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AS and A Level: International History, 1945-1991

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  1. What were Gorbachev's intentions when he launched Glasnost and Perestroika, and how far did he achieve them?

    Moreover, Gorbachev himself was a product of the Soviet system, and so wanted to maintain it.4 His first years in power were a long way from the later, largely unintended revolutionary moves towards a market economy, democracy, and a reduction in the Communist party's role. This is shown by Gorbachev's continued reluctance to abolish the Soviet control-system, which included the Party, the police and the centralised economic system.5 Economic plans in the Soviet Union were coordinated by the state planning committee (Gosplan), rather than regulated by market forces and demands.

    • Word count: 2947
  2. How did Black Southerners respond to the rising tide of racism and to attempts to disfranchise them and impose segregation?

    Planters were determined to restore home rule to the Southern states. Conversely, the power relationships between Northerners and Southerners had dramatically changed, and the emancipated black man realised this. With the Freedmen's Bureau behind them, African Americans worked to change the conditions of their labour. Contracts were demanded to set out the terms of employment; furthermore, black workers demanded an end to the old slave gang labour system4. To combat the rising black movement, white Southern Democrats initiated a plan to restore the old order they so desperately craved.

    • Word count: 2518
  3. Was the cold war conflict precipitated by an expansionist soviet union or were U.S efforts to create a post-war world that reflected its own interests equally responsible?

    The alliance had been a success because fascism was an equal threat to both communism and capitalism; it was a case of 'the enemy of my enemy is my friend'. At the time of the Yalta conference in February 1945 there were early signs of disagreement "at Yalta Roosevelt did have to overcome Russian reservations regarding voting procedures in the Security Council and membership in the General assembly."2 However Stalin and his foreign secretary Molotov left Yalta conscious that a turning point had been reached in Soviet - Western relations, in fact Stalin in early May proclaimed that the soviet

    • Word count: 2960
  4. What impact did war have on the 'home front' in the United States?

    In November 1939, Roosevelt changed the neutrality acts to allow the sale of arms and equipment to friends. After the fall of France Congress passed the Lend-Lease Act (1941) which allowed America to lease or give away goods to any country whose survival was vital to America. Under this Britain and the other allies were given billions of dollars-worth of arms and vital supplies. Meanwhile the Japanese empire was spreading into South-East Asia at an alarming rate. To bring the Japanese to heel, Roosevelt in July 1940 froze all Japanese assets in the United States, and later banned exports of oil and steel to Japan.

    • Word count: 2263
  5. To what extent has the agenda of world politics changed by the al-Quaeda attacks on the USA on September 11th 2001?

    The seeming ease at which al-Quaeda had infiltrated US commercial airplanes and driven them into the heart of the capitalist West, made evident to not just America, but the rest of the world the vulnerability of anyone considered an al-Quaeda enemy. Before we look to what extent world politics changed after September 11th, it is important to see what made up the International agenda preceding it. As I have just mentioned the Western world seems pre-occupied in its efforts to eradicate world poverty and erase the pending environmental threats created from over a century of industrialisation.

    • Word count: 2102
  6. Their Finest Hour - The Historical Significance of the Battle of Britain.

    Prior to examining the Battle of Britain and the role it played in the defeat of Nazi Germany it would be prudent to explore the events which led up to the battle in order to place it in its proper historical context for, without context, there can be no real understanding of historical events. From the beginning of the war until the summer of 1940 Germany's armed forces had enjoyed unparalleled success in their attempt to conquer Europe. Germany opened the war on 1 September1939 by attacking Poland with a new form of warfare1 which enabled them to quickly overwhelm Polish opposition.

    • Word count: 2467
  7. The Vietnam conflict - "Our objective is to create conditions for a favorable settlement by demonstrating to the Viet Cong that the odds are against their winning."

    Two other items from the declaration help to cement the French wrong doing in Vietnam. First it states that the French have "built more prisons than schools" and second, "In the economic field, they (the French) have shamelessly exploited our people, driven them into the worst misery and mercilessly plundered our country." Vietnamese opinion of the French was very poor, not only due to the exploitative manner in which they were treated, but also because of the fact that the French were twice unable to protect Vietnam's borders.

    • Word count: 2971
  8. How Far Were the Soviet People Better off in 1941 than 1928?

    The way the countries agriculture was running the peasants were not producing enough food so therefore there was a case of famine in the towns. The new NEP system was seen by extreme Marxists as a capitalist idea and not a communist thought, causing much distress within the extreme left groups. However the amount of food being produced was higher than it had been during the civil war. The Soviet Union's industry in 1928 had been higher than it was during the civil war.

    • Word count: 2279
  9. Origins of the Cold War.

    The future of Germany was also unresolved. They agreed that after war each troop would control the part of the country they were in and reunification would occur at a later time. US wanted Germany to be reconstructed, and reunited, Stalin wanted heavy reparations. The Yalta conference sidestepped important issues, and made the three men feel like they signed an important document. Weeks after signing Roosevlt watched as Stalin installed procommunist governments in several nations and refused to make the changes he promised to Roosevelt in Polish government.

    • Word count: 2532
  10. "To what extent did the Boer War change attitudes to Empire in Britain?

    These pilgrims called themselves 'Afrikaners', people of Africa and searched for land. They spoke 'Afrikaans', a modification of Dutch. They were the original foreign settlers in South Africa. These people were unreceptive of Africans as well as Europeans. When travelling to India and the Far East the Cape of Good Hope became an essential naval base. Britain appreciated its importance in Empire relations as it allowed Britain to position herself significantly in order to defend her Empire as well as trade with it. The arrival of the British in South Africa caused a vast amount of tension. The conflict led to the Boers embarking on the 'Great Trek' and setting up two separate states.

    • Word count: 2361
  11. "The war would have ended just about when it did, even if there had been no protest" (Eugene McCarthy) To what extent is this statement about the Vietnam War true?

    And while there was a War in Vietnam, Johnson cut back on money for his poverty initiatives, which were providing welfare and help for the black community. The media also played their part in reporting the military failures to the silent majority and when it came to the Tet offensive, the media played a defining role to the withdrawal of US troops. Yet all this must be combined with the awful military atrocities in Vietnam (operation rolling thunder/ranch hand, Tet, My Lai)

    • Word count: 2493
  12. Why were there so many civil wars in the 20th century?

    Meanwhile, Nazi Germany's Luftwaffe and Fascist Italy's troops assisted the right-wing army. Nationalist troops captured Barcelona on 26 January 1939 and Madrid on 28 March 1939. Franco then formed a dictatorship, which survived until his death in 1975. Along with the Spanish Civil War, the Greek Civil War began in December 1944 and temporarily ended in January 1945. It started up in 1946 again, and finally ended in 1949. This was a two-stage conflict during which Greek communists unsuccessfully tried to gain control of Greece.

    • Word count: 2461
  13. Why Was The Great War Not Over By Christmas 1914?

    The Great War was finally triggered off by the assassination to the heir to the throne of the Austrian Empire in June 1914. Austria blamed Serbia for the murder and when they declared war on her on 28th July 1914 Germany supported her. Russia swiftly decided to assist Serbia and within one week Britain and France were at war with the Central Powers. The main reason for Britain to join the war however was that Germany invaded neutral Belgium (August 1914)

    • Word count: 2239
  14. The Cold War.

    Both of them realised that a real war between them could mean the total destruction of each other. For this reason, the Cold War was a war without actual fighting. Instead, they took the form of economic competition, military alliances and arms race. Whenever crises broke out, both sides usually threatened and boasted, tried to undo the other and to get other to make mistakes or back down. Ideological Differences The Soviet Union had had a communist government since 1917 after the October Revolution. Communists believed that private ownership was wrong. All means of production such as factories, mines, banks and farms should be owned by the states.

    • Word count: 2172
  15. Bowling for Columbine - Reviewed.

    However, he cannot be blamed for this, because after all, a movie is a director's form of expression. Starting off from Flint, Michigan, Moore travels through numerous cities and observes many violence-related issues, in his search for answers as to why the Columbine High School massacre happened. After studying possible reasons such as violent movies, destructive games, heavy metal culture, parental negligence, a violent history, poverty and multi-ethnicity (all being prevalent in the American society), Moore narrows down the list of excuses to the brainwashing of the American population. According to him, the roots of all violence in the US seem to grow from the dominating functionaries in the American society- the government and the multinational organisations.

    • Word count: 2010
  16. Explain why the United States became increasingly involved in the war in Vietnam.

    Therefore the Americans suffered heavy casualties, as they almost had no enemy to fire back at. Booby traps, or fighters who hid in trees, or "civilians" who were in disguise and even suicide fighters would kill them. Their constant defeats and humiliation resulted in more troops being needed to keep them in the battle. Military action was also stepped up for long-term political reasons. After JFK's assassination, his vice-president Johnson (LBJ) came to power. Like all politicians, he had to build up his reputation as an anti-communist willing to do what it takes to contain communism so he could stay in power and be re-elected, especially because he was relatively unknown.

    • Word count: 2156
  17. Cold war 1945-1953 - characterize the soviet policy according germany after 1945 [to the final creation of two german states] - goals and methods

    municipal election lost by communists > imposing Stalinism - cooperation wit Ger communism > Walter Ulbricht - leader - first secretary of the socialist unity party of Ger > Militl. USSR control > After short time of free politics > soviet authorities and germ communists suppressed other parties (i.e. : arrested leaders, expelled to W zone) > 45 -agricultural reform > 46 elections - almost free, communists successful (lost in Berlin) > from 47 soviet began dogmatic policy, stalinistic model imposed > soviet reppresentant boyqottet jakis tam meeting > soviet's didn't accepted the currency reform, used it to lay emphasis

    • Word count: 2466
  18. Why did Germany lose the war?

    The American army had not arrived in force and the Russian's had decided to make peace with Germany. Therefore, Germany could now transfer hundreds of thousands of troops back to the western front. On the other hand by 1918 50,000 American troops were being transferred to France per month. This and a combination of young well-fed, well-equipped troops and a boosted morale resulted in a decisive victory in late 1918. The "ludendorff offensive" had since been going well for Germany. However, more American troops were arriving each week. These troops were also supported by tanks, aircraft and improved artillery.

    • Word count: 2033
  19. Which Country Was Most To Blame for WWII - Italy, Germany or Japan?

    Because of this, they are often seen as the beginning cause to WWII, which isn't necessarily true. Italy alone didn't do anything bad enough to start a war, but when you put Italy's, Germany's and Japan's actions together then you get the reasons for WWII. Italy being a Fascist country wasn't a problem, until he started killing his oppositions and taking land by force that wasn't his. Had the League of Nations worked properly, then Mussolini would probably have been stopped after the Corfu incident, but as it stood he was given what he wanted and allowed to think that using force was acceptable.

    • Word count: 2348
  20. World War Two broke out on the 3rd September 1939, when Nazi Germany invaded Poland.

    We do not know how old Taylor is, or why he joined the Home Guard instead of the Army. As this was almost sixty years ago, we cannot rely fully on what is said because the memory of the person may have deteriorated during this time, as it was written in 2001. We can therefore use this source to support others of its kind, but alone it is not very useful or reliable. Propaganda Throughout the war, Government popularity was seen to fluctuate greatly with defeats and victories.

    • Word count: 2963
  21. British Imperialism in India.

    It was the establishment of English as a unifying language and by acquainting Indians with European political principles, which led to Indian resentment of British nationalism and ultimately to the British loss of control over India. EARLY HISTORY In the 1550's India was know as the Mughal Empire and it was ruled by Akbar. Akbar was known as the greatest ruler of the empire and he extended India's territory significantly. He was tolerant of religions so he, a Muslim, won the trust of many Hindus in India by giving them power in the empire.

    • Word count: 2883
  22. Explain how the Schlieffen Plan was meant to work.

    Von Schlieffen decided to surprise the enemy by invading France through the newly formed neutral country of Belgium. Upon the formation of Belgium, several countries agreed to its neutrality, meaning that if it were ever invaded, the countries that backed Belgium would help fight the invaders. However, the Germans did not believe that Britain would go to war over their 1839 treaty with Belgium, which was described as a 'scrap of paper'. Even if Britain did defend Belgium, the Kaiser believed that there was no need to fear the British Expeditionary Force, which he called a 'contemptible little army'.

    • Word count: 2398
  23. Assess the reasons why Britain reduced its Empire between 1939 and 1964.

    The Empire faded gradually into the Commonwealth from the 1930's onwards as one by one former British colonies and protectorates gained independence but retained this last link with the Crown. It was incredibly important for Britain to retain its trade links with countries that were/had been part of its Empire. Britain needed to change the face of its Empire, one reason for such a change was due to the view of the U.S - they were opposed to Empires and Britain did not want the Anglo-American relationships to even slightly grow apart.

    • Word count: 2114
  24. Chinese Labour On The CPR.

    It is very difficult to survive, while performing strenuous labour, with this level of sustenance. From the time the Chinese started their voyage over to Canada and until long after the railroad was competed, the Chinese were ill treated and racially discriminated against. Even after the railroad was finished, the Chinese were despised by white citizens all over British Columbia; they were socially isolated from the white people and were driven into designated areas for Chinese only. The Chinese labourers, who were brought to Canada to work on the Canadian Pacific Railroad (CPR), were misled and maltreated.

    • Word count: 2222
  25. Stalemate was on the western front for many years.

    Here is a quote from a British rifleman; he is talking of his sightings of the tanks in the first usage: 1"There before our astonished eyes appeared about six of the first Mark I tanks, lurching about the country on their caterpillar tracks... bursting through hedges crossing trenches demolishing walls and even stapping small trees." Another new weapon used in the war to help break stalemate was the heavy artillery. 'The big guns' were among the general's favourites. These guns fired shells and had enormous power.

    • Word count: 2792

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