, candidates have to select one out of two given questions in the examination to answer. This theme focuses on the economic perspective of the world in the 20th century. For instance, there will be coverage of the reasons for the ‘Golden Age of Capitalism’ between 1945 and 1971, followed by the causes and consequences of the Crisis Decades (such as the twin oil shocks of the 1970s). Another sub-section of this theme features country case study assessment of two East Asian economies, namely Japan and China.

Note: The ‘Growth and Challenges in the Global Economy’ remains unchanged if we compare it with the old syllabus (phased out by 2024). As for ‘Transformation of East Asian Economies (Japan and China)’, this sub-section will replace the ‘Rise of Asian Tiger economies’ that featured South Korea and Taiwan.

Paper 1 Theme III: Conflict and Cooperation (1945-2000)
For this essay theme, candidates are required to select one of the two given questions in the examination to answer. This theme examines the reasons for conflicts in the 20th century and also efforts to forge international cooperation. This theme unpacks the nature of conflicts in two parts: Inter-state conflicts and Intra-state conflicts. For inter-state conflicts, candidates will learn more about the Indo-Pakistani Conflict and Arab-Israeli Conflict. For intra-state conflicts, candidates will study the Congo Crisis and Bosnian War.

  • Causes, Development and Management of Inter-state Conflicts
  • Causes, Development and Management of Intra-state Conflicts

Note: This theme undergoes an extensive overhaul in which the past Theme III featured the ‘United Nations’ from an organisational approach, covering specific principal organs and their functions, as well as peacekeeping in a macro-perspective. It appears that the number of case studies has been reduced to four to provide a more in-depth coverage of the subject matter.


Paper 2: Developments in Southeast Asia (Independence-2000)

  • Section A: Source Based Case Study – Theme III
  • Section B: Essays – Themes I and II

Paper 2 Theme I: Forming Nation-States
For this essay theme, candidates have to select one out of the two questions in the examination to answer. Candidates will learn more about two pillars of nation-building: efforts to achieve political stability and create national unity. Candidates are required to relate featured concepts to a variety of country case studies, as explicitly stated by the SEAB [Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar (Burma), Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines and Vietnam].

Note: Content in this theme largely remains unchanged if compared with the phased out syllabus (by 2024). It is imperative to keep in mind how the Cold War developments (see Paper 1 Theme I) could impact Southeast Asia for a more in-depth analysis.

Paper 2 Theme II: Economic Change After Independence
For this essay theme, candidates have to choose one out of two essay questions in the examination to answer. They will learn more about the government efforts to pursue at least one of the three major aims: economic growth, equity and nationalism. Also, there will be a coverage of strategies employed to facilitate growth of specific sectors, such as agriculture, industry and finance and services. In addition, candidates are required to examine the outcomes of economic challenge, particularly to find out if the government efforts led to more beneficial or detrimental impacts on Southeast Asian economies.

Note: A key change to this Theme II is the omission of the ‘Asian Financial Crisis’ sub-topic that was featured in the phased out syllabus.

Paper 2 Theme III: Regional Conflicts and Cooperation
For this SBCS theme, candidates must attempt two parts of the compulsory question – parts (a) and (b) during the examination. The six sources (A-F) will be based on topic(s) taken from this theme. Theme III covers the causes and consequences of inter-state tensions, narrowing down to five case studies that impacted bilateral and regional relations in Southeast Asia. Furthermore, candidates are to study the regional association ASEAN and how it was formed to promote regional cooperation.

Note: A noteworthy update to this Theme III is the specification of case studies featured in the ‘Inter-state Tensions and Cooperation’ sub-topic. Previously, the possible case studies tested were more than what’s stated, such as the Sipadan-Ligitan dispute, Pedra-Branca dispute and Chaim Herzog controversy. It appears that the ‘ASEAN’ section still features similar content from the phased out syllabus.

For more information on the H2 History (9174) syllabus, please refer to the SEAB document.


If you are in search of a suitable JC History Tuition program, you are in the right place! Our classes are organised and conducted in ways to ensure that you have the content knowledge and answering skills to handle the rigours of the GCE A Level History examination.

You will receive study notes, participate in thought-provoking class discussions and attempt writing practices with tutor guidance to review your application skills. You can also follow our Telegram Channel to get useful updates.

We have other JC tuition classes, such as JC Math Tuition and JC Chemistry Tuition. For Secondary Tuition, we provide Secondary English Tuition, Secondary Math tuition, Secondary Chemistry Tuition, Social Studies Tuition, Geography, History Tuition and Secondary Economics Tuition. For Primary Tuition, we have Primary English, Math and Science Tuition. Call 9658 5789 to find out more.

JC History Tuition Online - What was the Bretton Woods gold standard system

What was the Bretton Woods gold standard system?

Topic of Study [For H2 History Students]: 
Paper 1: The Development of the Global Economy (1945-2000)
Section B: Essay Writing
Theme II Chapter 1: Factors for the growth of the global economy (1945-1971)

Historical Context: The end of the Gold Standard
In 1913, the Federal Reserve introduced the Gold Standard. A law was passed, requiring the Federal Reserve to hold gold equal to forty percent of the value of the currency it issued. At the same time, it had to convert these dollars into gold at a fixed price of $20.67 per ounce of pure gold. Back then, the Federal Reserve held more gold to back the issued currency. This was known as ‘free gold’.

The quantity of ‘free gold’ could be influenced by the prevailing interest rates. For instance, higher interest rate encouraged Americans to deposit in banks, facilitating movement of gold from households to the Federal Reserve.

However, the Great Depression of the 1930s saw substantial outflow of gold from the Federal Reserve. Both individuals and business owners preferred to hold gold instead of currency. This economic crisis even influenced foreign investors to reduce their demand for USD as well. Over time, the quantity of ‘free gold’ fell, making it difficult for the Federal Reserve to honour its commitment to convert currency to gold. As a result, the Roosevelt administration suspended the Gold Standard on 20 April 1933.

The reaction of the global currency markets was instantaneous. In one day the dollar lost 10 percent of its value relative to the pound sterling, and 8 percent relative to the French franc. […] Commodity markets also reacted with force, reflecting the sentiment among market participants and the general public that getting off gold, and implementing some (or all) of the policies in the Thomas Amendment, would help raise prices and bring deflation to an end.

An excerpt taken from “American Default: The Untold Story of FDR, the Supreme Court, and the Battle over Gold” by Sebastian Edwards.

Bretton Woods Conference: System Renewed
During the Bretton Woods Conference in July 1944, the USA contemplated on replacing the Gold Standard with a new international monetary system to achieve economic stability. In particular, a system that fixed the US dollar (USD) to gold at the parity of USD$35 per ounce. All other foreign currencies had fixed, but adjustable, exchange rates to the USD.

Historically, countries sought credibly to commit not to change the value of their currencies by pegging them to a particular amount of precious metals – either gold or silver or a combination of the two. As the volume of global trade increased in the late nineteenth century, more and more countries joined the club of advanced nations that fixed their currencies to a given quantity of gold. When they did so, they effectively promised to maintain reserve of gold (or of currencies like the British pound that were considered as good as gold) and allow holders of their currencies to redeem bills at will at the fixed exchange rate.

An excerpt taken from “The Bretton Woods Agreements: Together with Scholarly Commentaries and Essential Historical Documents” by Naomi Lamoreaux and Ian Shapiro.

In 1958, the Bretton Woods System was functional. Countries used USD as the international currency for economic activities. The USA honoured its commitment to ensure gold convertibility. However, this commitment was later put to the test when the USA experienced twin deficits.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– How far do you agree that the Golden Age of Capitalism was mainly the result of the Bretton Woods System?

Join our JC History Tuition to learn more about the Global Economy. 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 JC Math Tuition and JC Chemistry Tuition. For Secondary Tuition, we provide Secondary English Tuition, Secondary Math tuition, Secondary Chemistry Tuition, Social Studies Tuition, Geography, History Tuition and Secondary Economics Tuition. For Primary Tuition, we have Primary English, Math and Science Tuition. Call 9658 5789 to find out more.

JC History Tuition Online - Sabah Dispute Revisited

Sabah Dispute: Revisited

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: territorial disputes

Historical Context
The Sabah dispute arose because of competing claims between the Philippines and Malaya.

For the Philippines, its formal claim was based upon a 1878 Lease signed between the Sultan of Sulu, Sultan Jamal Al Alam, and Baron de Overbeck and Alfred Dent of the North Borneo Company. An annual payment of 5000 dollars was to be made to the heirs of the Sultan.

For Malaya, its claim was based on the legal transfer of power from the British to the Malayan authorities, which later oversaw the creation of the Malaysian Federation that included Sabah.

In June 1962, the Philippine President Macapagal made his first official claim to Sabah to the British government. While tensions surfaced, attempts were made to address the dispute – the Manila Accord.

The Manila Accord
On 31 July 1963, the Manila Accord was formed, involving three parties: The Philippines, Indonesia and Malaya. From the Macapagal’s perspective, the Accord was seen as his personal attempt to mediate the dispute involving the Tunku’s announcement to form the Federation of Malaysia. The Federation was contested by both Sukarno and Macapagal due to varying reasons.

Based on the Accord, the Philippines asserted its right to claim Sabah (formerly known as North Borneo), insisting the this matter should be referred to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for a peaceful settlement. Yet, the British and Malaya did not agree to this proposal.

A mission for naught?
As stated in the Accord, a United Nations mission would be conducted under the auspices of the Secretary-General or his representative to ascertain if a majority of the people in North Borneo wanted to be part of the Malaysian Federation. While Secretary-General U Thant led the mission to fulfil this agreement, the Tunku announced on 29 August 1963 that the Federation of Malaysia would be formed on 16 September (later known as ‘Malaysia Day’).

Enraged by this perceived breach of faith, the Indonesian President Sukarno launched the ‘Crush Malaysia’ (Ganyang Malaysia) campaign on 25 September 1963, marking the start of the Indonesian Confrontation (Konfrontasi). Although the mission report did recognise that a majority of the people in North Borneo agreed to join the Federation, Sukarno and Macapagal rejected the findings.

A short-lived pause: End of the Konfrontasi and the birth of ASEAN
After the 30 September incident (Gestapu) that marked the end of the abortive coup by the Communist Party of Indonesia (PKI), Suharto assumed control in March 1966. Five months later, Suharto signed a peace treaty with Kuala Lumpur, ending the Confrontation.

In that same year, Malaysia and the Philippines signed a joint communique (3 June 1966) to reaffirm mutual commitment to the Manila Accord for the peaceful settlement of the Philippine claim of Sabah.

In August 1967, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) was formed. The claimants, the Philippines and Malaysia, were founding members of the regional association. Both parties made efforts to forge cooperation, as seen by their common agreement to fight smuggling and border crossing.

Despite several high-level talks and third-party interventions, Malaysia was not recognized by the Philippines. Ambassadors were withdrawn from each other’s capitals, and diplomatic relations were suspended. […]

President Marcos recognized the new Federation of Malaysia in June 1966, and both sides agreed in a Joint Communique to “the need to sit together” for clarifying the claim and for discussing the means of a settlement. ASEAN was created the following year, but the Sabah problem did not disappear. The importance of Sabah to the Philippines was obviously more than a mere legal claim.

An excerpt taken from “Impediments to Regionalism in Southeast Asia: Bilateral Constraints Among Asean Member States” by Hans H. Indorf.

However, bilateral relations were once again strained by a controversial incident, also known as the ‘Corregidor Affair’.

The Jabidah Massacre and the Sabah Bill
In March 1968, the Philippine authorities approved of a secret training camp on Corregidor Island. The government’s purpose was to train recruits to infiltrate Sabah and bring about a secession of Sabah from the Malaysian Federation. When these recruits refused to cooperate, they were killed by the military. A lone survivor, Jibin Arula, made known to public what had happened. It was expected of Malaysia to express outrage at this incident, viewing the operation as a gross violation of national sovereignty.

Under Oplan Merdeka, the Philippines trained a special commando unit named Jabidah that would create chaos in Sabah. The purpose of the havoc was to force the Philippine government to take full control of Sabah, otherwise, the residents therein would decide by themselves to secede from the same territory. […] According to Jibin Arula, a survivor who lived to tell the tale, there was a “mutiny in the camp in which fourteen trainees were shot dead and seventeen were missing”.

An excerpt taken from “Neighborliness: Redefining Communities at the Frontier of Dialogue in the Southern Philippines” by Fr. Erdman Beluan Pandero.

Three months after the controversial incident, diplomatic relations were suspended once more even though both parties continued to attend ASEAN-level meetings.

Marcos stood his ground as seen by the issuance of the Sabah Bill (Baseline Law) on 18 September 1968, which highlighted the claim of Sabah as part of Philippine sovereign territory. This was known as the Republic Act 5446.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– How far do you agree that Malaysia was more responsible than the Philippines for the Sabah dispute?

Join our JC History Tuition to learn more about Inter-state Tensions. 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 JC Math Tuition and JC Chemistry Tuition. For Secondary Tuition, we provide Secondary English Tuition, Secondary Math tuition, Secondary Chemistry Tuition, Social Studies Tuition, Geography, History Tuition and Secondary Economics Tuition. For Primary Tuition, we have Primary English, Math and Science Tuition. Call 9658 5789 to find out more.