JC History Tuition Online - What are the Seven Sisters Oil Companies - Global Economy Notes

What are the Seven Sisters Oil Companies?

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

Learn more about the history of oil to understand its impacts on the global economy [Video by Geo History]

What are the ‘Seven Sisters’?
It refers to a group of integrated international oil companies that dominated the global oil markets from the mid-1940s to the mid-1970s. In the 1950s, the head of the Italian state-owned company Eni Enrico Mattei dubbed these companies as the ‘Seven Sisters’.

There were seven members:

  • Anglo-Iranian Oil Company
  • Gulf Oil
  • Royal Dutch Shell
  • Standard Oil Company of California
  • Standard Oil Company of New Jersey
  • Standard Oil Company of New York
  • Toxaco

Some of these members took on more familiar names, partly due to mergers. For instance, Gulf Oil and Texaco are part of Chevron. Notably, among these companies, most were owned by the Americans, including the well-known Rockefeller (Standard Oil).

By 1949, they occupied 82% of the discovered oil reserves outside the United States. The main role of the Seven Sisters was to keep oil prices stable so as to prevent the problematic ‘price collapse’ that frequently haunted the oil industry.

Price setting
The Seven Sisters established a system to ascertain the pricing of crude oil. Between the 1920 and the early 1970s, there were two markets: the US and the non-US. In the US, crude oil prices were set in free markets.

Outside the US, major oil producers had greater influence on production, which affects supply. Producers used a ‘basing point’ price system to prevent the occurrence of price wars.

The goal of the basing point price system was to discourage cheating through transparency and to prevent price wars. The cement and steel industries had operated similar systems. The bane of cartels, after all, had been cheating by members tempted to illicitly sell below the price established by the cartel but still high enough to earn the clandestine seller a juicy profit. Since the base price was published for all to see and freight charges were jointly agreed, all producers could be confident they weren’t being undercut by a rival.

An excerpt from “Crude Volatility: The History and the Future of Boom-Bust Oil Prices” by Robert McNally.

A new age: Enter OPEC
In the Middle East, governments in oil-rich countries began to organise themselves.

In April 1951, the Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh nationalised the nation’s oil assets, angering the owners of British Petroleum (BP). In retaliation, the Seven Sister members boycotted Iranian oil exports, forcing its output to fall to almost zero. In August 1953, Mossadegh was overthrown, resulting in the reversal of the nationalisation policies.

In 1958, two anti-Western uprising took place in Iraq and Venezuela, eventually leading to the diminished influence of the Seven Sisters in the global crude oil industry. In January 1958, a revolution had toppled the military regime under General Pérez Jiménez. The new Venezuelan government requested a lawyer Juan Pablo Pérez Alfonzo (later known as the ‘Father of OPEC’) to form a national oil company. In six months later, Iraqi forces led a military coup against King Faisal II and the pro-Western Nuri al-Said.

In September 1960, Kuwait, Iraq, Iran, Venezuela and Saudi Arabia gathered in Baghdad and set up the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). By then, OPEC had occupied more than four-fifths of the world’s oil exports.

Libya made the first move to challenge the dominance of the Seven Sisters. In September 1969, a military coup against King Idris I resulted in the rise of the leader Muammar Qaddafi. Qaddafi successfully demanded a hike in the per barrel price of oil. Subsequently, other OPEC members followed suit, setting off a frenzy.

Fearful of being picked off one by one, the seven majors, Total, and eight independents banded together in a united front to bargain with OPEC.

[…] The Shah played on western officials and companies’ fears, warning the former that if oil companies resisted, “the entire Gulf would be shutdown and no oil would flow,” and admonishing that the “all-powerful Six or Seven Sisters have got to open their eyes, and see they they’re living in 1971, and not in 1948 or 1949.” Washington—terrified above all of a supply cut off it no longer had ample spare capacity to offset— sided with the Shah and against oil companies, supporting OPEC’s demand for two regional negotiations.

An excerpt from “Crude Volatility: The History and the Future of Boom-Bust Oil Prices” by Robert McNally.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– Assess the view that oil was the most significant factor that influenced the development of the global economy in the post-war years.

Join our JC History Tuition to grasp the topic on the Global Economy, namely the ‘Golden Age of Capitalism’ and the ‘Crisis Decades’. The H2 and H1 History Tuition feature online discussion and writing practices to enhance your knowledge application skills. Get useful study notes and clarify your doubts on the subject with the tutor. You can also follow our Telegram Channel to get useful updates.

We have other JC tuition classes, such as GP TuitionEconomics TuitionJC Chemistry TuitionJC Math Tuition and China Studies in English Tuition. For Secondary Tuition, we provide Lower Secondary English Tuition, Secondary English Tuition, Secondary Math tuition, Secondary Chemistry Tuition and Secondary Economics Tuition. For Primary Tuition, we have Primary English Tuition. Call 9658 5789 to find out more.

JC History Tuition Online - Why did Khrushchev place Soviet missiles in Cuba - Cold War Notes

Why did Khrushchev place Soviet missiles in Cuba?

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: Cuban Missile Crisis (1962) 

Listen to the son of former Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev to consider the Soviet motivations to aid Cuba. [Video by Choices Program]

Historical context
The Cuban Missile Crisis was a Cold War conflict that brought the world to the brink of nuclear annihilation. Back then, both superpowers blamed one another for escalating tensions. The Kennedy administration criticised the Soviet Union for placing missiles in Cuba that could hit major cities in the USA. On the other hand, Soviet leader Khrushchev denied these accusations, claiming that the missiles in Cuba were purely defensive.

Khrushchev’s Gamble
After the Bay of Pigs invasion in April 1961, the Cuban leader Fidel Castro turned to Khrushchev for help. The Soviet leader contemplated on placing Soviet missiles in Cuba as an act of deterrence. He insisted on doing it in secret. Unfortunately, the USA had discovered the construction sites in Cuba and firmly believed that the missiles were there to attack the Americans.

The idea arose of placing our missile units in Cuba. Only a narrow circle of people knew about the plan. We concluded that we could send 42 missiles, each with a warhead of one megaton. We picked targets in the U.S. to inflict the maximum damage. We saw that our weapons could inspire terror. The two nuclear weapons the U.S. used against Japan at the end of the war were toys by comparison.

[…] It was our intention after installing the missiles to announce their presence in a loud voice. They were not meant for attack but as a means of deterring those who would attack Cuba.

An excerpt from “Khrushchev Remembers: The Glasnost Tapes” by Nikita Khrushchev.

In response, the USA subtly issued a threat to the Soviets, suggesting that a confrontation was imminent, unless the something was done to the Soviet missile bases in Cuba.

Castro’s hostility
Both Khrushchev and Castro had received intelligence reports of a potential American invasion of Cuba. To the Soviet leader’s horror and disappointment, Castro proposed a pre-emptive strike against the USA. After the secret negotiations between Kennedy and Khrushchev to remove the missiles in Cuba, Castro accused the Soviet leader of ‘capitulating’ to the USA.

In a September 1990 speech following the publication of Khrushchev Remembers: The Glasnost Tapes, Castro strongly denied that he had urged Khrushchev to make a preemptive nuclear strike, and two months later the Cuban communist newspaper Granma published the full texts of the Castro- Khrushchev correspondence from late October 1962. In the actual letter, it emerged, Castro had indeed counseled Khrushchev to never allow circumstances to develop in which “the imperialists” (i.e., the Americans) carried out the first nuclear strike—any means, “however harsh and terrible,” were justified to preclude this from happening and to “eliminate this danger forever.”

An excerpt from “Fidel Castro, Nuclear War, and the Missile Crisis— Three Missing Soviet Cables” by James G. Hershberg.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– How far do you agree that the Soviet involvement in Cuba was driven by local interests?

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

We have other JC tuition classes, such as GP TuitionEconomics TuitionJC Chemistry TuitionJC Math Tuition and China Studies in English Tuition. For Secondary Tuition, we provide Lower Secondary English Tuition, Secondary English Tuition, Secondary Math tuition, Secondary Chemistry Tuition and Secondary Economics Tuition. For Primary Tuition, we have Primary English Tuition. Call 9689 0510 to find out more.

JC History Tuition Online - ASEAN - What caused the Sino-Vietnamese War

What caused the Sino-Vietnamese War of 1979?

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)

Topic of Study [For H1 History Students]:
Essay Questions
Theme II Chapter 2: The Cold War and Southeast Asia (1945-1991): ASEAN and the Cold War (ASEAN’s responses to Cold War bipolarity)

Learn more about how the Sino-Vietnamese War occurred in 1979, affecting the Indochinese region. [Video by The Gulf War Channel]

Historical context: The Sino-Soviet split
On 17 February 1979, Chinese forces entered the northern border of Vietnam, sparking off a war between the two. Although the war only lasted for a month, it had significant impacts in the 1980s, such as increased involvement by the regional organisation ASEAN during the Third Indochina War.

Before the war, China and the Soviet Union were at odds with one another. During the Vietnam War, the two Communist powers offered aid to North Vietnam in hopes of isolating the other party and assuming leadership in the ideological bloc. Initially, Hanoi sided with China to resist the American forces in Vietnam.

The deteriorating Sino-Soviet relationship during the latter part of the 1960s eventually derailed Chinese-Vietnamese relations. While the Soviet Union did indeed use its support for North Vietnam in an attempt to win influence in Hanoi, China did so as well, hoping to coerce the Vietnamese into endorsing Beijing’s hard-line anti-Soviet revisionist position. Especially after suffering significant military losses during the 1968 Tet Offensive, the Vietnamese, who needed help from both socialist nations, were greatly annoyed by China’s increasing intractability, particularly the PRC’s growing perception of the Soviet Union, not the United States, as the primary threat to China’s national security in early 1969. Perhaps even worse, Beijing began to withdraw Chinese troops from Vietnam, although leaders promised that the forces would return if the Americans came back.

An excerpt from “Deng Xiaoping’s Long War: The Military Conflict Between China and Vietnam, 1979-1991” by Zhang Xiaoming.

However, Hanoi allied with the Soviet Union in the mid-1970s, as seen by its admission to the Council of Mutual Economic Cooperation (COMECON) in August 1978. Also, the two nations signed the Treaty of Friendship and Co-operation in November 1978. In return, Vietnam received extensive military support from the Soviets.

From then on, China-Vietnam relations had soured.

Chinese engagement with Thailand
After Vietnam signed the treaty with the Soviet Union, Deng met Thai Prime Minister General Kriangsak Chamanan, offering to withdraw support for the Communist Party of Thailand (CPT) and strengthen Thai border security. This was to assure the Thai authorities that the looming Vietnamese threat would be pre-empted.

On 25 December 1978, nearly 220,000 Vietnamese troops invaded Kampuchea. By January 1979, the pro-Beijing Khmer Rouge was forcibly removed from power. Instead, a Vietnamese puppet government known as the Kampuchean United Front for National Salvation (FUNSK) was established and helmed by Heng Samrin.

Increased Chinese hostility: Teach Vietnam a lesson
On 7 January 1979, the Chinese government wrote a letter to the United Nations, accusing Vietnam on invading Kampuchea by force and seeking to create an “Indochinese Federation” with the help of the Soviet Union. Deng remarked in a meeting with the US President Jimmy Carter that they should “put a restraint on the wild ambitions of the Vietnamese and to give them an appropriate limited lesson”.

Afterwards, the Sino-Vietnamese War began in February 1979. The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) mobilised 400,000 troops, an extremely large undertaking ever since their intervention in the Korean War. During the clash, both sides suffered significant losses. On 16 March 1979, the Sino-Vietnamese War came to an end.

However, the PLA were willing to absorb heavy losses, as long as the conflict achieved its strategic goals. The PLA believed these goals had been achieved, and that the war had succeeded in ‘exposing Moscow’s inability or unwillingness to back Vietnam’. While the use of force against Vietnam had been condemned by the US, albeit ambiguously, and raised the suspicions of regional states such as Indonesia and Malaysia, ultimately there was very little backlash, regionally or internationally.

An excerpt from “ASEAN Resistance to Sovereignty Violation: Interests, Balancing and the Role of the Vanguard State” by Laura Southgate.

After the war, Beijing stated five reasons to explain why they attacked Vietnam:

  1. Vietnam had become a hegemonic power, claiming to be the world’s third military superpower.
  2. Hanoi refused to respect China’s borders and repeatedly made incursions.
  3. Mistreatment of the Chinese in Vietnam.
  4. Oppression of the Vietnamese people.
  5. The Soviet Union’s expansionist policy in Southeast Asia to undermine China.

Consequences on the Kampuchean conflict
Yet, the month-long clash had failed to halt Vietnam’s occupation of Kampuchea. Open hostilities between China and Vietnam had persisted even after.

The two viewpoints expressed above bring to light the fact that both Hanoi and Beijing were at odds with each other principally because they were competing for influence in the region and feared what would happen if the other succeeded. Thus, for the Chinese, border problems, ethnic Chinese problems, and other problems could not be separated from Vietnam’s overall ambitions in Indochina because they reflected Hanoi’s expansionist tendencies.

An excerpt from “Dragons Entangled: Indochina and the China-Vietnam War” by Steven J. Hood.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– How far do you u agree that the Sino-Vietnamese War was key in explaining Chinese involvement in the Third Indochina War?

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

We have other JC tuition classes, such as GP TuitionEconomics TuitionJC Chemistry TuitionJC Math Tuition and China Studies in English Tuition. For Secondary Tuition, we provide Lower Secondary English Tuition, Secondary English Tuition, Secondary Math tuition, Secondary Chemistry Tuition and Secondary Economics Tuition. For Primary Tuition, we have Primary English Tuition. Call 9689 0510 to find out more.

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JC History Tuition Online - What are the five regional groups of the United Nations General Assembly

What are the five regional groups 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

Learn more about regional groups like the Group of 77 to understand their contributions to the General Assembly [Video by the United Nations]

Historical context
When the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) was tasked to choose members to fill the non-permanent seats on the Security Council (UNSC), it then led to the creation of five groups:

  1. African states
  2. Asia-Pacific states
  3. Latin American and Caribbean states
  4. Eastern European states
  5. Western European and Other states

These groups were formed based on geography. Initially, these regional groups were affected by changing political conditions, such as the decolonisation of the Third World nations from 1954 to 1960. For instance, British colonies that gained independence had joined groups based on their geographical proximities rather than being in the Commonwealth.

The only explicit provisions of the Charter on geographical distribution concern the election of the 10 non-permanent members of the Security Council (Article 23, para. 1) and the recruitment of the staff of the Organization (Article 101, para. 3).

[…]

The members of certain regional groups also use the groups for discussion and consultation on policy issues. Moreover, since groupings of Member States by geographical region have evolved as an informal arrangement for a number of practical purposes, different groupings are sometimes used for different purposes, or in the context of different United Nations bodies.

An excerpt from the United Nations Juridical Yearbook 1996 (Letter to the Senior Legal Adviser of the Universal Postal Union).

Apart from the consideration of these five regional groups, it is important to look at the formation of other groupings that affected the voting behavior of member nations in the UNGA.

Non-Aligned Movement (NAM)
The NAM was formed during the Cold War by the Yugoslav President Josip Broz Tito. It was established for countries that sought to stay neutral, refusing to align either with the United States or the Soviet Union. During the Bandung Conference in April 1955, the concepts for the NAM were created.

There were four key aims in the Conference:

  1. To promote goodwill and cooperation among the nations of Asia and Africa, to explore and advance their mutual as well as common interests, and to establish and further friendliness and neighbourly relations;
  2. To consider consider social, economic and cultural problems and relations of the countries represented;
  3. To consider problems of special interest to Asian and African peoples;
  4. To view the position of Africa and Asia and their peoples in the world of today and the contribution they can make to the promotion of world peace and cooperation.

In 1961, the NAM was founded in Belgrade (during the Non-Aligned Conference) under the leadership of Marshall Tito, Jawaharlal Nehru and Gamal Abdel Nasser. 25 Arab, Asian and African countries attended the Summit that marked its founding. Members in the NAM had objected to foreign intervention in the Middle East (such as the Suez Canal Crisis), labelling Western interference as ‘acts of imperialism’.

The African Group at the UN was created in 1958 and soon made its presence felt on decolonisation and anti-apartheid issues, eventually ostracising South Africa at the UN and maintaining pressure for the liberation of Rhodesia-Zimbabwe and Namibia. NAM states led the expansion of the UN Security Council and the Economic and Social Council by the mid-1970s. During this period, the Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination was agreed; a committee on decolonisation was established; and the special committee against apartheid was created.

[…]

Due to the pressure of a determined Southern majority, the People’s Republic of China took its permanent seat on the UN Security Council in 1971 in the teeth of US opposition. Western disenchantment with the global South’s dominance of multilateral diplomacy eventually led to the creation of the Group of Seven industrialised advanced nations in 1975.

An excerpt from “Bandung Revisited: The Legacy of the 1955 Asian-African Conference for International Order” by Amitav Acharya and See Seng Tan.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– Assess the importance of regional groups in influencing the effectiveness of the United Nations General Assembly.

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

We have other JC tuition classes, such as GP TuitionEconomics TuitionJC Chemistry TuitionJC Math Tuition and China Studies in English Tuition. For Secondary Tuition, we provide Lower Secondary English Tuition, Secondary English Tuition, Secondary Math tuition, Secondary Chemistry Tuition and Secondary Economics Tuition. For Primary Tuition, we have Primary English Tuition. Call 9689 0510 to find out more.

JC History Tuition Online - Why did Albania leave the Warsaw Pact - Sino-Soviet Split

Why did Albania leave the Warsaw Pact?

Topic of Study [For H1 History Students]:
Section B: Essay Writing
Theme II: Cold War in Asia [1945-1991] – Superpower relations with China (1950-1979)

Historical context: The Warsaw Pact
After the Berlin Blockade of 1948, the Western military alliance, known as the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) was formed in 1949. Afterwards, the Soviet Union signed the Warsaw Pact, a collective defense treaty in 1955, with seven other Eastern bloc nations. The Warsaw Pact functioned as a counterweight against NATO.

During the 20th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in February 1955, Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev delivered his speech of that sent shockwaves across the Communist bloc. To some, Khrushchev’s speech of ‘de-Stalinisation’ and ‘Peaceful Co-existence’ were considered revisionist, including the Albanian leader Enver Hoxha.

Let us take the question of the criticism of Stalin and his work. Our Party, as a Marxist-Leninist one, is fully aware that the cult of the individual is an alien and dangerous manifestation for the parties and for the communist movement itself. … Looking at it from this angle, we fully agree that the cult of the individual of Stalin should be criticized as a dangerous manifestation in the life of the party. But in our opinion, the 20th Congress, and especially Comrade Khrushchev’s secret report, did not put the question of Comrade Stalin correctly, in an objective Marxist-Leninist way.

An excerpt from a speech by Enver Hoxha delivered at the meeting of 81 Communist and Workers’ Parties in Moscow, 16 November 1960.

Switching sides
During the third Romanian Party Congress in Bucharest, all communist parties were present in June 1960 to exchange views on matters pertaining to the Communist and workers’ parties of the world. Khrushchev had intended to unite his Communist allies to challenge the Chinese. Yet, Hoxha was absent.

After the Bucharest debacle, Khrushchev withdrew economic aid for Albania, which pushed other Eastern European allies to do the same.

Thus Khrushchev had ironically undermined his own position by inadvertently weakening the pro-Khrushchevite faction and enabling the Sino- Albanian friendship. This friendship was mutually advantageous: Mao had gained a cheap and loyal ally, and Albania had found such a distant protector, that it would not ‘become a puppet of its protector but rather would increase its own degree of independence of maneuver in foreign and domestic affairs’.

An excerpt from “The Warsaw Pact Reconsidered: International Relations in Eastern Europe, 1955-1969” by Laurien Crump.

The Soviet Union continued to cut off economic support for Albania. In December 1960, the Soviets cancelled grants, cut off all trade and withdrew its advisers. Notably, the issue worsened when the Soviet-owned submarines withdrew in June 1961, leaving Albania’s security exposed.

Open Confrontation
During the 22nd CPSU Congress in October 1961, Khrushchev launched a series of criticisms at the Albanian leaders. In response, the Albanians spoke up against the Soviet leader. In 1962, Albania no longer resided in the Warsaw Pact. Consequently, Albanian turned to PRC for economic support, thereby widening the Sino-Soviet chasm.

As he sought to propel China towards a more radical path internationally, Mao Zedong sensed an opportunity in the growing Soviet-Albanian estrangement. Sino-Albanian solidarity was plainly emergent at the first open confrontation between Moscow and Beijing, at the communist-front General Council of the World Federation of Trade Unions in early June 1960.

… Internationally, both countries saw themselves in a two-front struggle against “imperialism” and “modern revisionism.” The Sino-Albanian “friendship” survived so long as the common struggle on the two fronts continued. Only in the wake of the Sino-American rapprochement in the 1970s did this close alliance unravel with the same fervor that had fostered its creation.

An excerpt from the Cold War International History Project Bulletin, Issue 16, titled “‘Albania is not Cuba.’ Sino-Albanian Summits and the Sino-Soviet Split” by Ana Lalaj, Christian F. Ostermann, and Ryan Gage.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– How far do you agree that the Sino-Albanian split was the main reason for the deterioration of Sino-Soviet relations?

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

We have other JC tuition classes, such as GP TuitionEconomics TuitionJC Chemistry TuitionJC Math Tuition and China Studies in English Tuition. For Secondary Tuition, we provide Lower Secondary English Tuition, Secondary English Tuition, Secondary Math tuition, Secondary Chemistry Tuition and Secondary Economics Tuition. For Primary Tuition, we have Primary English Tuition. Call 9689 0510 to learn more.

JC History Tuition Online - What is Ronald Reagan's Tear Down This Wall speech about

What is Ronald Reagan’s Tear Down This Wall speech about?

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

Find out more about Reagan’s speech in Berlin affected the end of the Cold War [Video by the Reagan Foundation]

Historical context
During the US President Ronald Reagan’s second term, he sought reconciliation with the Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev to end the Cold War. Apart from a series of historic summits that led to successful arms control and the end of superpower rivalry, Reagan delivered a speech that would later signify the end of a divided Germany in the 20th century.

Berlin was a hotly contested part of Germany between the USA and Soviet Union. This contestation began in the post-WWII time when the Allied Control Council fell apart due to conflicting interpretations on the management of the German zones. After the Berlin Blockade in 1948, West Germany was formed under the Federal Republic of Germany in May 1949 and East Germany under the German Democratic Republic in October 1949. Then, the Berlin Crisis in 1961 ended with the construction of the Berlin Wall that physically prevented citizens in the East from crossing to the West.

The Wall: What’s the fuss?
Then US President John Kennedy was puzzled by Khrushchev’s decision to construct a wall. Later, the Berlin Crisis had influenced his foreign policy stance towards the Soviet Union.

Speaking with aide Kenny O’Donnell, Kennedy asked, “Why would Khrushchev put up a wall if he really intended to seize West Berlin?” … Though Kennedy was correct in his short-term analysis of the wall, his 1961 actions did raise long-term concerns about the wall’s construction. Could have the wall been avoided?

An excerpt from “1963:The Year of Hope and Hostility” by Bryon Williams.

On 12 June 1987, Reagan challenged Gorbachev to ‘tear down this wall’ so as to usher in an era of peace and freedom. Behind the scenes, the White House speechwriter Peter Robinson was responsible for the legendary speech that left a lasting impression on the Berliners that day. Before the speech was made, Robinson discussed with other members of the White House to decide on whether to keep or modify that particular phrase.

Secretary of State George Shultz now objected to the speech. “He said, ‘I really think that line about tearing down the wall is going to be an affront to Mr. Gorbachev,'” Griscom recalls.

… Yet in the limousine on the way to the Berlin Wall, the President told Duberstein he was determined to deliver the controversial line. Reagan smiled. “The boys at State are going to kill me,” he said, “but it’s the right thing to do.”

… Why was there only one Great Communicator?

Because Ronald Reagan’s writers were never attempting to fabricate an image, just to produce work that measured up to the standard Reagan himself had already established. His policies were plain. He had been articulating them for decades—until he became President he wrote most of his material himself.

An excerpt from “Tear Down This Wall: How top advisers opposed Reagan’s challenge to Gorbachev – but lost” by Peter Robinson, 2007.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– How important was Reagan’s role in explaining the fall of Soviet Communism in Eastern Europe?

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

We have other JC tuition classes, such as GP TuitionEconomics TuitionJC Chemistry TuitionJC Math Tuition and China Studies in English Tuition. For Secondary Tuition, we provide Lower Secondary English Tuition, Secondary English Tuition, Secondary Math tuition, Secondary Chemistry Tuition and Secondary Economics Tuition. For Primary Tuition, we have Primary English Tuition. Call 9689 0510 to learn more.

JC History Tuition Online - What was the end result of the Cuban Missile Crisis

What was the end result of the Cuban Missile Crisis?

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: Cuban Missile Crisis (1962) 

Find out more about the resolution of the October Crisis [Video by The Life Guide]

The Détente: Relaxation of strained relations
Following the disastrous Cuban Missile Crisis, both superpowers have realised how their actions have brought the world to the brink of a nuclear holocaust. The notion that a ‘Mutually Assured Destruction’ would be possible had alarmed them so much that both parties were more willing to take a step back on their military build-up.

On 5 August 1963, the Limited Test Ban Treaty was signed by the USA and Soviet Union at Moscow to prohibit any nuclear weapons test.

Article I

1. Each of the Parties to this Treaty undertakes to prohibit, to prevent, and not to carry out any nuclear weapon test explosion, or any other nuclear explosion, at any place under its jurisdiction or control:

(a) in the atmosphere; beyond its limits, including outer space; or under water, including territorial waters or high seas; or

An excerpt from the Limited Test Ban Treaty, 5 August 1963.

Although the superpowers had agreed on arms control as seen by subsequent attempts such as the Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty (SALT) and the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty, critics questioned the genuine intentions of their leaders.

A perpetual arms race?
By the mid-1970s, the Soviet Union deployed newly-developed ballistic missiles in Eastern Europe, such as the SS-20 land-based missiles that could hit targets within Western Europe. In response, the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) declared its intention to deploy Pershing-II missiles in Western Europe.

The development of Cruise missiles stemmed from the same technology, though initially conceived as a strategic rather than as a theatre nuclear weapon. After the signature of the SALT I accords the US Government proceeded with the development of Cruise as a bargaining chip for future negotiations with the Russians. Initially unenthusiastic about the weapon, the Pentagon before long became so attached to it that estrangement became unthinkable. The Russians were concerned about the missile for the very reasons that the Pentagon was so enamoured with it.

An excerpt from “The Soviet Union and the Politics of Nuclear Weapons in Europe, 1969-87: The Problem of the SS-20” by Jonathan Haslam.

Piercing the veil: Third World proxies
The consequences of the Cuban Missile Crisis can be observed by the outbreak and intensification of proxy wars in the Third World. Two years since the October Crisis, the USA was engulfed in the Vietnam War that dragged out till 1975. In the mid-1970s, proxy wars also took place in Africa, such as the Angolan Civil War (1975-1991).

On one hand, the Soviet Union and Cuba aided the People’s movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA). On the other, the United States supported the anti-Communist National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA).

The report is explicit, declaring that from 1982 to 1986, the Soviet Union delivered military equipment valued at US34.9 billion, ‘which represented more than 90 percent of Angola’s arms imports and one-fourth of all Soviet arms deliveries to Africa.’

… The report goes on: ‘Beyond material deliveries, Moscow and its allies continued to provide extensive technical aid. Soviet military, security, as well as intelligence personnel and advisors who helped establish the defense and security forces and served as advisors at all levels, from ministries in Luanda to major field commands.’

An excerpt from “Battle For Angola: The End of the Cold War in Africa c 1975-89” by AL J. Venter.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– How far do you agree that the USA had won the Cuban Missile Crisis?

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

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

Did the Korean War end in a stalemate?

Topic of Study [For H2 and H1 History Students]: 
Paper 1: Understanding the Cold War (1945-1991)
Section A: Source-based Case Study
Theme I Chapter 2: A World Divided by the Cold War – Manifestations of the global Cold War: The Korean War (1950)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We have other JC tuition classes, such as GP TuitionEconomics TuitionJC Chemistry TuitionJC Math Tuition and China Studies in English Tuition. For Secondary Tuition, we provide Lower Secondary English Tuition, Secondary English Tuition, Secondary Math tuition, Secondary Chemistry Tuition and Secondary Economics Tuition. For Primary Tuition, we have Primary English Tuition. Call 9689 0510 to find out more.

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

How did Margaret Thatcher influence the end of the Cold War?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We have other JC tuition classes, such as GP TuitionEconomics TuitionJC Chemistry TuitionJC Math Tuition and China Studies in English Tuition. For Secondary Tuition, we provide Lower Secondary English Tuition, Secondary English Tuition, Secondary Math tuition, Secondary Chemistry Tuition and Secondary Economics Tuition. For Primary Tuition, we have Primary English Tuition. Call 9689 0510 to learn more.

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

What are the Points of Agreement of 1990?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2. Railway

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We have other JC tuition classes, such as GP TuitionEconomics TuitionJC Chemistry TuitionJC Math Tuition and China Studies in English Tuition. For Secondary Tuition, we provide Lower Secondary English Tuition, Secondary English Tuition, Secondary Math tuition, Secondary Chemistry Tuition and Secondary Economics Tuition. For Primary Tuition, we have Primary English Tuition. Call 9689 0510 to learn more.