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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.

JC H2 H1 History Tuition Online - What were Dag Hammarskjöld's contributions - United Nations Essay Notes

What were Dag Hammarskjöld’s contributions?

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

Learn more about the Secretary-General’s vision of the United Nations in the 1950s [Video by the United Nations]

About the Secretary-General
Dag Hammarskjöld was a Swedish economist who was appointed as the Secretary-General of the United Nations on 7 April 1953. He was re-elected to serve another term in September 1957. Hammarskjöld was an exemplary diplomat who made remarkable contributions to the international organisation, such as the institutionalisation of peacekeeping and conflict prevention.

The Sino-American hostage crisis: ‘Peking Diplomacy’
Following the end of the Korean War, the Secretary-General visited the Chinese premier Zhou Enlai to secure the release of fifteen American pilots in January 1955. These pilots were captured by the People’s Republic of China (PRC) during the Korean conflict.

Hammarskjöld responded with sympathy to two claims made by Zhou Enlai, namely (1) the argument that communist China had wrongly been denied admission to the United Nations, and (2) criticism by China that the United States had unduly refused to allow Chinese students to return to the People’s Republic of China… But at the end of the talks, (Zhou) agreed to comply with two of the Secretary-General’s requests. He agreed that the People’s Republic of China would comply with the policy terms regarding the treatment of foreign prisoners, announced at Geneva, which implied lenient sentences.

An excerpt from “Peace Diplomacy, Global Justice and International Agency: Rethinking Human Security and Ethics in the Spirit of Dag Hammarskjöld” by Carsten Stahn and Henning Melber.

After the conclusion of the visit, Hammarskjöld described his diplomatic approach as the ‘Peking Formula‘, which referred to his role as the ‘Secretary-General under the Charter of the United Nations and not as a representative of what was stated in the General Assembly resolution’.

Eventually, PRC agreed to release the US airmen, reflecting the success of the Secretary-General’s personal touch in resolving the dispute in spite of the growing Sino-American tensions.

Peacekeeping: UNEF
During the Suez Canal Crisis in 1956, Hammarskjöld conceptualised peacekeeping and applied it to the first UN peacekeeping force – the United Nations Emergency Force (UNEF).

There are three guiding principles of peacekeeping:

  • Consent of the parties
  • Impartiality
  • Non-use of force except in self-defence and defence of the mandate

Ever since, these principles have set the standard for subsequent UN missions.

The most telling aspect of UNEF’s creation, and ultimately the most problematic from the Canadian perspective, was the need to respect Egypt’s sovereignty and obtain Nasser’s consent to place the peacekeeping force on Egyptian territory.

…The speed with which Hammarskjöld was able to organize the peacekeeping mission was nothing short of incredible. By 6 November, in just over two days, he had been able to sketch out the basics of the mission, and less than two weeks later the first troops landed on the ground in Egypt.

An excerpt from “Pearson’s Peacekeepers: Canada and the United Nations Emergency Force, 1956-67” by Michael K. Carroll.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– Assess the political effectiveness of the Dag Hammarskjöld in fulfilling his duties as the Secretary-General of the United Nations.

Join our JC History Tuition and learn more about the organisational structure of the United Nations. We provide summary notes, essay and source based case study practices to reinforce your thematic knowledge and refine the essential 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.

JC H2 History Tuition Online - What happens when the General Assembly convenes - United Nations Essay Notes

What happens when the General Assembly convenes?

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

Examine the developments within the ‘World Parliament’ to understand the contributions of the United Nations [Video by the United Nations]

The World Parliament
As one of the six principal organs of the United Nations, the General Assembly involves all 193 sovereign states to participate in global affairs. In comparison with the Security Council, the General Assembly functions as a representative facet of the United Nations to allow fair and equal political participation by all member states. Each member is given the right to express its opinion and vote on various matters.

The Three Types of Sessions
As stated in Article 20 of the Charter, the “General Assembly shall meet in regular annual sessions and in such special sessions as occasion may require”. There are three types of sessions: Regular sessions, special sessions and emergency special sessions. Let’s take a look at each type to comprehend the significance of its role in the United Nations.

1. Regular Sessions
Each year, the General Assembly holds the regular sessions, starting from September to December, and then resumes in January. The session will conclude once all issues on the stated agenda are addressed.

At the beginning of each regular session, the Assembly holds a general debate in which the member states express their views on a wide range of matters of international concern. Due to the great number of questions which the Assembly is called upon to consider (there were 154 separate agenda items at the 1988 session of the Assembly,) for example, the Assembly allocates most questions to its seven main committees:

An excerpt from “The United Nations: Structure & Functions Of An International Organisation” by Rumki Basu.

These committees address diverse matters, such as disarmament and related international security matters, economic and financial matters, social humanitarian and cultural matters, decolonisation, administrative and budgetary matters.

2. Special Sessions
The General Assembly may conduct special sessions at the request of the Security Council or a majority of member states. As of 2020, 31 special sessions have been convened by the General Assembly.

Notable special sessions included the deliberation of Palestine (1947-48) and the financial expenses incurred by the United Nations peacekeeping operations during the Suez and Congo Crises (1963).

Given that peacekeeping was specified in the Charter, the General Assembly deliberated on the legality of peacekeeping missions. The International Court of Justice delivered its advisory opinion on 20 July 1962 and recognised that peacekeeping operations in the Middle East and the Congo should constitute “expenses of the Organization” as stated in Article 17(2) of the Charter.

Recognizing the necessity of sharing equitably the financial burden of peace-keeping operations to the extent not otherwise covered by agreed arrangements, …

(a) The financing of such operations is the collective responsibility of all States Members of theUnited Nations;

An excerpt from the “Fourth Special Session” conducted by the General Assembly (14 May – 27 June 1963).

3. Emergency Special Sessions
Resolution 377A(V), also known as “Uniting for peace”, allows the General Assembly to convene in an emergency special session within 24 hours of a request by the Security Council or a majority of member states.

Between 1956 to 1982, nine emergency special sessions have been conducted by the General Assembly in response to situations where there appears to be “a threat to the peace, breach of the peace, or act of aggression”.

Although the “Uniting for peace” empowers the General Assembly to investigate serious threats to peace, these emergency special sessions did not always lead to favourable outcomes.

In its second emergency special session, the General Assembly requested the Secretary-General to send an observation commission to Hungary, ‘to investigate the situation caused by foreign intervention in Hungary’. While the Secretary-General named members of the commission, the Soviet Union and the Hungarian government never granted them access to the country, but the commission produced a report on the basis of over 100 interviews mostly with Hungarians who had fled the country.

An excerpt from “The United Nations Security Council and War: The Evolution of Thought and Practice Since 1945” by Vaughan Lowe, Adam Roberts, Jennifer Welsh and Dominik Zaum.

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 aims?

Join our JC History Tuition and learn more about the United Nations and its organisational structure. We conduct thematic content revision classes, provide learning resources and practices to be prepared for the GCE A Level History examinations.

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 learn more.

JC History Tuition - What happened in the Hungarian uprising - United Nations Essay Notes

What happened in the Hungarian uprising?

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

Examine the historical developments that affected the politics of Hungary during the early stages of the Cold War [Video by Simple History]

Historical Context: De-Stalinisation
On 25 February 1956, Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev delivered a secret speech titled ‘On the Cult of Personality and its Consequences’. Khrushchev denounced Stalin’s style of leadership, which proved shocking to many Soviet officials.

Comrades, we must abolish the cult of the individual decisively, once and for all; we must draw the proper conclusions concerning both ideological-theoretical and practical work.

…Secondly, to continue systematically and consistently the work done by the party’s central committee during the last years… characterized by the wide practice of criticism and self-criticism.

An excerpt from Khrushchev’s Secret Speech, 25 Febrary 1956.

In response to the surprising development barely three years after Stalin’s death, thousands of protestors gathered at the streets on 23 October, demanding democratisation. Initially, the protests appeared to have succeeded.

The Soviet Response
Hungarian politician Imre Nagy became Prime Minister. As the face of the Hungarian Revolution, Nagy called for the withdrawal of Soviet forces from Hungary and promised democratic reforms. However, Nagy’s unilateral withdrawal of Hungary from the Warsaw Pact proved disastrous.

On 4 November 1956, the Soviet Union conducted a military invasion of Hungary. Nagy was tried and executed two years later. The violent confrontation led to growing questions by Western observers on the extent of Soviet control in Eastern Europe, in spite of Khrushchev’s de-Stalinisation that pledged the end of a repressive rule.

The United Nations: Too little, too late?
The United Nations Security Council adopted Resolution 120, considering the grave situation created by the USSR in suppression the Hungarian people. However, Soviet Union vetoed. Although the Security Council managed to invoke the ‘Uniting for Peace’ Resolution [UNGA Resolution 377A(V)] to call for an emergency special session, the United Nations was unable to conduct an investigation on the political situation in Hungary.

The Soviet Union suppressed the Hungarian uprising in the fall of 1956 and executed Imre Nagy, the government’s reformist leader. World public opinion was just as aroused by Hungary as Suez. The General Assembly condemned the Soviet Union, but the Soviet Union ignored the condemnation. Hammarskjöld came up with no dramatic gestures to put himself into the conflict. At the height of the Cold War, the U.N. was powerless to bend any of the two superpowers to its will.

An excerpt from “United Nations: A History” by Stanley Meisler.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– How far do you agree that Soviet Union obstructed the functions of the United Nations during the Cold War?

Join our JC History Tuition and learn more about the United Nations. We provide a structured learning process for students to comprehend the organisational structure of the United Nations. You will receive study notes and reference outlines for essay and source based case study questions.

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 learn more.

JC History Tuition - When was ASEAN formed - JC History Essay Notes

When was ASEAN formed?

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

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: Konfrontasi, an undeclared war
Before the founding of ASEAN, Southeast Asia was affected by conflicts that broke out due to political differences among neigbouring countries. Furthermore, the Cold War rivalry had expanded into the region, pressuring governments to take a side.

In particular, the Indonesian leader Sukarno expressed disapproval at the formation of the Malaysian Federation in 1963, which sparked a three-year conflict. Philippines also disputed the creation of the Federation due to the inclusion of Sabah.

Following the rise of Suharto, the Indonesian government expressed desire to mend diplomatic ties with Malaysia, as evidenced by the official end of the Confrontation in August 1966. As a leader that desired regional leadership, Suharto supported the formation of ASEAN as a regional organisation to unite neighbouring countries.

ASEAN was born in the aftermath of the tense and and destabilising Konfrontasi (Confrontation) of 1963-1966, which President Sukarno of Indonesia had launched against the Federation of Malaysia to protest its formation. Thanat Khoman – Foreign Minister of Thailand from 1959 to 1971 – was attempting to broker a reconciliation between Indonesia, the Philippines and Malaysia that he broached the idea of forming a new organisation for regional cooperation to Indonesian Foreign Minister Adam Malik, and on 8 August 1967, the five foreign ministers of Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand came together in the main hall of the Thai Foreign Affairs Department to sign what is now known as the ASEAN Declaration or Bangkok Declaration.

An excerpt from “ASEAN Law and Regional Integration: Governance and the Rule of Law in Southeast Asia’s Single Market” by Diane A Desierto and David J Cohen.

Functions of ASEAN
Following the creation of ASEAN in August 1967, the regional organisation had developed four main methods of cooperation: the non-use of force, pacific settlement of disputes, regional autonomy and non-interference. Member nations have agreed to forge regional cooperation through diplomatic means, while avoiding the use of military force.

The establishment of ASEAN was the product of a desire by its five original members to create a mechanism for war prevention and conflict management. The need for such a mechanism was made salient by the fact that ASEAN’s predecessor had foundered on the reefs of intra-regional mistrust and animosity.

An excerpt from “Constructing a Security Community in Southeast Asia: ASEAN and the Problem of Regional Order” by Amitav Acharya.

It was known that its norms were developed as a result of past setbacks, such as the failure of organisations like the Association of Southeast Asia (ASA) and MAPHILINDO. (A grouping that involved Malaysia, the Philippines and Indonesia).

ASEAN Way: Guiding principle for co-operation
The “ASEAN Way” was one of the fundamental features of the regional organisation. It was inspired by Malay cultural practices known as musjawarah and mufukat. In principle, ASEAN functioned on the basis of consensus and consultation.

Antolik identifies three key principles of ASEAN that all member states must adhere to in order to ensure the success of the organization. These are restraint, respect, and responsibility. Restraint refers to a commitment to noninterference in other states’ internal affairs; respect between states is indicated by frequent consultation; and responsibility involves the consideration of each member’s interests and concerns. In practice, ASEAN’s unified policies reflect a consensus that is usually the lowest common denominator among member states… ASEAN is a convergence of the interests of its members.

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

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– Assess the political effectiveness of ASEAN in promoting regional unity from 1967 to 1991.

Join our JC History Tuition and learn more ASEAN and other regional and international organisations. We cover a broad range of topics for H1 and H2 History. Students will receive study notes and undergo skill-intensive discussion and practices. Over time, we assure you that you will develop an organised and sound mind to derive logical arguments for essay writing and source based case study questions.

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 Tuition, Secondary Math tuition, Secondary Chemistry Tuition and Secondary Economics Tuition. Call 9689 0510 to learn more.

JC H1 H2 History Tuition - When was the Berlin Wall built and why - Cold War Essay Notes

When was the Berlin Wall built and why?

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) 

Learn more about the ‘Iron Curtain’ divided Europe [Video by Ted-Ed]

What is the Berlin Wall?
The German Berliner Mauer is a man-made barrier that surrounded West Berlin. It was established to built by the German Democratic Republic (East Germany) on 13 August 1961 to prevent defections from East to West.

Why did the Germans flee from East to West Germany?
Following the end of World War Two, the signing of the Yalta and Potsdam Agreements led to the division of Germany into four occupation zones. The Soviet Union controlled the eastern zones, while the United States, Great Britain and France occupied the western part. Due to the deteriorating living conditions, most people moved from East to West Germany.

As difficult as life was in Berlin, refugees came to the city from Eastern Europe and other parts of Germany. Conditions were even worse in their hometowns, and they hoped they might have better luck surviving in Berlin.

Food was scarce across the city – a condition made worse by the Soviets. Before leaving the other sectors of Berlin, the Soviets had stolen 7,000 cows along with machinery and pipes from buildings. The Soviets also limited access to farms in the Soviet zone outside Berlin. The Soviets wanted the food for their troops in Germany. Still some Berliners managed to reach farms in the countryside.

An excerpt from “The Berlin Airlift: Breaking the Soviet Blockade” by Michael Burgan.

To prevent the departure of Berliners in the East, Stalin ordered the imposition of a Soviet blockade of West Berlin in 1948. In response, the Allies launched the Berlin Airlift that demonstrated their resolve to oversee the post-war recovery of the Western zones. More than 2.3 million tons of fuel and food were sent to West Berlin. A year later, the Berlin Blockade was lifted.

The Berlin Crisis
After the Berlin Wall was built, none could move from East to West Berlin, except through three checkpoints. “Checkpoint Charlie” (at Friedrichstrasse) was a site of flashpoint in October 1961.

On 22 October, a senior US diplomat in West Berlin was stopped by the East German border guards. General Lucius D. Clay ordered the deployment of American tanks to Checkpoint Charlie.

Moscow interpreted the move as an alarming threat. In retaliation, Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev sent Russian tanks to the checkpoint as well. Both parties had military forces facing each other for nearly sixteen hours.

Fortunately, American President Kennedy opened communications with the Soviet government to de-escalate tensions. Eventually, both forces withdrew.

[Khrushchev] believed the peak of confrontation with the United States had passed, a perception that did not change during the October 26-27 tank stand-off in Berlin at Checkpoint Charlie. Khrushchev, tipped off by erroneous Soviet intelligence, believed that Lucius Clay, a commander of the U.S. forces in West Berlin, was ready to storm the Wall by force. Persuaded that Kennedy was not personally behind the ploy, the Soviet leader contacted him and the confrontation was quickly resolved.

An excerpt from “Khrushchev and the Berlin Crisis (1958-1962)” by Vladislav Martinovich Zubok.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– How far do you agree that the Soviet Union was responsible for the Berlin Crisis of 1961?

Join our JC History Tuition and learn more about the Cold War and other topics. We conduct H2 and H1 History tuition for JC1 and JC2 students to get ready for the GCE A Level examination. Learn how to organise your content awareness and writing for essay and source based case study questions.

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 Tuition, Secondary Math tuition, Secondary Chemistry Tuition and Secondary Economics Tuition. Call 9689 0510 to learn more.

JC H1 H2 History Tuition - What was the main purpose of the Potsdam Conference - Cold War Essay Notes

What was the main purpose of the Potsdam Conference?

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 [Manifestations of emerging tensions: Yalta and Potsdam conferences]

Examine the developments of the Potsdam Conference in 1945. [Video by British Movietone]

Historical context: The Percentages Agreement
Before the Yalta Conference, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Soviet leader Joseph Stalin had an informal meeting to discuss the division of post-war Europe. The two leaders meet during the Fourth Moscow Conference in October 1944. Churchill proposed to Stalin on the percentage division of control over Eastern European countries like Hungary, Romania and Yugoslavia.

Churchill’s retrospective view was that the percentages deal saved Greece from communism. Stalin, however, had no intention of communising the country or of involving himself in a political project to that end. As he told Churchill at their meeting on 14 October 1944, the ‘Soviet Union did not intended to organise a Bolshevik Revolution in Europe’.

An excerpt from “Stalin’s Wars: From World War to Cold War, 1939-1953” by Geoffrey Roberts.

The Potsdam Conference
Five months after the Yalta Conference, another meeting was held, also known as the Potsdam Conference. The leaders gathered at the Cecilienhof Palace (refer to featured article image), which was situated in Brandenburg, Germany. During the talks, several matters were addressed, notably the treatment of Germany and the revision of the German-Soviet-Polish borders.

The administration of a divided Germany
During the meeting, the leaders deliberated on the management of the German zones under the Allied Control Council. All were in favour of the complete disarmament and demilitarisation of Germany. Additionally, reparations were to be made in accordance to the zones that the USSR, USA and the UK had occupied.

II. The principles to govern the treatment of Germany in the initial control period

A. Political Principles

1. In accordance with the Agreement on Control Machinery in Germany, supreme authority in Germany is exercised, on instructions from their respective Governments, by the Commanders-in-Chief of the armed forces of the United States of America, the United Kingdom, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, and the French Republic, each in his own zone of occupation, and also jointly, in matters affecting Germany as a whole, in their capacity as members of the Control Council.

III. Reparations from Germany

1. Reparation claims of the U.S.S.R. shall be met by removals from the zone of Germany occupied by the U.S.S.R., and from appropriate German external assets.

2. The U.S.S.R. undertakes to settle the reparation claims of Poland from its own share of reparations.

3. The reparation claims of the United States, the United Kingdom and other countries entitled to reparations shall be met from the Western Zones and from appropriate German external assets.

An excerpt from the Potsdam Agreement, 2 August 1945.

The Polish Issue
However, growing suspicions skewed the perceptions of the Western Allies towards the Soviet Union. Their suspicions were further shaped by the developments in Poland. During parliamentary elections in Poland in January 1947, the pro-Communist political parties secured the majority vote. Although Stalin agreed to oversee “free and unfettered” elections in Poland, the elections were rigged in favour of the Communists.

The Potsdam Conference of July and August 1945 opened on a dissonant note when the chief executives of the United States and Great Britain were faced with a number of unilateral Soviet actions in violation of the Yalta Agreements.

… After this Conference, the rift between the East and West widened gradually as the Western Allies became more aware of the expansion of Soviet power into the vacuum left by the collapse of Germany.

An excerpt from “Dividing and Uniting Germany by  Jürgen Thomaneck, William John Niven and Bill Niven.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– How far do you agree that political differences between the ‘Big Powers’ led to the outbreak of the Cold War?

Join our JC History Tuition and learn more about fascinating topics like the Cold War and United Nations. We conduct online learning programmes for JC1 and JC2 students taking either H1 or H2 History. In preparation for the GCE A Level History examination, we conduct topical revision, provide concise summary notes and hold class practices. With our comprehensive study programme, you will develop the thinking and writing skills to ace the assessments.

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 Tuition, Secondary Math tuition, Secondary Chemistry Tuition and Secondary Economics Tuition. Call 9689 0510 to learn more.

JC H1 H2 History Tuition - What was the purpose of the Yalta Conference - Cold War Essay Notes

What was the purpose of the Yalta Conference?

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 [Manifestations of emerging tensions: Yalta and Potsdam conferences]

Re-look at the historic meeting at Yalta that shaped the post-WWII political landscape. [Video by British Pathé]

Historical context
The Yalta Conference (codenamed Argonaut) was a meeting of the United States (US), United Kingdom (UK) and Soviet Union from 4 to 11 February 1945 to deliberate on the post-war developments of Europe. Before the Yalta, the Tehran Conference (codenamed Eureka) was held from 28 November to 1 December 1943 that involved the discussion of a Western Front to repel the forces of Nazi Germany.

By February 1945, the Allied forces were certain that victory was within their grasp after liberating France and Belgium from Nazi occupation. The Yalta was conducted at the Black Sea resort in Crimea, hosting by the American President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

The Division of Germany
During the meeting, the participants agreed to divide Germany into four post-war occupation zones that were managed by the US, UK and Soviet Union. Additionally, there was consensus in ensuring the demilitarisation of Germany and the payment of post-war reparations to the affected parties like Soviet Union.

Under the agreed plan, the forces of the Three Powers will each occupy a separate zone of Germany. Co-ordinated administration and control has been provided for under the plan through a central Control Commission consisting of the Supreme Commanders of the Three Powers with headquarters in Berlin.

… It is our inflexible purpose to destroy German militarism and Nazism and to ensure that Germany will never again be able to disturb the peace of the world.

An excerpt from “Roosevelt and the Russians: The Yalta Conference“, by Edward R. Stettinius Jr.

From the above excerpt, it referred to the creation of an Allied Control Council that form the legal authority for post-war Germany. The Council was helmed by four members: General Dwight Eisenhower (United States), Marshall Georgy Zhukov (Soviet Union), Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery (United Kingdom) and General Jean de Lattre de Tassigny (France).

The Declaration of Liberated Europe
The British Prime Minister Winston Churchill proposed the conduct of free and fair elections in Eastern and Central Europe. Along the same vein, Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin agreed to oversee free elections in Poland and other Eastern European territories, but insisted in retaining the Polish territories annexed in 1939. Stalin’s stance was built on the basis that Germany had invaded Russia through Poland twice.

II. DECLARATION OF LIBERATED EUROPE

The following declaration has been approved:

… The establishment of order in Europe and the rebuilding of national economic life must be achieved by processes which will enable the liberated peoples to destroy the last vestiges of nazism and fascism and to create democratic institutions of their own choice. This is a principle of the Atlantic Charter – the right of all people to choose the form of government under which they will live – the restoration of sovereign rights and self-government to those peoples who have been forcibly deprived to them by the aggressor nations.

VII. POLAND

The following declaration on Poland was agreed by the conference:

A new situation has been created in Poland as a result of her complete liberation by the Red Army. This calls for the establishment of a Polish Provisional Government which can be more broadly based than was possible before the recent liberation of the western part of Poland. The Provisional Government which is now functioning in Poland should therefore be reorganized on a broader democratic basis with the inclusion of democratic leaders from Poland itself and from Poles abroad. This new Government should then be called the Polish Provisional Government of National Unity.

An excerpt from the Yalta Agreement, 11 February 1945.

Conceptualisation of the United Nations
During the Yalta, the ‘Big Three’ discussed the formal establishment of the United Nations and participation by the Soviet Union. The Agreement outlined the voting procedures within the Security Council that were eventually enshrined in the United Nations Charter.

A looming threat
However, the possibility of post-war peace among the ‘Big Three’ had dissolved when the Soviets supported the formation of the pro-Communist Lublin Committee (also known as the Polish Committee of National Liberation) that opposed the Western-backed Polish government-in-exile. During Conference, Roosevelt wrote a letter to Stalin, hoping that the Soviet leader would cooperate amicably.

In so far as the Polish Government is concerned, I am greatly disturbed that the three great powers do not have a meeting of minds about the political setup in Poland. It seems to me that it puts all of us in a bad light throughout the world to have you recognizing one government while we and the British are recognizing another in London. I am sure this state of affairs should not continue and that if it does it can only lead our people to think there is a breach between us, which is not the case. I am determined that there shall be no breach between ourselves and the Soviet Union. Surely there is a way to reconcile our differences.

… I have had to make it clear to you that we cannot recognize the Lublin Government as now composed, and the world would regard it as a lamentable outcome of our work here if we parted with an open and obvious divergence between us on this issue.

An excerpt from US President Roosevelt’s letter to Stalin on “Acceptable compromise regarding the composition of the postwar Polish Government”, 6 February 1945.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– How far do you agree that the breakdown of the Grand Alliance was the main reason for the outbreak of the Cold War?

Join our JC History Tuition and learn more about the Cold War. We conduct online learning programmes for JC 1 and JC 2 students taking either H1 or H2 History. You will receive study notes, essay outlines and source based case study practices to be ready for the GCE A Level History examination.

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JC H1 H2 History Tuition Online - Criticisms of the veto - United Nations Essay Notes

Criticisms of the veto

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

Explore the issue with the veto to understand its significance on the United Nations. [Video by NowThisWorld]

Yea or nay?
As discussed in the previous article on the role of the Security Council, the Permanent Five (P5) Members possess special voting rights to either support or block resolutions.

Article 27(3) of the UN Charter states that consensus within the Security Council is only made possible with the “affirmative vote of nine members including the concurring votes of the permanent members“.

This means that if at least one of the P5 members exercised the “right to veto” (negative vote), the resolution would not be approved.

The use of veto by P5 members
Although the Charter states that the United Nations was formed with the primary aim to “save succeeding generations from the scourge of war“, the repeated use of the veto has sparked criticism among member nations over the relevance of the international organisation.

The following illustrations highlight the veto problem ever since the UN’s inception.

Security Council Vetoes - Bloomberg Opinion
Illustration by Bloomberg Opinion on the use of vetoes
Security Council Vetoes - Vocativ
Statistics by Vocativ on the use of vetoes

A flawed creation or a necessary evil?
One of the main criticisms was that the veto had allowed the P5 members to wield disproportionate powers, thereby creating an unrepresentative structure in the United Nations. On the other hand, defenders of the veto argued that the veto was essential in retaining membership of Great Powers and averting another world war.

For most UN Member states, Article 27 UN Charter is a codification of the painful reality that some States are more equal than others. This idea is obviously at odds with the principals laid down in the UN Charter, such as Article 1(2), pursuant to which the UN aims at developing friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights of peoples, and Article 2(1) which affirms the principle of sovereign equality as one of the basic pillars of the world body.

The concerns underpinning the insertion of Article 27 were well-founded in light of the demise of the League of Nations. This organisation never managed to live up to its aspirations due to the requirement of unanimity among all members of its Council on the one hand, and the lack of support from various power States on the other hand… None of the P-5 has abandoned ship. Moreover, no direct military confrontation has occurred between them.

An excerpt from “Security council reform: a new veto for a new century?” by Jan Wouters and Tom Ruys.

Reforms to the veto mechanism
In 2015, France proposed the practice of ‘veto restraint‘ in the United Nations Security Council, particularly for conflicts of mass atrocities and genocide. Its basis was that the veto should not be abused.

Interestingly, France early on broke ranks with the other permanent members of the Security Council and led the third initiative calling for veto restraint.

… Veto restraint in atrocity situations was initially suggested in 2001 by French Foreign Minister Hubert Védrine at a roundtable sponsored by the ICISS in Paris. He called for the permanent members to create a “code of conduct” for themselves and not to apply their veto to block humanitarian action where their own national interests were involved.

An excerpt from “Existing Legal Limits to Security Council Veto Power in the Face of Atrocity Crimes” by Jennifer Trahan.

Another proposed reform was the expansion of the Permanent Membership to create a more representative structure in the Security Council. The G4 nations, comprising of Germany, Japan, India and Brazil, asserted that their admission would maintain the relevance of the principal organ.

The concept of new permanency is prefaced on the notion that the current council does not reflect the geopolitical realities of the twenty-first century. In short, the council’s permanent membership is outdated. To address the disequilibrium, the G4 proposes the inclusion of six new permanent seats and five new elected seats.

An excerpt from “UN Security Council Reform” by Peter Nadin.

However, any reform made to the Security Council membership composition requires full consensus from the existing Permanent Members.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– Assess the reasons for the limited effectiveness of the proposed reforms to the Security Council.

Join our JC History Tuition to derive a better understanding of the veto mechanism and other critical areas of study for the United Nations. We provide H1 and H2 History Tuition classes to empower students to organise their reading, thinking and writing techniques. Through a comprehensive learning programme, students will become more acquainted with the content and confident in their methods of expression for the GCE A Level History examination.

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