JC H2 History Tuition Online - What are the founding principles of the United Nations - Essay Notes

What are the founding principles of the United Nations?

Topic of Study [For H1/H2 History Students]:
Paper 1: Safeguarding International Peace and Security 
Section B: Essay Writing
Theme III Chapter 1: Formation of the United Nations

Learn more about the six parts of the United Nations. [Video by NowThis World]

Historical Context: The San Francisco Conference
In 1945, the 46 nations attended San Francisco Conference and signed the United Nations Declaration. Later, four other states joined the Conference – the Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic, the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, newly-liberated Denmark and Argentina. In total, fifty nations became the founding members of the United Nations.

On 24 October 1945, the United Nations was officially formed, with the Charter taking effect subsequently.

The aims of the United Nations
The following refers to the four purposes stated in the Charter:

1. To maintain international peace and security, and to that end: to take effective collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to the peace, and for the suppression of acts of aggression or other breaches of the peace, and to bring about by peaceful means, and in conformity with the principles of justice and international law, adjustment or settlement of international disputes or situations which might lead to a breach of the peace;

2. To develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples, and to take other appropriate measures to strengthen universal peace;

3. To achieve international co-operation in solving international problems of an economic, social, cultural, or humanitarian character, and in promoting and encouraging respect for human rights and for fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion; and

4. To be a centre for harmonizing the actions of nations in the attainment of these common ends.

Article 1, Chapter 1, UN Charter.

The principles of the United Nations
The following section outlines the principles that shape the functions of the members in this international organisation:

1. The Organization is based on the principle of the sovereign equality of all its Members.

2. All Members, in order to ensure to all of them the rights and benefits resulting from membership, shall fulfill in good faith the obligations assumed by them in accordance with the present Charter.

3. All Members shall settle their international disputes by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security, and justice, are not endangered.

4. All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.

5. All Members shall give the United Nations every assistance in any action it takes in accordance with the present Charter, and shall refrain from giving assistance to any state against which the United Nations is taking preventive or enforcement action.

6. The Organization shall ensure that states which are not Members of the United Nations act in accordance with these Principles so far as may be necessary for the maintenance of international peace and security.

7. Nothing contained in the present Charter shall authorize the United Nations to intervene in matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any state or shall require the Members to submit such matters to settlement under the present Charter; but this principle shall not prejudice the application of enforcement measures under Chapter Vll.

Article 2, Chapter 1, UN Charter.

Notably, these principles shaped the functions of UN principle organs. With the primary role of the Security Council in maintaining international peace and security, all members and non-members of the United Nations are expected to adhere to the Charter [Article 2(6)]. From this observation, the principle of ‘collective security’ is practised in events such as the Korean War and the Gulf War.

Furthermore, Article 2(7) described the importance of consent by host-states that determined the legality of UN intervention in various conflicts. However, this principle can also be interpreted as a hindrance due to the refusal to grant consent. Applicable case studies are the Suez Crisis and the Hungarian Revolution.

The Organisational Structure of the United Nations: The Six Organs
As defined by the Charter, the United Nations comprises of six organs:

  • General Assembly
  • Security Council
  • Trusteeship Council
  • Economic and Social Council
  • International Court of Justice
  • The Secretariat [involves the Secretary-General]

The UN headquarters is located in New York, USA, in which meetings are frequently conducted there. For instance, the Security Council conducts its regular annual session in New York.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– How far do you agree that the aims and principles of the Untied Nations were flawed?

Join our JC History Tuition and find out how to structure your essays and source-based case study answers effectively. We conduct online learning programmes to ensure that you have an exam-oriented way to study productively. You will receive summary notes and outlines for reference. Review your answers with the JC History Tutor to identify the areas of improvement.

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JC H2 History Tuition Online - Why was the United Nations Formed in 1945 - Essay Notes

Why was the United Nations formed in 1945?

Topic of Study [For H1/H2 History Students]:
Paper 1: Safeguarding International Peace and Security 
Section B: Essay Writing
Theme III Chapter 1: Formation of the United Nations

Re-examine how the United Nations was established in 1945. [Video by HISTORY]

Historical Context: The League of Nations
To understand why the United Nations was formed, it is imperative to examine the failures of the League of Nations. The US President Woodrow Wilson envisioned an international organisation that could resolve conflicts before war broke out. On 8 January 1918, President Wilson delivered his Fourteen Points speech that called for a stable world after World War I.

XIV. A general association of nations must be formed under specific covenants for the purpose of affording mutual guarantees of political independence and territorial integrity to great and small states alike.

Fourteen Points Speech, US President Woodrow Wilson, 8 January 1918.

Afterwards, Wilson negotiated with other Allied nations during the Paris Peace Conference in January 1919, particularly the United Kingdom, France and Italy (part of the “Big Four”). It concluded with the Treaty of Versailles that included the creation of the League of Nations. By 1920, 48 nations had joined the League of Nations.

THE HIGH CONTRACTING PARTIES, In order to promote international co-operation and to achieve international peace and security by the acceptance of obligations not to resort to war by the prescription of open, just and honourable relations between nations by the firm establishment of the understandings of international law as the actual rule of conduct among Governments, and by the maintenance of justice and a scrupulous respect for all treaty obligations in the dealings of organised peoples with one another Agree to this Covenant of the League of Nations.

The Covenant of the League of Nations, 28 April 1919.

The League of Nations comprised of three organs: The Council, Secretariat and the General Assembly. The Council comprised of four permanent members (Japan, Italy, France and Great Britain) and nine non-permanent members elected by the General Assembly every three years.

Inadequate global representation: Membership issues
However, Wilson’s idealistic dream of a world of “peace without victory” was not realised. Unexpectedly, USA did not join the League of Nations because Henry Lodge (headed the Senate Foreign Relations Committee) claimed that signing the treaty could coerce USA from acting against its own interests. Without USA, the League was frequently obstructed by political deadlocks.

Other notable powers were also excluded from the organisation, thus exposing its weaknesses in ensuring political commitment. Russia was not permitted to join the League till 1934 due to its ideological alignment with Communism.

Although Japan was a permanent member in the League Council, the League opposed the member nation’s invasion of Manchuria in September 1931. As such, Japan withdrew in 1933. Likewise, Italy withdrew in 1937 and Germany in 1933.

Lack of enforcement: Collective security principle
Also, member nations were unwilling to protect others even though the Covenant of the League of Nations specifically outlined the importance of collective security.

Any war or threat of war, whether immediately affecting any of the Members of the League or not, is hereby declared a matter of concern to the whole League, and the League shall take any action that may be deemed wise and effectual to safeguard the peace of nations. In case any such emergency should arise the Secretary General shall on the request of any Member of the League forthwith summon a meeting of the Council.

It is also declared to be the friendly right of each Member of the League to bring to the attention of the Assembly or of the Council any circumstance whatever affecting international relations which threatens to disturb international peace or the good understanding between nations upon which peace depends.

Article 11, The Covenant of the League of Nations, 28 April 1919.

For example, Russia attacked a port in Persia in 1920. As such, Persia requested the League to intervene, but was rejected on the grounds that Russia was not a member and would not recognise its jurisdiction.

Similarly, when Benito Mussolini of Italy invaded Abyssinia, the Abyssinian Emperor Haile Selassie appealed to the League for help, the organisation did not respond to the invasion. In fact, Great Britain and France made a secret agreement (Hoare-Laval Pact of 1935) with Italy to allow the dictator to conquer Abyssinia.

The prelude to World War Two: German Reparations
The Treaty required the provision of reparations by Germany, given its involvement in World War One. For instance, the Treaty required Germany to pay 269 billion gold marks (amounted to $37 billion). Also, Germany was demilitarised as its army was reduced to 100,000 men and weapons were confiscated.

As a result of the large reparations, Germany experienced a large fall in industrial output. General prices skyrocketed, giving rise to hyperinflation in the 1920s. Later, it paved the way for the Great Depression.

Economic problems then became a rallying point for Hitler and his Nazi Party occupied 230 out of 608 seats in the “Reichstag” (German parliament during the 1932 elections.

Failure of Disarmament: Hitler’s militarised Germany
After Hitler assumed control of the German government, he withdrew Germany from the League of Nations in 1933. Additionally, Germany underwent rearmament, which was an outright violation of the Treaty of Versailles.

In 1939, Germany invaded Czechoslovakia and Poland. As a result, Great Britain and France declared War on Germany, thus sparking off the World War Two.

Aftermath of the War: The formation of the United Nations
Following the disastrous conflict that engulfed the entire world, the United Nations was formed from the ashes of the League of Nations.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– How far do you agree that the lack of political representation was the main reason for the failure of the League of Nations [to be discussed in class]?

Join our JC History Tuition and learn how to consolidate your revision in preparation for the GEC A Level History examinations. Our online learning programme is suitable for JC students who are studying either H1 or H2 History. Receive summary notes and review your writing with the JC History Tutor to study productively.

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JC History Tuition Bishan Singapore - What is the UN Responsibility to Protect - JC History Essay Notes

What is the UN Responsibility to Protect?

Topic of Study [For H2 History Students]:
Paper 1: Safeguarding International Peace and Security 
Section B: Essay Writing
Theme III Chapter 2: Political Effectiveness of the UN in maintaining international peace and security

Examine the origins of the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) to understand how this UN reform was introduced in the post-Cold War era [Video by Thomson Reuters Foundation].

The Problem with Sovereignty of Nation-States
A sovereign nation has the political rights to dictate the policies that affect its citizens within its national boundaries. This includes the introduction of new laws as well as modification of existing ones.

Following the disastrous events of the Rwandan Genocide (1994) and Bosnian War (1992-1995), United Nations Secretary-General (UNSG) published the Millennium Report to highlight the inaction of the international organisation. Annan asserted that sovereignty of nation-states should not take precedence over the ‘gross and systematic violation of human rights’.

“…if humanitarian intervention is, indeed, an unacceptable assault on sovereignty, how should we respond to a Rwanda, to a Srebrenica – to gross and systematic violations of human rights that affect every precept of our common humanity?”

We the Peoples, by United Nations Secretary-General, Kofi Annan

As such, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) ushered an ‘decade of humanitarian intervention’ in the post-Cold War period. Peacekeepers expanded their role to peacebuilding, as such by its involvement in the political transition of Cambodia and East Timor.

To recap, let’s take a look at the UN Charter that outlined the importance of sovereignty:

Nothing contained in the present Charter shall authorize the United Nations to intervene in matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any state or shall require the Members to submit such matters to settlement under the present Charter; but this principle shall not prejudice the application of enforcement measures under Chapter VII.

Article 2(7) of the UN Charter

The crux of the issue lies with the unwillingness of member states to allow UN intervention as external involvement is being perceived as threats to their sovereign rights. Thus, the international organisation is severely constrained by this Charter limitation.

The creation of the Responsibility to Protect (R2P)
In September 2000, the Canadian government set up the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty (ICISS) after the bombing campaign carried out by the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) in Yugoslavia during the Kosovo War (1999).

In December 2001, the ICISS published “The Responsibility to Protect” report to assess the “right of humanitarian intervention” in view of past events such as the legality and morality of military actions.

A. State sovereignty implies responsibility, and the primary responsibility for the protection of its people lies with the state itself.

B. Where a population is suffering serious harm, as a result of internal war, insurgency, repression or state failure, and the state in question is unwilling or unable to halt or avert it, the principle of non-intervention yields to the international responsibility to protect.

The Responsibility to Protect: Core Principles, ICISS Report, December 2001

In short, the state must bear the responsibility to look after the interests of its people as part of its sovereign rights. Should it fails to do so, the international community can override the decisions of the state to look after the interests of the affected people.

On 2 December 2004, the UNSG Kofi Annan addressed the General Assembly, highlighting the involvement of the High-level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change to “assess current threats to international peace and security” and “make recommendations” for collective security in the 21st Century.

138. Each individual State has the responsibility to protect its populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity

139. The international community, through the United Nations, also has the responsibility to use appropriate diplomatic, humanitarian and other peaceful means, in accordance with Chapters VI and VIII of the Charter, to help protect populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity.

2005 World Summit Outcome, 24 October 2005

Application of the R2P: NATO’s intervention in Libya (2011)
The R2P was invoked due to the state sanctioned attacks on the Libyan civilians during the “17 February Revolution”. The Libyan government was led by a despotic ruler, commonly known as “Colonel Gaddafi”.

The UNSC adopted Resolution 1970 on 26 February 2011 to condemn Gaddafi’s use of lethal force against protesters in Libya. Sanctions were imposed on the Gaddafi family, such as the freezing of assets.

On 19 March 2011, NATO led a coalition force against the Libyan dictator. The NATO campaign lasted for 7 months, which led to the death of Muammar Gaddafi.

However, NATO’s controversial involvement in Libya went beyond the protection of the citizens as it led to a regime change. As such, critics argued that Western military intervention was largely driven by the desire for resource acquisition, given that Libya was one of the world’s largest oil producers.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following questions to understand the topic:
– Examine the effectiveness of the Responsibility to Protect as a UN reform in keeping the organisation relevant in the 21st Century [to be discussed in class].

Join our JC History Tuition and learn to analyse the significance of the United Nations in the post-Cold War period. Also, learn more about other JC tuition classes, such as GP TuitionEconomics Tuition, JC Chemistry Tuition, JC Math Tuition and China Studies in English Tuition. For Secondary Tuition, we provide Secondary English Tuition, Secondary Math tuition, Secondary Chemistry Tuition and Secondary Economics Tuition. Call 9689 0510 for more information.

JC History Tuition Bishan Singapore - What was the Fisheries case about (Iceland v. United Kingdom) - JC History Essay Notes

What was the Fisheries Jurisdiction case about?

Topic of Study [For H2 History Students]:
Paper 1: Safeguarding International Peace and Security 
Section B: Essay Writing
Theme III Chapter 2: Political Effectiveness of the UN in maintaining international peace and security

Learn more about the developments of the three Cold Wars that affected UK-Iceland relations.

Dollar and Cents: The Significance of Icelandic Fisheries
Iceland has one of the richest fishing grounds in the world. The fishing industry is recognised as a key pillar of its economy. It employs nearly 5.3% of its total workforce. It exports a wide range of fish and seafood such as the valuable cod and haddock. Currently, Iceland maintains a 200 nautical miles exclusive fishing zone.

Did you know that the UK spends about £1.2 billion on Fish & Chips annually? Most of UK’s cod and haddock comes from Icelandic and Norwegian Seas.

A Fishy Situation: Disputes over the Delineation of Fishing Zones
In 1948, the Icelandic government passed a law to establish conservation zones for fishing. In 1952, a 4-mile zone was drawn. Six years later, a new 12-mile fishery limit was made exclusive for Icelandic fisherman. However, the United Kingdom (UK) rejected the validity of the Icelandic regulations, even though the latter’s fishermen continued to fish within this newly-declared 12-mile limit.

The First Cod War (1958-1961)
Once the newly-introduced Icelandic law came into force on 1 September 1958, the first Cod War began. The British deployed their four warships from the Royal Navy (HMS Eastbourne, HMS Russell, HMS Palliser and HMS Hound) to protect their fishing trawlers. Likewise, Iceland sent eight small coastguard patrol vessels, including the largest frigate known as the Thor.

The furious Icelandic officials threatened to withdraw Iceland’s membership of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) unless mediation was carried out. Eventually, NATO agreed to engage in formal and informal mediations to resolve the matter.

Both the UK and Iceland reached a settlement in the Exchange of Notes (known as the 1961 Agreement) on 8 June 1961. Both parties agreed to a 12-mile fishery zone situated around Iceland.

The United Kingdom Government will no longer object to a twelve-mile fishery zone around Iceland measured from the base lines specified in paragraph 2 below which relate solely to the delimitation of that zone...

The Icelandic Government will not object to vessels registered in the United Kingdom fishing within the outer six miles of the fishery zone

Exchange of Notes between the United Kingdom and Iceland, 8 June 1961.

The Second Cod War (1972-1973)
Yet, the consensus did not last as Iceland extended its fisheries jurisdiction to a 50-mile zone on 28 November 1971. Iceland claimed that the 1961 agreement was no longer in effect.

Many Western European states opposed Iceland’s extension, but the Icelandic government maintained its position, arguing that the Cod Wars were part of a bigger conflict against ‘imperialism’ and the achievement of economic independence.

On 1 September 1972, the Iceland law was enforced. Many British and West German trawlers continued to fish within the newly-declared zone. This time, the Icelandic Coast Guard ships were armed with trawl wire cutters to undermine non-Icelandic vessels. The second confrontation was tense as British and Icelandic ships rammed each other.

Fortunately, NATO oversaw a series of talks between the UK and Iceland, starting on 16 September 1973. The outcome in Iceland’s favour as the British warships were recalled a month later.

The Court’s ruling: The crystallisation of customary laws
Additionally, the UK filed an application to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on 14 April 1972 to contest Iceland’s unilateral decision to extend the fishing zone. It pointed out to the Court that Iceland’s claim to zone of exclusive fisheries jurisdiction extending to 50 miles contravenes international law.

On 25 July 1974, the Court ruled in favour of the UK. It concluded that Iceland’s extension to a 50-mile zone in 1971 was invalid, given that Iceland could not exclude the UK from the newly-defined areas between the fishery limits decided in the 1961 agreement. Iceland had to adhere to the 12-mile fishery zone jurisdiction.

Also, ICJ advised both parties to undertake negotiations to resolve their differences amicably. For example, the British agreed to limit fishing activities to areas within the designated limit of Iceland.

Subsequently, two concepts were accepted as part of customary law. First, a fishery zone up to a 12-mile limit from the baseline is acceptable. Second, preferential fishing rights should be granted to a coastal state that has special dependence on its coastal fisheries.

The Third Cod War (1975-1976)
Following the third United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS III) in 1975, the Icelandic government again announced its intentions to extend its fishery limits to 200 nautical miles from its coast. There were several clashes between Icelandic and British ships, including ramming and net cutting incidents.

The Cod Wars - The Guardian
Cartoon Illustration on ‘The Cod Wars’ from The Guardian [2 June 1976]

On 1 June 1976, NATO mediated sessions for the two parties. An agreement was made, in which the UK could keep 24 trawlers within the 200 nautical miles and their catch was capped at 50,000 tons.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– Assess the view that the International Court of Justice was effective in ensuring adherence to the international law [to be discussed in class].

Sign up for our JC History Tuition and learn to apply your knowledge to source-based case study questions (SBCS), including the topic on the ICJ and UN. We provide summary notes to consolidate the key issues for each topic such that you can study efficiently and effectively. We also offer other JC tuition classes, such as GP TuitionEconomics Tuition, JC Chemistry Tuition, JC Math Tuition and China Studies in English Tuition. For Secondary Tuition, we provide Secondary English Tuition, Secondary Math tuition, Secondary Chemistry Tuition and Secondary Economics Tuition. Call 9689 0510 to find out more.

JC History Tuition Bishan Singapore - What is the role of the International Court of Justice - JC History Essay Notes

What is the role of the International Court of Justice?

Topic of Study [For H2 History Students]:
Paper 1: Safeguarding International Peace and Security 
Section B: Essay Writing
Theme III Chapter 2: Political Effectiveness of the UN in maintaining international peace and security

Examine the role of the International Court of Justice to understand this judicial organ of the United Nations.

Role of the International Court of Justice (ICJ)
The ICJ is the principal judicial organ of the United Nations (UN). Its establishment took place during the San Francisco Conference (25 April to 26 June 1945) that officially formed the UN itself.

The International Court of Justice shall be the principal judicial organ of the United Nations. It shall function in accordance with the annexed Statute, which is based upon the Statute of the Permanent Court of International Justice and forms an integral part of the present Charter.

Article 93, Chapter XIV of the UN Charter

Functions of the ICJ
There are two main functions performed by the ICJ. The Court provides advisory opinions and facilitates dispute resolution.

Feature #1: Advisory Opinion
The ICJ can provide advisory opinions for UN members for any legal matters. In other words, the Court is an embodiment of world opinion to reflect the international community’s will. Examples include the ‘Legality of the Use or Threat of Nuclear Weapons‘ [19 December 1994].

The General Assembly or the Security Council may request the International Court of Justice to give an advisory opinion on any legal question.

Article 96, Chapter XIV of the UN Charter [Advisory Opinion]

Feature #2: Dispute Resolution
Second, the Court is responsible for dispute resolution between sovereign states. It acts as a fair mediator and provides an internationally-recognised platform. Examples include the Pedra Branca dispute‘ [24 July 2003] and Frontier Dispute‘ [18 October 1983].

The parties to any dispute, the continuance of which is likely to endanger the maintenance of international peace and security, shall, first of all, seek a solution by negotiation, enquiry, mediation, conciliation, arbitration, judicial settlement, resort to regional agencies or arrangements, or other peaceful means of their own choice.

Article 33, Chapter VI of the UN Charter [Dispute Resolution]

In making recommendations under this Article the Security Council should also take into consideration that legal disputes should as a general rule be referred by the parties to the International Court of Justice in accordance with the provisions of the Statute of the Court.

Article 36, Chapter VI of the UN Charter [Dispute Resolution]

Institutionalization of the ICJ: First Case
In April 1946, the precursor to the ICJ, also known as the Permanent Court of International Justice (PCIJ), was dissolved. Subsequently, the President Judge, José Gustavo, was elected in the ICJ. In May 1947, the first case that was submitted by United Kingdom against Albania. It was known as the ‘Corfu Channel’ incident.

Enforcement of Court’s Decisions
Should any involved party refuse to comply with the Court’s decision, the Security Council can enforce the decisions. In fact, all members of the United Nations must adhere to the decisions of the Court, if they are involved in a submitted dispute.

Each Member of the United Nations undertakes to comply with the decision of the International Court of Justice in any case to which it is a party.

If any party to a case fails to perform the obligations incumbent upon it under a judgment rendered by the Court, the other party may have recourse to the Security Council, which may, if it deems necessary, make recommendations or decide upon measures to be taken to give effect to the judgment.

Article 94, Chapter XIV of the UN Charter

Final Summary
In view of the ICJ’s roles, the United Nations has arguably remained relevant in ensuring adherence to the international law. Although there are occasional setbacks that hamper its ability to resolve complex disputes, particularly in the South China Sea region, many countries still defer to the Court’s decision.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following questions to understand the topic:
– To what extent do you agree that the International Court of Justice was hindered by the great powers in ensuring adherence to the international law? [to be discussed in class].

Now that you have examined the functions of the ICJ, you can consider signing up for our JC History Tuition. We will teach you to write concise and well-organised paragraphs to ace your A Level History essay sections in Paper 1 and Paper 2 [for H2 History].

Besides, you can sign up for other JC tuition programs, such as GP TuitionEconomics Tuition, JC Chemistry Tuition, JC Math Tuition and China Studies in English Tuition. For Secondary Tuition, we provide Secondary English Tuition, Secondary Math tuition, Secondary Chemistry Tuition and Secondary Economics Tuition. Call 9689 0510 to learn more.

JC History Tuition Bishan Singapore - What are the UN Reforms - JC History Essay Notes

What are the UN Reforms?

Topic of Study [For H2 History Students]:
Paper 1: Safeguarding International Peace and Security 
Section B: Essay Writing
Theme III Chapter 2: Political Effectiveness of the UN in maintaining international peace and security

Learn more about the obstacles encountered in the United Nations Security Council to understand why reforms are needed to keep this international organization relevant.

Obstacles that affected the United Nations (UN)
In the previous article, we have examined how the conceptualization of peacekeeping was essential in enhancing the United Nations’ role in maintaining international peace and security. Although such efforts are noteworthy, the UN encountered several impediments that hampered its functions.

Challenge #1: Operational Constraints
Given that the UN is an international organization that functions on the basis of cooperation by member states, these individual countries are expected to contribute troops and finances to enable the deployment of peacekeeping forces.

However, voluntary contribution is problematic as every member state is guided by political interests. This issue was even more severe during the Cold War as ideological interests shaped the decisions of superpowers and affected the availability of operational support. Examples include the Congo Crisis, Somali Civil War and Rwandan Genocide.

“An Agenda for Peace” Report
Fortunately, some of the UN Secretary-Generals (UNSGs) have exercised their independence and engaged in innovative attempts to reform the peacekeeping aspect. In 1992, the Egyptian UNSG Boutros Boutros-Ghali submitted the report titled “An Agenda for Peace: Preventive diplomacy, peacemaking and peace-keeping.

In this report, Boutros-Ghali proposed how the United Nations should respond to conflicts in the post-Cold War era. In particular, the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) was established in the same year to streamline and manage peacekeeping operations effectively. For instance, the United Nations Standby Arrangements System (UNSAS) was formed to provide military forces that are capable of deploying in a short span of time to manage threats to international peace and security.

Challenge #2: Great Power Politics
With reference to the featured video in the above, great power politics have been a persistent obstacle that impeded the functioning of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).

Some critics have claimed that the membership of the Permanent Five in the UNSC is outdated and irrelevant in the modern world. For example, there is over-representation of Europe, while other regions are not, such as Asia and Africa. In 2013, South African President Jacob Zuma expressed similar sentiments, arguing that the UNSC was ‘outdated’ and ‘undemocratic’.

The prime concern was the veto power, which challenges the democratic principles enshrined in the UN Charter. Again, the Cold War rivalry was known to create frequent political deadlocks within the UNSC. Superpowers were known to exercise the veto to block UN action should the UN response be perceived as a threat to their ideological interests. Examples include the Hungarian Revolution (1956), Soviet invasion of Afghanistan (1979) and the US invasion of Grenada (1983).

Veto Reforms
With regards to this contentious issue, some of the member states have supported the proposal of abolishing the veto. Yet, such an approach was unrealistic, given that any amendment to the UN Charter required complete consensus from the Permanent Five (P5). Furthermore, some of the P5 members have disagreed with the abolishment.

Others suggested a less extreme reform, such as the consideration of a ‘veto restraint’. This mean that the P5 UNSC would accept self-imposed restrictions without having to amend the Charter. The intention was to enable the freer changes in the membership and appointment of the UNSG. Again, these efforts were met with limited success.

Conclusion
From the above-mentioned reforms, we can conclude that there are several obstacles that limit the functioning of the United Nations, such as operational constraints and the outdated Security Council structure. Although the progress of UN reforms was constrained by the reluctance of some member states to comply, we should acknowledge these efforts to keeping the organization relevant in the 21st Century.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following questions to understand the topic:
– Assess the effectiveness of the United Nations reforms to maintain international peace and security. [to be discussed in class].

Join our JC History Tuition to broaden your content awareness and knowledge application. We prepare you by examining many basic and challenging essay questions to ensure that you are ready for the GCE A Level History examinations. Furthermore, you can sign up for other JC tuition classes, such as GP TuitionEconomics Tuition, JC Chemistry Tuition, JC Math Tuition and China Studies in English Tuition. For Secondary Tuition, we provide Secondary English Tuition, Secondary Math tuition, Secondary Chemistry Tuition and Secondary Economics Tuition. Call 9689 0510 to find out more.

JC History Tuition Bishan Singapore - What is peacekeeping - JC History Essay Notes

What is peacekeeping?

Topic of Study [For H1/H2 History Students]:
Paper 1: Safeguarding International Peace and Security 
Section B: Essay Writing
Theme III Chapter 2: Political Effectiveness of the UN in maintaining international peace and security

Learn more about the role of the United Nations peacekeepers.

Origins of ‘Peacekeeping’
At the initial stage, the United Nations Charter did not consider the notion of ‘peacekeeping’. In the Chapter VI and Chapter VII, the United Nations Security Council is empowered to carry out ‘peace-making’ and ‘peace enforcement’. ‘Peacekeeping’ is commonly known as ‘Chapter V 1/2’ as it includes both diplomatic solutions and forceful actions.

‘Peacekeeping’ was formalized by the United Nations Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjold and Canadian Minister of External Affairs Lester Pearson. This development coincided with the Suez Canal Crisis of 1956.

Three principles of Peacekeeping
The conceptualization of peacekeeping led to the definition of three principles: (i) Consent of the parties (ii) Impartiality (iii) Non-use of force except in self-defence and defence of the mandate

(i) Consent of the parties
Before the United Nations peacekeepers are deployed to the conflict zone(s), the international organization must require consent by the involved parties. Should a country be involved, the government must grant host-state consent, as it reflects the respect of national sovereignty.

(ii) Impartiality
The second principle involves the need for United Nations peacekeepers to be neutral throughout the conflict. Impartiality is needed to preserve the legitimacy of the United Nations and maintain the consent of all parties.

(iii) Non-use of force except in self-defence and defence of the mandate
Although the peacekeepers are armed for self-defence, they are not authorized to use force as it may compromise the other two principles. Nevertheless, there are instances in which the United Nations Security Council authorizes the peacekeepers to ‘use all necessary means’ to fulfil the resolutions (e.g. Congo Crisis and Gulf War).

Phases of Peacekeeping
From the 1950s to 1980s, the United Nations was involved in ‘traditional peacekeeping’, which involved inter-state conflicts. The peacekeepers are charged with the responsibility of monitoring ceasefires. The relevant case studies include Suez Canal Crisis (UNEF I) and the Cyprus Crisis (UNFICYP).

From the 1980s onwards, the evolution of peacekeeping began, which included intra-state conflicts. The role of the United Nations peacekeepers expanded to the provision of humanitarian aid and monitoring of elections. Examples of such case studies are the Cambodian Crisis (UNTAC), East Timorese Crisis (UNTAET).

Reflections on peacekeeping
In view of these roles and responsibilities of peacekeeping, the successes of the United Nations were occasionally limited by obstacles, such as Cold War rivalry and operational constraints. In the next article, we will examine the challenges of peacekeeping and how the international organization has derived solutions to overcome them.

What can we learn from this case study?
Consider the following questions to understand the topic:
– How far do you agree that the effectiveness of the United Nations peacekeeping missions were dependent on great power consensus? [to be discussed in class].

Sign up for our JC History Tuition and learn more about peacekeeping case studies to answer JC History essay questions. Also, you can sign up for related JC tuition classes, such as GP TuitionEconomics Tuition, JC Chemistry Tuition, JC Math Tuition and China Studies in English Tuition. For Secondary Tuition, we provide Secondary English Tuition, Secondary Math tuition, Secondary Chemistry Tuition and Secondary Economics Tuition. Call 9689 0510 to learn more.

JC History Tuition Bishan Singapore - What is the role of the United Nations Security Council - JC History Essay Notes

What is the role of the United Nations Security Council?

Topic of Study [For H1/H2 History Students]:
Paper 1: Safeguarding International Peace and Security 
Section B: Essay Writing
Theme III Chapter 2: Political Effectiveness of the UN in maintaining international peace and security

Examine the role of the Security Council to understand its significance in maintaining international peace and security.

Role of the UN Security Council (UNSC)
The Security Council is the primary organ that bears the responsibility to maintain international peace and security. It is comprised of 15 members: Five permanent members (known as the ‘P5’ in short – namely USA, Russia, UK, France and China) as well as ten non-permanent members (elected for two-year terms).

In order to ensure prompt and effective action by the United Nations, its members confer on the Security Council primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security, and agree that in carrying out its duties under this responsibility the Security Council acts on their behalf.

In discharging these duties the Security Council shall act in accordance with the Purposes and Principles of the United Nations. The specific powers granted to the Security Council for the discharge of these duties are laid down in Chapters VI, VII, VIII, and XII

Article 24, Chapter V of the United Nations Charter

#1: Empowerment of the UNSC
As outlined in Article 24, the UNSC is granted the empowerment tools to invoke Chapters VI (Pacific Settlement of Disputes), VII (Actions with respect to Threats to the Peace), VIII (Regional arrangements) and XII (International Trustee System) to fulfill its primary role.

The Members of the United Nations agree to accept and carry out the decisions of the Security Council in accordance with the present Charter.

Article 25, Chapter V of the United Nations Charter

Furthermore, the resolutions of the UNSC are binding, implying that affected parties, including members of the United Nations must comply.

Chapter VI: Pacific Settlement of Disputes
We will be examining three aspects to understand the significant role of the UNSC in invoking the relevant ‘Chapters’. First, Chapter VI involves the diplomatic and peaceful approach of encouraging warring parties to cooperate with the UN and resolve the conflicts without violence.

1. The parties to any dispute, the continuance of which is likely to endanger the maintenance of international peace and security, shall, first of all, seek a solution by negotiation, enquiry, mediation, conciliation, arbitration, judicial settlement, resort to regional agencies or arrangements, or other peaceful means of their own choice.

2. The Security Council shall, when it deems necessary, call upon the parties to settle their dispute by such means.

Article 33, Chapter VI of the United Nations Charter

In practice, the United Nations Secretary-General (UNSG) is instructed by the Security Council to act on these resolutions through peaceful means, if possible.

Chapter VII: Action with respect to Threats to the Peace, Breaches of the Peace, and Acts of Aggression
Another critical option that the UNSC can introduce is Chapter VII. Should diplomacy fail, the use of force is considered as the next possible option. According to the UN Charter, a ‘Military Staff Committee’ is established to oversee the procedures on how it can be carried out appropriately.

The ‘Collective Security’ principle was applied in practice notably in two situations: the Korean War (1950) and the Gulf War (1990).

The Security Council shall determine the existence of any threat to the peace, breach of the peace, or act of aggression and shall make recommendations, or decide what measures shall be taken in accordance with Articles 41 and 42, to maintain or restore international peace and security.

Should the Security Council consider that measures provided for in Article 41 would be inadequate or have proved to be inadequate, it may take such action by air, sea, or land forces as may be necessary to maintain or restore international peace and security. Such action may include demonstrations, blockade, and other operations by air, sea, or land forces of Members of the United Nations.

Article 39 and 42, Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter

Chapter VIII: Regional Arrangements
Lastly, the UNSC can employ the assistance of ‘regional arrangements’, which simply can be referred to regional organizations to fulfill its resolutions. The benefit of relying on these groupings is that UN can gather operational resources, including troop contributions, rapidly to conduct swift crisis responses. This is backed by the observation that the United Nations lacks a ‘permanent standing army’. Throughout the UN-sponsored operation, these ‘regional arrangements’ must adhere to the principles of the UN Charter to ensure the maintenance of international peace and security.

In particular, the UNSC must authorize any form of enforcement before the ‘regional arrangement’ can do so.

The Security Council shall, where appropriate, utilize such regional arrangements or agencies for enforcement action under its authority. But no enforcement action shall be taken under regional arrangements or by regional agencies without the authorization of the Security Council

Article 53, Chapter VIII of the United Nations Charter

Yet, there were instances in which authorization was not sought after, as exemplified by the Kosovo War. During the conflict, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) carried out its bombing campaign in Yugoslavia from March to June 1999. China and Russia opposed NATO’s proposal for military action.

What can we learn from this case study?
Consider the following questions to understand the topic:
– Assess the view that structural limitations were the greatest hindrance to the functioning of the United Nations Security Council from 1945 to 2000. [to be discussed in class].

Join our JC History Tuition and find out how you can organise your areas of study for these comprehensive topics, such as ‘Safeguarding International Peace and Security’ and ‘Economic Development after Independence’. Additionally, you can sign up for related JC tuition classes, such as GP TuitionEconomics Tuition, JC Chemistry Tuition, JC Math Tuition and China Studies in English Tuition. For Secondary Tuition, we provide Secondary English Tuition, Secondary Math tuition, Secondary Chemistry Tuition and Secondary Economics Tuition. Call 9689 0510 to register now!

JC History Tuition Bishan Singapore - What is the role of the United Nations General Assembly - JC History Essay Notes

What is the role of the United Nations General Assembly?

Topic of Study [For H1/H2 History Students]:
Paper 1: Safeguarding International Peace and Security 
Section B: Essay Writing
Theme III Chapter 2: Political Effectiveness of the UN in maintaining international peace and security

Examine the role of the UNGA to understand its contributions to the world.

Role of the UN General Assembly (UNGA)
The General Assembly is the principal deliberative organ of the United Nations. It comprises of the representatives of all member states that admitted the international organization.

#1: Discussions and recommendations on matters affecting international peace and security
In particular, the UNGA is charged with the responsibility to facilitate discussions among member states to address matters pertaining to international peace and security.

The General Assembly may discuss any questions or any matters within the scope of the present Charter or relating to the powers and functions of any organs provided for in the present Charter, and, except as provided in Article 12, may make recommendations to the Members of the United Nations or to the Security Council or to both on any such questions or matters.

Article 10, Chapter IV of the UN Charter

However, it is imperative to acknowledge the advisory role of the UNGA as the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) bears the primary responsibility in the authorization of use of force in dealing with such matters.

The General Assembly may discuss any questions relating to the maintenance of international peace and security brought before it by any Member of the United Nations, or by the Security Council, or by a state which is not a Member of the United Nations in accordance with Article 35, paragraph 2, and, except as provided in Article 12, may make recommendations with regard to any such questions to the state or states concerned or to the Security Council or to both. Any such question on which action is necessary shall be referred to the Security Council by the General Assembly either before or after discussion.

Article 11(2), Chapter IV of the UN Charter

#2: Voting Process and Resolutions
After much deliberation, member states of the UNGA would undertake a voting process to decide whether to adopt a resolution (i.e. a course of action). Each member state is entitled to one vote. A two-thirds majority must be made before the resolution can be passed.

These resolutions can be passed to address matters, such as the admission of new member states to the General Assembly.

Decisions of the General Assembly on important questions shall be made by a two-thirds majority of the members present and voting. These questions shall include: recommendations with respect to the maintenance of international peace and security, the election of the non-permanent members of the Security Council…

Article 18, Chapter IV of the UN Charter

#3: ‘Uniting for Peace’ Resolution
Although there were Charter limitations that inhibited the UNGA’s role, a reform was introduced on 3 November 1950, known as the ‘Uniting for Peace’ (UfP) resolution.

If the Security Council, because of lack of unanimity of the permanent members, fails to exercise its primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security in any case where there appears to be a threat to the peace, breach of the peace, or act of aggression, the General Assembly shall consider the matter immediately with a view to making appropriate recommendations to Members for collective measures, including in the case of a breach of the peace or act of aggression the use of armed force when necessary, to maintain or restore international peace and security.

Resolution 377(V), 3 November 1950

In practice, the UfP resolution was first invoked during the Suez Canal Crisis of 1956. Due to the vetoes by France and the United Kingdom, the resolution empowered the UNGA to act. This lead to the successful formation of the United Nations Emergency Force (UNEF) that supervised the cessation of hostilities in Egypt.

What can we learn from this case study?
Consider the following questions to understand the topic:
– Assess the view that great power politics impeded the role of the United Nations General Assembly during the Cold War [to be discussed in class].

Sign up for our JC History Tuition as we teach you to organise your content for the United Nations topics, which is one of the most comprehensive chapters that JC History students will cover in the A Level History syllabus. Also, you can sign up for related JC tuition classes, such as GP TuitionEconomics Tuition, JC Chemistry Tuition, JC Math Tuition and China Studies in English Tuition. For Secondary Tuition, we provide Secondary English Tuition, Secondary Math tuition, Secondary Chemistry Tuition and Secondary Economics Tuition. Call 9689 0510 to find out more.

What is the role of the United Nations Secretariat

What is the role of the United Nations Secretariat?

Role of the UN Secretariat
The Secretariat is one of the six main organs of the United Nations and is headed by the UN Secretary-General [UNSG].

The UNSG is described as the ‘de facto’ head’ of the international organization and acts as the ‘chief administrative officer’ as stated in Article 97 of the UN Charter.

Additionally, as outlined in Article 99, the UNSG has the responsibility of ‘[bringing] to the attention of the Security Council any matter which in his opinion may threaten the maintenance of international peace and security’.

Topic of Study [For H1/H2 History Students]:
Paper 1: Safeguarding International Peace and Security 
Section B: Essay Writing
Theme III Chapter 2: Political Effectiveness of the UN in maintaining international peace and security

In the following part, we will examine the contributions of each UNSG during their respective terms in the period of 1945 to 2000.

1. [1946-1952] Trygve Lie
As the first official Secretary-General of the United Nations, he took the lead in managing various international issues, such as the Arab-Israeli conflict in 1948 and the Korean War in 1950. However, Lie was impeded by Cold War politics during the latter conflict.

Lie condemned the North Korean invasion and supported the US-led UN coalition that repelled the attacks. As such, Soviet Union perceived Lie as a pro-West, biased UNSG and blocked Lie’s reappointment. Eventually, Lie resigned from the UN.

2. [1953-1961] Dag Hammarskjöld
In contrast to Lie, Dag Hammarskjöld was looked up to by many as the role model for United Nations, given his outstanding contributions during his term.

First, Hammarskjöld’s negotiations with Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai had paid off as the latter agreed to release the American pilots, who were prisoners-of-war during the Korean War.

Second, Hammarskjöld oversaw the creation and deployment of the first-ever peacekeeping troops, known as the United Nations Emergency Forces [UNEF], that facilitated the withdrawal of foreign troops in Egypt during the Suez Canal Crisis of 1956.

Third, Hammarskjöld once again led the formation of the United Nations Operation in the Congo [ONUC] to deal with the Congo Crisis in 1960. He made sure that the ONUC comprised of ‘middle powers’ to circumvent great power politics that frequently caused political deadlock within the Security Council.

However, the UNSG died in a plane crash in 1961, causing the abrupt end to his illustrious career.

3. [1961-1966] U Thant
Following Hammarskjöld’s untimely death, U Thant was appointed to replace him. Although U Thant was recognised for his efforts in overseeing the management of Third World issues, given the growing membership in the 1960s [due to the decolonization of the Afro-Asian bloc], his achievements were marred by several failures.

After the Suez Canal Crisis, the UNEF I oversaw a ten-year transition period and was stationed in Egypt. Yet, U Thant quickly acceded to Egyptian president Nasser’s request to withdraw the UNEF I from Sinai, thus indirectly causing the start of the Six-Day War in 1967.

Furthermore, U Thant’s harsh criticisms towards American involvement in the Vietnam War proved detrimental to his role as the UNSG. In 1966, he put forward a three-stage proposal for conflict resolution. Yet, the US ignored and bypassed his efforts.

4. [1972-1981] Kurt Waldheim
The Austrian diplomat, Kurt Waldheim, played a significant administrative role during his term. Partially, his cautious approach to avoid being criticized or hindered by the Great Powers proved successful, as evidenced by his reappointment for the second term.

For example, Waldheim was successful in responding to the apartheid regime [institutionalized racial segregation] in South Africa and Namibia. His open statements towards the inhumane regime galvanized the General Assembly into action, as seen by the adoption of the Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid.

However, Waldheim proved to be unsuccessful in managing conflicts that involved Great Powers directly, especially the superpowers. For instance, Waldheim was hindered by Soviet Union during the Soviet-Afghan War in 1979.

5. [1982-1991] Javier Pérez de Cuéllar
The Peruvian diplomat, Javier Pérez de Cuéllar, was recognised for his successful efforts, partly due to the changing international climate. In the 1980s, the Cold War continued to be a hindrance as observed by the lack of progress during the 1980 Iran-Iraq War. Likewise, the US-backed proxy conflicts in Central America, such as Nicaragua, were problematic as US constantly relied on the use or threat of veto to block de Cuéllar’s diplomatic efforts.

Fortunately, in the late 1980s and early 1990s, the end of the Cold War proved fortuitous for him as the superpowers became more supportive of UN efforts.

For example, the UNSG was now able to set up the United Nations Good Offices Mission in Afghanistan and Pakistan [UNGOMAP] to facilitate the withdrawal of Soviet forces in Afghanistan. Clearly, this was a stark contrast as compared to his predecessor’s time.

6. [1992-1996] Boutros Boutros-Ghali
In the post-Cold War period, Boutros-Ghali contributed to several noteworthy successes. During the Vietnamese invasion of Cambodia [1978-1993], he oversaw the deployment of the United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia [UNTAC] to facilitate a smooth political transition, such as the monitoring of elections.

However, Boutros-Ghali also encountered failures, such as the Somali Civil War [1992] and Rwandan Genocide [1993]. For example, unfavourable local conditions led to the departure of UN forces in Somalia, resulting in the failed attempts to provide humanitarian assistance to the civilians.

7. [1997-2006] Kofi Annan
Kofi Annan explored other roles besides the monitoring of peacekeeping missions, as observed by his pursuit of structural changes within the United Nations.

For example, Annan engaged in UN reforms to overcome structural issues through the ‘Responsibility to Protect’ [R2P] framework. Also, he advocated the pursuit of the Millennium Development Goals, which covered objectives like the proliferation of education, gender equality and poverty reduction.

What can we learn from this case study?
Consider the following questions to understand the case study:
– How far do you agree that Cold War rivalry was the greatest obstacle in affecting the effectiveness of the UN Security Council? [to be discussed in class]

Apart from analyzing various case studies in this broad and vast theme on the United Nations, you can also join our JC History Tuition to assess your knowledge application skills. We teach students to think critically and write persuasively. Furthermore, we use different teaching approaches to engage students as they learn to grasp concepts effectively.

Also, 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. Call 9689 0510 to sign up for the JC Tuition programmes to get discounts.