JC History Tuition Online - How did the Dutch influence the Indonesian economy

How did the Dutch influence the Indonesian economy?

Topic of Study [For H2 History Students]:
Paper 2: Economic Development after Independence
Section B: Essay Writing
Theme II Chapter 1: Paths to Economic Development

Historical Context
In the 19th century, the Dutch established the cultivation system known as the cultuurstelsel. The origin of the system can be traced to the early 1800s, in which the Dutch colonial government had struggled to engage private cultivators to raise crop production for export. Under the leadership of the Dutch Governor-General, van den Bosch, he switched to a different method to cultivate export crops.

In particular, the Dutch identified individual villages and instructed the people in each village to grow specific crops, such as rice, coffee and sugar. In the 1830s, export production from Java increased significantly due to the efforts put in by the Chinese merchants and indigenous Javanese ruling class and the Dutch officials.

The emergence of economic nationalism: Limitations of the Ethical Policy
Yet, the Dutch cultivation system was not deemed by all local natives as beneficial. Within the indigenous Indonesian community, some viewed economic participation by the Chinese merchants as a threats to their interests.

Influential merchant groups in urban Java, such as the Sarekat Dagang Islam, resented competition from the Chinese. The better-off farmers in Java, who controlled irrigated rice land, resented the enforced renting of land to the sugar companies. Most of those involved in the growing nationalist movement, including growing numbers of indigenous business people, would probably have agreed with the judgement of a later economist that ‘the developmental effort under the ethical system was too little and too late to be effective in raising levels of living of the Indonesian people’.

An excerpt from “Economic Change in Modern Indonesia: Colonial and Post-colonial Comparisons” by Anne Booth.

The Sarekat Dagang Islam (Islamic Trade Union) was initially formed as a Javanese traders’ cooperative to support textile traders against Chinese competitors. In 1912, it was renamed as Sarekat Islam as the organisation evolved into a mass political party.

The Dutch Ethnical Policy (Ethische Politiek) was identified as the root cause of the unequal economic opportunities that generated resentment towards the Chinese immigrants and the colonial power. The policy was guided by its slogan: ‘irrigation, education and emigration’.

The Dutch colonial administration aimed to enhance the irrigation facilities to increase agricultural productivity. However, the intended growth target was not realised. As a result, the poor living standards had fueled the growth of Indonesian nationalism instead.

The Ethical Policy sought to protect the ‘poor’ and ‘unenlightened’ Javanese peasant against the oppression by feudal Javanese overlords and ruthless Chinese. Its formulated lofty goal was to raise the prosperity of the indigenous population through direct state intervention in economic life.

[…] The economic downturn of the early 1920s and 1930s started a period of consolidation and eventually deterioration of the Ethical Policy. The political will to initiate ethical programs waned as the administration embarked on a policy of expenditure cuts to balance the budget.

An excerpt from “Dutch Commerce and Chinese Merchants in Java: Colonial Relationships in Trade and Finance, 1800-1942” by Alexander Claver.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– Assess the significance of economic challenges in influencing government intervention in post-independence Southeast Asian economies.

Join our JC History Tuition to learn more about colonial-era policies and their impacts on the Paths to Economic Development. 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 Tuition, JC 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 - Sipadan and Ligitan dispute Revisited

Sipadan and Ligitan dispute: Revisited

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

Territorial claims
Malaysia and Indonesia had competing claims to the Sipadan and Ligitan islands. These islands were situated in the northeastern coast of Sabah in the Celebes Sea.

Indonesia’s stake was based on the 1891 Anglo-Dutch Convention. Since the two islands were formerly under the Dutch colonial occupation, Indonesia’s attainment of independence had meant that the same islands should belong to them.

In contrast, Malaysia referred to the 1878 Treaty between the Sultan of Sulu and the British North Borneo Company. The British had ceded the North Borneo territory (Sabah) to Malaysia. As such, the two contested islands were under Malaysia’s control.

The former territory of North Borneo was ceded or leased in perpetuity to the British in January 1878 by an agreement signed between the then Sultanate of Sulu and two British commercial agents, namely Alfred Dent and Baron von Overbeck of the British North Borneo Company, in return for payment of 5000 Malayan dollars per year. The sum was increased to 5,300 dollars when the lease was extended to include islands along the coast of North Borneo.

An excerpt from “Sultan of Sulu’s Sabah Claim: A Case of ‘Long-Lost’ Sovereignty?” by Mohd Hazmi bin Mohd Rusli and Muhamad Azim bin Mazlan.

Militarisation of a territorial dispute
The situation appeared tense when both parties turned to their naval forces to address the contestation of islands in the early 1990s.

For example, in 1993, the former Malaysian Armed Forces General, Yaacob Mohd. Zain, that military action was the only answer to unsolved territorial disputes. A typical Indonesian response was an Indonesian naval spokesperson’s announcement that its forces would continue patrolling the islands because they “belong to us and we will defend them.” The crisis reached its peak in 1994 when Malaysian Defence Minister, Najib Tun Razak, visited Sipadan Island. Although the visit did not give rise to any incident, the military situation remained tense. Several subsequent stand-offs between the armed forces of both countries were reported to have taken place in the following years.

An excerpt from “Dispute Resolution through Third Party Mediation: Malaysia and Indonesia” by Asri Salleh.

In July 1982, Malaysia deployed troops to Sipadan and Ligitan islands. Likewise, Indonesian forces have landed in Sipadan island in 1993. Tensions were high when Indonesia accused Malaysia of conducting a military exercise in September 1994 to take over the two islands. In response, Indonesia held a naval exercise, while emphasising that it was not related to that dispute.

In July 1982, Malaysia occupied the two islands to the chagrin of its neighbour. As was the case with Swallow Reef, Malaysia began to develop the island for tourism. By early 1991 Indonesia started to protest the change in the status quo of the islands. Malaysian fishermen came eyeball to eyeball with the Indonesian Navy in July 1991 after which a joint commission was established. Even so, Malaysia claimed that Indonesian armed forces actually landed on Sipadan several times in 1993 and in 1994 the Indonesia Navy staged large-scale exercise involving 40 vessels and 7,000 troops in the vicinity.

An excerpt from “Non-Traditional Security Issues and the South China Sea: Shaping a New Framework for Cooperation” by Shicun Wu and Keyuan Zou.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– How far do you agree that the Sipadan and Ligitan dispute has strained Indonesia-Malaysia relations in the post-independence period?

Join our JC History Tuition to learn more about territorial disputes in the theme of Regional Conflicts and Co-operation. 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 Tuition, JC 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 - What was the United Nations Malaysia Mission of 1963

What was the United Nations Malaysia Mission of 1963?

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 context: A proposed merger and a political backlash
On 27 May 1961, the first Malayan Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman announced the proposal to form a ‘Mighty Malaysia’ that included the Borneo territories (Sabah and Sarawak), Brunei and Singapore. The merger would lead to the formation of a Malaysian Federation.

However, Sukarno of Indonesia had opposed the proposed Federation of Malaysia after the Brunei Revolt. In December 1962, the North Kalimantan National Army (Tentera Nasional Kalimantan Utara) fought for independence, rejecting the plan to join the Federation. In response, the British sent troops from Singapore to Brunei to crush to revolt. A month later, Sukarno’s chief architect announced the Confrontation (Konfrontasi) policy.

Throughout the Brunei rebellion, Radio Jakarta had broadcast a series of inflammatory statements designed to destabilize British influence in the region and then on 20 January 1963 Foreign Minister Dr Subandrio declared that Malaya represented the ‘accomplices of neo-colonists and neo-imperialist forces that were hostile to Indonesia’ and from henceforth Indonesia would adopt a policy of konfrontasi. Konfrontasi, literally translated as confrontation, had been widely used in Indonesia for years as a term to refer to the diametrically opposed differences between conservative traditional and liberal modern modes of thought and cultural expression.

An excerpt from The Brunei Revolt: 1962-1963 by Nicholas van der Bijl

Attempts at defusal of tensions: The United Nations Malaysia Mission
In May 1963, Sukarno and the Tunku met to hold talks on how to resolve their differences over the Federation. Sukarno claimed that Indonesia would not oppose the Tunku should the people of North Borneo agree to join the Federation.

On 31 July 1963, Malaya, Indonesia and the Philippines signed the Manila Accord, signifying the mutual consensus to ascertain the wishes of the people in North Borneo whether to join the Malaysian Federation. The Accord was drafted in accordance to the United Nations General Assembly Resolution 1541 (XV).

Then, the United Nations Secretary-General U Thant led a mission to facilitate the referendum in North Borneo. However, on 29 August 1963, the Tunku announced that the Federation of Malaysia would be established on 16 September. This unilateral decision had angered Sukarno, who viewed Tunku’s action as a violation of their initial agreements.

During the course of the inquiry, the date of 16 September 1963 was announced by the Government of the Federation of Malaya with the concurrence of the British Government, the Singapore Government and the Governments of Sabah and Sarawak, for the establishment of the Federation of Malaysia. This has led to misunderstanding, confusion, and even resentment among other parties to the Manila agreement, which could have been avoided if the date could have been fixed after my conclusions had been reached and made known.

An excerpt from the ‘Final Conclusions of the Secretary-General regarding Malaysia‘, 13 September 1963.

As described by U Thant, the announcement was perceived to be a premature decision made by the Tunku which Thant thought should have been undertaken only after the completion of the UN mission. Nevertheless, the mission reported stated that the peoples of North Borneo were in favour of joining Malaysia, thus legitimising the Tunku’s plan. Excerpt for Brunei, Singapore, North Borneo and Malaya merged to form the Federation was planned on 16 September.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– How far do you agree that ideology was the main reason for the Indonesian Confrontation of 1963?

Join our JC History Tuition to learn more about the Indonesian Confrontation and other causes of inter-state tensions. The H2 and H1 History Tuition feature online discussion and writing practices to enhance your knowledge application skills. Get useful study notes and clarify your doubts on the subject with the tutor. You can also follow our Telegram Channel to get useful updates.

We have other JC tuition classes, such as GP TuitionEconomics TuitionJC Chemistry Tuition, JC 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 - What was Dag Hammarskjöld's Summary Study

What was Dag Hammarskjöld’s Summary Study?

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

Historical context
Following the outbreak of the Suez Canal Crisis in 1956, the United Nations Secretary-General (UNSG) Dag Hammarskjöld deployed the United Nations Emergency Force (UNEF) to supervise the “cessation of hostilities” involving the armed forces of France, Israel and the United Kingdom, as well as to “serve as a buffer between the Egyptian and Israeli forces”.

The Summary Study
On 9 October 1958, Hammarskjöld submitted to the General Assembly a report known as the “Summary Study of the Experience Derived from the Establishment of the United Nations Emergency Force“.

A reference table on the comparison between ‘Chapter VII’ (use of collective security) and the peacekeeping concept. [By Norrie MacQueen]

Also known more commonly as the “Summary Study” in short, the UNSG reported his reflections on the pioneer peacekeeping mission. His purpose was to institutionalise peacekeeping at the international level.

At the outset of the Summary Study, Hammarskjöld noted that peacekeeping did not involve ‘the type of force envisaged under Chapter VII of the Charter’. Without this legal base, the activity had to be an elective one.

There were two senses to this. First, there could be no deployment on a state’s territory ‘without the consent of the Government concerned’. Second, it followed that if Chapter VII was not to be used as the basis of a peacekeeping action then Article 43, with its obligations on member states to ‘make available to the Security Council, on its call’ whatever military forces were deemed necessary, could not be invoked. They could only be freely offered by contributing states in response to a request from the UN. These principles would ‘naturally hold valid for all similar operations in the future’.

An excerpt from “Peacekeeping and the International System” by Norrie MacQueen.

As described by MacQueen, the UNSG had envisaged peacekeeping as a concept that required consent from the host-state. Also, operational support to form the peacekeeping force had to be carried out on a voluntary basis. The second requirement proved to be costly and problematic later on, as observed in the United Nations Mission in Congo (ONUC).

In his Summary study, the Secretary-General held, with regard to the principle of freedom of movement, that an agreement as to what should be considered an area of operations of the force would be needed in future operations.

[…] In the Congo operation (1960-1964), secessionist movements exercised control from time to time over large tracts of the Congolese territory. The Secretary-General was therefore more or less forced to negotiate with those movements rather than use force to enter the territory. The UN also concluded cease-fire agreements with forces not under the control of the central Congolese government.

An excerpt from “Protection of Personnel in Peace Operations: The Role of the ‘Safety Convention’ against the Background of General International Law” by Ola Engdahl.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– Assess the view the the United Nations Secretary-Generals have played a vital role in the maintenance of international peace and security.

Join our JC History Tuition to recap on the United Nations topic. 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 - How was the Asian Financial Crisis resolved

How was the Asian Financial Crisis resolved?

Topic of Study [For H2 History Students]:
Paper 2: Economic Development after Independence
Section B: Essay Writing
Theme II Chapter 2: Asian Financial Crisis

Find out how ASEAN sought to contain the shocks created by the Asian Financial Crisis of 1997 [Video by ASEAN Plus 3 Macroeconomic research Office – AMRO]

An overview of the Crisis
In the early 1990s, many member nations of ASEAN pegged their exchange rates to the US dollar (USD). Given the dominant position of the Americans in the global economy, the peg instilled strong market confidence. Over time, the economic expansion in the region led to increased foreign capital inflows. By June 1997, cross-border flows in Southeast Asia totaled US$173 billion.

Greater access to capital had encouraged the provision of private loans. In turn, firms and household investors had ploughed funds into the real estate market. As a result, an asset bubble was formed. When the bubble burst, the Bank of Thailand declared its inability to prop up the largest finance company, Finance One, triggering fears of an impending market crash.

The anticipation of loan defaults resulted in the withdrawal of funds by short-term loan creditors. On the other hand, the gradual recovery of the Japanese economy resulted in the appreciation of the Yen and an interest rate hike. This led to shift of capital from Southeast Asia to Japan markets. The Bank of Thailand struggled to maintain the peg, such that nearly of its reserves were lost, forcing them to float the baht on 2 July 1997.

The unpegging of the Thai baht from the U.S. dollar in July 1997 and the baht’s subsequent collapse are commonly regarded as the triggers of the Asian crisis. The floating of the baht was made necessary by the exhaustion of Thai foreign exchange reserves, after months of futile efforts to stave off necessary policy adjustments and financial sector reforms. The crisis was preceded by an investment bubble, especially in real estate and stock markets, by widespread structural and prudential problems in the financial sector, and by a very rapid buildup of short-term foreign debt liabilities.

An excerpt from “The Asian Financial Crisis: Lessons for a Resilient Asia” by Wing Thye Woo, Jeffrey Sachs and Klaus Schwab.

Concerted efforts for crisis management
In view of the Asian Financial Crisis, governments in Southeast Asia sought solutions to dampen the adverse impacts. On 28 February 1998, finance ministers in ASEAN had gathered in Jakarta to set up a “mutual monitoring system. They agreed to seek technical support from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to enhance the development of the system. Later, this system was known as the ASEAN Surveillance Process (ASP).

Ideally, the monitoring system will function as an early warning system, so that the affected member nations can intervene before the economic setback escalates into another crisis.

Before the Asian financial crisis, there were no surveillance mechanisms that functioned to detect irregularities in regional finance markets, either in ASEAN or in East Asia. In that respect, these two mechanisms were formed to address the same problem. However, while the ASEAN Surveillance Process oversees the ASEAN member states, the ASEAN+3 Surveillance Process addresses all East Asian countries.

An excerpt from “ASEAN as a Method: Re-centering Processes and Institutions in Contemporary Southeast Asian Regionalism” by Ceren Ergenç

ASEAN Plus Three: The Chiang Mai initiative
In 1999, the ASEAN Plus Three (APT) [or ASEAN+3] Summit was held, involving ASEAN members and three external powers – China, Japan and South Korea. In 6 May 2000, the APT met in Chiang Mai, Thailand, to derive a regional solution to avert another Asian Financial Crisis.

The Chiang Mai Initiative (CMI) became the first regional swap arrangement to address short-term liquidity difficulties in the Asia.

The CMI functioned on two branches:

  1. ASEAN Swap Arrangement (ASA) among the ASEAN member nations
  2. Bilateral Swap Arrangement (BSA) among ASEAN+3 countries

An important feature of the CMI was that crisis-affected members requesting short-term liquidity support could immediately obtain financial assistance up to an amount equivalent to 10 percent (later raised to 20 percent) of the maximum amount that could be borrowed, and that the remainder was to be provided to the requesting member under an IMF program. […] Essentially, the CMI was intended to be used for crisis lending and hence required conditionality.

An excerpt from “Monetary and Financial Cooperation in East Asia: The State of Affairs After the Global and European Crises” by Masahiro Kawai, Yung Chul Park and Charles Wyplosz.

In 2004, an expanded framework was proposed, known as the Chiang Mai Initiative Multilateralisation (CMIM). The CMIM would involve all ten members of ASEAN, China, Japan and South Korea, with a combined size of US$240 billion worth of foreign exchange reserves. Five years later, the CMIM was founded.

Structure of the Chiang Mai Initiative (CMI) [Source: Ministry of Finance, Japan]

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– How far do you agree that the responses to manage the Asian Financial Crisis were adequate and effective?

Join our JC History Tuition to recap on the Asian Financial Crisis topic. 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 Tuition, JC 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 - What was the purpose of Kennedy's quarantine speech

What was the purpose of Kennedy’s quarantine speech?

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 US President Kennedy’s address on 22 October 1962. [Video by The Associated Press (AP) Archive]

Historical Context: A crisis in the making
Before the historic address made by the American President John F. Kennedy, the United States government had discovered the construction of medium-range missile bases in Cuba on 14 October 1962. Alarmed by the prospect of an imminent security threat, Kennedy called for an emergency meeting with his advisors (later known as the Executive Committee, ExComm in short).

During the meeting, there were four proposed courses of action:

  • Actual invasion of Cuba
  • An air strike to destroy the Soviet missile sites in Cuba
  • A naval quarantine to block the delivery of Soviet missiles to Cuba
  • Diplomatic pressure

Hawkish advisors like Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara had proposed an attack on the Soviet Union should Cuba initiated any form of aggression against the USA, but opponents within the Committee feared the outbreak of war. In particular, National Security Advisor McGeorge Bundy was strongly against American attempts to undermine Cuban security.

Bundy nevertheless reminded his colleagues that an attack on Cuba could quickly escalate to an all-out war: “The political advantages are very strong, it seems to me, of the small strike. It corresponds to ‘the punishment fits the crime in political terms. We are doing only what we warned repeatedly and publicly we would have to do. You know, we are not generalizing the attack.” “One thing that I would still cling to,” Bundy avowed, “is that he’s [Khrushchev] not likely likely to give Fidel Castro nuclear warheads. I don’t believe that has happened or is likely to happen.”

An excerpt from “The Cuban Missile Crisis in American Memory: Myths versus Reality” by Sheldon M. Stern.

Eventually, Kennedy had opted for the use of a naval quarantine. The ExComm had agreed that the US government should demand all missile sites and bases to be dismantled in Cuba.

The Speech: Prelude to the October Crisis
On 22 October 1962, Kennedy made a televised address to the American citizens that the government had identified Soviet missile bases in Cuba. In response, the American President had announced seven steps to be taken so that the possible conflict can be averted.

One of such steps include the imposition of a naval quarantine to prevent the delivery of cargoes containing ‘offensive weapons’. Notably, Kennedy called upon his Soviet counterpart Nikita Khrushchev to de-escalate tensions and restore world peace. He stressed clearly that any act of aggression against nations in the Western Hemisphere would be deemed as an attack by the Soviet Union on the United States, thus justifying retaliation.

This Government, as promised, has maintained the closest surveillance of the Soviet military buildup on the island of Cuba. Within the past week, unmistakable evidence has established the fact that a series of offensive missile sites is now in preparation on that imprisoned island. The purpose of these bases can be none other than to provide a nuclear strike capability against the Western Hemisphere.

[…] I call upon Chairman Khrushchev to halt and eliminate this clandestine, reckless, and provocative threat to world peace and to stable relations between our two nations. I call upon him further to abandon this course of world domination, and to join in an historic effort to end the perilous arms race and to transform the history of man.

An excerpt from US President John F. Kennedy’s speech Announcing the Quarantine Against Cuba, 22 October 1962.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– Assess the view that the Soviet Union was responsible for the outbreak of the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Join our JC History Tuition to revise relevant topics within the Cold War theme. 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 Tuition, JC 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.

What happened in the Abyssinian crisis?

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

Watch the animated summary of the historical event. [Video by Simple History]

Historical Background
The Abyssinian crisis involved two key parties. In 1922, the Italian dictator Benito Mussolini rose to power. He heavily armed the nation and sought to assert greater influence in the rest of the world.

On the other hand, Abyssinia (now called ‘Ethiopia’) was ruled by Emperor Haile Selassie. It was situated in the middle of two Italian colonies, Eritrea and Somaliland and the lands were well-endowed with natural resources.

The invasion & the League’s muted response
On 3 October 1935, Mussolini mobilised troops and launched a full-scale invasion, crossing the Abyssinian border. Selassie sought the League of Nations (LON) for assistance.

The League Council issued a report in response to Selassie’s pleas for help. After a three-day debate, fifty out of fifty-four members agreed with the Council’s report. The report stated that the imposition of economic sanctions, in terms of exports of key commodities to Italy, should be carried out.

The task of overseeing the implementation of sanctions was charged to a co-ordination committee, which began work on 11 October – known as the Committee of Eighteen, chaired by the Portuguese diplomat, Vasconcellos. Its work was divided into five sections: placing an embargo on exporting arms to Italy, withholding loans and credits, prohibiting the import of Italian goods, a ban on the export of parts for industrial plants, and to minimize the economic effects on the sanctionist states of the imposition of these sanctions.

An excerpt from “Collision of Empires: Italy’s Invasion of Ethiopia and its International Impact” by G. Bruce Strang.

However, the lack of unanimity had stalled the League’s efforts to put the report into action.

A clash of interests: Enter Great Britain and France
Although economic sanctions eventually took effect in November 1935, they were futile in halting Mussolini’s occupation of Abyssinia. The sanctions did not ban the sale of oil. Furthermore, the British did not close the Suez Canal, which allowed open access of commodities, including oil.

As other members of the LON pressured the Council to step up the sanctions on Italy, Great Britain and France made a secret arrangement with Italy.

In December 1935, British Foreign Secretary Samuel Hoare and French Prime Minister Pierre Laval proposed the Hoare-Laval Pact that offered to partition Abyssinia, thereby giving much of the territories to Italy. In return, Italy must agree to end the war.

Then, the Pact was leaked to the press, sparking public outcry. The Pact was not signed and both the British and French ministers were removed from office.

Why British decision makers elected to let Mussolini off the hook engendered controversy at the time, which has continued ever since. When furore erupted over the Hoare-Laval Pact, which flew in the face of the government’s electoral promise that foreign policy was predicated on preserving the sanctity of the League, Stanley Baldwin resorted to the argument that his lips were sealed by national security considerations, a stance that prompted cartoonists to mock the Prime Minister and perplexed supporters and critics alike.

An excerpt from “Collision of Empires: Italy’s Invasion of Ethiopia and its International Impact” by G. Bruce Strang.

In May 1936, Italy annexed Ethiopia. The sanctions had failed to forestall the Italian victory, thus the League Assembly lifted sanctions.

A costly mistake: Impact on the League of Nations
The League’s inaction had diminished its credibility even though the Covenant had stated that all member states should adhere to the collective security system.

The Members of the League undertake to respect and preserve as against external aggression the territorial integrity and existing political independence of all Members of the League. In case of any such aggression or in case of any threat or danger of such aggression the Council shall advise upon the means by which this obligation shall be fulfilled.

Article 10 of the Covenant of the League of Nations.

Some even observed that the League’s failed attempts to prevent the Italian invasion of Ethiopia may have emboldened Hitler to carry out similar acts of aggression later in Czechoslovakia and Poland.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– How far do you agree that the United Nations was built on the foundations of the failed League of Nations?

Join our JC History Tuition to grasp the key concepts and events covered in the topic of the United Nations. 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 Tuition, JC 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 - What is the Singapore Economic Development Board

What is the Singapore Economic Development Board?

Topic of Study [For H2 History Students]:
Paper 2: Economic Development after Independence
Section B: Essay Writing
Theme II Chapter 1: Paths to Economic Development

Historical Context
In 1961, the Dutch economist Albert Winsemius made a trip to Singapore to assess the economic situation as a representative of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) team. Then, he proposed that the Singapore Government should embark on industrialisation to address the high levels of unemployment.

On 26 April 1961, the Minister of Finance Dr. Goh Keng Swee oversaw the tabling of the Economic Development Board (EDB) bill at the Legislative Assembly. The proposed EDB was meant to replace its predecessor – the Singapore Industrial Promotion Board (SIPB). The SIPB was formed in 1957 for industrial development, but it lacked the capacity to scale up domestic production.

Singapore’s rapid GDP growth to the mid-1960s was chiefly due to expansion in the manufacturing and construction sectors. The former depended principally on import-substituting industries encouraged by the formation of Malaysia; increased construction reflected economic planning which concentrated on investment in infrastructure. The Economic Development Board (EDB), as the government’s agent, was set up as ‘the spearhead for industrialisation by direct participation in industry’ and building necessary infrastructure.

An excerpt from “The Economic Growth of Singapore: Trade and Development in the Twentieth Century” by W. G. Huff.

Then, the Permanent Secretary Hon Sui Sen assumed the role of Chairman in the newly-established EDB. Notably, there were four divisions:

  • Finance Division
  • Projects Division
  • Industrial Facilities Division
  • Investment Promotion Division

1960s: Jurong Industrial Estate, JTC and DBS
The Industrial Facilities Division took the lead in shaping Jurong into an industrial estate. Factories were built to support the production of low-value-added goods such as wigs, toys and garments. The EDB had envisioned a production base to prepare Singapore for export-oriented industrialisation (EOI) in the future.

After the Separation from Malaysia in August 1965, plans for export promotion were accelerated. In 1968, the Jurong Town Corporation (JTC) was set up to oversee industrial estate development. In the same year, the Development Bank of Singapore (DBS) was formed to take over the EDB’s role of industrial financing.

Industrialization was government-driven and approximately 85 percent of the industrial land was developed by government bodies. As a key engine driving the industrialization program, the Economic Development Board (EDB) was set up in 1961 and was instrumental in the birth of the Jurong Industrial Estate. In 1968, the Jurong Town Corporation was created as a full-fledged statutory board of the EDB to undertake planning, development, leasing and management of all industrial estates.

An excerpt from “Spatial Planning for a Sustainable Singapore” by Tai-Chee Wong, Belinda Yuen and Charles Goldblum.

1970s: Gearing up for export-driven industrialisation
The EDB then intensified its efforts to raise the skills proficiency of the labour in Singapore. The Board facilitated the formation of joint government-industry training centres and provided access to training grants.

For instance, the Skill Development Fund was set up in October 1979 to finance manpower training, upgrade business operations and retrain displaced workers. Also, it promoted the expansion and diversification of local industries, so as to position Singapore as a business hub.

With strong government support, Singapore’s reliance on entrepôt trade had declined from 43 percent in 1960 to 16 percent by the early 1970s. In contrast, it was precipitated by the increase in manufacturing activities from 11 percent of total Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 1960 to 20 percent in 1970. By then, unemployment rate hovered around 3 percent by the early 1970s.

The EDB’s export strategy was backed by wage control measures. In 1972, the National Wages Council (NWC) was formed to set national wage policies and create annual wage guidelines to regulate wage increment.

The modest wage increase in Singapore from the mid-1970s onwards was a boon to labor-intensive manufactured exports; it also held back the natural adjustment process of economic upgrading in terms of moving towards more capital-intensive activities. Furthermore a low-wage economy creates its own vicious cycle: low wages tend to encourage firms to use labor inefficiently which in turns results in low productivity and, hence, low wages. This actually happened in Singapore in the late 1970s, as labor productivity in 1979 dipped to an all-time low of 2.6 percent amidst full employment and a very tight market.

An excerpt from “Economic Development in East and Southeast Asia: Essays in Honor of Professor Shinichi Ichimura” by Seiji Naya and Akira Takayama.

In view of this economic setback, the Government embarked on its ‘Second Industrial Revolution‘ in 1979 to undergo economic restructuring. It can be understood by its three-pronged approach:

  • Wage increments to incentivise more efficient firms to raise productivity through automation
  • Fiscal incentives in the form of taxation and subsidies to promote expansion, automation and R&D spending
  • Manpower training to cultivate a pool of highly-skilled and literate labour force

Now, [the government] decided that a series of substantial wage increases was the best way to force less productive industries and companies to upgrade, close down, or relocate to countries with cheaper labour costs. These industrial restructuring efforts, driven by a clear government commitment to raise the wage of Singaporean workers , came to be known as Singapore’s ‘Second Industrial Revolution’ in contrast with the earlier industrialisation efforts that had been focussed on solving the unemployment problem.

An excerpt from “Singapore’s Productivity Challenge: A Historical Perspective” by Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– To what extent was government intervention most crucial in explaining the economic development of Singapore?

Join our JC History Tuition to comprehend the topic on Paths of Economic Development in independent Southeast Asia. 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 Tuition, JC 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 - What is the purpose of the ASEAN Regional Forum - ASEAN Notes

What is the purpose of the ASEAN Regional Forum?

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)

Find out more about the origin of the ARF in 1994 [Video by ASEAN Thai]

The ASEAN Regional Forum
On 25 July 1994, member nations of the regional organisation gathered in Bangkok to establish the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF). Its purpose was to engage external powers and foster extra-ASEAN relations. By doing so, the peace and security of the Asia-Pacific region is maintained.

1. to foster constructive dialogue and consultation on political and security issues of common interest and concern;

2. and to make significant contributions to efforts towards confidence-building and preventive diplomacy in the Asia-Pacific region.

Excerpt from the inaugural ASEAN Regional Forum, 25 July 1994.

Facing Goliath: The South China Sea dispute
After the end of the Cold War, ASEAN had to deal with the challenges arising from a multi-polar world. One such challenge revolved around the South China Sea territorial dispute.

It was a contentious case not only because of the linked interests with the Chinese authorities, but also other member nations such as the Philippines and later Vietnam.

However, in the case of the South China Sea, “internationalizing” the issue served for a while as additional leverage against China’s power. Indeed, a few months after the first ARF ministerial meeting, in February 1995, the Philippines publicly complained about the discovery of Chinese facilities on Mischief Reef, off the Philippine island of Palawan.

[…] After the senior officials’ meeting in Hangzhou, the ARF has talked routinely about the South China Sea as a regional-security concern in open meeting, but without addressing the merits of individual claims or the need for other powers to intrude into the disputes.

An excerpt from “The ASEAN Regional Forum” by Rodolfo C. Severino, published in 2009.

As brought up by the former ASEAN Secretary-General (1998-2002), the ARF was a suitable platform to bring up sensitive issues without escalating them into troubling disputes.

The repeated focus on such topics as regional security matters have helped to align the perceptions of stakeholders, even though there were unfortunate flashpoints.

ARF can only work as fast and potently as ASEAN does. ASEAN centrality is its core identity. Some see that as a hindrance; in reality, the ARF continues to function because it provides a buffer between contending positions. The value of the ARF is precisely this space that it provides between growing contention within the USA, Quad, and China.

An excerpt from an opinion piece titled “Is the ASEAN Regional Forum still relevant?” by Gurjit Singh, published on 19 August 2021.

Although ASEAN had encountered obstacles in managing maritime disputes, particularly in the South China Sea, there were noteworthy achievements due to opportunities presented by the ARF.

Despite its relentless efforts to militarize the South China Sea, however, China has also shown diplomatic pragmatism in dealing with the Southeast Asian countries. On 18 May 2017, China and the ten member states of ASEAN announced that they had finally agreed on a framework for a code of conduct on the South China Sea. On 6 August 2017, the ASEAN and Chinese foreign ministers endorsed the framework for the negotiation of a COC (Code of Conduct). The agreement on a framework agreement is an incremental step toward the creation of a conflict-management mechanism for the South China Sea dispute.

An excerpt from “The ASEAN Regional Forum in the Face of Great-Power Competition in the South China Sea: The Limits of ASEAN’s Approach in Addressing 21st-Century Maritime Security Issues?” by Renato Cruz De Castro.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– To what extent was the ARF effective in keeping ASEAN relevant in the post-Cold War world?

Join our JC History Tuition to grasp the theme of Regional Conflicts and Cooperation, which features causes and consequences of inter-state tensions and the role of ASEAN. 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 Tuition, JC 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 - 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 Tuition, JC 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.