Find out more about the Cold War, such as how it began and how it ended.

JC History Tuition Bishan Singapore - Why did the Soviet Union collapse - JC History Essay Notes

Why did the Soviet Union collapse?

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

Examine the possible causes that led to the collapse of the Soviet Union in December 1991.

The dissolution of the Soviet Union: Inevitable or not? 
From a retrospective view, not all agree that the collapse of the Soviet Union was expected. In fact, there were forecasts that the Soviet Union might surpass the United States in terms of economic development.

Nevertheless, the Cold War rivalry have undoubtedly impacted the social, economic and political developments of the USSR. In this article, we will cover the consequences of domestic reforms and the rise of nationalism.

Internal Reform #1: Perestroika 
Following the ascent of Mikhail Gorbachev, the newly-elected Soviet leader introduced two notable concepts that outlined his domestic reforms: perestroika and glasnost.

Faced with an ailing Soviet economy, Perestroika (which means ‘restructuring’) involved economic restructuring through the reduction of central planning and greater private participation.

For instance, the Law on State Enterprise was passed in June 1987. In this case, state enterprises could set their own output levels based on consumer demand. With their newfound autonomy, these enterprises had to be self-reliant as state financing was absent.

Additionally, the Soviet Joint Venture Law was passed, which allowed foreign investment to flow into the Soviet Union. The government allowed majority foreign ownership.

However, the economic restructuring was ineffective. Contrary to Gorbachev’s expectations, the reforms accelerated the economic collapse of the Soviet Union. In 1991, the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) fell by 17% and inflation rate was at nearly 700%.

The failure of Perestroika was largely traced to the incompatibility of capitalism with communism. For example, the government still maintained a monopoly over the means of production, thereby denying the enterprises of the ability to compete feasibly. Besides, foreign investment was hardly present due to the high degree of resistance from local officials, who feared the loss of political control.

Internal Reform #2: Glasnost
The Glasnost policy (which referred to ‘openness’) was introduced to empower the Russian society by enabling freer flow of information and public involvement in the decision-making processes. By doing so, Gorbachev hoped to restore public trust in the Soviet government, including the desired support for his Perestroika.

For instance, the Soviet government lifted its censorship policies and allowed open political debate. Also, freedom of religion was permitted, which contributed to the restoration of mosques and churches.

Again, the reform proved disastrous for the Gorbachev administration. The policy of “openness” exposed the failures of past leaders, thus causing the erosion of public trust. Critics became more outspoken as they pointed out social and economic problems, like food shortages and housing issues.

More importantly, the availability of political debates influenced the public desire for democratization, which resulted in the mass-based political participation in the Soviet Republics.

Nationalism: A rising tide; A dangerous precipice
In addition to the nationalist movements that took place in the Eastern Europe, there were also political uprisings that broke out within the USSR itself.

From 1988 to 1990, several Soviet Republics declared independence from the Soviet Union. For example, Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia declared their intent to break away from USSR even though the Soviet government rejected it.

Due to Gorbachev’s refusal to use military force against the nationalists, cracks within the political leadership were gradually exposed.

The August Coup
Gorbachev proposed the ‘New Union Treaty’ in 1991 to maintain a semblance of central authority while granting the republics their desired sovereign rights. However, nearly half of the republics rejected the proposal.

High-ranking officials within the Soviet government launched a coup against Gorbachev in August 1991. This event became a turning point as Russian President Boris Yeltsin garnered support to end the coup. Eventually, the coup ended and Gorbachev resigned.

On 26 December 1991, following the Belavezha Accords, the dissolution of the USSR began. The declaration recognised the official independence of the former Soviet Republics and the subsequent creation of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). In other words, the collapse of the USSR signalled the end of the Cold War.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– How far do you agree that domestic reforms were the main reason for the dissolution of the USSR? [to be discussed in class]

Now that you have considered the contributing factors that explained the collapse of the USSR, it is imperative that you attempt source-based case study questions relating to this topic, also known as the End of Bipolarity. Additionally, you can join our JC History Tuition. We impart you with the thinking and writing skills to improve your quality of answers, such as information extraction, reliability and utility assessment.

Also, you can join other JC tuition programmes, such as GP TuitionEconomics TuitionJC Chemistry TuitionJC Math Tuition and China Studies in English Tuition. For Secondary Tuition, we offer Secondary English TuitionSecondary Math tuitionSecondary Chemistry Tuition and Secondary Economics Tuition. Call 9689 0510 to learn more.

JC History Tuition Bishan Singapore - How did Mikhail Gorbachev end the Cold War - JC History Essay Notes

How did Mikhail Gorbachev end 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

Find out how Mikhail Gorbachev cooperated with Ronald Reagan in ending the Cold War

About the Reformist: Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev 
Before Gorbachev assumed the leadership position in the Soviet Union, he possessed credentials that contributed to his gradual and eventual ascension to power. For example, in 1979, Gorbachev became a full member of the Politburo. When Konstantin Chernenko died on 10 March 1985, Gorbachev was elected to succeed him as the next General Secretary of the Communist Party of Soviet Union (CPSU).

The paradigm shift: ‘New Thinking’  
From 25 February to 6 March 1986, the newly-elected Soviet leader delivered a pivotal speech during the 27th Party Congress of the CPSU in Moscow.

During the address, Gorbachev introduced a new foreign policy, known as Novoe Myshlenie (‘New Thinking’). He sought to achieve peaceful co-existence with other nations in the world. To do so, he proposed a series of domestic reforms.

Notably, his foreign policy included the renunciation of the controversial Brezhnev Doctrine and support for arms reduction between superpowers.

End of the Arms Race  
Following the historic 27th Party Congress speech, Gorbachev arranged to meet his counterpart, Ronald Reagan, during a series of summits, such as the Reykjavik Summit in October 1986.

Although the disarmament talks had failed due to disagreements between the two leaders over the testing of the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), the willingness of Gorbachev to enter negotiations was a milestone achievement.

A year later, Gorbachev met Reagan during the Washington Summit and eventually came to a common consensus on disarmament. The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty was signed, signifying the end of the arms race.

Within the terms of agreement, Gorbachev pledged to reduce conventional forces in Europe, which later affected the Eastern European satellites.

End of the ideological division in Europe
On 7 December 1988, Gorbachev gave a speech at the United Nations General Assembly. It was a remarkable event as he declared his intentions to withdraw troops from Eastern Europe and the Third World (such as Afghanistan).

The necessity of the principle of freedom of choice is also clear to us. The failure to recognize this, to recognize it, is fraught with very dire consequences, consequences for world peace… Freedom of choice is a universal principle and there should be no exceptions

The Soviet Union has made a decision on reducing its armed forces. In the next two years, their numerical strength will be reduced by 500,000 persons, and the volume of conventional arms will also be cut considerably.

UN General Assembly Speech by Mikhail Gorbachev, 8 December 1988

Subsequently, Soviet Union’s decision withdraw from Afghanistan marked the end of the largest Cold War conflict. Additionally, Soviet aid to revolutionary movements in Africa and Latin America was cut.

As a result of these major shifts in Soviet foreign policy, the fall of Communism in Eastern Europe was imminent. For example, in East Germany, public protests broke out. Popular movements escalated to the point that East German leader, Erich Honecker, resigned on 18 October 1989. On 9 November 1989, the Berlin Wall fell, thus marking the end of the division between East and West Germany.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– Assess the view that Gorbachev was the chief architect in causing the end of the Cold War [to be discussed in class].

After examining the individual contributions of Gorbachev and Reagan, you can attempt source based case study questions to improve your answering skills. Alternatively, sign up for our JC History Tuition and receive summary materials. We conduct writing workshops and content revision classes to expand your areas of study such that you can revise productively and effectively.

You can consider other JC tuition classes, such as GP TuitionEconomics TuitionJC Chemistry TuitionJC Math Tuition and China Studies in English Tuition. For Secondary Tuition, we offer Secondary English TuitionSecondary Math tuitionSecondary Chemistry Tuition and Secondary Economics Tuition. Call 9689 0510 to find out more.

JC History Tuition Bishan Singapore - How did Ronald Reagan end the Cold War - JC History Essay Notes

How did Ronald Reagan end 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

Examine the role of the former US President Ronald Reagan to understand his contributions in ending the Cold War.

The end of the Cold War: Revisited 
In one of our earlier articles, we have discussed the major incidents that led to the eventual end of the ideological division that transformed the world in the 20th century. Today, we will focus our attention on one of the key players that contributed to this pivotal moment in history.

About Ronald Reagan: A Hollywood Star; A World Leader
Before Reagan took office in January 1981, he was a well-known actor in the 1940s and 1950s. His accumulated experienced had paid off when he switched to politics. American voters were charmed by Reagan’s charisma and oratorical skills, such that he was nicknamed “The Great Communicator”.

The “Second Cold War”: The Arms Race
Following his electoral victory, Reagan assumed a position that differed drastically from his predecessor, Jimmy Carter, who pursued arms control, as exemplified by the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT I & II).

Instead, Reagan was supportive of military build-up. His rationale stemmed from the belief that American military superiority was vital in pressuring the Soviets to relent in the Cold War. Therefore, the Reagan administration oversaw a $180 billion five-year programme.

In November 1983, the Pershing II ballistic missiles were deployed in Western Europe. Additionally, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) led command post exercise, code-named “Able Archer“, that simulated a coordinated nuclear attack.

Most importantly, the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) was announced publicly as a high-tech project that involved the use of “lasers” to target Soviet ballistic missiles in space. Despite the absurd-sounding concept, the Soviets took the announcement seriously.

Later, the incoming Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev met Reagan over a series of summits that culminated in the end of the arms race. Notably, the “Washington Summit” ended with the successful signing of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty by Reagan and Gorbachev.

Each Party shall eliminate all its intermediate-range missiles and launchers of such missiles, and all support structures and support equipment of the categories listed in the Memorandum of Understanding associated with such missiles and launchers, so that no later than three years after entry into force of this Treaty and thereafter no such missiles, launchers, support structures or support equipment shall be possessed by either Party.

Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, 8 December 1987.

The Reagan Doctrine: Renewed Containment
Similar to the first US President, Harry Truman, who outlined his policy of ‘containment’, Reagan introduced a doctrine to intensify American efforts in countering the Soviet influence in the Third World.

The “Reagan Doctrine” shaped the US administration’s foreign policy, in which covert aid was given to counter-revolutionaries that fought against the Soviets Africa, Asia and Latin America.

We cannot play innocents abroad in a world that’s not innocent; nor can we be passive when freedom is under siege. Without resources, diplomacy cannot succeed… And I hope that you in the Congress will understand that, dollar for dollar, security assistance contributes as much to global security as our own defense budget.
We must stand by all our democratic allies. And we must not break faith with those who are risking their lives—on every continent, from Afghanistan to Nicaragua—to defy Soviet-supported aggression and secure rights which have been ours from birth.

From Ronald Reagan’s State of the Union Address, 6 February 1985

Subsequently, the US expanded its scope of support in the above-mentioned regions. For example, the Soviet-Afghan War saw a turning point in September 1986. During “Operation Cycle”, the US provided “Stinger” missiles that were effective against Soviet aircraft. Eventually, the war ended in February 1989.

A lasting legacy
Before Reagan ended his second term as the US President, he made an address to the nation, reflecting on his past contributions and how the Cold War had changed the world.

Nothing is less free than pure communism — and yet we have, the past few years, forged a satisfying new closeness with the Soviet Union. I’ve been asked if this isn’t a gamble, and my answer is no because we’re basing our actions not on words but deeds. The detente of the 1970’s was based not on actions but promises. They’d promise to treat their own people and the people of the world better. But the gulag was still the gulag, and the state was still expansionist, and they still waged proxy wars in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

Well, this time, so far, it’s different. President Gorbachev has brought about some internal democratic reforms and begun the withdrawal from Afghanistan.

“Farewell Address to the Nation”, by Ronald Reagan, 11 January 1989

Evidently, the mutual cooperation with the Soviet leader Gorbachev had paid off as it led to the end of the Cold War.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– How far do you agree that Reagan was largely responsible for the end of the Cold War? [to be discussed in class].

Now that you have covered the main contributions of Ronald Reagan in understanding the end of Bipolarity, it is important that you attempt related source based case study questions to review your knowledge comprehension. Join our JC History Tuition and receive organised materials to raise the productivity of your revision. We also provide skills development workshops to teach JC students how to do source comparision and analysis.

Also, you can join JC tuition, such as GP TuitionEconomics TuitionJC Chemistry TuitionJC Math Tuition and China Studies in English Tuition. For Secondary Tuition, we offer Secondary English TuitionSecondary Math tuitionSecondary Chemistry Tuition and Secondary Economics Tuition. Call 9689 0510 to learn more.

JC History Tuition Singapore - End of Cold War Case Studies - Source Based Case Study Skills

End of Cold War – Cartoon Analysis

In this article, we will be looking at a series of political cartoons to comprehend the interpretations of how the Cold War ended. Be familiar with the contrasting contextual interpretations shaped by the political leaders as well as the newspaper publications. By doing so, you can then better answer the source based case study questions featured in your GCE A Level History examination papers. We will be examining the third part: The End of Bipolarity

By Estonian and American cartoonist Edmund S. Valtman – Published in an American newspaper, The Waterbury Republican and The Middletown press [1991]
The cartoon depicts a helpless Soviet leader Gorbachev observing the fragmented symbol of the nation (‘hammer and sickle’). Contextually, Gorbachev was facing a challenging situation by 1991, as the Soviet economy was on the decline, Soviet republics broke away from USSR and the August Coup was launched against him.
By Estonian and American cartoonist Edmund S. Valtman – Published in an American newspaper, The Waterbury Republican and The Middletown press [1991]
The cartoon illustrates the three notable figures in the Communist world (Karl Marx, Stalin and Lenin) observing Gorbachev leading the funeral procession that represented the ‘demise of communism’. Contextually, Gorbachev improved relations with USA, as seen by INF Treaty and withdrawal of Soviet troops from Afghanistan.
By British political cartoonist Nicholas W. Garland – published in the British newspaper, The Daily Telegraph [3 Jan 1986]
The cartoon depicts the two leaders, Reagan and Gorbachev, with outstretched hands, expressing their mutual desires to improve bilateral relations in the 1980s.
The caption reads ‘clear skies for all mankind‘, which is ironic as the world was illustrated as being in peril, such as Reagan’s SDI, covert operations in South America (El Salvador, Guatemala and Nicaragua). Likewise, the Soviet occupation in Afghanistan.
Published in an American newspaper [27 Nov 1987]
The cartoon depicts a series of meetings from 1985 to 1988 that focused on arms control agreements signed between Reagan and Gorbachev, especially the INF Treaty of 1987. The caption reflects the cartoonist’s expression of relief that the world averted a nuclear confrontation as the two leaders backed down from the ‘large missile steps’
By British cartoonist Michael Cummings – Published in British tabloid newspaper, The Daily Express [24 August 1988]
The cartoon illustrates the helplessness of Soviet leader Gorbachev in ensuring that his glasnost (openness) reforms would be carried out effectively.
By German-Dutch political cartoonist Fritz Behrendt [1990]
The cartoon depicts the ‘powerlessness of USSR’ in which the Soviet republics (represented by the individuals holding flags) were moving away from the bear (USSR). It illustrates the inevitability of the political collapse, as seen by the 1989 Revolutions in Eastern Europe.
By American cartoonist Glenn McCoy – Published in an American newspaper, The Belleville News-Democrat [2009]
The cartoon was published to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. It illustrates Reagan’s ‘footprint’ making a mark in causing the end of the Cold War.
By American editorial cartoonist Mike Keefe – published in American newspaper, The Denver Post [8 Jun 2004]
The cartoon illustrates the commemoration of former US President Ronald Reagan’s efforts in ending the Cold War, as portrayed by the collapse of the Berlin Wall that marked the physical division of Europe. Contextually, this cartoon was published one day after Reagan’s passing.
By British political cartoonist Nicholas W. Garland – published in the British newspaper, The Independent [10 Dec 1987]
The cartoon reflects the awkward handshake between Gorbachev and Reagan in a four-panel comic, which eventually concludes with a firm version. Contextually, it depicts the breakthrough in the arms control agreement signed during the Washington Summit on 8 Dec.

How do I use these sources to ace the Source Based Case Study questions?
Make sure that you have browsed through the above cartoons to understand the interpretations. Then, try to relate them to the context of examination questions. For example, ‘How far do you agree that the two leaders of USA and USSR were responsible for the end of the Cold War?’

If you are keen to improve your thinking and writing skills, you can consider joining our JC History Tuition. Also, we provide other JC tuition classes, like GP TuitionEconomics TuitionJC Chemistry TuitionJC Math Tuition and China Studies in English Tuition. For Secondary Tuition, we have Secondary English TuitionSecondary Math tuitionSecondary Chemistry Tuition and Secondary Economics Tuition. Call 9689 0510 to join to find out more.

JC History Tuition Singapore - Cuban Missile Crisis Cold War Case Studies - Source Based Case Study Skills

Cuban Missile Crisis – Cartoon Analysis

In this article, we will be analyzing these political cartoons to understand the different visual interpretations of the Cuban Missile Crisis. By examining these visual texts and recognising their contexts, you will be more familiar with the interpretations to answer the source based case study questions effectively. We will be focusing on the second part: A World Divided by the Cold War – Cuban Missile Crisis.

By Estonian and American cartoonist Edmund S. Valtman [31 August 1961]
The cartoon portrays Castro as a towering figure over two petite looking persons representing Cuba and Brazil. Castro persuades Brazil to lead a communist revolution like his. Yet, Brazil looks bewildered as Cuba is in a poor state.
In late August 1961, Cuba was facing food shortages, whereas Brazil was in debt. The cartoon was possibly meant to depict Brazil’s skepticism towards Castro’s revolution.
By British Magazine, Punch [1962]
The cartoon depicts both superpower leaders (Kennedy and Khrushchev) feeling annoyed over their neighbour’s tree branch(es) extended into their own territory.
The intended audiences are possibly the citizens of USA and USSR in depicting superpower involvement, seen in terms of their bases in other countries (e.g. Cuba and Turkey)
By German cartoonist Herbert Kolfhaus [30 September 1962]
Below the cartoon, the caption reads ‘What do you mean, a threat? Surely it’s all right to go fishing, isn’t it?’
The cartoonist depicts an ironic illustration of Moscow’s true motives on Cuba. In Sept 1962, an agreement was signed between Cuba and USSR for the construction of a port in the Bay of Havana, which Castro claimed to be a base for the Soviet fishing fleet in the Atlantic.
By Die Vaderland [1961]
The cartoon depicts a miniature-sized Castro targeting the Soviet missile at a terrified ‘Uncle Sam’ (USA), while Khrushchev looks on from afar in delight.
By Welsh political cartoonist Leslie G. Illingworth – published in British newspaper, The Daily Mail [29 October 1962]
The cartoon illustrates both Kennedy and Khrushchev taking part in an arm wrestling match that neither side was likely to win. They are seated on missiles that could go off anytime.
The cartoonist is trying to depict the unpredictability of the world as the crisis may lead to ‘mutually assured destruction’.
By Hungarian-British cartoonist Victor Weisz (‘Vicky’) – published in London News [24 October 1962]
The cartoon illustrates Kennedy in The White House and Khrushchev in the Kremlin facing each other with nuclear missiles placed outside their buildings. In context, the cartoon depicts Kennedy as being hypocritical as he questioned Khrushchev about the missiles in Cuba, since there were twice as many American missiles as there are than the Russians.
By Estonian and American cartoonist Edmund S. Valtman [30 October 1962]
The cartoon depicts Khrushchev as a dentist extracting Castro’s teeth, which is illustrated as missiles.
During the Cuban Missile Crisis, Kennedy announced that US would impose a ‘naval quarantine’ to prevent the delivery of Soviet missiles to Cuba. Khrushchev eventually backed down and agreed to remove the missiles.

How do I use these sources to ace the Source Based Case Study questions?
First, be familiar with the main perspectives of Cuba, USA and USSR in explaining their involvement in the Cuban Missile Crisis. Refer to the aforementioned article for more information.

Second, examine these cartoons and attempt to answer the following question: How far do these sources support the view that the Cuban Missile Crisis was a superpower conflict?

Third, pay attention to the date of publication and the source origin (i.e. who published it?) to consider the motive. This section will be important when you attempt to derive the provenance of each source.

If you are looking for additional help, why not join our JC History Tuition as we will teach you to organise the content and improve your answering skills. Additionally, we offer other JC tuition programmes, like GP TuitionEconomics TuitionJC Chemistry TuitionJC Math Tuition and China Studies in English Tuition. For Secondary Tuition, we have Secondary English TuitionSecondary Math tuitionSecondary Chemistry Tuition and Secondary Economics Tuition. Call 9689 0510 to join right away.

JC History Tuition Bishan Bedok Tampines Singapore - Key Events of the Cold War - JC History SBQ Skills

What were the key events of the Cold War?

Following the assessment of the visual-based sources that cover the Emergence of Bipolarity, we will be examining text-based sources to have a more comprehensive study of this topic. This article will analyze the interactions between the key players, particularly USA and Soviet Union, based on the major events that took place after World War Two. This article will be applicable to students taking either H2 History or H1 History.

Yalta Agreement [24 March 1945]
During World War Two, leaders of the Grand Alliance (USA, Great Britain and Soviet Union) met to discuss plans for a post-war Europe, particularly Germany. Generally, there were three essential areas of consideration in the Yalta Agreement.

First, the ‘Declaration of Liberated Europe’ meant that the leaders were bound to oversee the conduct of free and fair elections. Second, a demilitarized Germany would be divided into four zones occupied by USA, Great Britain, France and Soviet Union. Third, ‘free and unfettered elections’ were to be held in Poland.

Unfortunately, the end of WWII led to the collapse of the Grand Alliance. Roosevelt expressed his concerns to Stalin over the ‘Polish issue’ as the Polish government remained under communist control. Subsequently, pro-Soviet governments were formed in Eastern Europe, with Czechoslovakia being the final country that joined the ‘Eastern Bloc’. Hence, the perceived non-cooperation of Soviet Union fueled the deep-seated distrust of USA and Great Britain.

George Kennan’s Long Telegram [22 Feb 1946]
American diplomat George Kennan delivered a long telegram to US Secretary of State James Byrnes as he was failed to convince US President Harry Truman to abandon the cooperative stance with Soviet Union. More importantly, Kennan outlined the communist threat that should not be left unchecked in Europe. Eventually, his writings have shaped the American foreign policy of ‘containment’ in the subsequent years, particularly Truman Doctrine.

Winston Churchill’s Iron Curtain Speech [5 March 1946]
At Westminster College, former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill delivered a historic speech (also known as the ‘Sinews of Peace’). In view of Kennan’s assessment of the ideological threat in Europe, Churchill stated that ‘an iron curtain has descended across the Continent.‘ Furthermore, he stated that the ‘Communist parties or fifth columns constitute a growing challenge and peril to Christian civilization.’ As a result, Churchill’s ‘Iron Curtain’ speech reflected the growing distrust towards the former wartime ally – Soviet Union.

Afterwards, Stalin responded to the speech during an interview with the Soviet newspaper Pravda. He refuted Churchill’s statements, claiming that the formation of pro-Soviet governments in Eastern Europe was an important security measure against a potential invasion.

Harry Truman’s Address to the US Congress [12 March 1947]
Following George Kennan’s Long Telegram, Truman was certain that the communist threat had to be dealt with. As such, the Truman Doctrine was initiated. During his address, Truman emphasized that American intervention ‘should be primarily through economic and financial aid’. As such, the US provided large sums to aid Greece and Turkey during the Greek Civil War.

Additionally, US Secretary of State George Marshall delivered a speech at Harvard University on 5 June 1947. He highlighted the altruistic intentions of USA as the provision of financial assistance to facilitate the post-war reconstruction in Europe was of great importance to many nations. Marshall stated that USA’s policy was ‘directed not against any country or doctrine but against hunger, poverty, desperation and chaos’.

The Berlin Blockade [24 June 1948]
Failure to achieve common consensus over the ‘German Question’ became a sore point for the Grand Alliance. Due to security concerns, the Soviet Union feared the revival of a former wartime enemy – Germany. Yet, the Western nations (USA and Great Britain) focused on post-war economic recovery, which was perceived by the Soviets as a provocative response.

Before the Blockade was imposed, USA and Great Britain combined their occupation zones into the ‘Bizone’. A year later, France joined and a ‘Trizone’ was created. More importantly, Germany was included as a recipient of Marshall Plan, which alarmed Stalin. The Allies were accused of violating the Potsdam Agreement.

On 25 March 1948, the Blockade was formed, in which Soviet military prevented the movement of supplies from West Germany to West Berlin. This prompted the Allies to capitalize on their air superiority, as seen by the Berlin Airlift. The Airlift provided numerous supplies to the Berliners and forced the Soviets to end the Blockade.

The Blockade was a major turning point during the Cold War as marked one of the closest point of military confrontation between the superpowers. Subsequently, Germany was formally divided into East and West Germany.

Are you ready to ace the GCE A Level Examinations?
In view of these historical developments, it is important that you apply your knowledge to practice questions. By doing so, you will develop the capacity to express your ideas in an argumentative format, which is critical due to the time constraints of the examinations. During the JC History Tuition, we teach students to write outlines and engage in class discussions to refine their answering skills.

Besides, we offer 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 classes, we offer Secondary English Tuition, Secondary Math tuition, Secondary Chemistry Tuition and Secondary Economics Tuition. Get started in this exciting learning experience and be inspired by our enriching programmes.

JC History Tuition Bishan Bedok Tampines Singapore - Origins of the Cold War Case Studies - JC History SBQ Skills

Origins of the Cold War – Cartoon Analysis

In this article, we will be examining a series of illustrative cartoons that reflect the diverse interpretations of the Cold War. As the GCE A Level History examinations (both Paper 1 and Paper 2) feature visual- and text-based sources, we believe that this article will be useful in prepare students thoroughly.

Today, we will be focusing on the first part: The Emergence of Bipolarity (also known as the Origins of the Cold War).

Analyze Leslie Illingworth's cartoons to understand how the Cold War began. Join our JC History Tuition to get started.
By British cartoonist Leslie Illingworth [June 1947]
It depicts Stalin’s attempts to extend Soviet control beyond Eastern Europe, reflecting the concerns over the growing ideological threat that necessitates an urgent response by USA. Pay attention to the use of ‘question marks (?)’ , which hints at his intentions in Western Europe.
Learn more about the Iron Curtain speech to understand how the Cold War began. Join our JC History Tuition to get a head-start in your revision.
By British cartoonist Leslie Illingworth [6 Feb 1946]
The cartoon was published in the UK Daily Mail after Winston Churchill gave his historic ‘Iron Curtain’ speech. It depicts Churchill attempting to lift the ‘Iron Curtain’ to view what is taking place within the Eastern Europe.

Learn more about the Marshall Plan to comprehend its importance in explaining how the Cold War began. Sign up for our JC History Tuition and start learning effectively.
A cartoon published in Russia during the Cold War
It depicts USA (‘Uncle Sam’) holding a weapon that represents the Marshall Plan (dollar ‘$’ sign) that is pointed at the Greek communists. Following the US Congress’ approval of the Truman Doctrine.
Learn more about the 'rival buses' cartoon to understand how the superpower rivalry gave rise to the outbreak of the Cold War.
By English illustrator E. H. Shepard [18 June 1947]
The cartoon was published in a British magazine, focusing on the competition between the USA and Soviet Union in battle for global supremacy. Notice the gestures of Truman (bespectacled man on the left) and Stalin (a more aggressive man on the right).
Learn more about the cartoon depicting the start of the Cold War with our JC History Tuition.
By Roy Justus [1947]
The cartoon was published in an American journal, depicting Soviet communism (eagle) as a harbinger of chaos (baby). In contrast, the American Congress (doctor) is rushing to Western Europe to provide economic aid (Marshall Plan) to fight chaos (mentioned during George Marshall’s Harvard address in June 1947).
Learn more about the Marshall Aid to understand why this American response to the Soviet actions gave rise to the start of the Cold War.
By British Illustrator E H Shepard [1 October 1947]
Cartoon published in British magazine to portray USA (Uncle Sam) as a generous nation that offers economic aid (Marshall Plan) to the crumbling Western Europe
Find out what happened during the Berlin Blockade to comprehend its significance in causing the division of Europe. Learn more about the emergence of bipolarity or known as the start of the Cold War.
By British cartoonist Leslie Illingworth [9 September 1948]
The cartoon was published in UK Daily Mail during the Berlin Blockade. The key subject clearly is Stalin (cat), who is toying with the Berlin people (mouse in the top part). In contrast, the other three mice on the ground represents the Western Powers, which are in danger as well.

Are you familiar with these sources?
Preparation is vital. After examining these visual-based sources, it is imperative that you refer to practice questions, such as your school materials, to assess your knowledge competency. Reading alone is inadequate in preparing you for the rigours of the examinations as the factual information may lack the argumentative perspectives. During the JC History Tuition, we guide students through the process of source interpretation, comparison and evaluation to raise the quality of answers.

In addition, we conduct other related JC tuition classes, such as GP Tuition, Economics Tuition, JC Chemistry Tuition, JC Math Tuition and China Studies in English Tuition. For Secondary Tuition classes, we offer Secondary English Tuition, Secondary Math tuition, Secondary Chemistry Tuition and Secondary Economics Tuition. Your path to achieve excellence begins now. Call 9689 0510 to find out more.

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

What caused the end of the Cold War?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

JC History Tuition Bishan Bedok Tampines Singapore - How did the Vietnam War start - JC History SBQ Skills

How did the Vietnam War start?

What is the Vietnam War?
The Vietnam War is a military conflict between the North Vietnamese and US. Although the confrontation was primarily military in nature, the American involvement in Vietnam can be explained by the growing concerns over an expanding ideological threat (i.e. communism). As such, the Vietnam War can be interpreted as a Cold War proxy 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: Vietnam War (1955-75)

In the following sections, we will examine how the Vietnam War began, intensified and ended.

1. Military Retaliation [Tonkin Gulf incident, Aug 1964]
The shift in US stance for greater involvement in the Vietnam War can be observed by the significant turn of events, such as the Tonkin Gulf incident. In August 1964, the US warships [Maddox] were victims of two torpedo attacks by North Vietnam. The American warships were escorting South Vietnamese marine forces in international waters. In response to the confrontational incident, US President Lyndon Johnson vowed to resort retaliate through military action. Eventually, Johnson obtained a clear mandate from the US Congress, leading to the passing of the Tonkin Gulf Resolution.

This Resolution granted Johnson the authorization for the use of military force in Vietnam, without having to undertake a formal declaration of war. Therefore, it is clear that US had stepped up its involvement in the Vietnam War, which was intensified by the extensive use of land and air attacks.

2. Mounting domestic pressure for disengagement [Tet Offensive, Jan 1968]
Following persistent efforts by the US to achieve victory in the military confrontation against North Vietnam, such as the Operation Rolling Thunder [Jan 1965], the Vietcong conducted a massive military campaign that took the US by surprise. During the Vietnamese Tet holiday, the Vietcong attacked major cities in South Vietnam and captured the Saigon Embassy. They were close to complete military victory.

Although it appeared as if the Vietcong had won, it was a devastating failure for them, as seen by the loss of 40,000 troops and the unsuccessful push to cause the collapse of the Saigon regime. More importantly, the Tet Offensive dealt a severe blow to US as the media reports revealed to the American public that US was far from winning the war.

Initially, throughout the military campaign, Lyndon had assured the Americans that they were making significant progress and would eventually be victorious. As such, this revelation sparked widespread outrage, resulting in the rise of anti-war protests and demonstrations. As Lyndon’s approval ratings plummeted, he announced a major change in military stance to stop the aerial bombings in North Vietnam and promised to restore peace in Vietnam.

3. Escalation of anti-war protests [My Lai Massacre, Mar 1968]
After Richard Nixon won the presidential elections, he declared a new foreign policy stance, known as ‘Vietnamization’, which involved the withdrawal of American troops and provision of military training and support to South Vietnam in order to gain control of the war. However, his well-intended efforts were marred by a horrific and inhumane incident, known as the My Lai Massacre.

In March 1968, US troops killed more than 500 unarmed civilians in the My Lai village. One of the army commanders, Lieutenant William Calley, commanded his soldiers to fire at the innocent civilians.

Eventually, the brutal massacre was revealed to the American public, fueling greater anti-war sentiment. The negative perceptions towards the American involvement in the Vietnam War manifested in the form of numerous demonstrations on the streets of America. This development culminated in the largest anti-war demonstration in November 1969. Over time, US troops were gradually withdrawn in the subsequent years.

4. Outcome of the Vietnam War [Paris Peace Accords, Jan 1973]
As part of Nixon’s ‘Vietnamization’ foreign policy that sought to end American involvement in the war, he also oversaw the peace-making process, as exemplified by the Paris Peace Accords. In January 1973, a peace treaty was signed by North Vietnam, South Vietnam and the US, to mark the end of the Vietnam War officially.

However, the Paris Peace Accords only provided a temporary ceasefire. On 30 April 1975, the North Vietnamese troops captured Saigon – the capital of South Vietnam, which was later renamed Ho Chi Minh City. The ‘fall of Saigon’ signalled the end of the Vietnam War as the country was unified under communist rule.

What’s Next?
After you have examined the key events that shaped the Vietnam War, it is important to reinforce your comprehension of historical issues by considering the following questions:
– Why was the Vietnam War considered a Cold War conflict?  
– In comparison to the Korean War and Cuban Missile Crisis, how did the Vietnam War affect the internationalization of the Cold War? [to be discussed in class]

We invite you to sign up for our JC History Tuition to attend a productive and exam-friendly revision programme that will prepare you for the A Level History examinations. Our classes are structured to match the syllabus requirements for both H1 and H2 History students.

Do you have what it takes to excel at the A Level examinations? Fret not, we also feature other related tuition programmes, like the GP Tuition and Economics Tuition classes. Our experienced GP and JC Economics Tutors will impart you with the knowledge and fundamentals of writing, such that you possess the thinking and writing capacities to form logical and persuasive answers.

JC History Tuition Bishan Bedok Tampines Singapore - What started the Korean War - JC History SBQ Skills

What started the Korean War?

What is the Korean War?
The Korean War is a militarised conflict between the North Korea and South Korea. It broke out when North Korea invaded South Korea on 25 June 1950 by crossing the 38th Parallel. The invasion was met with swift resistance by South Korea, which was assisted by the United States (US) and United Nations (UN). Over time, the conflict was intensified by the influx of Cold War influences that originated from the indirect and direct responses by the two superpowers, US and USSR.

Derive a better understanding of this Cold War conflict by analyzing the contributing factors that will be examined in the following sections.

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: Korean War (1950-53)

1. The Division of Korea 
After the Second World War, the two superpowers occupied Korea. The US landed on South Korea, while USSR entered North Korea. The occupation lasted for several years until the United Nations (UN) passed a resolution that declared free elections to be held. As a result, South Korea held an election that concluded with Syngman Rhee being declared the first president of the “Republic of Korea” (ROK) in August 1948. As for North Korea, the “Democratic People’s Republic of Korea” (DPRK) announced Kim II-Sung as its Prime Minister a month later. These two historic events signaled a permanent division of the Korean peninsula and set the stage for the Korean War.

2. Political Motivations for the Invasion  
Kim II-Sung bore political ambitions to unify the Korean peninsula under communist rule. He held the perception that an invasion would be met with positive reception by the South Korean citizens. As such, Kim sought the approval of Stalin before commencing with the invasion. Eventually, Stalin agreed under the condition that Soviet troops would not be involved directly if there was a military confrontation with the US. Consequently, the North Korean forces crossed the 38th Parallel on 25 June 1950, marking the start of the Korean War.

3. Strategic Considerations 
From Stalin’s perspective, a unified communist Korea would prove useful in advancing the Soviet Union’s Cold War agenda. However, Stalin contemplated Kim II-Sung’s proposal to invade South Korea cautiously. Stalin was careful to avoid direct confrontation with US and took evasive steps to ensure that North Korea was the primary instigator for the invasion. As such, Stalin provided military support to North Korea, such as Soviet military advisors and artillery pieces. These military hardware and guidance aided Kim II-Sung for his incursion into South Korean territory.

4. Ideological Motivations 
As for the Americans, the North Korea invasion was unexpected. Although the invasion was led by North Korea, the US interpreted these attacks as an act of ideological expansionism orchestrated by Stalin. As described by former US President, Dwight Eisenhower, the ‘domino theory‘ illustrated how one country falling to communism would cause the surrounding countries to be undermined by this ideological threat as well. Given this understanding, the Korean War confirmed the suspicions of the Americans.

In response, US led the discussions in the UN and formed a military coalition to counter the North Korean invasion. The swift response to the perceived ideological threat was consistent with Truman’s push for the ‘Containment Policy’. As such, US supported South Korea and succeeded in repelling the North Korean forces back to the 38th Parallel.

However, the US revised its aim to cross the 38th Parallel and adopted a policy of rollback to eradicate communist influence in the North. The UN forces then crossed the partition line. Hence, it was evident that these actions revealed the ideological motivations of the US in the globalised Cold War conflict.

4. Outcome of the Korean War 
Following the UN’s crossing of the partition line, China came to the aid of North Korea. After a prolonged period of military confrontation between the North and South, US called for ceasefire and an armistice was signed on 27 July 1953. Notably, the Korean War had intensified the superpower rivalry that was observed in subsequent conflicts, like the Cuban Missile Crisis. In recent years, observers have argued that there are improvements in the diplomatic ties between the two Koreas, as exemplified by the desire to end the war formally.

What’s Next?
Now that you have walked through this journey of what may have caused the Korean War, you should reinforce your revision of this chapter by reflecting on the following questions:
– Was the Korean War a localised or Cold War conflict? 
– How did the superpowers capitalise on the Korean War to advance their Cold War aims? 
– In comparison to the Cuban Missile Crisis (1962), identify the similarities and differences of the Korean War in influencing the Cold War developments beyond Europe [to be covered in our lessons].

For both H1 and H2 History students, we believe that these learning resources will be essential in complementing your revision to ace the A Level History examinations. If you are keen to improve your quality of writing, join our JC History Tuition!

We provide in-depth discussions that will broaden your understanding of Cold War topics, like Korean War and Cuban Missile Crisis. Learn how to apply your knowledge to form persuasive arguments that answer the essay questions effectively. Our tuition programme is based on the latest syllabus requirements set by the Singapore Examinations and Assessment Board (SEAB). We understand that the changes to the syllabus have raised concerns for both H1 and H2 students. As such, our classes will provide a progressive and easy-to-follow learning structure for you to learn.

On the other hand, you can sign up for our GP Tuition and Economics Tuition programmes. These classes will complement your acquisition and refinement of writing techniques, such as question analysis, information extract and paragraph development.

We shape you to become a Reflective Thinker, Persuasive Writer and Problem Solver.