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[Mission 2024] Insights SECURE SYNOPSIS: 26 January 2024

 

NOTE: Please remember that following ‘answers’ are NOT ‘model answers’. They are NOT synopsis too if we go by definition of the term. What we are providing is content that both meets demand of the question and at the same


General Studies – 1


 

Topic: History of the world will include events from 18th century such as industrial revolution, world wars, redrawal of national boundaries, colonization, decolonization, political philosophies like communism, capitalism, socialism etc.— their forms and effect on the society.

1. World War-I origins are a complex interplay of diplomatic failures, militarism, and nationalist tensions across Europe. Examine. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: Chapter-1: Mastering Modern World History – Norman Lowe

Why the question:

The question is part of the static syllabus of General studies paper – 2 and mentioned as part of Mission-2024 Secure timetable.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the reasons for the outbreak for the first world war and responsibility of Germany for the war.

Directive word: 

Examine – When asked to ‘Examine’, we must investigate the topic (content words) in detail, inspect it, investigate it and establish the key facts and issues related to the topic in question. While doing so we should explain why these facts and issues are important and their implications.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin by giving the context of assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand that started the great war of 1914.

Body:

First, write about the geo-political Tensions had been brewing throughout Europe—especially in the troubled Balkan region of southeast Europe, the alliances involving European powers, the Ottoman Empire, Russia and other parties had existed for years, The political instability in the Balkans etc, Hyper nationalism leading to mutual distrust. Mention other factors such as economic and military causes.

Next, write about the German responsibility for the first world war. Mention is role in the war as well as the responsibility of the others in it.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a balanced opinion on the German responsibility for the first world war.

Introduction

World War I occurred between July 1914 and November 11, 1918. By the end of the war, over 17 million people would be killed including over 100,000 American troops. The reason why war erupted is actually much more complicated than a simple list of causes. While there was a chain of events that directly led to the fighting, the actual root causes are much deeper and part of continued debate and discussion.

Body

Causes that led to outbreak of World War I

  • Mutual Defense Alliances: Over time, countries throughout Europe made mutual defense agreements that would pull them into battle. These treaties meant that if one country was attacked, allied countries were bound to defend them. Before World War 1, the following alliances existed:
    • Russia and Serbia
    • Germany and Austria-Hungary
    • France and Russia
    • Britain and France and Belgium
    • Japan and Britain
  • Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia, Russia got involved to defend Serbia. Germany seeing Russia mobilizing, declared war on Russia.
    • France was then drawn in against Germany and Austria-Hungary. Germany attacked France through Belgium pulling Britain into war.
    • Then Japan entered the war. Later, Italy and the United States would enter on the side of the allies.
  • Imperialism: Before World War I, Africa and parts of Asia were points of contention among the European countries. This was especially true because of the raw materials these areas could provide.
    • The increasing competition and desire for greater empires led to an increase in confrontation that helped push the world into WW I.
  • Militarism: As the world entered the 20th century, an arms race had begun. By 1914, Germany had the greatest increase in military buildup.
    • Great Britain and Germany both greatly increased their navies in this time period. Further, in Germany and Russia particularly, the military establishment began to have a greater influence on public policy.
    • This increase in militarism helped push the countries involved into war.
  • Nationalism: Much of the origin of the war was based on the desire of the Slavic peoples in Bosnia and Herzegovinato no longer be part of Austria Hungary but instead be part of Serbia.
    • In this way, nationalism led directly to the War. But in a more general way, the nationalism of the various countries throughout Europe contributed not only to the beginning but the extension of the war in Europe. Each country tried to prove their dominance and power
  • Assassination of arch-duke: The immediate cause of World War I that made the aforementioned items come into play (alliances, imperialism, militarism, nationalism) was theassassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria-Hungary.
    • This assassination led to Austria-Hungary declaring war on Serbia.
    • When Russia began to mobilize due to its alliance with Serbia, Germany declared war on Russia.
    • Thus began the expansion of the war to include all those involved in the mutual defense alliances.

Germany’s role in causing world war-I

  • Germany played an important role. After the end of the Franco-Prussian War in 1871, Germany became a unified state.
    • It quickly became thelargest industrial power in Europe.
    • Thischanged the balance of power and many of German’s neighbours became nervous.
  • Because of this tension, Kaiser Wilhelm I of Germany decided to form alliances in order to protect Germany and avoid a war on two fronts.
  • After several default alliances, the Triple Alliance, consisting of Germany, Austria-Hungary and Italy, was formed in 1882.
  • In 1907, afterGermany challenged the naval supremacy of Great Britain, the Triple Entente was formed, comprising Britain, France, and Russia.
  • The emergence of alliances was a major cause of the First World War, because it divides the European powers, making them rivals, and countries forced to participate in war if one of his allies were involved in the war, which could turn a small war into a large one.
  • In 1890, William II of Germany adopted Weltpolitik foreign policyto meet the colonial aspirations of Germany and created a strong navy and empire abroad.
  • This imperialist policy had a great impact on relations between Germany and other countries and led Germany into conflict with Britain because of colonial conflicts.

Contribution of Indian Soldiers to World War 1

  • Indian Armycontributed in large numbers and distinctly to the European, Mediterranean and the Middle East theatres of war in WW I. Their contribution in the victory of Allied powers was vital.
  • Indian Army was taken in the WW I by British rule without consulting the Indian leaders. Indians fought in the war hoping that they may be awarded with independence after the war ends.
  • Almost 1.5 million Muslim, Sikh and Hindu men from regions such as the Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Bihar volunteered in the Indian Expeditionary Force 
  • It is recorded that above 70,000 died and another 67,000 were wounded. A total of 11 Victoria Crosses were won by Indian soldiers.
  • India also supplied various equipment, materials and animalsrequired during the war.
  • The Indian Army served in France, Belgium, Mesopotamia, Egypt, Sinai, Gallipoli, etc.
  • The Indian Army fought against the German Empirein German East Africa (a German colony in the African Great Lakes region) and on the Western Front.
  • Western Frontwas opened by Germany by invading Luxembourg and Belgium which bordered France. It became a main theatre of WW I and saw many attacks between 1915 and 1917.
  • After the war ended officially(by the signing of TREATY OF VERSAILLES on 28 June 1919), India was denied its promise of self-rule.
  • Instead the British imposed the Rowlett act in 1919 that effectively authorized the government to imprison any suspected person for up to 2 years without a trial.

Conclusion

The two world wars were caused by several different factors and many countries participated in it. Several arguments exist as to who should be held responsible for the wars. World War I moved into full force from 1914 through 1918, ending when peace was brokered between the German and Central Forces and the Allied Powers with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles. However, this treaty forced punitive measures on Germany that further destabilized Europe and laid the groundwork for the start of World War II. By understanding the causes of World War I, historians can develop a keen comprehension of how and why this devastating conflict began.

 

Topic: History of the world will include events from 18th century such as industrial revolution, world wars, redrawal of national boundaries, colonization, decolonization, political philosophies like communism, capitalism, socialism etc.— their forms and effect on the society.

2. The prolonged nature of the Depression was influenced by a combination of factors, including policy mistakes, the slow recovery of the banking sector, and the global scope of the crisis. Analyse. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: Insights on India

Why the question:

The question is part of the static syllabus of General studies paper – 2 and mentioned as part of Mission-2024 Secure timetable.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the causes of the Great Depression.

Directive word: 

Analyse – When asked to analyse, you must examine methodically the structure or nature of the topic by separating it into component parts and present them in a summary.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin by giving context of the Great Depression.

Body:

First, write in detail about the various factors that contributed to the Great Depression – world war-I, Unstable economies, inflation, improper lending etc.

Next, write about the impact caused by the Great Depression on the global economy.

Conclusion:

Conclude by writing measures taken to tackle the Great Depression.

Introduction

The Great Depression was a major economic crisis that began in the United States in 1929, and went to have a worldwide impact until 1939. It began on October 24, 1929, a day that is referred to as “Black Thursday”, when a monumental crash occurred at the New York Stock Exchange as stock prices fell by 25 per cent. In the United States, prices and real output fell dramatically. Industrial production fell by 47 per cent, the wholesale price index by 33 per cent, and real GDP by 30 per cent.

Body

Factors that led to Great Depression

  • Stock Market Crash (1929): The Great Depression was triggered by the collapse of the stock market in October 1929. A speculative bubble burst, causing widespread panic and a sharp decline in stock prices.
  • Bank Failures: The financial system crumbled as banks failed due to a combination of risky investments and a run on deposits. This led to a severe contraction of credit, stifling economic activity.
  • Global Economic Conditions: Worldwide economic instability, exacerbated by World War I reparations and war debt, contributed to the severity of the Depression. International trade declined sharply.
  • Protectionist Policies: Governments implemented protectionist measures, such as the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act in the U.S., which worsened the economic downturn by reducing international trade.
  • Drought and Agricultural Crisis: The Dust Bowl in the U.S. and other agricultural crises globally led to widespread crop failures, exacerbating economic hardship for farmers.
  • Overproduction and Underconsumption: Industries overproduced goods, leading to excess inventories. Simultaneously, consumer demand fell, creating a significant gap between production and consumption.
  • Monetary Policy Mistakes: Central banks failed to implement effective monetary policies to counter deflation and stimulate economic growth, contributing to the severity and duration of the Depression.
  • Unemployment: Massive job losses ensued as businesses collapsed, exacerbating the economic downturn. High unemployment rates further reduced consumer spending.
  • Social and Political Impact: The economic hardships fueled social unrest and political instability, paving the way for the rise of extremist ideologies and movements globally.
  • Lack of Government Intervention: Initial government response was limited, and policymakers were slow to implement effective measures to address the economic crisis, prolonging the suffering of the population.

Impacts of great depression

  • Global Economic Contraction: The Great Depression resulted in a sharp decline in economic activity worldwide, leading to a global recession as international trade and investment plummeted.
  • Unemployment Crisis: Mass unemployment became widespread as businesses collapsed and production dwindled. Many individuals faced prolonged periods of joblessness and poverty.
  • Bank Failures and Financial Collapse: The banking sector suffered significantly, with widespread bank failures and a collapse of the financial system. Loss of savings devastated individuals and further constrained credit.
  • Social Dislocation: The Depression caused widespread hardship, homelessness, and a surge in poverty. Families struggled to make ends meet, leading to social disintegration and increased instances of homelessness.
  • Decline in Industrial Production: Industries experienced a sharp reduction in production levels, contributing to a prolonged period of economic stagnation.
  • Dust Bowl and Agricultural Devastation: The Dust Bowl in the U.S. resulted in agricultural collapse, displacing farmers and worsening economic conditions in already affected regions.
  • Global Political Turmoil: The economic downturn contributed to political instability and the rise of extremist ideologies, leading to geopolitical tensions and, eventually, World War II.
  • Erosion of Confidence: The Depression eroded public and investor confidence in the economic system and the ability of governments to manage economic crises.
  • Changes in Economic Policy: The crisis prompted a reevaluation of economic policies, leading to the development of new approaches, such as Keynesian economics, to prevent future economic catastrophes.
  • Human Suffering: The Depression caused immense human suffering, with widespread poverty, hunger, and homelessness. It left a lasting impact on the psyche of individuals who lived through this challenging period.

Conclusion

The Wall Street crash was triggered by minor events, the extent of the decline was due to more deep-rooted factors such as a fall in aggregate demand, misplaced monetary policies, and an unintended rise in inventory levels. The great depression of the 1930s was the worst economic crisis that ultimately turned it into a decade-long economic catastrophe and spread across the western world. It led to wide unemployment, a decrease in consumer confidence, and had an impact on the social and cultural lives of the individuals as well. The recovery could mainly come through by various steps, significant of which was monetary expansion.

 

 


General Studies – 4


 

Topic: Human Values – lessons from the lives and teachings of great leaders, reformers and administrators;

3. What does this quote means to you? (150 words)

“Reason shows me that if my happiness is desirable and good, the equal happiness of any other person must be equally desirable” ― Henry Sidgwick

Difficulty level: Moderate

Why the question:

The question is part of the static syllabus of General studies paper – 4.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin by explaining the literal meaning of the quote.

Body:

Write about how individuals strive for happiness and it is a natural thing for people to seek it. Write about how people in order to achieve happiness have scant regard for other’s happiness. Explain the impact of the above using examples.

Conclusion:

Summarise by highlighting the importance of the quote in the present day.

Introduction

This quote talks about individual happiness of a person which takes dominance when compared to others’ happiness. Man by nature is individualistic, self-centred and inward looking. However, even to enjoy his own rights and be happy, he must respect the rights of others. We must know that, even other individuals are entitled to being equally happy as we are, if not more.

Body

Utilitarianism does not say that it is moral for people simply to pursue what makes them personally happy. Rather, morality is dictated by the greatest happiness principle; moral action is that which increases the total amount of utility in the world. Pursuing one’s own happiness at the expense of social happiness would not be moral under this framework. But this is practically impossible is what Henry Sidgwick is putting forth. Because human beings are sentient and personal happiness

The quote is also a criticism of Mill’s “General Happiness” theory in Utilitarianism. The aggregate of happiness of all individuals does not lead to general happiness. It is impossible to expect an individual to let go of his desires for general or greater good. At the same time, Sidgwick is trying to balance this harmony by saying that, if we believe that our happiness is desirable and good, then so is that of other sentient beings.

However, the world is not an ideal place for ethical considerations. As we see in our day-to-day lives, in pursuit of our own well-being or happiness we often intrude into someone’s else’s happiness. For instance, keeping one’s home clean and littering in front of other’s home.  Or in the context of international relations, national interest reigns supreme and ‘beggar thy neighbour’ policy has become a norm. There is scant regard for universal peace and welfare. Russia’s recent invasion of Ukraine is also a case in point.

Conclusion

The harmony of greater good and individual happiness is important for a stable society. Civilisation can thrive when there is “live and let live” principle. Hence ensuring that others also enjoy similar set of rights as means to achieve happiness is the key in ensuring one’s own happiness.

 

Topic: Human Values – lessons from the lives and teachings of great leaders, reformers and administrators;

4.  What does this quote means to you? (150 words)

“Virtue lies in our power, and similarly so does vice; because where it is in our power to act, it is also in our power not to act…” ― Aristotle.

Difficulty level: Tough

Why the question:

The question is part of the static syllabus of General studies paper – 4.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin by explaining the literal meaning of the quote.

Body:

Write about the role of power and power can used to do both good and bad things. Also, write about inaction and how inaction can also be a vice. Substantiate using examples.

Conclusion:

Summarise by highlighting the importance of the quote in the present day.

Introduction

Aristotle believed that virtue could be habituated by training and bending one’s moral disposition towards virtue and away from vice through the deliberation of means. At times, human beings are capable of great feats and noble deeds and yet are also prone to great depravity, cowardice, and weakness. Now if it is in our power to do noble or base acts, and likewise in our power not to do them, and this was what being good or bad meant, then it is in our power to be virtuous or vicious.

Body

According to Aristotle, the virtuous habit of action is always an intermediate state between the opposed vices of excess and deficiency: too much and too little are always wrong; the right kind of action always lies in the means. According to Gandhi, only right means leads to right destination. For him, he that soweth vice does not reap virtue.

Whether to act morally or not is our discretion. The power to do good for others requires immense virtuosity in man. For instance, Stalin who was the dictator of USSR was infamous for his campaign of terror and his totalitarian ways. His contemporary, Joseph Tito was a benevolent leader, who became popular both in Yugoslavia and abroad. Viewed as a unifying symbol, his internal policies maintained the peaceful coexistence of the nations of the Yugoslav federation.

Also, by choosing to not act regarding a situation, one may be excusing himself from preventing an evil. Take for example, the act of voting, by not voting, which is a duty of a responsible citizen, he or she is enabling a tyrant to take control of the State. Hence inaction is also injurious in many situations and those who are guilty of inaction must also be held accountable. If we do nothing, nothing will change. So, inaction is worse than making a bad decision. One must not be a fence-sitter, rather always take a decision and act upon it. Only then, there can be experiences learning and personal growth.

Conclusion

Virtue or vice is the ultimate choice that human beings are required to make. The exercise of moral virtue is related to means. Therefore, virtue lies in our power, and similarly so does vice; because where it is in our power to act, it is also in our power not to act, and where we can refuse, we can also comply. So, if it is in our power to do a thing when it is right, it will also be in our power not to do it when it is wrong; and if it is in our power not to do it when it is right, it will also be in our power to do it when it is wrong.


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