JC History Tuition Bishan Singapore - What is the South China Sea dispute - JC History Essay Notes

What is the South China Sea dispute?

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 – relations between ASEAN and external powers)

Historical Background
South China Sea dispute involves a large region of islands, reefs and banks. In particular, the region relates to contentious parts like Spratly Islands and Scarborough Shoal. The dispute originated from competing territorial claims between ASEAN-related countries (Philippines and Vietnam) and external powers, particularly China. For example, China based its territorial claims on the ‘nine dash line’ map, which was contested on by other claimants.

Unfortunately, these competing claims have resulted in clashes that occasionally escalated into violent confrontations. In January 1974, China clashed with South Vietnam over the ‘Paracels’, which resulted in the sinking of several Vietnamese ships and a substantial number of casualties. In 1988, China attacked Vietnamese forces in the Spratlys Islands, leading to frayed bilateral tensions.

Competing Claims
From the late 1970s to 1980s, Philippines advanced its claims on the Spratlys. In June 1978, Marcos announced the Presidential Decree that established the Philippine Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), which covered 200 nautical miles of the affected region. Likewise, in 1988, Brunei outlined an EEZ that stretched into the southern part of the Spratlys.

ASEAN’s intervention I: The Manila Declaration
On 22 July 1992, during the 25th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting (AMM), the regional organization formed the ASEAN Declaration of the South China Sea at Manila, Philippines. The Declaration was formed on the basis of the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation (TAC) of 1976, which advocated non-violent means of dispute resolution. It was a significant milestone for ASEAN as China agreed to sign the document.

However, the competing claims resurfaced again in the mid-1990s. On 8 February 1995, Philippines observed the development of a militarised Mischief Reef. In the late 1990s, Philippines clashed with China at the Mischief Reef and the Scarborough Shoal.

A divided ASEAN?
Given Philippines’ proximity to the contested region, it raised the matter to ASEAN. Yet, not all ASEAN members held a similar position regarding the dispute. This was observed in the disagreements over Philippines’ proposal for a new code-of-conduct during the AMM in July 1999. Furthermore, most countries were occupied with their domestic matters, given the severity of the Asian Financial Crisis of July 1997.

Besides, Indonesia sought to pursue an alternative solution due to the lack of unanimity in ASEAN. In 1990, Indonesia conducted the Workshops on Managing Potential Conflicts in the South China Sea. The workshop functions on a ‘two-track diplomacy’: (a) regional cooperation between ASEAN and China (b) bilateral cooperation between claimant parties

This informal diplomacy did make significant contributions to the management of disputes as China was unwilling to work with multilateral arrangements.

ASEAN’s intervention II: Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC)
On 4 November 2002, ASEAN promulgated another landmark agreement, which was known as the DOC at Phnom Penh, Cambodia. The document was signed by both China and ASEAN.

Contents included the reaffirmed commitment to adhere to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), TAC and other international law. For example, “The Parties concerned undertake to resolve their territorial and jurisdictional disputes by peaceful means“.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– How successful was ASEAN managing the South China Sea dispute? [to be discussed in class].

In view of the above-mentioned points, you should attempt source-based case study questions to review your knowledge competency. Join our JC History Tuition to improve your answering skills. You can consider other JC tuition programmes, such as GP TuitionEconomics TuitionJC Chemistry TuitionJC Math Tuition and China Studies in English Tuition. For Secondary Tuition, we provide 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.

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JC History Tuition Bishan Singapore - What is the ASEAN Way - JC History Essay Notes

What is the ASEAN Way?

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)

What is the ‘ASEAN Way’?
The ASEAN Way is a guiding principle that shapes the approach of member nations in Southeast Asia for conflict management. It emphasises heavily on consultation and consensus-building, which later inspired the introduction of other forms of political co-operation, like the Treaty of Amity and Co-operation (TAC).

As pointed out by the former Secretary-General of ASEAN, Rodolfo Severino, in a public address, the ASEAN Way “has served Southeast Asia well” by “moving its members from animosity to the close co-operative relationship that they enjoy today”.

Origins of the ASEAN Way
Following the formation of the regional organization in 1967, member nations had to learn from past errors as well as on-going disputes. One such incident involved the “Corregidor affair” (1968), which broke out due to the territorial disputes over Sabah. Similarly, the Confrontation (Konfrontasi) of 1963 was a contentious issue that strained diplomatic relations between affected member nations. Therefore, the ASEAN Way was implemented to encourage the use of diplomacy rather than forceful means to resolve conflicts.

Interestingly, the ASEAN Way was inspired by Malay culture, seen in terms of musjawarah (consultation) and muafakat (consensus-building). This practice involves a gradual decision-making process, in which all member states must be consulted before the regional organization can come to a consensus on the possible course of action to undertake.

How does it work?
One of the core principles of ASEAN Way involves the ‘principle of non-interference’. Should one or a few member nations disagree with the proposals put forth during the ASEAN meetings, the organization must postpone the decision-making for future settlement.

The main purpose of this cautious approach is to provide adequate time for considerations and prevent the outbreak and escalation of tensions. Therefore, regional stability can be maintained.

Subsequent impacts on ASEAN’s political framework
Following its inception in the 1960s, ASEAN has evolved over time in response to the changing international climate. The ASEAN Way was implemented in the form of institutionalized forms of co-operation.

One such example is the Zone of Peace, Freedom and Neutrality (ZOPFAN) Declaration (1971). Against the backdrop of the Cold War, these Southeast Asian member nations asserted a firm position to be free from external interference to prevent ideological manipulation.

Another application is observed in the Treaty of Amity and Co-operation (TAC) that emphasises heavily on amicable co-operation among member nations and non-ASEAN countries. The TAC endorses the practice of cautious diplomacy that focuses on the compartmentalization of contentious issues.

The most important case study that can be used to examine the significance of the ASEAN Way is the Third Indochina War (1978-1991) as it arguably provided a timely opportunity to display ASEAN’s solidarity to the rest of the world.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– Assess the success and limitations of the ASEAN Way in managing regional conflicts in Southeast Asia since 1967 [to be discussed in class].

Now that you have examined the fundamental concepts of the ASEAN Way, it is imperative that you explore and attempt source-based case study questions. You can also consider signing up for our JC History Tuition to find out how you can apply your knowledge to answer similar questions that are based on past examination papers.

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JC History Tuition Bishan Singapore - Why was the ASEAN established - JC History Essay Notes

Why was the ASEAN established?

Topic of Study [For H2 History Students]:
Paper 2: Regional Conflicts and Co-operation
Source Based Case Study
Theme III Chapter 2: ASEAN

What is ASEAN?
On 8 August 1967, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is a regional organization that was established. The foreign ministers of five Southeast Asian countries – Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Philippines and Thailand – signed the historic document, known as the ‘ASEAN Declaration‘ in Bangkok, Thailand.

In the 1980s and 1990s, ASEAN expanded its membership by including other neighbouring countries, like Brunei (1984), Vietnam (1995), Laos and Myanmar (1997) and Cambodia (1999).

The aims and purposes of ASEAN
Within the ASEAN Declaration, it outlined what ASEAN was meant to achieve objectives such as:

  • “To accelerate the economic growth, social progress and cultural development”
  • “To promote regional peace and stability”
  • “To promote active collaboration and mutual assistance on matters of common interest”

In view of these efforts, it is important to consider the challenges that countries in the Southeast Asian region encountered in the 1950s and 1960s to understand the rationale behind its establishment.

Factor #1: Maintenance of regional security
Before ASEAN was formed, there were inter-state tensions that gave rise to conflicts. These conflicts threatened the security of affected countries, including those in the neighbouring zones. For instance, the Konfrontasi (Confrontation) was a controversial foreign policy that affected the political stability of nations, like Singapore and Malaysia. Following the de-escalation of the tumultuous phase, the formation of ASEAN would help to mend the diplomatic ties of the affected countries and encourage Indonesia to adopt a more collaborative position.

Furthermore, following the Suez Crisis, the British announced the withdrawal of its military from the region by 1971. This move raised security concerns for Singapore as its small and vulnerable state could expose the country from any potential external threat. Therefore, the formation of a regional organization (i.e. ASEAN) would arguably compensate for the departure of the external powers.

Factor #2: Assertion of an independent region free from external interference
In view of the Konfrontasi, Southeast Asian nations formed the regional organization to promote accommodation and collaboration between one another. Although some of these member nations held contrasting perspectives towards co-ooperation with external powers, there was a general consensus that ASEAN would become the central focus in promoting intra-ASEAN engagement.

For example, Singapore was supportive of the formation as it would lead to the increased accessibility of the region’s markets. Following the ‘Separation’, Singapore was in dire need of economic support from abroad to facilitate its economic nation-building efforts. In 1967, it was estimated that Southeast Asia had a combined market of more than US$280 million. Hence, intra-ASEAN trade would no doubt be beneficial for member nations.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– Assess the view that security reasons were the most important in explaining the formation of ASEAN in 1967 [to be discussed in class].

Now that you have learnt the reasons that explain the formation of ASEAN, we strongly encourage you to attempt related source-based case study questions to review your knowledge application skills. Alternatively, you can join our JC History Tuition as we provide numerous practice questions and review your answers to ensure that there is progressive learning.

Furthermore, you can find out more about other JC tuition programmes, like 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 sign up now.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.