Saturday, June 28, 2008

MWH4.3.2 Soviet Union under Gorbachev

Topic: End of Communism in Eastern Europe & the USSR
Essential Question: Why did communism collapse in 1991?
  • Review
    • Was the end of communism inevitable?
      • War communism & New Economic Policy
      • Stalin's collectivisation & purges
      • Revolts in Eastern Europe: Berlin uprising, Hungarian Revolt, Prague Spring
    • How are Soviet Socialist Republics (SSRs) different from satellite states?
  • Understanding Goals:
    • Why did Gorbachev have to introduce reforms in the USSR?
    • What were the problems that the USSR faced in 1985?
      • economic struggles of eastern European satellites
      • preservation of Warsaw Pact
      • financial burden of arms race
      • effects of fighting proxy wars
      • social & economic problems of command economy
      • gerentocracy
  • Performance:
    • Watch video: FALL OF COMMUNISM
    • Explain how Perestroika & Glasnost was intended to help solve the problems that the USSR faced in 1985.
    • What were the unintended consequences?
    • Notes can be downloaded here.

SEA4.3.2 Singapore's Road to Independence

Dear 4G,

You would have received an email invitation to collaborate on the document SEA.SINGAPORE.SEQ. This document contains all the previous SEQs on Singapore's road to independence.

To prepare you for the SEQ test on this topic, go through the questions and come up with as many POINTS as you can. It is not necessary to know all 3 points before you attempt any questions. Attempt those that you know; your friends may be able to provide answers to those you don't and vice-versa.

If you feel that there are additional answers not raised in someone else' contribution, you are free to add them as 4th or 5th points. Indicate your contributions by adding [your name] after every point you give.

You can view the results of our collaboration here. Enjoy!

MWH3.3.2 Appeasement on WW2

Topic: War In Europe
Essential Question: Why did war break out in Europe?

  • Review
    • How did German domestic policy prepare Germany for war
      • Political elimination created Nazi dictatorship
      • Economic policies created self-sufficiency
      • Social controls ensured thought control
    • How did Germany foreign policy make war more likely?
      • Rearmament: Conscription & Remilitarization
      • Reunion: Saar, Anschluss & Sudeten
      • Retreat: Berschtesgaden, Bad Godesburg & Munich
      • Results: Selling out Czechoslovakia; trading Sudetenland
  • Understanding Goals
    • How did Appeasement Policy contribute to the outbreak of WWII?
      • Treaty of Versailles too harsh
      • Self-determination is acceptable
      • Avoid war at all cost
    • How did the Munich Agreement & the Invasion of Czechoslovakia affect the Soviet Union?
      • Seeking alliance with Britain?
      • Seeking alliance with Germany?
    • Why was the Nazi-Soviet Non-aggression Pact signed?
      • Benefits for Germany
      • Benefits for the Soviet Union
  • Performance of Understanding
    • Watch "The Nazis: A Warning from History"
    • What evidence is there to suggest that WW2 could have been avoided.

Monday, June 23, 2008

MWH3.3.1 German Foreign Policy

Topic: War in Europe
  • Admin
    • Checking of Holiday assignments ie. MWH SEQ(s) + HSS SEQ(s) [Check criteria here]
    • Checking of Notes for MWH3.1
  • MWH SA1 Review
    • SBQ Areas for improvement
      • Use of contextual knowledge
      • text as information vs. source as action
  • Understanding Goals:
    • Why did war break out in Europe?
    • How did Nazi domestic policies influenced Germany's foreign policy in Europe?
  • Performances:
    • Explain how Nazi policies in Germany from 1933 to 1934 contributed to Germany's aggressive foreign policy in Europe from 1934-1939.
    • Find 2 friends to form a trio. Select one of 3 policies (political, economic or social) and answer the following guiding question:
      • What was the nature of Nazi political policy? How did such a policy make Germany aggressive?
      • What were the characteristics of Nazi economic policy? How did such a policy prepare Germany for war?
      • What were the aspects of Nazi social policy? How did these policies made Germany expansionist?
    • You can download worksheets for this unit here.
  • On-going Assessment:
    • Here are two possible causes of WWII. Germany's foreign policy & Britain's Appeasement Policy. Which do you think was a more critical cause of the outbreak of WWII? Explain your answer. (13)

Sunday, June 22, 2008

India to take up border violations with China

But both sides choose to downplay the incidents as bilateral trade continues to rise
By P. Jayaram, India Correspondent

NEW DELHI - TENSION is brewing along the disputed border between India and China, particularly around northern Sikkim.

New Delhi, which has so far downplayed reports of 'incursions' by the Chinese troops, said on Thursday that the issue was serious.

Junior Defence Minister M M Pallam Raju said the government would take it up with Beijing at the highest level but added that he hoped it would not develop into a major row.

'The issue of incursions will be raised at the next meeting (between the two armies) and also discussed at the appropriate highest level,' he told reporters.

'If there is an issue, as two responsible neighbours, we will sort it out.'

But he asserted that India will not 'yield an inch' of territory and will 'stand its ground'.

China has also sought to downplay the reported border violations, with a minister saying that too much should not be read into the incidents.

Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Wu Dawei cited the 'long history of border skirmishes' between the two countries, adding that the 4,000-km India-China border is a 'sensitive issue', according to Indian newspaper reports from Beijing.

The Indian Army said it had recorded 140 cases of 'intrusion' by the Chinese last year. This year alone, 70 such incidents have been reported in and around northern Sikkim in a region called the 'Finger area'.

'It is unfortunate. Sikkim is a settled matter as far as India is concerned,' Mr Raju said.

'I guess that is China's way of putting pressure to resolve the boundary dispute with us. We are going about it with the border talks to arrive at a consensus. It's their style and we have our own style.'

A leading magazine, India Today, reported that a major incident was averted last month after senior officers of an Indian border post intervened.

It said Chinese troops chased, abused and threatened to shoot Indian intelligence personnel, who were verifying claims of Chinese intrusions along the Indo-Tibetan border.

As the two countries have agreed not to open fire to stop intrusions into each other's territory, the Indian Army is now blocking Chinese soldiers by forming 'human chains', along the Indo-Tibetan border, The Times of India reported.

'We are literally forming human chains to stop the Chinese from crossing over. If they come in groups of 20, we assemble 50 men and form a human chain,' it quoted a senior army officer as saying.

'They can't after all push us and cross the border.'

India and China fought a brief war in 1962 but since then the India-China border has been relatively peaceful, particularly after both countries signed a treaty for peace and tranquillity in 1993 and agreed to reduce their troop levels along the border.

The bilateral border dispute has dragged on despite 11 rounds of talks to resolve it. India says China occupies 38,000 sq km of its territory, while Beijing claims the whole of the north-eastern Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh, which spreads over 90,000 sq km.

But the two countries have not allowed this issue to stand in the way of improving relations in other spheres.

Bilateral trade has been booming and is set to touch US$60 billion (S$82.2 billion) by 2010, having crossed the US$20 billion target they had set for 2008 in 2006.

They signed a defence cooperation agreement in 2006 and have also been holding joint military exercises and sending their officers to each other's military institutions for training.

In 2006, China agreed to reopen the strategic Nathu La pass in Sikkim to border trade, thereby accepting the Himalayan state, a former kingdom which was merged into India in 1975, as part of India.

But of late, China has appeared to be uncomfortable with India's growing strategic ties with the United States, cemented through a series of joint exercises, including the huge five-nation naval exercise in the Bay of Bengal, last year.

Beijing sent a note on the issue to New Delhi, conveying its displeasure over the exercise in which Australia, Japan and Singapore were the other participants. Experts said the exercise represented a strategic shift, driven in large part by the fear of a rising China.

Earlier this month, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee travelled to Beijing to iron out the differences, but his scheduled meeting with Premier Wen Jiabao was cancelled by the Chinese at the last minute in a move widely seen here as a 'snub'.

Friday, June 20, 2008

SEA4.3.1 SA1 Review


  1. completed the 2 SEQs a. & b. you did not do during SA1. If you haven't, pls be prepared to stay on Monday remedial to complete them.
SA1 SEQ Review
  1. Bring SA1 SEA question paper
  2. Match your responses to suggested answers
  3. Identify missing components: [P][E][E][L]
  4. Re-performance of SEQ Link
SA1 SBQ Review
  1. Review of contextual knowledge: Events leading to Separation
  • Why was Singapore expelled from Malaysia in 1965?
    • Cumulative Factors
      • Malaysia Day
      • Common market issues
    • Contributary Factors
      • UMNO's loss in the 1963 Singapore Elections
      • PAP's foray into the 1964 Federal Elections
      • Race Riots in Singapore
    • Critical Factors
      • Formation of Malaysian Solidarity Convention
      • Exchanges in the Dewan Rakyat & foreign press
      • role of ultras in UMNO

HSS4.3.1 Venice

  1. completed the 2 SEQs a. & b. you did not do during SA1. If you haven't, pls be prepared to stay on Monday remedial to complete them.
  2. completed notes for Challenge & Change: Venice
SA1 SEQ Review
  1. Bring SA1 HSS question paper, script & suggested answers
  2. Match your responses to suggested answers
  3. Identify missing components: [P][E][E][L]
  4. Re-performance of SEQ Link
Challenge & Change: Venice
  1. Outline the organisation of the chapter
  2. Identify constituents (reasons or results) & complements of a potential SEQ on Venice
  3. Attempt the following SEQ:
  • How far was the exemplary political system a cause for the rise of Venice? Explain your answer. [12]
  • Was the incompetency of the leaders more damaging to Venice than its complacency? Explain your answer. [13]

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Tea and tourism trade hit as trouble brews in Darjeeling

June 18, 2008
Tea and tourism trade hit as trouble brews in Darjeeling
KOLKATA - PROTESTERS shut down India's famous Darjeeling hills yesterday, threatening its tea and tourism industries, as the Gorkha community pressed its demand for autonomy with an indefinite strike.

The Gorkhas, who are ethnic Nepalis, are demanding that a separate state of 'Gorkhaland' be carved out of the eastern state of West Bengal to protect their culture and heritage.

The strike has badly hit the tourism and tea industries, the two mainstays of the local economy, and a tea industry official warned that exports of premium Darjeeling tea could fall by 20 to 25 per cent this year.

Protesters called off the strike for a few days last week and forced tourists to leave Darjeeling. Yesterday, they shut down hotels again and asked local residents to stock up on food.

'We have asked people to have enough stocks for at least 45 days as we will continue to agitate, irrespective of the hardship,' said protest leader Bimal Gurung, head of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (Gorkha People's Liberation Front).

The region's vast tea gardens ship highly prized and fragrant brews around the world, churning out about 10 million kg a year.

Although tea workers were exempted from the strike, the lack of transport and fear of violence were hitting the industry, said Mr Rajiv Lochan, secretary of the Siliguri Tea Traders' Association.

Tourists were also avoiding the Darjeeling hills, with hundreds of cancellations reported by tour operators since last week.

The ruling communist government in West Bengal has ruled out a separate 'Gorkhaland' state but has offered to talk to the protest leaders.

This was rejected by the protest leaders. 'We want to talk to New Delhi, not with the local government,' Mr Gurung said.

The communist government has threatened to take serious action if the strike is not lifted.

Experts say the central and state governments are unlikely to give in to the Gorkhas' demand, and warn that the agitation could intensify and be long-drawn-out as emotions are running high.

At least 1,200 people died in the first Gorkhaland campaign in the 1980s, but protests ended a few years later after Gorkha leaders accepted limited autonomy.

This time around, Gorkha leaders insist their campaign will be peaceful.


Thursday, June 12, 2008

Separatists attack tourists in Darjeeling

June 12, 2008

KOLKATA - AS TOURISTS rushed out of Darjeeling, about 500km north of Kolkata, the Times of India reported the first attack on tourists by the Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) separatist group.

The GJM supporters, demanding that a separate state be carved out of West Bengal for Nepali-speakers, stopped a bus of tourists leaving Darjeeling at Kalijhora and threw stones at them, the newspaper reported

The attack came within 24 hours of GJM's demand that visitors must get out of Darjeeling, after enforcing an indefinite closure of towns in a general strike.

Clashes also broke out in the regions bordering Bhutan as those opposed to the sudden shutdown of towns took on GJM supporters.

Caught in the turmoil, thousands of tourists are rushing to leave on whatever vehicle they can find.

Hundreds more are still stranded in Darjeeling and Sikkim. The state government arranged for a special train and 15 buses to ferry the stranded to Kolkata.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Trains and traffic disrupted by protests across India again

June 7, 2008
Trains and traffic disrupted by protests across India again
OPPOSITION ANGER: Activists from the Bharatiya Janata Party shouting anti-government slogans during a protest over fuel price hikes in Mumbai on Thursday. Yesterday, a similar protest in the Indian capital was broken up by police. -- PHOTO: AFP
MUMBAI - ANGRY consumers blocked rail tracks and roads and shut down businesses in several parts of India for a second day yesterday, protesting against an increase in fuel prices by the government.

Police detained 20 activists of the right-wing opposition Shiv Sena after they disrupted train services in a suburb of Mumbai, India's financial and entertainment capital, said railway spokesman Ashok Singh.

The federal and state governments scrambled to contain the protests. India's federal petroleum minister has cancelled a trip to Japan for the G-8 summit, The Press Trust of India news agency reported.

Several states lowered local sales taxes to lessen the impact of the rise in the prices of petrol, diesel and cooking gas.

The Indian government increased petrol prices by 5 rupees (15 Singapore cents) a litre and diesel prices by 3 rupees a litre on Wednesday to partially offset soaring international oil prices. Fuel prices vary between states, which also impose their own taxes.

The price of cooking gas went up by 50 rupees per 14kg cylinder.

Some 300 million of India's population of around 1.1 billion live on less than a dollar a day, and millions of others living on the state-set minimum daily wage of about 66rupees cannot afford cooking gas at all.

But for a middle-class family with a combined income ranging from around 5,000 to 10,000 rupees, higher prices of fuel and cooking gas have had a significant impact on household budgets.

Yesterday, the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party held a protest in the Indian capital. Police used water cannon to disperse demonstrators.

The worst-hit has been West Bengal state in eastern India, where schools and businesses were closed and several trains were delayed or cancelled for a second day yesterday, said Inspector-General of Police Raj Kanojia.

Supporters of the opposition Trinamool Congress pulled commuters out of taxis to enforce the party's 12-hour strike call in Kolkata, the state capital. They carried placards demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's government for increasing fuel prices.

On Thursday, the state's ruling communist parties called for a day-long strike that saw a near-complete shutdown of West Bengal state.

Several parts of southern Andhra Pradesh state were also closed down by angry protesters, and shops and businesses in several areas of state capital Hyderabad remained shut yesterday.