Posts

JC History Tuition Online - What is the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia

What is the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia?

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)

Topic of Study [For H1 History Students]:
Ess
ay 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)

The document
On 24 February 1976, the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia (TAC) was signed. This peace treaty was formalised during the Bali Summit in Indonesia by the five founding members of ASEAN.

In their relations with one another, the High Contracting Parties shall be guided by the following fundamental principles :

a. Mutual respect for the independence, sovereignty, equality, territorial integrity and national identity of all nations;

b. The right of every State to lead its national existence free from external interference, subversion or coercion;

c. Non-interference in the internal affairs of one another;

d. Settlement of differences or disputes by peaceful means;

e. Renunciation of the threat or use of force;

f. Effective cooperation among themselves.

An excerpt from the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia, Chapter I: Purpose and Principles, Article 2, 24 February 1976.

Notably, this document was signed a year after the Vietnam War concluded, with the forces in North Vietnam unifying the Vietnam territory under Communist rule. It was an alarming development, considering that ASEAN was futile in keeping the region free from external interference, as seen by its use of the Zone of Peace, Freedom and Neutrality (ZOPFAN) in 1971.

Application: Dispute resolution
To put the principles of the TAC into practice, ASEAN formed a ‘High Council’ that features a judicial dispute-settlement mechanism to resolve regional matters amicably. Yet, the High Council was only being referred to when Indonesia suggested to resolve the territorial dispute with Malaysia with regards to the Sipadan and Ligitan islands. Eventually, when Malaysia objected, this dispute was brought up to a globally-renowned International Court of Justice (ICJ).

The only time that resort to the dispute-settlement provisions of the TAC was ever considered was in the mid-1990s, when Indonesia proposed using the TAC’s High Council to help resolve its dispute with Malaysia over ownership of the Sipadan and Ligitan islands. Malaysia declined the proposal. Instead, Kuala Lumpur preferred, and President Soeharto eventually agreed, to take the dispute to the International Court of Justice in The Hague, which has since ruled in Malaysia’s favour.

An excerpt from “Southeast Asia in Search of an ASEAN Community” by Rodolfo Severino.

Application: Extra-ASEAN engagement
In the post-Cold War phase, ASEAN re-positioned itself to maintain its relevance. The establishment of the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) in 1994 was meant to engage non-ASEAN countries, particularly the big powers like the USA and China, through peaceful talks.

The TAC was applied to enforce the need for proper code of conduct so as to de-escalate tensions and resolve disputes, such as the ongoing territorial clashes in the Spartly Islands.

In the early 1990s, ASEAN supplied an inclusive security dialogue forum to bring together all the major regional powers and players, something other actors were unable to do. Through this process all powers agreed to ASEAN’s TAC as a regional code of conduct, and to dialogue as a key aspect of regional strategic engagement, no mean feat considering the US’ and China’s scepticism and opposition to multilateralism in the initial post-Cold War years.

An excerpt from “Understanding ASEAN’s Role in Asia-Pacific Order” by Robert Yates.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– How far do you agree that the TAC was effectively applied in ASEAN’s response to the Cold War?

Join our JC History Tuition to analyse the political effectiveness of ASEAN in the Cold War and post-Cold War periods. The H2 and H1 History Tuition feature thematic discussion, question application for essay and source based case studies. Receive summary notes and attempt diverse practices to get a head-start in your examination preparation.

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 TuitionSecondary Math tuitionSecondary Chemistry Tuition and Secondary Economics Tuition. For Primary Tuition, we have Primary English Tuition. Call 9689 0510 to learn more.

JC History Tuition Online - How does the UN General Assembly work - United Nations

How does the UN General Assembly work?

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

The UN General Assembly: Revisited
Let’s recap on what we have learnt about the ‘world parliament’, also known as the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). As stated in Article 7 of the UN Charter, the UNGA is one of the six principal organs. Among all six, the UNGA allows political representation of all member states through its “one nation, one vote” system.

Ever since its inception, the membership size has increased from a humble 51 to 193. Initially, the UNGA started out with its predominantly European and Latin American composition. Following decolonisation, the inclusion of newly-independent countries in Africa and Asia contributed to a global forum that is more representative of the world.

The Six Committees
There are six main committees to address a wide range of matters, such as “Disarmament and International Security” (First Committee) and “Administrative and Budgetary” (Fifth Committee). In October and November, the UNGA will begin its proceedings in these committees. During this phase, the UNGA will consider the adoption of resolutions to deal with procedural matters, like membership admission. Interestingly, the First Committee saw heated debates during the Cold War.

Article 21 of the UN Charter states that the UNGA shall “elect its president for each session”. Additionally, Article 22 points out that the UNGA should “establish such subsidiary organs as it deems necessary for the performance of its functions”. As such, presidents serving the main committees will come from different regional groups (Africa, Asia, Latin America, Eastern European and Western European) in a rotational manner. Notably, the Permanent Five members of the Security Council will occupy positions in the committees as vice presidents.

Each main committee elects a chair, two vice chairs, and a rapporteur. The chair presides over committee meetings and co-ordinates or encourages the informal consultations on procedural and substantive questions necessary to its effective functioning. The vice chairs preside as needed, and in most committees also organize or promote informal discussions on agenda items assigned to their care. The rapporteur, assisted by the Secretariat, drafts the summaries of debates and explanations of committee drafts that comprise its reports to the plenary.

An excerpt from “The UN General Assembly” by M. J. Peterson

The Regular Sessions
In the UNGA, the regular sessions commence from the third Tuesday in September till the third week in December. Each government of a member state can send delegates as representatives to attend the General Assembly session. Article 9(2) of the Charter stipulates that each member state should send “not more than five representatives”.

The Special and Emergency Sessions
In view of more exceptional situations, the UNGA can conduct Special or Emergency Special Sessions to address specific agendas. These sessions can last from one day to a few weeks, depending on the severity of the matter. They can be held at the request of the Security Council or a majority of the member states.

The following are some notable Special Sessions held by the UNGA:

As for Emergency Special Sessions, here are some examples:

  • 1st Emergency Special Session (1956): Middle East on the Suez Canal Crisis
  • 4th Emergency Special Session (1960): Congo Crisis

Use of the General Assembly as an arena for criticizing rivals and appealing to wider audiences began in earnest as the Second World War allies divided into contending Cold War blocs. Public debate provided both sides with occasions for asserting the superiority of its own vision for the world and the inferiority of the other’s. By 1950, another broad cleavage, between an anti-colonial majority and the remaining colonial powers, had also emerged, but did not inspire the same two-way intensity of discussion because the colonial powers were more defensive and subdued. From the late 1960s through the 1980s, the South–North cleavage produced sharp rhetoric as the more radical members of the Third World coalition took the lead in denouncing Western imperialism and neocolonialism.

An excerpt from “The UN General Assembly” by M. J. Peterson

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– How far do you agree that the United Nations General Assembly has fulfilled its Charter-defined roles?

Join our JC History Tuition to evaluate the effectiveness of the principal organs of the United Nations. The H2 and H1 History Tuition feature thematic discussion, question application for essay and source based case studies. We provide useful study notes, essay outlines and source based case study references for productive revision.

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 TuitionSecondary Math tuitionSecondary 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 - What happened during the Taiwan Straits Crises - Superpower relations with China

What happened during the Taiwan Straits Crises?

Learn more about the first Taiwan Straits Crisis of 1958 that shaped Sino-American relations from the late 1950s to the 1960s [Video by British Pathé]

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)

The First Taiwan Straits Crisis: A geopolitical contest
Following the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) victory over the Kuomintang (KMT) during the Chinese Civil War in 1949, the latter fled to Taiwan. The Taiwan Strait separated mainland China from Taiwan as the KMT formed the Republic of China (ROC).

Map depicting the Taiwan Strait that separated mainland China from Taiwan [Source: Ohio State University]

Quemoy (金门 or Kinmen) and Matsu (马祖) Islands were considered the first line of defence for Chiang Kai-shek’s ROC. Additionally, the United States offered to aid its newfound ally, the ROC, especially after its hostile interactions with Chinese troops during the Korean War.

Notably, US President Harry Truman delivered a rousing speech that reaffirmed the American commitment to its political alliances in East Asia, including Taiwan.

Accordingly I have ordered the 7th Fleet to prevent any attack on Formosa. As a corollary of this action I am calling upon the Chinese Government on Formosa to cease all air and sea operations against the mainland. The 7th Fleet will see that this is done. The determination of the future status of Formosa must await the restoration of security in the Pacific, a peace settlement with Japan, or consideration by the United Nations.

An excerpt from a statement by the US President Harry Truman on Korea, 27 June 1950.

A Mutual Defense Treaty was signed with ROC to legitimise American military presence in the vicinity. Yet, such actions proved aggravating to Sino-American relations. In early September 1954, the PRC launched the bombardment of Quemoy and Matsu Islands. Chiang deployed about 100,000 troops to defend the two outermost islands, hoping that the American allies would come to their aid.

After the first crisis, the US Congress passed the “Formosa Resolution” that granted President Eisenhower the authority to defend Taiwan from communist aggression.

The Second Taiwan Straits Crisis: The Conflagration
During the Bandung Conference of 1955, Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai expressed desire to negotiate with the United States, possibly to de-escalate tensions and avert a full-scale military conflict with it. The olive branch offered by Zhou to the United States had earned much support and praise from the attendees at the Asian-African Conference in Indonesia.

By following the principles of mutual respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, nonaggression, non-interference in each other’s internal affairs, equality and mutual benefit, the peaceful coexistence of countries with different social systems can be realized. When these principles are ensured of implementation, there is no reason why international disputes cannot be settled through negotiation.

An excerpt from Premier Zhou Enlai’s speech during the Asian-African Conference, 19 April 1955.

However, efforts to reduce tensions were negated by Eisenhower’s contemplated to use nuclear weapons on the PRC. On 23 August 1958, the Chinese leader Mao Zedong authorised the artillery bombardment of Quemoy Island. In retaliation, the ROC armed forces fought back.

Under the obligations of the American-Taiwan defense treaty of 1954, the United States offered military aid to the Nationalists. Increased American presence in the Taiwan Straits had alarmed the Soviet Union, such that Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko visited Beijing to uncover the rationale behind Mao’s decision to attack Quemoy. Fortunately, the conflict did not escalate into a nuclear confrontation.

Chairman Mao said that the bombardment of Jinmen, frankly speaking, was our turn to create international tension for a purpose. We intended to teach the Americans a lesson. America had bullied us for many years, so now that we had a chance, why not give it a hard time?

… In our propaganda, however, we still need to condemn the Americans for causing tension in the Taiwan Straits. We did not put them in the wrong. The United States has several thousand troops stationed on Taiwan, plus two air force bases there. Their largest fleet, the Seventh Fleet, often cruises in the Taiwan Straits.

An excerpt from the “Inside Story of the Decision Making during the Shelling Jinmen” by Wu Lengxi

A thorn in the flesh: Prelude to the Sino-Soviet Split
On 6 October 1958, a ceasefire was made. Yet, the peace was short-lived as the PRC resumed its attacks on the two islands for nearly two decades until the late 1970s due to the Sino-American rapprochement.

Along the same vein, the Taiwan Straits Crises in the 1950s had impacted Sino-Soviet relations. On the surface, it appeared as if the signing of the Treaty of Friendship had proved to be fortuitous for Mao Zedong as he received Soviet military support to deter American attacks. Yet, the diverging perceptions by the two Communist leaders began to cause the gradual deterioration of bilateral relations. Partly, Khrushchev’s hesitance to antagonise the United States could be traced to his notion of “Peaceful Coexistence” that Mao could not agree with.

New evidence suggests that, on the contrary, the Soviet Union did everything it had promised to do in support of the Chinese operation, and that it was China, not the USSR, that was unwilling to follow through. This outcome explains why Khrushchev, feeling he had been burned once, was determined not to let it happen again. From then on he emphasized the need for a peaceful resolution of the Taiwan problem, a lesson that Mao was unwilling to draw, for fear it would expose the magnitude of his failure in the Quemoy crisis. These different views became a sore point in Sino-Soviet relations, as was evident during Khrushchev’s visit to Beijing in the autumn of 1959.

An excerpt from “The USSR Foreign Ministry’s appraisal of Sino-Soviet relations on the eve of the Split, September 1959” by Mark Kramer.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– Assess the view that the Taiwan conflict was the root cause of the Sino-Soviet split.

Join our JC History Tuition to analyse the significance of Taiwan and other related factors that shaped superpower relation with China. The H2 and H1 History Tuition feature thematic discussion, question application for essay and source based case studies. Students who enrol in the programme will receive concise study notes to enhance their study strategy and gear up for the examination.

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 TuitionSecondary Math tuitionSecondary 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 - When did Castro visit the United States - Cuban Missile Crisis

When did Castro visit the United States?

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)

Explore the historical significance of Fidel Castro’s visit to the United States [Video by Public Broadcasting Service]

The rise of Fidel Castro
Following the Cuban leader’s revolution that toppled the Batista regime, Fidel Castro assumed the role as Prime Minister on 1 January 1959. A year later, he nationalised all American-owned businesses, such as oil refineries and factories. The loss of economic revenues proved infuriating for the Eisenhower administration, which severed diplomatic relations and imposed a trade embargo.

The first major expropriations occurred in late June, when 2.4 million acres of cattle land were nationalized in Camagüey province, as well as the sugar acreage owned by companies operating processing mills (centrales). For Camagüey, this represented two-thirds of the entire province, or an area about the size of Rhode Island and Delaware combined, and much of it was owned by U.S.-based corporations, including 40,000 acres held by the family corporation that also owned the largest single piece of private property in the United States, the King Ranch of Texas.

An excerpt from “That Infernal Little Cuban Republic: The United States and the Cuban Revolution” by Lars Schoultz

Before the serious deterioration of Cuban-US relations that brought about confrontations like the Bay of Pigs invasion, it is important to examine what happened during Castro’s visit to the United States.

The Visit
On 18 September 1960, Castro arrived in New York City to lead the Cuban delegation to the United Nations. His presence had stirred the emotions of many in the American society. US officials expressed concerns, including possible suspicions towards the new leader.

As U.S. officials wondered what Castro would do next, traditional hegemonic assumptions guided their wary observations. The new Cuban leaders “had to be treated more or less like children,” CIA Director Allen Dulles told the National Security Council. “They had to be led rather than rebuffed. If they were rebuffed, like children, they were capable of almost anything.” U.S. diplomats found Castro restless, headstrong, opportunistic, and driven by an “undeviating urge for fame and political power.” He was prone to violence and independent actions, but he was not a Communist.

An excerpt from “Contesting Castro: The United States and the Triumph of the Cuban Revolution” by Thomas G. Paterson.

Notably, Castro did not declare his political alignment with Communism until late 1961. Nevertheless, the Eisenhower administration had set in motion a plan that would become the core of the Cuban leader’s security paranoia during the October Crisis of 1962. In March 1960, Eisenhower instructed the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to commence training Cuban exiles to topple Castro’s regime.

Before Castro made his speech at the United Nations, Vice President Richard Nixon met Castro privately. It turned out that Eisenhower was not keen to face Castro. After the meeting, Nixon made a note that revealed his thoughts and opinions on the Cuban leader.

My own appraisal of him as a man is somewhat mixed. The one fact we can be sure of is that he has those indefinable qualities which make him a leader of men. Whatever we may think of him he is going to be a great factor in the development of Cuba and very possibly in Latin American affairs generally. He seems to be sincere. He is either incredibly naïve about Communism or under Communist discipline—my guess is the former, and as I have already implied his ideas as to how to run a government or an economy are less developed than those of almost any world figure I have met in fifty countries.

An excerpt from the editorial note by American Vice President Richard Nixon during Fidel Castro’s visit to Washington, 19 April 1960.

The UN speech: Castro lambastes the United States
On 26 September 1960, Castro delivered a speech at the 872nd plenary meeting of the United Nations General Assembly in New York. [An interesting point to note that Castro’s speech was known as the ‘longest ever UN speech’ that lasted for four and a half hours.] He criticised the United States as “aggressive” and “imperialist”, claiming that the United States had monopolised many essential utilities that rightfully belonged to the Cuban people.

The first unfriendly act perpetrated by the Government of the United States was to throw open its doors to a gang of murders who had left our country covered with blood. Men who had murdered hundreds of defenseless peasants, who for many years never tired of torturing prisoners, who killed right and left — were received in this country with open arms.

… The Revolutionary Government of Cuba has repeatedly expressed its concern over the fact that the imperialist government of the United States may use that base, located in the heart of our national territory, as an excuse to promote a self-aggression, in order to justify an attack on our country.

An excerpt from Fidel Castro’s speech at the United Nations General Assembly, 26 September 1960.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– Assess the view that US-Cuban relations had soured due to ideological differences.

Join our JC History Tuition to find out more about the source based case study topic on the Cuban Missile Crisis. The H2 and H1 History Tuition feature online learning classes that expand your thematic knowledge and enhance your writing skills.

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 Secondary English TuitionSecondary Math tuitionSecondary 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 - What was the Cultural Revolution - Superpower Relations with China

What was the Cultural Revolution?

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): Sino-Soviet relations

Examine the social, economic and political impacts of Mao Zedong’s Cultural Revolution [Video by BBC News]

Context: An ideological split
Before the Chairman of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Mao Zedong declared the start of the Cultural Revolution, the rising Communist power clashed with the Soviet Union. In particular, Mao disagreed with the Soviet leader Khrushchev’s policy of ‘de-Stalinization’ in 1956, fearing that the latter’s reforms may jeopardize the global Marxist movement. From then on, Mao criticized Khrushchev as a ‘revisionist’, revealing signs of a Sino-Soviet split that characterized bilateral relations of the two Communist powers in the 1960s.

The Chairman turned against Khrushchev’s de-Stalinization more decisively than ever before: “[Stalinism is] just Marxism . . . with shortcomings.” He continued: “The so-called de-Stalinization thus is simply de-Marxification, it is revisionism.” Finally, the Chairman maintained that the Chinese comrades, “unlike some people who have tried to defame and destroy Stalin, . . . are acting in accordance with objective reality.” It was the first time that Mao clearly distinguished between the views of the subjectivist revisionists in Moscow and the objective Marxists in Beijing.

An excerpt from “The Sino-Soviet Split: Cold War in the Communist World” by Lorenz M. Lüthi.

A decade-long revolution: Eradicating dissent
In the 1960s, Mao bore rising concerns with the bourgeois culture, which he perceived as as threat to the Chinese society. Mao viewed intellectuals and individuals that were supportive of the West as enemies of the Communist Party.

In January 1965, Mao established the ‘Five Man Group’ (文化革命五人小组) with Peng Zhen (彭真) to oversee the Cultural Revolution. However, Mao dismissed Peng Zhen and the rest of the Group. Notably, the publication of a circular on 16 May 1966 marked the start of the Cultural Revolution.

Peng Zhen had no discussion or exchange of views at all within the Group of Five. He did not ask any local party committee for its opinion… and still less did he get the approval of Comrade Mao Zedong. Employing the most improper methods, he acted arbitrarily, abused his powers [and] issued the outline report to the whole party

Those representatives of the bourgeoisie who have sneaked into the party, the government, the army, and various cultural circles are a bunch of counter-revolutionary revisionists. Once conditions are ripe, they will seize political power and turn the dictatorship of the proletariat into a dictatorship of the bourgeoisie.

An excerpt from the May 16th Circular, 16 May 1966.

The ‘Four Olds’
The Red Guards were formed to carry out Mao’s Revolution, comprising of radical students and officials. His aim was to eradicate the ‘Four Olds’ – old ideas, old customs, old culture and old habits (四旧 – 旧思想, 旧文化, 旧风俗, 旧习惯). From the mid-1960s to 1970, numerous party leaders were imprisoned, including the Chinese President Liu Shaoqi (刘少奇). Additionally, schools were forced to shut down. Cultural influences deemed too oriented to the West were also being suppressed.

The four olds embraced symbols of China’s traditional, premodern society, such as artworks celebrating Confucian elitism. These were roundly denounced as “feudal” at a time when the old society was still a memory for many, and its visible heritage included not only classical paintings and string-bound books but also elderly ladies with bound feed. The savagery of this aesthetic response to Mao’s call for Cultural Revolution is perhaps best understood as youthful ignorance and bravado, mixed with a generalized anxiety that counterrevolutionaries wished to restore the old society.

An excerpt from “The Cultural Revolution: A Very Short Introduction” by Richard Curt Kraus.

On the other hand, the ‘Little Red Book‘ was promoted and distributed to the Chinese citizens. It served to strengthen his goal of creating a cult of personality, similar to Stalin.

End of the Revolution
In the early 1970s, the Cultural Revolution came to an end. The Sino-American rapprochement of 1972 had changed the Chinese government’s foreign policy stance towards the USA. By the end of the Revolution, the Chinese economy was severely damaged. The ‘Gang of Four’ (四人帮), which included Mao’s wife, Jiang Qing (江青), was blamed for the devastating effects of the Cultural Revolution.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– How far do you agree that Mao Zedong was responsible for the developments of the Sino-Soviet relations?

Join our JC History Tuition to comprehend the key events that shaped the Sino-Soviet split. The H2 and H1 History Tuition feature online thematic discussions, essay writing and source based case study workshops. Be analytical, organised and persuasive in your writing.

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 Secondary English TuitionSecondary Math tuitionSecondary 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 was NATO formed - Cold War SBCS

Why was NATO formed?

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 1: Emergence of Bipolarity after the Second World War II

Learn more about the origins of NATO to understand its impact on the start of the Cold War [Video by NATO]

Aftermath: The Crisis of 1948
From 21 to 25 February 1948, a coup d’état in Czechoslovakia had signaled the fall of the last pro-Democratic government in Eastern Europe. In the eyes of the United States, it was a profound and alarming development largely orchestrated by the Soviet Union. Four months later, the Berlin Blockade began, escalating tensions between the two Big Powers.

Although the Western Powers were successful in mobilising their air forces to deliver essential aid to the Berliners, the conclusion of the blockade on 12 May 1949 meant the division of Germany. In order to protect its allies from any potential security threat posed by the Soviet Union, the United States supported the creation of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO).

Article V: Collective Security
On 4 April 1949, the USA and eleven other countries (Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal and the United Kingdom) signed the North Atlantic Treaty. Between 1952 and 1989, four countries admitted NATO, namely Greece and Turkey, West Germany and Spain.

The purpose of NATO was to “unite their efforts for collective defence and for the preservation of peace and security”. In particular, Article 5 outlines the concept of collective security, in the member countries are obligated to defend any member(s) is/are threatened by acts of aggression.

The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all and consequently they agree that, if such an armed attack occurs, each of them, in exercise of the right of individual or collective self-defence recognised by Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations, will assist the Party or Parties so attacked by taking forthwith, individually and in concert with the other Parties, such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area.

Any such armed attack and all measures taken as a result thereof shall immediately be reported to the Security Council. Such measures shall be terminated when the Security Council has taken the measures necessary to restore and maintain international peace and security .

An excerpt from Article 5 of “The North Atlantic Treaty“, 4 April 1949.

From a broader perspective, NATO was founded to fulfil three key aims:

  1. Prevent Soviet expansionism
  2. Prohibit the revival of national militarism in Europe
  3. Promote European political integration

However, Soviet distrust towards the US-led NATO had festered even before its inception. Explicit references made to the United Nations Charter were interpreted by the Soviets as convenient attempts to conceal the ‘true’ Western intentions to use military aggression to consolidate their power and influence.

The Soviet press made a point of printing the full text of the treaty on 29 March to expose the hollowness of its claim of its harmony with the charter. And on 31 March, just five days before the official signing, the Soviets issued a formal protest, asserting that Article 5 would unleash aggressive armies “without any authority whatsoever of the Security Council.” Nor could the treaty be justified under Article 51, which was designed to be used only in the case of an armed attack upon a UN member, not as a cover for aggressive aims.

An excerpt from “NATO 1948: The Birth of the Transatlantic Alliance” by Lawrence S. Kaplan.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– Assess the significance of NATO in shaping the outbreak of the Cold War in 1949.

Join our JC History Tuition to grasp the key concepts and historical developments in the Cold War. The H2 and H1 History Tuition includes online lessons to recap on various topics like Superpower Relations with China, the United Nations and Approaches to Governance. Get useful study notes and attempt guided written practices to improve your knowledge application skills.

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 Secondary English TuitionSecondary Math tuitionSecondary 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 - What was ASEAN's response to the Third Indochina War

What was ASEAN’s response to the Third Indochina War?

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)

Historical context: A violation of national sovereignty
In December 1978, Vietnamese forces launched a full-scale assault, crossing the Cambodian-Vietnamese border.

In January 1979, the Cambodian capital Phnom Penh was occupied by an alternative government, the People’s Republic of Kampuchea (PRK).

In the same month, Singapore joined other member nations for an urgent meeting. After much deliberation, ASEAN issued a joint statement to deplore the invasion, calling for the immediate withdrawal of Vietnamese forces from Cambodia.

4. Towards this end, the ASEAN Foreign Ministers called for the immediate and total withdrawal of the foreign forces from Kampuchean territory.

5. The ASEAN Foreign Ministers welcomed the decision of the United Nations Security Council to consider without delay the situation in Indochina, and strongly urged the Council to take the necessary and appropriate measures to restore peace, security and stability in the area.

An excerpt from the “Joint Statement The Special ASEAN Foreign Ministers Meeting On The Current Political Development In The Southeast Asia Region Bangkok“, 12 January 1979.

Notably, ASEAN not only made a united stand against military aggression, but also called on the United Nations to address this escalating threat that had endangered regional stability.

Contestation by Great Powers
On 17 February 1979, China engaged in a military confrontation with Vietnam. Observers interpreted the attack as a hint to Moscow that China would not remain on the sidelines following the invasion. Yet, ASEAN members were increasingly concerned with the Chinese involvement in the conflict.

After much persuasion with member nations in the United Nations General Assembly, the International Conference on Kampuchea (ICK) was held from 13 to 17 July 1981. However, there were some shortcomings.

The pro-Communist bloc nations like Soviet Union and Vietnam were absent. Additionally, China had disagreed with ASEAN’s draft for the ICK, particularly the disarmament of Khmer resistance groups and the creation of an interim administration.

Singapore saw this inflexible Chinese position as evidence of Beijing not wanting an early solution, and that it was more interested in a protracted conflict to “bleed” Vietnam. Its ultimate objective was to use the armed forces of the Khmer Rouge to restore a pro-China regime in Phnom Penh, and hopefully see the emergence of a Chinese-friendly Vietnam. Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta and Manila felt that ASEAN should not be seen to be succumbing to China’s pressure at this stage whereas Bangkok was more interested in accommodating China, as its overriding concern was to ensure that China could help defend Thailand against a Soviet-supported Vietnam.

An excerpt from “Singapore, ASEAN and the Cambodian Conflict 1978-1991” by Ang Cheng Guan.

The situation had become even more complex when the US delegation sided with China. Then Foreign Minister of Singapore Dhanabalan had revealed that attempts to convince Big Powers like the USA and China had been challenging, given their diverging interests with ASEAN members during the Cold War.

I was surprised to note how keen the U.S. was to accommodate the PRC’s request. I explained to the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State that it was not possible to accede to the PRC’s request as it was wrong and would also not get any support from the conference. He ended the meeting by threatening that he would go over my head and take the matter up with Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew in Singapore… It was a real life experience for me that interests and not principles determine the actions of big powers.

An excerpt from “The Little Red Dot: Reflections by Singapore’s Diplomats” by Tommy Koh and Li Lin Chang.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– Assess the challenges that ASEAN faced in response to the Third Indochina War.

Join our JC History Tuition to study how ASEAN managed various regional and international threats during the Cold War. The H2 and H1 History Tuition programmes feature online learning programmes to organise your content awareness and writing skills for essay and source based case study. We organise free writing practices for students to hone their answering techniques.

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 Secondary English TuitionSecondary Math tuitionSecondary 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 - What is the Kuantan Doctrine - ASEAN Notes

What is the Kuantan Doctrine?

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)

Historical context: A looming threat of Great Powers
In response to Vietnam’s invasion of Cambodia in December 1978, the Indonesian President Suharto and Malaysian Prime Minister Hussein Onn met in Kuantan in March 1980. Both parties agreed that the Cambodian conflict posed a grave threat to regional security, if left unchecked.

The threat extended beyond the presence of a pro-Vietnam government in Cambodia, particularly the dangers posed by the Soviet Union and China.

The joint statement issued by Malaysia and Indonesia took into consideration the broader security concerns of the two countries, such as the perceived threat posed by China and the increased influence of the Soviet Union in the region. The statement envisaged a Vietnam free from the influences of both China and the Soviet Union and took into consideration Vietnam’s security interests in Cambodia. In other words, the Kuantan Principle sought to bring Vietnam out of the Sino-Soviet dispute and to reduce the influence of these two powers in the region. It also displayed a less confrontational stand toward Vietnam over the Cambodian situation as compared with the ASEAN policy.

An excerpt from “Southeast Asia: A Historical Encyclopedia, from Angkor Wat to East Timor” by Keat Gin Ooi.

However, the Kuantan Doctrine was never put into practice as other member states of ASEAN rejected the proposed solution. For instance, the frontline member Thailand was concerned with its border security, given its proximity to Cambodia.

Soviet Union or China: A greater threat?
Although ASEAN eventually issued a joint statement to deplore the Vietnamese aggression, diverging perceptions among some member states had given rise to disagreements.

From Suharto’s point of view, China was deemed a more serious threat than Vietnam. As such, Indonesia put forward the idea of granting a certain degree of autonomy to Vietnam for its presence in Cambodia.

As the interlocutor of ASEAN on the Kampuchea issue, Indonesia was mainly concerned that the conflict might divide the region into two clusters: maritime ASEAN and Indochina under Vietnamese domination. Indonesia feared that a bipolar Southeast Asia could pit the communist against the non-communist states, thereby opening the door to intervention by external great powers.

An excerpt from “Indonesia’s Ascent: Power, Leadership, and the Regional Order” by Christopher Roberts, Ahmad Habir and Leonard Sebastian.

On the other hand, both Thailand and Singapore perceived a Soviet-backed Vietnam as a more significant threat than China. To some political observers, inaction may mean that neighbouring countries in Southeast Asia condone sovereignty violation.

However, Singapore’s strident anti-communist posture was essentially aimed at the Soviet Union and its perceived regional proxy, Vietnam. Hence, curiously enough, whereas there was clear evidence of Chinese support for communist insurgency in Southeast Asia, the most aggressive policy pronouncements against communism were those aimed at the Soviet Union.

An excerpt from “Realism and Interdependence in Singapore’s Foreign Policy” by Narayanan Ganesan.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– How far do you agree that Singapore’s foreign policy responses were successful during the Third Indochina War?

Join our JC History Tuition to study conflicts and challenges such as the Third Indochina War. The H2 and H1 History Tuition programmes feature online learning classes to develop sound thinking and writing skills. We provide concise study notes and hold guided writing practices to prepare you for the GCE A Level History examinations.

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 Secondary English TuitionSecondary Math tuitionSecondary Chemistry Tuition and Secondary Economics Tuition. For Primary Tuition, we have Primary Online Tuition. Call 9689 0510 to find out more.

How to study A Level History effectively during holidays - JC History Tuition Online

How to study A Level History effectively during holidays?

Make every day count
In view of the upcoming March holiday week, it is crucial for JC students to take stock of their progress. For JC 1 students, it may seem like a daunting task to approach the A Level History subject, given the vast depth of historical information. As for JC 2 students, most are at the stage of consolidating their knowledge of new topics, such as the Global Economy (H2 History) and Superpower Relations with China (H1 History). All in all, the one week break is an important phase to re-assess the situation by identifying any study issues and resolving them in a systematic and productive way.

1. Organise your materials
Given the hectic schedule of JC students, it is typical for some to pile up study notes, question papers and marked scripts in a disorganised fashion. However, the problem of misplacing learning materials can be costly. It may even be a frustrating experience to search high and low for relevant documents to revise specific topics.

To avert such an unpleasant situation, you should put in the time to arrange your materials. One cost-effective method is to use separate files or folders to organise the papers. Alternatively, you can switch to a more eco-friendly way for easy access. Setup a folder in your digital device, such as a laptop or tablet, then keep your History materials inside.

2. Revise content productively
A common error that some JC students make while studying A Level History is to spend considerable time on reading to grasp the historical developments covered in different topics. Although some may find it useful to know the intricacies of key events, like the origins of the Truman Doctrine that caused the start of the Cold War, they will encounter difficulties in expressing their ideas clearly to answer essay questions and source based case studies.

The crux of the issue lies with the way A Level History questions are set. These questions do not test your ability to regurgitate factual information, like the functions of the United Nations Security Council. Instead, the examiners are assessing your capability in analysing past events and deriving cohesive arguments. Therefore, it is imperative for students to recognise this concern and make relevant adjustments to their study methods when doing revision.

“It’s not how we make mistakes, but how we correct them that defines us.”

— Rachel Wolchin

How our JC History Tuition prepares you for the examination?
If you are unsure of the appropriate responses to address the above-mentioned issues, our JC History Tuition programme will assist you in handling them. JC 1 and JC 2 students who are taking either H2 History or H1 History will receive concise study notes to revise for various topics. These learning materials have been refined to match the key perspectives that are commonly featured in a wide range of examination questions.

Additionally, our regular tuition covers thematic content discussion to guide you through the process of studying the topics meaningfully. You will learn how to use the notes to remember key factual information in a systematic way, such that you will grasp its application in different forms.

As you prepare for your Common Tests, Block Tests or even the major assessments like the JC 1 Promotional examinations and JC 2 Preliminary examinations, our JC History Tuition programme features free writing practices. These practices are held fortnightly to get you accustomed to the time constraints. Also, your practices are marked and reviewed by the tutor.

Learn more about our current schedule for the JC History Tuition lessons held either at the centre or online.

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 Secondary English TuitionSecondary Math tuitionSecondary Chemistry Tuition and Secondary Economics Tuition. For Primary Tuition, we have Primary English Tuition. Call 9658 5789 to find out more!

JC H2 H1 History Tuition Online - What happened during the United States invasion of Grenada - United Nations Essay Notes

What happened during the United States invasion of Grenada?

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

Find out what happened in Grenada [Video by The Associated Press].

Historical Context: The ‘Second Cold War’
Following the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, United States (US) President Ronald Reagan renewed Cold War confrontation towards its ideological rival. As part of the ‘containment policy’, the US increased its military and financial support for counter-revolutionaries in other parts of the world. Along the same vein, the US became more involved in the toppling of pro-Communist regimes.

The prevention of another ‘hostage crisis’
The Reagan administration’s swift and firm response to the coup launched by the leftist Maurice Bishop and his New Jewel Movement was partly motivated by the fears of another ‘Iran Hostage Crisis’. In Grenada, there were nearly 1000 Americans. Most were medical students.

From the ideological standpoint, the US was concerned with the rise of a Marxist regime. In 1983, the Marxist Bernard Coard assassinated Bishop and replaced the government. The Reagan administration was concerned with the increasing Soviet influence in the Carribean.

The United States had grown increasingly uneasy about the expansion of Soviet and Cuban influence in the Caribbean and in Grenada in particular. By the early 1980s, Soviet support of the Communist Sandinista government of Nicaragua and of the Communist insurrection in El Salvador was on the rise. The new U.S. administration of President Ronald Reagan viewed further encroachments into traditional U.S. spheres of influence in South and Central America and the Caribbean as constituting an increasing menace. Soviet and Cuban military aid and equipment and construction of an airfield larger than any needed for purely civilian purposes set off alarm bells in the U.S. national security establishment.

An excerpt from “Operation Urgent Fury: The Invasion of Grenada, October 1983” by Richard W Stewart and Edgar F Raines.

On 25 October 1983, the US led a military invasion of Grenada, clashing with Grenadian armed forces and Cuban engineers. Eventually, the invasion was a success. Coard’s government was replaced by a pro-American Herbert Blaize.

International outrage
The American invasion drew strong criticisms from various countries. On 2 November 1983, the United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution, condemning the act as a ‘flagrant violation of international law’. Similarly, the United Nations Security Council drafted a resolution, but was vetoed by the US.

… President Reagan dispatched 1,900 US troops to Grenada on October 25. Encountering little resistance, US forces quickly gained control of the island, arrested what was left of the Grenadian government… Although popular in the United States, the US action was condemned by the United Nations, with only a US veto preventing a Security Council censure.

The invasion of Grenada, coupled with increases in support for the Contras and the Afghan resistance led to a codification of US policy toward the Third World which became known as the Reagan Doctrine.

An excerpt from “The Cold War: An International History” by David Painter.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– Assess the significance of the Cold War on the political effectiveness of the United Nations peacekeeping operations.

Join our JC History Tuition and learn more about the Cold War and peacekeeping missions. We cover a thematic review during our online learning classes. Students will receive summary notes and go through class practices to refine their thinking, reading and writing techniques.

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