Solution: Weekly Problem Practice for 2024 History Optional [World History: Week 8]

Q.1 “It is one of the ironies of history that Japan was the creator of communist China.” Explain this statement.  [10 Marks]


Japanese occupation of part of China and blatant imperialism led to the strengthening of Chinese Communist Party (CCP) under Mao and weakening of Nationalist Party (Kuomitang or KMT) under Chiang Kai Shek which finally led to the victory of CCP and in October 1949, Mao proclaimed the new People’s Republic of China with himself as both Chairman of the CCP and president of the republic.

The Japanese occupied Manchuria in 1931 and were obviously preparing to bring the neighbouring provinces of northern China under their control. Chiang Kai Shek seemed to think it was more important to destroy the communists than to resist the Japaneseand moved into south Shensi to attack Mao (1936). Chiang was persuaded to give up his anti-communist campaign and agree to wage a common fight against Japan. The new alliance brought great advantages for the communists:

  • KMT extermination campaigns against communists ceased for the time being and consequently the CCP was secure in its Shensi base.
  • Japanese invasion of China swept north-east China clear of the old authorities, whom the KMT had never been able to control effectively anyway. it bogged down the Japanese in a large area of China which they could not control either. This situation provided the ideal opportunity for guerilla war, or as the communists called it – “The People’s War of Resistance”. This helped CCP to increase its influence in these areas.
  • The KMT put up no effective resistance to the Japanese which was the crucial factor in the communist success. When full-scale war broke out with Japan in 1937, the KMT forces were quickly defeated and most of eastern China was occupied by the Japanese as Chiang retreated westwards. This enabled the communists, undefeated in Shensi, to present themselves as patriotic nationalists, leading an effective guerrilla campaign against the Japanese in the north. This won them massive support among the peasants and middle classes, who were appalled at Japanese arrogance and brutality.
  • Whereas in 1937 the CCP had 5 base areas controlling 12 million people, by 1945 this had grown to 19 base areas controlling 100 million people.

Hence, Japan indirectly helped in the success of CCP and establishment of Communist China though there were other factors were also responsible for the same like The inefficiency and corruption of the KMT government, miserable conditions of factory workers and peasants, Chiang’s controversial ‘New Life Movement’, leadership of Mao etc.

Q.2 “The purpose of Atlantic Charter was to be a message of hope to the occupied countries, and it held out the promise of a world organization based on the enduring verities of international morality.” Comment. [10 Marks]


  • The Atlantic Charter was released by Churchill and Roosevelt on August 14, 1941 (even before USA involvement in world war 2) as a joint declaration following a meeting in Newfoundland. The Atlantic Charter provided a broad statement of U.S. and British war aims. ©
  • Churchill and Franklin met aboard the USA Cruiser (HMS Prince of Wales) in Placentia Bay, Newfoundland to respond to Germany’s successful attacks on Britain, Greece, and Yugoslavia and to discuss their respective war aims for the Second World War and to outline a postwar international system.
  • At the time of the meeting (August 9-10, 1941) Germany had invaded the Soviet Union and was on the verge of attacking Egypt in order to close off the Suez Canal. Churchill and Franklin were also, simultaneously, concerned about Japan’s intentions in Southeast Asia.
  • The purpose of Atlantic Charter was to be a message of solidarity with the Allies, hope to the occupied countries, and it held out the promise of a world organization based on international morality:
    • Both Churchill and Franklin had their own reasons for wanting to sign a charter.
      • Both hoped that the charter, with its statement of solidarity with the Allies, would sway American opinion toward involvement in the war.
      • In this hope, both were disappointed: Americans continued to reject the idea of joining the war until after the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor.
    • The Atlantic Charter was created to show solidarity between the United States and the United Kingdom in the face of German aggression. It served to improve morale and was actually turned into leaflets, which were airdropped over occupied territories.
    • The Atlantic Charter was perceived by the Axis powers as the beginnings of the United States and Great Britain alliance. This had the impact of strengthening the militaristic government in Japan.
      • Though the Atlantic Charter pledged no military support for the war in Europe, it had the impact of signaling the United States as a major player on the world stage. This was a position that the United States would firmly hold after World War II in its efforts to rebuild a war-torn Europe.
    • The Atlantic Charter was not a formal treaty; instead, it was a statement of shared ethics and intent.
      • It provided Allied forces with moral support while also sending a powerful message to the Axis powers.
    • In the Charter (called Atlantic Charter) they drafted included eight “common principles” that the United States and Great Britain would be committed to supporting in the postwar world which shows hope to the occupied countries and promise of a world organisation based on international morality:
      • First, their countries seek no aggrandizement, territorial or other;
      • Second, no territorial changes that do not accord with the freely expressed wishes of the peoples concerned;
      • Third, respect the right of all peoples to choose the form of government; and to see sovereign rights and self-government restored to those who have been forcibly deprived of them;
      • Fourth, to further the enjoyment by all States, great or small, victor or vanquished, of access, on equal terms, to the trade and to the raw materials of the world;
      • Fifth, to bring about the fullest collaboration between all nations in the economic field with the object of securing, for all, improved labor standards, economic advancement and social security;
      • Sixth, to established a peace which will afford to all nations the means of dwelling in safety;
      • Seventh, such a peace should enable all men to traverse the high seas and oceans without hindrance;
      • Eighth, all of the nations of the world must come to the abandonment of the use of force. Pending the establishment of a wider and permanent system of general security, that the disarmament of such nations is essential.
    • The Allied nations agreed to the principles of the Atlantic Charter, thus establishing a commonality of purpose.
    • The Atlantic Charter was a significant first step toward the United Nations based on above 8 principles which follows international morality.
  • Formation of a world organization based on Atlantic Charter:
    • On January 1, 1942, representatives of 26 nations at war with the Axis powers met in Washington to sign the “Declaration by United Nations” (endorsing the Atlantic Charter):
    • This document pledged the signatory governments to the maximum war effort and bound them against making a separate peace.
    • It incorporated Soviet suggestions, but left no role for France.
    • The name “United Nations”, coined by United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt was first used in the Declaration by United Nations of 1 January 1942,
    • One major change from the Atlantic Charter was the addition of a provision for religious freedom, which Stalin approved after Roosevelt insisted.
    • By 1 March 1945, 21 additional states had signed.
    • During the war, the United Nations became the official term for the Allies. To join it, countries had to sign the Declaration and declare war on the Axis.

Q.3 “The Articles of Confederation was too weak to manage the affairs of the United States.” Explain. [10 Marks]


  • The Continental Congress adopted the Articles of Confederation, the first constitution of the United States, on November 15, 1777.
  • The Articles established the first governmental structure unifying the 13 colonies that had fought in the American Revolution. In effect, this document created the structure for the confederation of these newly minted 13 states.
  • It was written during a time when the American people feared strong national governments.
  • The Articles created a loose confederation of sovereign states and a weak central government, leaving most of the power with the state governments.

Weaknesses in the Articles of Confederation:

  • The confederation’s central government was not strong enough to establish a sound financial system, regulate trade, enforce treaties, or go to war when needed.
  • The lack of power given to the Continental Congress strangled the federal government. The Articles gave Congress the power to pass laws but no power to enforce those laws. If a state did not support a federal law, that state could simply ignore it.
  • The Congress was the sole organ of the national government, without a national court to interpret law nor an executive branch to enforce them.
  • These newly independent states separated from Britain no longer received favored treatment at British ports. The British refused to negotiate a commercial treaty in 1785 because the individual American states would not be bound by it.
  • Congress could not act directly upon the States nor upon individuals.
    • Congress had no authority to regulate foreign or interstate commerce.
    • Every act of government was left to the individual States. Each state levied taxes and tariffs on other states at will, which invited retaliation.
    • Congress could vote itself mediator and judge in state disputes, but states did not have to accept its decisions.
  • The weak central government could not back its policies with military strength, embarrassing it in foreign affairs.
    • The British refused to withdraw their troops from the forts and trading posts in the new nation’s Northwest Territory, as they had agreed to do in the Treaty of Paris of 1783.
    • British officers on the northern boundaries and Spanish officers to the south supplied arms to Native American tribes, allowing them to attack American settlers.
    • The Spanish refused to allow western American farmers to use their port of New Orleans to ship produce.
  • Revenues were requisitioned by Congressional petition to each state. None paid what they were asked. Connecticut declared it would not pay at all for two years.
  • The Articles required super majorities. Amendment proposals to states required ratification by all thirteen states, all important legislation needed 70% approval, at least nine states. Repeatedly, one or two states defeated legislative proposals of major importance.
    • Congress appealed to the thirteen states for an amendment to the Articles to tax enough to pay the public debt. Twelve states agreed, Rhode Island did not, so it failed.
  • Without taxes the government could not pay its debt. Seven of the thirteen states printed large quantities of its own paper money, backed by gold, land, or nothing, so there was no fair exchange rate among them.
  • The Massachusetts legislature was one of the five against paper money. It imposed a tightly limited currency and high taxes.
    • Without paper money veterans without cash lost their farms at sheriff’s auction for taxes.
    • This triggered Shays Rebellion to stop tax collectors and close the courts until the proceedings were dropped.
    • Troops quickly suppressed the rebellion, but nationalists like George Washington warned, “There are combustibles in every state which a spark might set fire to.”

The need for a stronger Federal government soon became apparent and eventually led to the Constitutional Convention (Philadelphia Convention) in 1787. The Congress of the Confederation endorsed a plan to revise the Articles of Confederation on February 21, 1787. The present United States Constitution replaced the Articles of Confederation on March 4, 1789.


Q.4 “From that time forward socialism was no longer an accidental discovery of this or that ingenious brain, but the necessary outcome of the struggle between two historically developed classes- the proletariat and the bourgeoisie. Its task was no longer to manufacture a system of society as perfect as possible, but to … discover in the economic conditions … the means of ending the conflict …. The socialism of earlier days certainly criticised the existing capitalistic mode of production and its consequences. But it could not explain them, and, therefore, could not get the mastery of them.” In the light of this statement, give criticism of account of the utopian socialism and socialism redefined by Marx.  [10 Marks]


  • Utopian socialism is a label used to define the first currents of modern socialist thought as exemplified by the work of Henri de Saint-Simon, Charles Fourier, and Robert Owen. It is the name given to socialist aspiration in the era prior to the development of industrial capitalism.
  • Utopian socialists generally don’t believe any form of class struggle or political revolution is necessary for socialism to emerge. Utopians believe that people of all classes can voluntarily adopt their plan for society if it is presented convincingly. They feel their form of cooperative socialism can be established among like-minded people within the existing society.
  • The term “Utopian socialism” was introduced by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels in The Communist Manifesto in 1848.

Criticism of Utopian Socialism and Marxist Socialism (Communism)

  • Utopian socialism was criticised for giving the visions and outlines for imaginary or futuristic ideal and egalitarian society, but without the scientific analysis of social evolution that Marx’s scientific socialism provides, which developed in the Manifesto of the Communist Party, the Critique of political economy and the Das Kapital.
    • Marx viewed “utopian socialism” as not being grounded in actual material conditions of existing society. It lacked “scientific” approach to socialism if contrasted with Marxist theory.
  • While utopian socialists believed it was possible to work within or reform capitalist society, Marx confronted the question of the economic and political power of the capitalist class, expressed in their ownership of the means of producing wealth.
  • According to Marx: The path to socialism proceeds not through the establishment of model communities that set examples of harmonious cooperation to the world but through the clash of social classes. “The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles,” they proclaimed in the Manifesto of the Communist Party. A scientific understanding of history shows that these struggles will culminate in the triumph of the working class and the establishment of socialism.
  • Marxism comprised a theory called Historical Materialism. The first section of the Manifesto, “Bourgeois and Proletarians”, elucidates the materialist conception of history, that “the history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles”. It surveyed that history from the age of feudalism down to 19th-century capitalism, which was destined, they declared, to be overthrown and replaced by a workers’ society.”
  • As per Marx and his friend Engels, utopian socialists failed to recognize why it was that socialism arose in the historical context that it did, that it arose as a response to new social contradictions of a new mode of production, i.e. capitalism.
  • As Marx put it: “And now as to myself, no credit is due to me for discovering the existence of classes in modern society nor yet the struggle between them.
    • Long before me bourgeois historians had described the historical development of this class struggle and bourgeois economists the economic anatomy of the classes.
    • What I did that was new was to prove: (1) that the existence of classes is only bound up with particular, historic phases in the development of production; (2) that the class struggle necessarily leads to the dictatorship of the Proletariat; (3) that this dictatorship itself only constitutes the transition to the abolition of all classes and to a classless society.
  • Whereas the utopian socialists deduced from philosophy outlines of a new and more perfect social order and sought to impose these from without thorough propaganda and experiment, now the possibility of transformation could be found in economics.
  • With Marx’s discovery of the materialist conception of history and the process of expropriation of surplus value under capitalism, socialism was put on a new footing.


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