SYNOPSIS [12th NOVEMBER,2020] Day 28: IASbaba’s TLP (Phase 2): UPSC Mains Answer Writing (General Studies)

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  • November 17, 2020
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Question Compilation, TLP-UPSC Mains Answer Writing
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SYNOPSIS [12th NOVEMBER,2020] Day 28: IASbaba’s TLP (Phase 2): UPSC Mains Answer Writing (General Studies)


1. Examine the factors that led to the rising tide of nationalism in 18th and 19th century Europe. 

Approach – It expects students to write about the factors that led to the rising tide of nationalism in 18th and 19th century in Europe.


National awakening in Europe grew out of an intellectual reaction to the Enlightenment that emphasized national identity and developed a romantic view of cultural self-expression through nationhood. Nationalism was the ideological impetus that, in a few decades, transformed Europe. Rule by monarchies and foreign control of territory was replaced by self-determination and newly formed national governments. 


Nationalism emerged as a force, which brought about sweeping changes in the political and mental world of Europe.

  • The French Revolution and the Idea of the Nation: The first clear expression of nationalism came in Europe with the French Revolution in 1789. The political and constitutional changes that came in the wake of the French Revolution led to the transfer of sovereignty from the monarchy to a body of French citizens. French revolutionaries introduced various measures and practices that could create a sense of collective identity amongst the French people like, “Idea of Fatherland”, new French flag and uniform system of weights and measures was adopted. Through a return to monarchy, Napoleon had destroyed democracy in France, but in the administrative field he had incorporated revolutionary principles.
  • The Aristocracy and the New Middle Class: aristocracy was the dominant class on the continent. This powerful aristocracy was a small group but the majority of the population was made up of the peasantry. On the wake of Industrialisation, new social groups formed as a working-class population, and middle classes made up of industrialists, businessmen, professionals. It was among the educated, liberal middle classes that ideas of national unity following the abolition of aristocratic privileges gained popularity. 
  • Mass Political Movements: After 1880 the debate about the national question becomes important with the need to mobilize voters for different political parties and to gain adherents for new ideologies whether among socialists or minor linguistic and national groupings. In the later stage of mass politics and national movements, the state played an active role. Electoral democracy, which undermined the liberal theory of the nation.
  • Nationality and Language: The choice of a dialect or language as the medium of official communication led to public or state support for its propagation, specially through the school system. In earlier periods, language had been less divisive because literacy levels were very low. The expansion of the secondary school system and the state choice of the official or national language in schools became a source of great conflict among rival ethnic linguistic groups within multi-ethnic states like Austria- Hungary and in Eastern Europe in general.
  • Growth of the press: There was the growth of the press, which fostered both democratic and nationalist ideas in Europe as the number of publications, and the size of the reading public grew steadily. The policies of the state became matters of public concern as public instruction and public employment increased the size of the liberal middle class.
  • State- based patriotism: In older states like Britain and France a state- based patriotism itself encouraged a sense of nationalism during the course of the 19th century. Popular perceptions of natural-cultural differences, political and national characteristics contributed to both nationalism and national chauvinism in the late 19th century in countries regardless of whether they were liberal capitalist states like Britain or second wave late industrializing stales like Germany.
  • Economic and Military rivalry: Nationalism of the 19th century was also linked to the economic and military rivalry of Britain and Germany. The naval building competition between these two Powers and the general desire of the more right wing governments in Germany and Italy to catch up with the British and French who had industrialized early and thus acquired vast colonial possessions. The aggressive nationalism of the conservative regimes in the late industrializing countries like-Germany helped to encourage nationalist sentiment throughout Europe.


Nationalism aligned with imperialism, led Europe to disaster in 1914 with WW I. Meanwhile, many countries in the world, which had been colonized by the European powers in the 19th century, began to oppose imperial domination. The Idea of Nation-State accepted further by many countries in the world and Nationalism became the base for Freedom struggle of India as well as other nations. 

2. The rise of capitalism was a natural corollary of colonialism. Do you agree? Substantiate your views.

Approach – It expects students to write – in first part write about how Colonialism give rise to capitalism while in second part mention about how other factors are also responsible for rise of capitalism.


Colonialism is the policy of a country seeking to extend or retain its authority over other people or territories, generally with the aim of economic dominance. Capitalism is an economic system based on the private ownership of the means of production and their operation for profit. This phenomenon led the economic subjugation of one country over another to give it shape of colonialism.


Colonialism gave rise to capitalism:

  • Britain, Portugal and other European countries started making colonies in 15th and 16th Century but, capitalism came to prominence in 18th century only.
  • Industrial revolution revolution in England urges mother country to search for raw materials and resources. E.g.: British colonies of India, Sri Lanka.
  • Creating market: British after Industrial revolution, created market in colonies for finished cotton product.
  • Factory system: imperialist established factories to promote economy. E.g.: Japanese cotton factories in Philippines in 19th century.
  • Investment: from other countries invested in colonies to reap dividends. E.g.: Dadabhai Naoroji’s Drain of wealth theory cites foreign capital investment in India.
  • Slave trade was one of earliest forms of capitalist arrangement for exchange of goods between Africa, Caribbean and America.

But, apart from capitalism there were other reasons like:

  • Rise of nationalism and power rivalries among European nation.
  • Technological invention like steam engine, spinning jenny gave further push to capitalism.
  • New sea route like Suez Canal which led to increase in trade and it gave further impetus to capitalism.


Thus capitalism and colonialism are closely related. It can be seen in modern world too where many poor African nations are under ‘neo-colonial’ domination of capitalist firms of west.

3. Do you agree with the assertion that German expansionism was the root cause of World War II? Critically examine.

Approach – It is straightforward question where it expects student to write about – in first part write about how German expansionism led to World War 2 – while in second part write about other causes of World War 2.


Historians from many countries have given considerable attention to studying and understanding the causes of World War II, a global war from 1939 to 1945 that was the deadliest conflict in human history. The immediate precipitating event was the invasion of Poland by Nazi Germany on September 1, 1939, and the subsequent declarations of war on Germany made by Britain and France, but many other prior events have been suggested as ultimate causes.  


German expansionism led to World War 2:

Treaty of Versailles

  • Following World War, I, the victorious Allied Powers met to decide Germany’s future. Germany was forced to sign the Treaty of Versailles.
  • Under this treaty, Germany had to accept guilt for the war and to pay reparations. Germany lost territory and was prohibited from having a large military.
  • The humiliation faced by Germany under this treaty, paved the way for the spread of Ultra-Nationalism in Germany. 

Rise of Nazism

  • Adolf Hitler, the Leader of the German National Socialist (Nazi) party, preached a racist brand of fascism.
  • Hitler promised to overturn the Versailles Treaty, restore German wealth & glory and secure additional Lebensraum (“living space”) for the German people, who he contended deserve more as members of a superior race.
  • In 1933 Hitler became the German Chancellor, and in a series of subsequent moves established himself as dictator.
  • Moreover, in 1941 the Nazi regime unleashed a war of extermination against Slavs, Jews, and other elements deemed inferior by Hitler’s ideology.

Policy of Appeasement

  • Hitler openly denounced the Treaty of Versailles and began secretly building up Germany’s army and weapons.
  • Although Britain and France knew of Hitler’s actions, they thought a stronger Germany would stop the spread of Communism from Russia.
  • An example of appeasement was the Munich Agreement of September 1938. In the Agreement, Britain and France allowed Germany to annex areas in Czechoslovakia where German-speakers lived.
  • Germany agreed not to invade the rest of Czechoslovakia or any other country. However, in March 1939, Germany broke its promise and invaded the rest of Czechoslovakia.
  • Even then, neither Britain nor France was prepared to take military action.

However, other factors were also responsible for World war 2:

Failure of the League of Nations

  • The League of Nations was an international organization set up in 1919 to keep world peace.
  • It was intended that all countries would be members and that if there were disputes between countries, they could be settled by negotiation rather than by force.
  • The League of Nations was a good idea, but ultimately a failure, as not all countries joined the league.
  • Also, the League had no army to prevent military aggression such as Italy’s invasion of Ethiopia in Africa or Japan’s invasion of Manchuria in China.

Great Depression of 1929

  • The worldwide economic depression of the 1930s took its toll in different ways in Europe and Asia.
  • In Europe, political power shifted to totalitarian and imperialist governments in several countries, including Germany, Italy, and Spain.
  • In Asia, a resource-starved Japan began to expand aggressively, invading China and manoeuvring to control a sphere of influence in the Pacific.

Rise of Fascism

  • Victors’ stated aims in World War I had been “to make the world safe for democracy,” and post-war Germany was made to adopt a democratic constitution, as did most of the other states restored or created after the war.
  • In the 1920s, however, the wave of nationalistic, militaristic totalitarianism known by its Italian name, fascism.
  • It promised to minister to peoples’ wants more effectively than democracy and presented itself as the one sure defence against communism.
  • Benito Mussolini established the first Fascist, European dictatorship during the interwar period in Italy in 1922.


Though Hitler’s expansionist tendency played crucial role in causing world war 2 but there were other driving and parallel reasons too. Such casual problems should be checked by whole world so that there won’t be any world war 3.

4. Critically evaluate the role of USA, as a global leader, in ensuring peace and stability post World War II.  

Approach – As the directive here is critically evaluate it is expected to come to a decision based on the overall analysis of the pros and cons backed by evidence. In the introduction you can explain how after World War II USA emerged as a global leader besides stating how peace and stability got threatened after World War II. In the first half of main body part you can argue how USA as a global leader ensured peace and stability. In the second half you can argue how USA as a global leader did not ensured peace and stability. In the conclusion you can explain how these developments changed the International politics. 


At the end of World War II, the British Empire was too weak and too dispirited to continue as a global imperial power subsequently sun on the British empire set and a confidently prosperous, well-armed America assumed leadership of the West—and did so while creating a U.S.-led international order which impacted the International politics to a considerable extent. 


World War II brought about changes in the status of countries and continents. Britain and France lost their positions of pre-eminence as superpowers and yielded place to the USA and the USSR. 

USA as a global leader ensured peace and stability: 

  • Impetus to decolonization: After the war, Britain and France were confronted with various domestic and external problems. The domestic factor was that both of them could no longer hold onto their respective colonies. However, one of the major external factor was the pressure from USA. Which forced these Colonizers to decolonise their colonies. For instance, USA pressurised Britain to decolonise India and supported India’s demand to be an independent country. 
  • The establishment of the UN and dominance of USA on the institution was the major factor due to which peace and stability was ensured on the global politics. 
  • Due to its strong economic condition USA emerged as a strong leader. The strong economy of USA not only helped it to maintain its status as a global leader but ensured that global economy did not get hampered by change in the global market. 
  • In the immediate post–World War II era, U.S. foreign aid concentrated on Europe. The Truman Doctrine, the Marshall Plan, and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) provided economic and military aid to European countries to assist in their recovery from the war.
  • Also to streamline, monitor and regulate world trade and economy establishment of World bank and IMF in the leadership of USA ensured that global trade will get regulated and would take place in the favour of everyone. These institutions not only regulated the flow of money in the global economy but ensured its monitoring too. 
  • Propagation of modern values of democracy: After World War II, it was likely possible that many of the decolonised nations will go under authoritarian regime. However, USA’s soft power of democracy and its long cherished values of liberty, equality were appreciated and acquired by the newly independent nations. 
  • After World War II, United States provided foreign assistance and other tools to aid and rebuild post-war Japan. Between 1946 and 1952, USA invested $2.2 billion in Japan’s reconstruction effort.
  • Contribution in technology: The unprecedented and swift development in technology ensured that the pace of development on the world scale improves. For instance, the research and development in the computer field by USA led to creation of wide scale job opportunities and a larger world market for technological evolution. It ensured peace and stability by closing the income gap. 

USA as a global leader did not ensured peace and stability:

  • The rivalry between USA and Russia doesn’t needs a special introduction. After second world war, cold war started between USA and USSR to prove their mettle on the global scale. This tussle was not limited to the ground but it reached up to the space. 
  • This escalation of tension between USA and Russia led competition between two countries to develop highly nuclear powered weapons. It also led to creation of military alliances between different countries. For instance, NATO was created by USA to tackle the spread of USSR in the East European countries.
  • Rise of ideological battles: For instance, to tackle the spread of communism USA opened up a front in Vietnam. Which is termed as a greatest mistake in the history of USA. This tackling of ideological battle was not limited to the South Asian countries but it reached in the backyard of USA with the rise of communism in Cuba. 
  • USA also entered in alliance with South Korea against North Korea. It led to rise of dangerous and unpredictable authoritarian regime on the global politics. For instance, the current reactionary policies of Kim Jong-Un are an answer to the aggressive policies adopted by USA. 
  • USA’s role in the Gulf war to secure its oil interest is world known. It has led the gulf and Middle East Asian countries in to upheaval of political order. For instance, despite after 30 years of invasion, Middle East is still facing the brunt of Gulf war. 
  • USA’s invasion in Afghanistan and Iraq aggravated these situations which led to emergence of new terror groups on the global politics. For instance, Rise of Al-Qaeda, Taliban and ISIS are the examples. 
  • USA not only destabilised world order through its military power but it also destabilised world order and hampered peace by putting a strong hold on world economy by maintain it’s hegemony on the global economic institutions such as IMF, WB and WTO. 
  • It also controlled International politics and tried to maintain the international politics in its favour by dominating United Nations through financial funding. It even led to taking unilateral decisions by USA on some of the world issues due to its economic stronghold. For instance, The U.S. government contributed just over $10 billion to the United Nations in 2018.
  • USA projected itself as a champion of democracy, it also claims to spread and protect democracy on the global order. However, its undemocratic behaviour at the international institutions such as United Nation’s questions their principles. For instance, USA quit UN human rights council. 
  • It also disturbed the Unanimity and stability on environmental grounds by pulling itself out of Paris agreement. 
  • Its current standoff with China based on economic terms, also known as ‘trade war’ is hampering the global economy and changing the global economic calculations. For instance, many of the US origin companies are changing their manufacturing base from China to other countries. In this way it is hampering the global peace and stability. 


USA as a global leader after World War II emerged to be a responsible global power as it is evident from the subsequent establishments of global institutions and USA’s prominent role in their establishment. However, self-centred aggressive international relations policy of USA also created upheavals on international table.  This policy of USA has done more harm than good. Hence, arises the need of a multi-polar world order which will push for reforms in the global institutions such as UN thereby ensuring peace and stability on the international table. 

5. How did the Cold War shape contemporary global politics? Discuss.

Approach – A straightforward question where in you need to first explain Cold war and then further discuss about its role in shaping the contemporary global politics.        


The Cold War was a period of confrontation that took place between 1945 and 1990 between the USA and its allies mainly the Western countries and the then Eastern bloc spearheaded by the Soviet Union (USSR). The two powers did not fight or used weapons against each other, it was fought through Nuclear Arms race, proxy wars, ideological influence and propaganda war. It, therefore, had a great impact on the world.


  • Beyond the easily re-surfacing rhetoric on a ‘new Cold War’ when referring to the Western world’s relationship with Russia, the bipolar conflict (1945-1989) shaped the international system in tangible ways that remain highly relevant today. 
  • The concrete legacy of the Cold War rotates around three elements: 
  1. Nuclear weapons and the related arms control and non-proliferation treaties – Proliferation of nuclear weapons technology as well as consequent measures to control it are a legacy of cold war period still affecting the world order today. For example, North Korea & Iran under non-proliferation radar. 
  2. Local conflicts with long-lasting consequences – Conflicts during the cold war period sustained into post-cold war time period with devastating consequences for larger world order. For example, The North Korean- South Korean standoff is a local standoff which persists in its effects on the nearby region of north-eastern Asia.
  3. International institutions that continue to play a key role today – The major institutions that govern the ‘West’ – NATO and the EU – are both rooted in the bipolar era, and the sense of community, belonging and shared values that characterise them was forged throughout the decades.
  • Current instability in the world’s hotspots – from the Korean peninsula to Afghanistan – cannot be understood, nor future courses charted, without turning to the Cold War in search for the roots and causes of today’s dilemmas. 
  • The last Soviet leader Michael Gorbachev had envisioned a reformed and more open Soviet Union that could have become part of a new pan-European structure, which he called the “common European home.” 
  • This inherently conveyed the idea of building close links between the Soviet Union and the then European Community in the transition to a post-Cold War era. 
  • The dissolution of the Soviet Union did not lead to a new European structure that included Russia (and the former Soviet republics). On the contrary, NATO expanded into the former Soviet space at a pace unforeseen and unexpected even in the West. 
  • Therefore, it can be argued that not only the Cold War but also the way in which the Cold War ended had a long-lasting negative impact on the Western world’s relationship with Russia. 
  • A world produced by the Cold War, by the anxieties and energies that found expression in the laboratories, boardrooms, government offices, think-tanks and universities tasked with managing a permanent state of emergency. The geopolitics may be different, but the technology, infrastructure, and worldview that built up and hardened during the Cold War era are still with us, embodied in the everyday devices we take for granted, and the precarious identities they suggest.


The longest conflict of the twentieth century, the Cold War affected everything, from political ideology, foreign and domestic policy, to the presidency and the personal lives of people around the world. With the collapse of the Iron curtain in Eastern Europe, the unification of Germany, the fragmentation and subsequent dissolution of the Soviet Union have all but eliminated the Cold War. International cooperation during the first Gulf War demonstrated that even before the end of the Soviet Union, co-operation of nations around the world can be hopeful possibility.

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