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JC History Tuition Online - What did the UN do to help Somalia - UN Notes 2

What did the UN do to help Somalia?

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: The rise and fall of Siad Barre
After a ten-year transition period under a United Nations (UN) Trusteeship in the 1950s, Somalia gained independence. From 1960 to 1969, Somalia was led by multi-party system. In 1969, Major General Mohamed Siad Barre became President after a bloodless coup.

Under the Cold War context, Somalia had received Soviet military and financial aid. Yet, the Soviet Union disapproved Barre’s decision to launch an invasion of Ethiopia in July 1977, which was known as the Ogaden War. The war concluded with Somali defeat in March 1978 as well as the termination of Soviet aid.

The Ogaden War had a profound effect on international relations in the Horn of Africa. Russia and Cuba withdrew from the long-standing military and naval bases they had helped build in Somalia, and relocated to what was then the Red Sea coastline of Ethiopia (now Eritrea). As a result, Siad Barre switched allegiance to the West, making his first visit to the USA in 1982 […].

An excerpt taken from “Somaliland: with Addis Ababa & Eastern Ethiopia” by Philip Briggs.

In addition, the Barre government had to contend with clan-based rebellions that lasted throughout the 1980s. By then, more Somalis became disillusioned with a military dictatorship under Barre. The rebellions began with a failed coup attempt in April 1978, which were carried out by disgruntled army officers led by Colonel Mohamed Osman Irro.

By late 1990, the United Somali Congress (USC) launched an offensive on the capital Mogadishu, thus forcing Barre to flee in January 1991.

Enter the United Nations: UNOSOM
After Barre’s self-imposed exile, a civil war broke out between two factions: one that backed the Interim President Ali Mahdi Mohamed and another that supported General Mohamed Farah Aidid. In hopes of brokering peace between the factions, the Secretary-General Javier Pérez de Cuéllar dispatched a UN envoy, James Jonah.

More importantly, many Somali civilians’ lives were undermined by the civil war, thus necessitating humanitarian intervention. By November 1991, about 300,000 people died. Many suffered from malnutrition and other related diseases. Also, a million Somalis fled their homes, giving rise to a refugee crisis.

On 3 March 1992, leaders of both competing factions (Mahdi and Aidid) signed a ceasefire agreement (“Agreement on the Implementation of a Ceasefire”), which granted consent for the UN to deploy military observers to oversee the process.

On 24 April 1992, the UN Security Council (UNSC) adopted Resolution 751, which authorised the deployment of the United Nations Operation in Somalia (UNOSOM). UNOSOM was tasked to distribute food supplies to the Somali civilians with the help of other non-governmental organisations (NGOs), such as the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). However, its relief efforts were hampered by the absence of security, which gave rise to looting by armed gangs.

However, humanitarian aid was preyed upon by a mixture of the warring factions and unaffiliated bandits. The militia leaders used food to pay their fighters and buy weapons that allowed them to extend their control and subsequently their access to wealth. […] Khalil Dale, a British Red Cross worker, recalled:

I’ve been to Afghanistan, two or three times. I’ve been to Sudan, I’ve been to a lot of war zones and famine camps and cholera camps. But I’ve never seen anything like Somalia was at that time. And it was certainly the most frightening place for me, it was the most insecure, unpredictable. You just didn’t know what was going to happen next.

An excerpt taken from “Soldiers and Civil Power: Supporting or Substituting Civil Authorities in Modern Peace Operations” by Thijs Brocades Zaalberg.

General Aidid held dominant control of strategic locations where most of the food aid had arrived from abroad, namely the port and airfield. The problem was so serious that the ICRC had to employ nearly 20,000 armed guards to protect their personnel from looters.

Help is on the way: United Task Force
Frustrated by the lack of progress, the Bush administration supported the UNSC’s resolution to authorise an American-led force to establish a “secure environment for humanitarian relief operations in Somalia”. On 9 December 1992, Operation Restore Hope was conducted by the US government under the United Task Force (UNITAF).

Out of the 38,000 troops deployed, 24,000 were American, reflecting the commitment of the US government to support the UN’s humanitarian intervention in Somalia. Between December 1992 and May 1993, the UNITAF secured nine humanitarian relief sectors, thus enabling the resumption of humanitarian aid to the Somali civilians.

Providing security relief operations was obviously a success. By late December and early January there was consensus worldwide that the US-led intervention enabled the relief organization to deliver much-needed supplies much more effectively. As a result, many thousands of lives were saved. […]

According to the official US Army After Action Report of the Somalia mission, the Bush administration recognized that lasting peace in Somalia could only be achieved by disarming the warlords, reconciliation and assisting in the restoration of law and order and societal infrastructure.

An excerpt taken from “Soldiers and Civil Power: Supporting or Substituting Civil Authorities in Modern Peace Operations” by Thijs Brocades Zaalberg.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– How far do you agree that the failures of the United Nations mission in Somalia were expected?

Join our JC History Tuition to learn more about 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 JC Math Tuition and JC Chemistry Tuition. For Secondary Tuition, we provide Secondary English Tuition, Secondary Math tuition, Secondary Chemistry Tuition, Social Studies Tuition, Geography, History Tuition and Secondary Economics Tuition. For Primary Tuition, we have Primary English, Math and Science Tuition. Call 9658 5789 to find out more.

JC History Tuition Online - What changes did Poland go through in 1989

What changes did Poland go through in 1989?

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

Historical context
In response to worsening economic problems in the late 1980s, the Polish people participated in strikes. In September 1988, Polish Solidarity leader Lech Walesa and the Minister of Internal Affairs Czesław Kiszczak (the right-hand man of General Jaruzelski) held a secret meeting to discuss the political situation of Poland. This was a stark contrast to the Polish government’s response to the strikes in 1980-1981, in which martial law was declared.

By the end of the meeting, both parties agreed to hold talks (known as the ‘Round Table’), which began on 6 February 1989. Two months later, the ‘Round Table Agreement’ was signed, reflecting successful efforts for political reforms in a Communist-controlled Poland.

By February 1989, President Wojciech Jaruzelski agreed to open ’round-table negotiations’ with Solidarity in an attempt to introduce democratic elements into Polish politics. An agreement signed in April 1989 legalized Solidarity and stipulated new election rulesNon-communist parties were now allowed to compete for 35 per cent of the seats in the Polish Diet, yet the formula ensured that Jaruzelski would retain the power of decision.

An excerpt taken from “Transatlantic Relations Since 1945: An Introduction” by Jussi Hanhimaki, Barbara Zanchetta and Benedikt Schoenborn.

The Round Table Agreement and its consequences on the Cold War
In the Agreement, there were several noteworthy points, such as the legalisation of independent trade unions (which included the popular Solidarity) and the creation of Senate. More importantly, an election was to be held on 4 June 1989.

Of course, the Polish Round Table talks set into motion the chain of extraordinary events of 1989 in Europe. As a result of the talks the first completely free election in one house, the Senate, occurred in Eastern Europe in forty years. Because of the unexpectedly overwhelming triumph of Solidarity in the elections in June 1989, in August the first non-Communist prime minister in Eastern Europe in forty years came to office after the Communists were unable to form a government when some of their former satellite Peasant Party allies defected. […]

A Soviet intervention in Poland would have meant the death of Gorbachev’s détente with the West, with deleterious consequences for his perestroika project. Gorbachev thus faced a stark choice he had not expected or desired: intervene in Poland or let a non-Communist government come to power.

An excerpt taken from “Problems of Democratic Transition and Consolidation: Southern Europe, South America, and Post-Communist Europe” by Juan J. J. Linz.

By the end of the first free parliamentary election in Poland since 1928, the Solidarity emerged victorious. On 24 August 1989, Tadeusz Mazowiecki became the first non-Communist prime minister in the Eastern Bloc. Thus began the disintegration of the Soviet bloc in Eastern Europe.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– Assess the view that the fall of Soviet Communism in Eastern Europe was mainly the result of popular movements in 1989?

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

We have other JC tuition classes, such as JC Math Tuition and JC Chemistry Tuition. For Secondary Tuition, we provide Secondary English Tuition, Secondary Math tuition, Secondary Chemistry Tuition, Social Studies Tuition, Geography, History Tuition and Secondary Economics Tuition. For Primary Tuition, we have Primary English, Math and Science Tuition. Call 9658 5789 to find out more.

JC History Tuition Online - How did the UN respond to the Suez Canal crisis - UN Notes

How did the UN respond to the Suez Canal crisis?

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: Trouble in Suez
In October 1956, Egypt, Jordan and Syria formed a joint military command that alarmed Israel. When the USA and UK backed down on their decision to finance the development of an Aswan dam project for Egypt, President Nasser nationalised the Suez Canal, declaring that the transit fees would be used to pay for the infrastructure.

In retaliation, Britain and France orchestrated an attack on Egypt to reclaim the Suez. In the process, Israel was brought into the picture. On 29 October 1956, Israel invaded Sinai. On 5 November, the British and French deployed paratroopers along the Suez Canal. From October 1956 to March 1957, the Suez Canal was closed as a result of the crisis.

The [Suez] canal had been built during the 1860s under French management in partnership with Egypt. The canal itself was Egyptian, guaranteed as an open waterway under an international treaty, the Convention of Constantinople, signed in 1888. But the canal was operated by an unusual private firm, the Universal Suez Canal Company, headquartered in Paris. The British had bought a large minority of the stock from a bankrupt Egyptian government in 1875. The company had a concession to operate the canal until 1968. Surrounding the canal, loaded with infrastructure such as railroads, harbors, and warehouses, was the Canal Zone – an elaborate British base operated under an Anglo-Egyptian treaty signed in 1936.

An excerpt taken from “Suez Deconstructed: An Interactive Study in Crisis, War, and Peacemaking” by Philip Zelikow and Ernest May.

The First United Nations Emergency Force: UNEF I
On 7 November 1956, the United Nations General Assembly passed resolution 1001, leading to the creation of a peacekeeping force, known as the First United Nations Emergency Force (UNEF I). UNEF I was tasked to secure and supervise the cessation of hostilities, including the withdrawal of foreign troops (France, Britain and Israel) from Egyptian territory. Also, the UNEF I functioned as a buffer between Egyptian and Israeli forces, monitoring a ceasefire agreement that lasted for ten years.

Through the efforts of Canada’s Minister for External Affairs Lester Pearson and various European delegates, on February 2 the General Assembly passed two resolutions that focused on both Egypt and Israel. The first deplored Israeli noncompliance with the earlier General Assembly resolution that had mandated a complete Israeli withdrawal from all occupied territory and called upon Israel to complete its pullback without delay. The second resolution called upon both countries to observe the armistice agreement and, after Israeli troops withdrew, mandated the stationing of UNEF troops on the Israeli-Egyptian border.

An excerpt taken from “The Economic Diplomacy of the Suez Crisis” by Diane B. Kunz.

With the help of the charismatic Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld, Nasser agreed to the presence of UNEF I on the condition that Egypt could revoke its agreement at any time. Furthermore, the peacekeeping troops stationed in Egypt have no authority over the people. On the other hand, Israel refused to give UNEF consent to enter its territory.

By February 1957, UNEF I had 6073 personnel, which were contributed by eleven member states of the United Nations (Yugoslavia, Finland, India, Indonesia, Norway, Sweden, Canada, Brazil, Colombia, Denmark and Norway).

Six-Day War: A political bystander?
However, Egypt no longer welcomed UNEF’s presence by 1967. Given Israel’s participation in the invasion of Egypt during the Suez Canal Crisis as well as its hostility following the Palestinian War of 1948, tensions were high.

In May 1967, the Soviet Union delivered reports to Egypt, claiming that Israeli troops were amassing on the Syrian border. In anticipation of a possible military incursion, Nasser withdrew consent, forcing Secretary-General U Thant to comply with the expulsion of UNEF stationed in the Sinai Peninsula.

On 13 May 1967, [Nasser] received a Soviet intelligence report claiming that Israel was massing troops on Syria’s border. Nasser responded by taking three successive steps that made war virtually inevitable: he deployed his troops in the Sinai close to Israel’s border, he expelled the UN Emergency Force (UNEF) from the Sinai, and, on 22 May, he closed the Straits of Tiran to Israeli shipping. In Israeli eyes, this was a casus belli, a cause for war. On 5 June, Israel seized the initiative and launched the short, sharp war that ended in a resounding military defeat for Egypt, Syria, and Jordan.

An excerpt taken from “The 1967 Arab-Israeli War: Origins and Consequences” by Avi Shlaim and William Roger Louis.

Egypt then declared its intention to impose a blockade through the Straits of Tiran, which would have hampered Israel’s access to the Red Sea. Israel was outraged by this announcement, declaring the blockade as an act of war. On 5 June 1967, Israel commenced Operation Focus, which was a series of pre-emptive air strikes that disabled Egyptian air operations. This marked the start of the Six-Day War.

Evidently, the UN peacekeepers were helpless to the situation in spite of their initial success in response to the Suez Crisis.

An illustration on the changes to Israeli-controlled territories before and after the Six Day War of 1967. [Source: BBC]

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– How far do you agree that the key factor that determined the successes of United Nations peacekeeping was the cooperation of member states?

Join our JC History Tuition to learn more about 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 JC Math Tuition and JC Chemistry Tuition. For Secondary Tuition, we provide Secondary English Tuition, Secondary Math tuition, Secondary Chemistry Tuition, Social Studies Tuition, Geography, History Tuition and Secondary Economics Tuition. For Primary Tuition, we have Primary English, Math and Science Tuition. Call 9658 5789 to find out more.

JC History Tuition Online - How did decolonisation affect the United Nations - UN Notes

How did decolonisation affect the United Nations?

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

Historical context
On 14 December 1960, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the “Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples”. In essence, the Declaration advocated the right to self-determination, thereby bringing an end to colonial rule.

Recognizing that the peoples of the world ardently desire the end of colonialism in all its manifestations, […]

2. All peoples have the right to self-determination; by virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.

An excerpt taken from the United Nations General Assembly Resolution 1514 (XV), 947th plenary meeting, 14 December 1960.

A commitment to decolonisation: C-24
To oversee the decolonisation process, a Special Committee was established in 1961 in accordance to the General Assembly resolution 1654 (XVI). The Committee of Twenty-four, also known as C-24, carries out activities, such as examining the political and economic developments of non-self-governing territories (NSGTs).


Infographic on the Special Committee on Decolonization. [Source: United Nations]

By resolution 1603 (XV) of 20 April 1961, a Sub-Committee on the Situation in Angola was created. Angola was both a colonial issue involving a commencement case, as well as a complex political situation characterized by armed conflict. In 1962 this Sub-Committee was absorbed by what was becoming the main U.N. instrumentality for decolonization, namely the Special Committee of Twenty-Four.

With a view to centralizing the U.N. action in the area of decolonization, and to concentrate it in the hands of the Special Committee of Twenty-Four, the pattern of absorption was repeated with regard to the Committee on South West Africa which was dissolved in 1961.

An excerpt taken from “The United Nations and Decolonization: The Role of Afro-Asia” byy Yassin El-Ayouty.

Branching out to security matters
In the early 1960s, the newly-formed C-24 tried to garner support from the United Nations Security Council. It called on the Council to address the issue in South West Africa, citing security concerns. Likewise, a similar matter was raised in Southern Rhodesia two years later. In 1965, the Committee expressed concerns in the Aden territory, labelling it as a ‘dangerous situation’.

Yet, the Security Council’s responses were not identical. For instance, the Council recognised the threats in South West Africa, but not so in Aden.

It is doubtful if in practice the Committee of Twenty-four had much influence on the policies which the colonial powers pursued in the territories for which they were responsible. Its pronouncements were for them an extremely marginal factor among all the considerations which had to be taken into account (including often a nationalistic home opinion holding diametrically opposite views). They were a factor which, if considered at all, were more important in the eyes of their foreign offices than of their colonial departments which had the main responsibility for policy concerning their colonial territories.

An excerpt taken from “A History of the United Nations: Volume 2: The Age of Decolonization, 1955–1965” by Evan Luard.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– How far do you agree that decolonisation created problems for the United Nations General Assembly?

Join our JC History Tuition to learn more about 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 JC Math Tuition and JC Chemistry Tuition. For Secondary Tuition, we provide Secondary English Tuition, Secondary Math tuition, Secondary Chemistry Tuition, Social Studies Tuition, Geography, History Tuition and Secondary Economics Tuition. For Primary Tuition, we have Primary English, Math and Science Tuition. Call 9658 5789 to find out more.

JC History Tuition Online - When was ASEAN formed and why - ASEAN Notes

Revisited: When was ASEAN formed and why?

Topic of Study [For H2 History Students]:
Paper 2: Regional Conflicts and Co-operation (SBCS)
Theme III Chapter 1: Reasons for the formation of ASEAN

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

Prelude to ASEAN: An invitation to promote co-operation
In December 1966, Thailand put forth a proposal, known as the Southeast Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SEAARC), to four other nations in the Southeast Asian (SEA) region. The SEAARC proposal states that countries in SEA “share a primary responsibility for ensuring the stability and maintaining the security of the area”. In particular, the proposal, which was drafted with Indonesia, specified the presence of “foreign bases” being temporary in nature, so as to protect the “national independence of Asian countries”.

Notably, this was an expected move by Thailand, given its disappointment expressed at the USA in view of the communist insurgency in Thailand that remained unaddressed even though it was part of the Southeast Asian Treaty Organisation (SEATO). Along the same vein, Indonesia was a strong advocate of keeping the Great Powers out of the region, given its involvement in the Non-Alignment Movement (NAM) ever since it hosted the Bandung Conference in April 1955.

Yet, the other countries opposed the proposal, citing the need to rely on foreign powers to protect their individual security interests.

Indonesia, despite undergoing a dramatic reorientation in foreign policy under Suharto, saw foreign powers targeting the region and maintained that its national security was best served by following a policy of self-reliance and nonalignment. It believed that the Southeast Asian states should follow its lead.

[…] The Filipinos felt that their security was best served by maintaining their strong bilateral defense ties with the United States, which kept major military bases there. Likewise, Singapore remained dependent on protection from Britain and was home to the largest British base in the region.

An excerpt taken from “Explaining ASEAN: Regionalism in Southeast Asia” by Shaun Narine.

Eventually, a compromised was reached, such that the Bangkok Declaration (that officiated the formation of ASEAN) states that “all foreign bases are temporary and remain only with the expressed concurrence of the countries concerned”. There was no mention of collective defense arrangements that served the interests of Great Powers in the Declaration. The late international relations scholar Michael Leifer commented that this compromise was merely an effort by other nations to “placate Indonesia”.

A platform for reconciliation and cooperation
On a separate note, ASEAN was also formed because of the common desire of neighbouring countries in the region to forge stronger diplomatic ties with one another. As a result of Sukarno‘s hyper-nationalist policies towards Singapore and Malaysia during the Konfrontasi, General Suharto of Indonesia sought to make amends and promote regional cooperation through the newly-formed organisation.

From 1962 to 1966, disagreements and conflicts between the region’s states had hamstrung any efforts at cooperation. These disputes largely centred upon the proposed amalgamation of Malaya, Singapore, Sarawak, and Sabah into the Federation of Malaysia. Both the Philippines and Indonesia refused to recognize the new Federation. The Philippines disputed the territorial claim of Sabah. Indonesia denounced the influence of Britain, which it viewed as ‘an imperial power imposing its will on Southeast Asia’.

As a result, Indonesia embarked on a violent four-year campaign of Konfrontasi, or confrontation, with the newly federated state of Malaysia, growing to include Singapore following its forced separation from the federation in 1965.

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

The negotiation: Thailand and Singapore on the creation of ASEAN
At first, Singapore was not keen to join ASEAN, citing the growing ambitions of Indonesia. Given Singapore’s position with the Malaysian Federation during the Konfrontasi, the first multi-lateral discussions about the establishment of this regional organisation did not even mention the city-state.

Thailand was instrumental in including Singapore in ASEAN. […] Thanat Khoman (1914-2016), Thailand’s foreign minister, then met with Rajaratnam in Bangkok and allayed fears, explaining that ASEAN would be a purely cultural, economic, social, and technical group devoted to regional cooperation. Khoman promised that ASEAN, as a non-aligned association, would not support or partake in military operations of any kind. Khoman convinced Rajaratnam that Singapore would not be implicated in Cold War politics after joining ASEAN.

An excerpt taken from “Southeast Asia in China: Historical Entanglements and Contemporary Engagements” by Ying-kit Chan and Chang-Yau Hoon.

On 8 August 1967, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) was formed in Bangkok, Thailand. ASEAN was established with the signing of the ASEAN Declaration (more commonly known as the ‘Bangkok Declaration’) by five founding member nations: Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and the Philippines.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– How far do you agree with the view that ASEAN was largely a product of the Cold War?

Join our JC History Tuition to learn more about 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 JC Math Tuition and JC Chemistry Tuition. For Secondary Tuition, we provide Secondary English Tuition, Secondary Math tuition, Secondary Chemistry Tuition, Social Studies Tuition, Geography, History Tuition and Secondary Economics Tuition. For Primary Tuition, we have Primary English, Math and Science Tuition. Call 9658 5789 to find out more.

JC History Tuition Online - What is the peacekeeping role of the United Nations

What is the peacekeeping role of the United Nations?

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

Saving succeeding generations from the scourge of war: The United Nations
On 24 October 1945, an inter-governmental organisation known as the United Nations was established. Barely a month ago, the Second World War came to an end, giving many a stark reminder of the devastation and atrocities that warmongers can cause on others.

Five decades later, the Department of Peace Operations (DPO) was set up, streamlining processes to carry out peacekeeping missions to achieve myriad goals set and authorised by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).

Defining peacekeeping: Origins
The first peacekeeping mission took place in 1948 when the UNSC authorised the deployment of military observers to the Middle East. In particular, the United Nations Truce Supervision Organisation (UNTSO) was established in May 1948 to monitor ceasefires, supervise armistice agreements and prevent conflicts from threatening the security of Middle Eastern nations.

In its first manifestations in the United Nations, and indeed earlier, in the inter-war years, peacekeeping was strictly an inter-state activity. It had to do with the management of stressed or fractured relations between sovereign states in the international system. The United Nations Emergency Force sent to Suez in 1956 (which is often misleadingly described as the first peacekeeping operation) was interposed between Egypt and the states that had attacked it (Britain, France and Israel) following its nationalization of the Suez Canal. After Suez the essential principles of peacekeeping employed there were seen to apply as well to previous UN undertakings that had not, at the time they were established, been given the name peacekeeping.

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

Notably, peacekeeping became a more ‘organised’ activity for the United Nations in 1956 when its principles were defined by then United Nations Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld and Canadian minister Lester B. Pearson. Its principles were put to the test when the United Nations Emergency Force (UNEF) was deployed in response to the Suez Canal Crisis of 1956.

Ever since 1948, more than 70 peacekeeping missions have been undertaken by the United Nations, involving more than 120 countries that contributed hundreds of thousands of personnel. Notably, the UN Operation in the Congo (ONUC) was first large-scale mission that numbered 20,000 of military personnel.

Evolution of peacekeeping
In the post-Cold War phase, the role of United Nations peacekeepers was re-defined to keep the organisation relevant. Initially, the ‘blue helmets’ took on a ‘traditional’ role, which included tasks like monitoring ceasefires. In view of the rise of new challenges posed by intra-state conflicts, peacekeepers took up new responsibilities, like providing humanitarian assistance, monitoring human rights, as well as disarmament and demobilisation of former combatants.

As Secretary-General Kofi Annan memorably described the new UN role in 1998: “Our job is to intervene: to prevent conflict where we can, to put a stop to it when it has broken out, or – when neither of those things is possible – at least to contain it and prevent it from spreading.” He was reflecting the activism of the Security Council, which between 1987 and 1994 had quadrupled the number of resolutions it issued, tripled the peacekeeping operations it authorized, and multiplied by seven the number of economic sanctions it imposed per year. Military forces deployed in peacekeeping operations increased from fewer than 10,000 to more than 70,000.

An excerpt taken from “Making War and Building Peace: United Nations Peace Operations” by Michael W. Doyle and Nicholas Sambanis.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– Assess the view that United Nations peacekeeping was successful ever since its inception.

Join our JC History Tuition to learn more about 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 JC Math Tuition and JC Chemistry Tuition. For Secondary Tuition, we provide Secondary English Tuition, Secondary Math tuition, Secondary Chemistry Tuition, Social Studies Tuition, Geography, History Tuition and Secondary Economics Tuition. For Primary Tuition, we have Primary English, Math and Science Tuition. Call 9658 5789 to find out more.

JC History Tuition Online - Who is U Thant - United Nations Notes

Who is U Thant?

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

Background
U Thant (သန့်) was appointed Secretary-General of the United Nations on 30 November 1961. It was six weeks after the distinguished Dag Hammarskjöld died in an air crash. U Thant was the first non-European Secretary-General. He served for two terms that eventually ended on 31 December 1971.

U Thant led diplomatic efforts in the different missions, such as the ongoing Congo Crisis in Sub-Saharan Africa, the protracted Arab-Israeli War in the Middle East and the Vietnam War in Indochina.

U Thant’s Diplomacy
During the Cuban Missile Crisis, U Thant helped to pass messages between American and Soviet leaders, Kennedy and Khrushchev, averting a nuclear confrontation. U Thant also visited the Cuban leader Fidel Castro to oversee the smooth removal of missiles.

U Thant called for urgent negotiations, informing the Security Council that he had sent identical messages to Kennedy and Khrushchev appealing for a two- to three-week moratorium. […] U Thant received lavish praise inside and outside the Security Council for his part in helping defuse the crisis. In the Security Council on 25 October, Ambassador Quaison-Sackey expressed appreciation to U Thant for his “tremendous show of statesmanship and initiative.”

An excerpt taken from “Preventive Diplomacy at the UN” by Bertrand G. Ramcharan.

However, U Thant’s efforts were hindered by the United States. During the Vietnam War, he tried to mediate by arranging peace talks between Washington and Hanoi, but the Johnson administration rejected his proposals. The US Secretary of State Dean Rusk objected to U Thant’s ceasefire and peace talks in Rangoon. Rusk alleged that U Thant’s enthusiasm in facilitating peace talks was influenced by his desire to claim the Nobel Peace Prize.

The third UN Secretary-General, U Thant, made a spirited attempt to find a means of ending the disastrous Vietnam War. He evolved a plan for a cease-fire in place and for a meeting of all the parties in Rangoon, where all the diplomatic representation, to agree on how to negotiate a final end to the war.

[…] Nothing more was heard from Washington, and there is no written record of what Stevenson did about it, although it now seems likely that Secretary of State Dean Rusk, who distrusted U Thant’s efforts on Vietna, may have blocked it.

An excerpt taken from “Adlai Stevenson’s Lasting Legacy” by A. Liebling.

According to Sir Brian Urquhart, there was a stark contrast between the personality of U Thant and his predecessor Hammarskjöld. U Thant was viewed as a “simple and direct” individual who spoke few words, whereas Hammarskjöld was much more articulate.

[U Thant] was friendly, informal, and genuinely interested in what one had to say – in contrast to Hammarskjöld, who paid little heed to subordinates. U Thant also differed from his predecessor in more fundamental ways.

He was simple and direct where Hammarskjöld was complicated and nuanced; a man of few words where Hammarskjöld was immensely articulate; a devout traditional Buddhist where Hammarskjöld was increasingly inclined to a personal brand of mysticism; a man of imperturbable calm where Hammarskjöld could be highly emotional; a modest and unpretentious middlebrow where Hammarskjöld was intensely intellectual; a taker of advice where Hammarskjöld almost invariably stuck to his own opinion.

An excerpt taken from “Character Sketches: U Thant” by Brian Urquhart.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– How far do you agree that U Thant was effective in performing his duties as the United Nations Secretary-General in the 1960s?

Join our JC History Tuition to learn more about 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 JC Math Tuition and JC Chemistry Tuition. For Secondary Tuition, we provide Secondary English Tuition, Secondary Math tuition, Secondary Chemistry Tuition, Social Studies Tuition, Geography, History Tuition and Secondary Economics Tuition. For Primary Tuition, we have Primary English, Math and Science Tuition. Call 9658 5789 to find out more.

JC History Tuition Online - How did the UN support decolonisation - United Nations Notes

How did the UN support decolonisation?

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
After World War Two, Third World colonies in the Africa and Asia went through decolonisation. However, not all member states of the United Nations were supportive of decolonisation, particularly those that were former colonial powers. In the early 1950s, Indonesia raised its concerns over West Irian, which was still controlled by the Netherlands.

On August 17, 1954, a day chosen with appropriate concern for nationalist symbolism, the Indonesian representative to the United Nations requested the UN Secretary-General to place the West Irian question on the agenda of that year’s regular session of the General Assembly. […] When debate was begun on the issue, Indonesia came forth with ringing declarations of the case against colonial rule.

An excerpt taken from “The Decline of Constitutional Democracy in Indonesia” by Herbert Feith.

Furthermore, the Cold War rivalry has hindered efforts at international cooperation. Although the USA has always been a strong advocate of decolonisation, its British ally convinced it not to express support for this process in the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).

Resolution 1514
During the fifteenth session of the UNGA, member states were called upon to vote for the independence of countries and end of colonial rule. Notably, the USA abstained, whereas the Soviet Union supported the draft resolution. In total, 89 voted for the resolution, whereas 9 abstained.

As a result, UNGA Resolution 1514 (XV) was passed, which was known as the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples.

2. All peoples have the right to self-determination; by virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.

[…] 5. Immediate steps shall be taken, in Trust and Non-Self-Governing Territories or all other territories which have not yet attained independence, to transfer all powers to the peoples of those territories, without any conditions or reservations, in accordance with their freely expressed will and desire, without any distinction as to race, creed or colour, in order to enable them to enjoy complete independence and freedom.

An excerpt taken from General Assembly Resolution 1514 (XV), 14 December 1960.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– In view of Third World decolonisation, assess the challenges to the political effectiveness of the United Nations General Assembly.

Join our JC History Tuition to learn more about 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 JC Math Tuition and JC Chemistry Tuition. For Secondary Tuition, we provide Secondary English Tuition, Secondary Math tuition, Secondary Chemistry Tuition, Social Studies Tuition, Geography, History Tuition and Secondary Economics Tuition. For Primary Tuition, we have Primary English, Math and Science Tuition. Call 9658 5789 to find out more.

JC History Tuition Online - What is the Uniting for peace resolution - United Nations Notes

What is the Uniting for Peace resolution?

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: The Acheson Plan
After the outbreak of the Korean War in June 1950, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) was able to capitalise on the Soviet boycott to authorise a United Nations military coalition to repel the North Korean aggression. In its absence, Security Council Resolution 83 was passed.

However, such fortunes were fleeting. From August 1950, the Soviet delegate returned and cast a negative vote (veto) on a UNSC draft resolution to condemn the aggression by the North Korean forces in the war. In response, the US Secretary of State Dean Acheson convinced the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) to assume responsibility of maintaining international peace and security, as stated in Article 14 of the United Nations Charter.

Subject to the provisions of Article 12, the General Assembly may recommend measures for the peaceful adjustment of any situation, regardless of origin, which it deems likely to impair the general welfare or friendly relations among nations, including situations resulting from a violation of the provisions of the present Charter setting forth the Purposes and Principles of the United Nations.

Taken from Article 14 of the United Nations Charter.

Resolution 377A(V): Circumventing the Veto
As a result, UNGA Resolution 377A(V) was passed, empowering the UNGA to hold an emergency special session (ESS) to make recommendations on collective measures to maintain international peace and security. This ESS may be called if requested by the UNSC “on the vote of any seven members [nine since 1965], or by a majority” of the member states.

If the Security Council, because of lack of unanimity of the permanent members, fails to exercise its primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security in any case where there appears to be a threat to the peace, breach of the peace, or act of aggression, the General Assembly shall consider the matter immediately with a view to making appropriate recommendations to Members for collective measures […] If not in session at the time, the General Assembly shall therefore meet in emergency special session within twenty-four hours of the request.

An excerpt taken from General Assembly Resolution 377A(V), 3 November 1950.

Also known as the ‘Uniting for Peace’ (UfP), its first application was observed during the Korean War. On 6 and 12 September 1950, the UfP was adopted in response to Soviet vetoes.

A more relevant case study is exemplified in the Suez Canal Crisis of 1956. In response to French and British vetoes of a Resolution 119, the UfP was invoked by the UNSC, enabling the UNGA to hold its First Emergency Special Session on “The Situation in the Middle East”. Notably, Resolution 1000 was adopted, authorising the creation of the first peacekeeping force, known as the United Nations Emergency Force (UNEF I).

The “Uniting for Peace” resolution pointed to the flexible, if not uncontested, mechanisms of the Charter that allowed the United Nations to take action even when the Security Council was blocked. Due to the contentious nature of the decision, this procedure has not been invoked very often. One instance was during the Suez crisis in 1956, when the General Assembly adopted a resolution to send a ten-nation peacekeeping force to supervise the cessation of hostilities. Such agreement was possible since the interests of the two superpowers converged, acting against the veto of France and Britain, which were directly involved in the conflict.

An excerpt taken from “The United Nations: Confronting the Challenges of a Global Society” by Jean E. Krasno.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– How far do you agree that ‘Uniting for Peace’ has enhanced the political effectiveness of the United Nations General Assembly from 1950 to 1997?

Join our JC History Tuition to learn more about 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 JC Math Tuition and JC Chemistry Tuition. For Secondary Tuition, we provide Secondary English Tuition, Secondary Math tuition, Secondary Chemistry Tuition, Social Studies Tuition, Geography, History Tuition and Secondary Economics Tuition. For Primary Tuition, we have Primary English, Math and Science Tuition. Call 9658 5789 to find out more.

JC History Tuition Online - When did Poland declare martial law - End of the Cold War Notes

When did Poland declare martial law?

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

Historical context: Rise of Solidarity
The trade union Solidarność (Solidarity) was formed on 30 August 1980 following a strike action (also known as ‘Lenin Shipyard strike’) led by a factory electrician Lech Walesa at the Gdańsk Shipyard. The strike was a response to the Polish government’s price hike for food in 1980.

At that time, the government gave in to the demands of the strikers, leading to the Gdańsk Agreement being signed. This Agreement allowed worker representation through the Solidarity.

The most important stipulation of the [Gdańsk Agreement] was that it recognised the workers’ right to set up a free trade union, independent from the state and the governing communist party. This stipulation gave ground for the future registration of the “Solidarność” trade union, which later played a historic role in the peaceful overthrow of communism in Poland and directly entailed its fall in other European countries.

An excerpt taken from “Changing Industrial Relations and Modernisation of Labour Law” by Dr. Roger Blanpain and Manfred Weiss.

The martial law
This first legal free trade union formed in the communist Central and Eastern Europe soon gained widespread following. Within two weeks, the Solidarity’s membership size ballooned to nearly 10 million. Members included state employees.

The Solidarity became a non-violent social movement, engaging in civil resistance to protect the rights of workers. In September 1981,Walesa was elected President of the Solidarity.

In view of the growing popular opposition in Poland, the Polish Prime Minister General Jaruzelski declared martial law on 13 December 1981. Many Solidarity leaders were arrested and the political groups were forced to close down.

Our country is on the verge of an abyss. The achievements of many generations raised from the ashes is collapsing into ruin. The state structures no longer function.

Our extinguished economy is given more shocks every day … The atmosphere of never ending conflicts, misunderstanding, hatred, sows mental devastation, hurts tradition of tolerance. Strikes, strike alerts and protest actions have become standard.

[…] We cannot let these demonstrations be the spark causing a fire in the country.

The self-preservation instinct of the nation must be taken into account. We must bind the hands of adventurers before they push the country into civil war.

An excerpt taken from the Prime Minister General Wojciech Jaruzelski‘s speech on the day martial law was declared, 13 December 1981.

As a result of the martial law, the Solidarity union was now made illegal. The Polish streets were filled with armed soldiers and tanks. While the Soviet news publications justified the necessity of martial law in Poland, the Western reception was contrastingly negative.

In particular, US President Ronald Reagan addressed the Americans with great concern on the Polish situation. In his speech, he condemned the oppressive responses on the Polish people and vowed to impose economic sanctions on the government.

On 22 July 1983, martial law in Poland was officially suspended. However, the Solidarity movement reorganised itself underground.

The Polish Government has trampled underfoot solemn commitments to the UN Charter and the Helsinki accords. It has even broken the Gdansk agreement of August 1980, by which the Polish Government recognized the basic right of its people to form free trade unions and to strike.

[…] The United States is taking immediate action to suspend major elements of our economic relationships with the Polish Government. […] These actions are not directed against the Polish people. They are a warning to the Government of Poland that free men cannot and will not stand idly by in the face of brutal repression.

An excerpt taken from the US President’s “Address to the Nation about Christmas and the Situation in Poland“, 23 December 1981.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– How far do you agree that the fear of ideological expansion was the key reason for the declaration of martial law in Poland?

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

We have other JC tuition classes, such as JC Math Tuition and JC Chemistry Tuition. For Secondary Tuition, we provide Secondary English Tuition, Secondary Math tuition, Secondary Chemistry Tuition, Social Studies Tuition, Geography, History Tuition and Secondary Economics Tuition. For Primary Tuition, we have Primary English, Math and Science Tuition. Call 9658 5789 to find out more.