Exam reflection

What went well?

– In the visual text essay, I was able to remember almost all of the quotes and film techniques, and was able to produce a similar essay to the one I had practiced. I managed to stick to my time management plan, and felt that I was able to produce a reasonable essay with the time and preparation available.

– For unfamiliar, I managed to get a good understanding of the question and the text before answering them.

What was challenging/difficult?

– I think that it was hard to put together each paragraph in the way I had originally planned, as I forgot parts and then remembered them halfway through. After remembering them, I tried to re-implement them and it didn’t always fit.

– In unfamiliar, I didn’t always use the most appropriate technique as I didn’t understand what they were, or how they related to the text.

What do you feel you need to do going forward into NCEA next term?

– I feel that my essay was strong enough to get a good mark, but to do well, I will need to go over film techniques, and practice implementing the question into the writing and relating it to the techniques.

– For unfamiliar, I really need to go over a lot more techniques, and practice this style of unfamiliar. In order to get a good mark, I really need to make sure I look at previous exemplars, and get make a good plan for what I will do in the exam.

Crafted writing

Statement of intent: The purpose of my writing is to develop an overall understanding of the issues surrounding child soldiers, and how New Zealand’s differing society can help guide these corrupted nations towards a more balanced and non-violent existence. I would like to show how war was something New Zealand went through, and how it isn’t an environment children should grow up in. War was something that helped shape our identity, but it is also one of the worst parts of our history. If we can take this knowledge and experience from our own participation of the war, we can use it towards helping to stop young child in foreign countries from having to face the same fate. The issue of child soldiers needs to end. The style I aim to use with this piece of writing is formal and persuasive, and the text type will be a research essay/report. My writing is aimed at teenagers, to help them understand how different the lives of the unfortunate are compared to our own. I want them to gain a better understanding of the issues surrounding child soldiers, including the environments they grow up in, the increases in numbers of child soldiers, and how different their lives are to ours. They need to understand the links between New Zealand’s participation in the war, and how similar the experiences of the soldiers who fought there would be to the child soldiers of today. I intend to engage my audience through the use of language features and by relating to today’s society. Using these techniques will allow them to relate it to their own experiences and gain a more in-depth understanding of what I’m going to discuss.


“Children belong on playgrounds, not battlegrounds. The use of child soldiers is one of the most egregious human right violations of our times”

The issue of child soldiers dates back for hundreds of years. It should be ancient history by now, it needs to end. Children should be playing “catch the villain”, not kill the villain. Even the most basic of human rights should be preventing this obvious breech of children’s safety, however the numbers are ever increasing, and the environments in which these children grow up in are far from ideal. Being denied access to food, water, or other basic human rights is a common occurrence for these children. In New Zealand, we have been privileged with a wonderful way of life that is almost the complete opposite of the lives given to child soldiers. These privileges ensure a far safer and happier childhood for kiwi children than these soldiers, simply because because of the environment they were lucky enough to grow up in. To put it into context, if a child was born in New Zealand, to a family who were not as well off as you, to a family who struggled to put dinner on the table each night, would you sit back and allow the child to be forced into slavery? Would you let any child of New Zealand be taken unwillingly from their homes, to be forced into murdering other children that sit in a similar position? No. You wouldn’t. Why not? Because that child could be your own, because that child could be your niece, or nephew, because that child could have grown into an influential and integral part of New Zealand’s future development. So if you wouldn’t let a child of New Zealand be taken, why would you let a child of any other nation? I think the answer is simple. These children? They don’t live here. You don’t know the child affected. In fact, you don’t know anyone affected by such a corrupted government system. You think, “why should I care, this has nothing to do with me”. Maybe not, but if that was your child getting abducted and forced into cold blooded murder, would you want people to help? If you knew that there were people who could save your child, would you want them to? However, for many people, the reason they don’t get involved, don’t try to help these children is because they don’t know how. But it is not a time to wait for everyone else to find a way of fixing this evident problem, it’s a time for you to. There are ways in which we can, and need to help. For example, promoting awareness of these issues, before child soldiers become an act of normality. New Zealander’s were participants in the world wars, and understand the horrific circumstances of which it can put a society into. War was something that helped shape our identity, but it is also one of the worst parts of our history. If we can take this knowledge and experience from our own participation of the war, we can use it to help stop young children in foreign countries from having to face the same fate. The main issues surrounding the issue of child soldiers are the growth in the numbers of children growing up in armed conflict, the increase in child soldiers, and the massive differences between the societies they live in, compared to those of teenagers living in safer environments, such as our own.

The increase of children growing up in armed conflict is becoming a mounting problem in which greatly affects the individual lives they lead. It results in a decrease of the levels of education these children are getting, and highlights issues around the safety of children in refugee camps. If children are growing up in armed conflict, chances are that the levels of education they’re receiving are low. When the children are taken, they are told that once they have killed someone, they can no longer go back and lead normal lives with their families. This consequence is horrific for young children to be facing. If you were taken away against your will, and told that the only way to survive was to kill or be killed, how would you react? If you were then told that if you were to kill anyone, you can never go home and live as you had previously, what would you do? If you were told that if you so much as tried to escape, you would be killed, what would you say? In New Zealand, we are privileged with good education, and therefore it is often hard to understand the daily struggles in which these kids go through to access education. “If countries continue to employ four times as many soldiers as teachers, education and social systems will remain fragile and inadequate, and Governments will continue to fail children and break the promises made to them through ratification of the Convention on the Rights of the Child”. This quote depicts the errors in which governments are making, and illustrates how the need for teachers is far greater than the need for soldiers. Education is a far more useful weapon than guns and explosives, and the education of children will see a more substantial change in the structures of the country than soldiers and war. For example, it the Ugandan government focused on developing and improving their country rather than forcing its economic growth, rebel groups wouldn’t be so common and fewer children would be deprived of education. A switch in the focus of a powerful government could save the lives of thousands of children. Another issue that is produced from children growing up in armed conflict is how they often feel excluded from mainstream society, and eventually turn to war. “The children most likely to become soldiers are from impoverished and marginalised backgrounds or separated from their families.” This quote explains how most child soldiers often come from backgrounds filled with violence and conflict. They stay in circumstances of which they grew up in, because to them that’s normal. To them, the horrors of war are what they grew up with, and therefore continue that into their adult lives. In New Zealand, the soldiers that went to war were doing it as a heroic act, and as a form of patriotism. They left homes of safety to find danger and adventure. For children in these war ravaged countries, they’re becoming soldiers because they need to leave their homes of danger, to find the safety in which the army will provide. The increase of children growing up in armed conflict is becoming a mounting problem to today’s society. This problem leads into how children in these circumstances don’t get the same access to substantial education, and how those who grow up in violent and war ravaged areas, often are the most likely to become child soldiers. To end the use of child soldiers, these problems need to be fixed.

Increases in child soldiers are another issue that needs to end. This increase is generally caused because the armies and structure of the conflict regimes are often attractive to homeless or less privileged children, because it proposes a means of survival. This also shows flaws in the structures of refugee camps, and how we need to improve the protection of children. “Sometimes, children become soldiers simply in order to survive. Children may join if they believe that this is the only way to guarantee regular meals, clothing or medical attention.” This quote explains how a common reason for children to become soldiers is because it provides a sense of security and survival for them. If a child is faced with the decision between joining an army where they get clothes, food, water, and shelter, or struggling to survive alone around their hometown as their families are already dead, it’s easy to understand why so many choose the former option. The prospects of becoming a child soldier are more attractive to underprivileged children as they often provide a more solid means of survival than simply trying to survive on their own. New Zealand has almost always provided a means of basic levels of safety for all of its inhabitants. To be living in this kind of violent environment is practically unheard of here, but it was once a reality for our ANZAC troops. We have laws in place to uphold the protection of children, and is another reason why we should be standing up for the rights of children in other countries living as child soldiers because it’s the only means of safety and protection they can access, as our rights have already been stood up for. Another issue that’s causing an increase of child soldiers is the little amount of protection provided to children in poorer areas, and refugee camps. “Armed conflict leads to a breakdown in the family support systems so essential to a child’s survival and development. Other forms of protection also slip away, particularly government and community support systems”. This quote explains how when children are growing up in areas of armed conflict, it isn’t uncommon for many of their social structures to fall down as well. This means that the need for child protection is an ever increasing problem for the younger generation, and is something that needs to be improved should any serious action be taken against attempts at decreasing the number of child soldiers that there are. The structures of New Zealand’s society are very strong, and would model well to those in more under developed countries. The only armed conflicts that we have participated in were to support other nations, and the only wars seen on our home ground haven’t been active since the Maori land wars. This shows that children in New Zealand haven’t had to grow up in circumstances like those of child soldiers, and therefore should be something we need to help develop in other countries. We can spread our ‘Kiwi Culture’ across other nations, and be a role model in which other societies can develop to. Increases in child soldiers are a mounting problem that needs to be resolved. When looking at it, there are two main factors which contribute to its increase greatly – how becoming a soldier provides survival for homeless and underprivileged children, and how great increases in the level of protection of children need to be taken. These problems need to be fixed before any real change in the declining of child soldiers will be seen

The differences seen between the societies that we live in compared to those of child soldiers are huge. Two factors that stem from this are how different our “normal” is, and how war should not be stealing children’s futures. “Somebody being shot in front of you, or you yourself shooting somebody became just like drinking a glass of water “. This quote was taken from a young child soldier who grew up with the horrors of war. It is describing how to them, murders and violence is just everyday life, it’s how their day goes and that’s how they live. However to us, the idea of this being any kind of normal is horrifying. Our normal is to go to good schools with good education, live healthy lives, with good families, but to them, that’s more than they could ever dream of. For there to be such different circumstances to live in is almost unbelievable. This leads onto the second point of how war should not be stealing children’s futures. “We don’t want to see another child giving up their dreams and visions about their life for being in harsh circumstances they don’t belong to. War is already a bad circumstance for adults, let alone for innocent children that are supposed to taste the excitement of education. War should not steal a child’s future and for whatever reasons, it will never be justifiable. Children are dropping out of childhood.” This quote depicts how children should not have lives of horror and war, they should be having educated lives with dreams they can achieve. War shouldn’t be taking this opportunity away from them, and they shouldn’t be removed from their childhood’s. It’s just not right. New Zealand kids get access to almost every opportunity under the sun. We can create any future we like, and we know that we can achieve that from the day we develop these ideas on our future. The differences seen between our society and the societies of child soldiers are far too much. The contrast seen between our “normal” and their “normal” isn’t acceptable, and neither is war stealing a child’s future. These issues need to be resolved before we can start helping and preventing child soldiers effectively.

Child soldiers are not something that should be accepted into today’s society, and need to be something New Zealand helps to abolish. The leading factors to it are how children are already growing up in violent areas of armed conflict, which thereby decreases the levels of education they’re getting, and how children become child soldiers because they’re living in the same circumstances in which they grew up – it give a sense of familiarity. Increasing numbers of child soldiers is also a factor, as well as how it provides a means of survival to homeless and underprivileged children, and how these child soldiers need far better means of protection if we want any hope of decreasing the numbers in which they’re growing. Finally, the differences between our societies are far too big, and the contrasts between our “normal” is far too much. This also went onto the point surrounding how children should not have their chances at good futures taken away by the violence and atrocities of war. War was something New Zealand went through, and how it isn’t an environment children should grow up in. War was something that helped shape our identity, but it is also one of the worst parts of our history. If we can take this knowledge and experience from our own participation of the war, we can use it to help stop young child in foreign countries having to face the same fate. There are far too many problems with the way our society is attempting at rectifying the problems surrounding child soldiers. More needs to be done to take them away from such horrifying situations, and we need to start decreasing the gap between how different our lives are. Children should be playing “catch the villain” not kill the villain. The use of child soldiers needs to stop.

By Dharma Bratley

Statement of intent: The purpose of my writing is to develop an overall understanding of the events leading up to World War I, and how New Zealand’s participation in war affected our society. I would like to show how war was something New Zealand, and the world, went through, and some of the key reasons why it occurred. War was something that helped shape our identity, but it is also one of the worst parts of our history. If we can educate more people about the reasons behind war, we can both help prevent it from occurring again, and hopefully inform more people how even the smallest of activities can produce the largest of consequences. The style I aim to use with this piece of writing is formal and expository, and the text type will be an article. My writing is aimed at teenagers, to help them understand why war occurred, and how our actions often have much bigger consequences. I want them to gain a better understanding of the this. They need to understand the links between the build up to war, and how similar this can be to our simple, everyday lives. I intend to engage my audience through the use of language features and by relating to the simplicity of everyday life. The use of these techniques will allow them to relate it to their own experiences and gain a more in-depth understanding of what I’m going to discuss.


A single bullet sparked World War One.

Just one single gunshot lead to the mobilisation of 65,038,810 forces.

One death led to 8,528,831 others.

21,189,154 injuries.

That’s 37,466,904 casualties that were counted. 274,111 Anzacs.

It doesn’t include the 7,750,919 men that didn’t return home because they were prisoners, or simply were never seen again.

That’s 45,217,823 men that didn’t go home without injury.

19,820,987 men were the lucky few who only lost their minds and hearts on those battle fields.

Just one bullet.

But of course, history has never made a simple mistake. It’s made many. These soldiers were the creators of history. Their letters, poems, and seemingly insignificant memories are what we remember them by. Sad, lost boys who left home looking for a sense of adventure, and gained far more than they needed. Understanding the reasons behind such catastrophic casualty rates is like trying to understand why a butterfly can fly; there isn’t a reason so much as it could. It could fly so it did. The war could happen, so it did. But looking into the process of a flying butterfly, of the creation of war, is where it gets interesting.

We all know a butterfly’s cycle. The first step is the egg. Now, a butterfly egg is quite small and seems rather insignificant compared to the other stages of the cycle, but it is the beginning, and therefore one of the most important. German aggression was the egg of the war. Kaiser Wilhelm II was the king of Germany, and had a twisted view of the world. He believed Germany should be a world power, and thereby introduced Weltpolitik to achieve this. The policies of Weltpolitik varied, but together they produced an arms race. This was where Germany wanted to try and get more land to seem more powerful, and the only way to do that was to take it from other people. So Germany tried to take more land, and everyone else tried to protect theirs and get more themselves, thus causing an arms race where everyone tried to get bigger guns to both protect their country and use it to get rid of anyone who tried to stop them taking other land. This led to the development of the Schlieffen plan, where Germany attempted to invade France and take Alsace Lorraine, a strip of land between the two counties. In theory this was a good plan. As Germany is a landlocked country, shutting down one border would mean they would only have to fight on one side rather than two if war were to break out. However, the execution of this plan went a bit pear shaped, and resulted in France getting angry at Germany, who didn’t get the land, and had to fight even harder on two fronts. So the egg of the war was planted, and the European countries were both angry, and wanted to show off their guns to prove how much of a world power they were – a deadly combination.

The second part of the cycle is the caterpillar. A bug with lots of legs that can move and eat and meet other caterpillars like itself. The caterpillar is a strange creature, much like a human. Of course, we’re not 5 centimetres long, green and yellow striped, with too many legs, but we share the quality of strangeness and a predictable unpredictable-ness. Almost everyone ever born has a certain patriotic streak for their country. If not the country you were born in, then certainly one you grew up in or spent a while exploring. Patriotism is good. Patriotism is the reason so many soldiers stalked the dead men before them into such a blood and bodied wasteland. But nationalism is not. Nationalism is the extremity of patriotism, where people put down other countries to make their own sound better. The anger and resentment was widespread across Europe, and it wasn’t long before nationalism seeped into education and literature. The effects of these were not positive. Children were being brought up in a society that openly degraded and blamed other nations for their own failures. French children were told Germany had tried to steal their two children: Alsace and Lorraine, while Germans were taught that they were surrounded by enemies who could not be trusted. These ideas meant that whole generations were bred to despise each other, and never looked upon each other kindly. This would only fuel the war further. Literature romanticised war, and encouraged the ideology that war was a good thing, and would quickly and effectively solve disputes between nations. They explained that war was a necessity for history, and further for the developments of mankind. It started the ideas of nationalism which were further promoted by newspapers. Newspapers often stretched the truth for publicity, and brought an intensity to the idealisation of of war. Nationalism was the moving, growing, evolving caterpillar for the war.

The third stage of the cycle is the cocoon, where the caterpillar winds itself up into a little comfortable pouch, and develops into a glorious butterfly. However, as an analogy for war, this stage is closely linked to the relationships, alliances, and diplomacy that developed in the years leading to the war, as this is where it’s developments and creation finally start to develop. The first was the French/German rivalry that developed after the dire attempt of invasion by German forces, the Schlieffen plan. The relationship between these two nations was not at its best. The second was the triple entente, an alliance between France, Russia, and England, something that shocked Germany because France was known for being indecisive about what side they were on, a quality which the English had a strong distaste for. However, although Germany was mad, they still decided to create the dual alliance with Austria-Hungary, because neither country stood any chance against the triple entente. This further led to the third development, the Treaty of London. This treaty was between England and Belgium, whereby Britain swore to protect Belgium as it was a neutral country.

This of course led to the butterfly. On 28 June 1914, Archduke Franz Ferdinand (the son of the emperor of Austria-Hungary) was shot dead in Sarajevo by six Serbian assassins. The reason for his death was an attempt to break off Austria-Hungary’s South Slav provinces so they could be combined into a Yugoslavia. Austria-Hungary was look down upon Serbia for this, and after much debate over the punishment of the assassins, Serbia decided to begin an invasion by mobilising its army. They sent a few members of their military across the river between Austria-Hungary and Serbia, while the Austro-Hungarian soldiers fired warning shots. Austria-Hungary then declared war and mobilised its army, and due to the Dual Alliance, Germany was obliged to support Austria-Hungary in these endeavours. However, under the Secret Treaty of 1892, Russia and France were forced to mobilise their armies if any member of the Triple Entente mobilised. As Russia was such a strong world power, their mobilisation was reacted to by Austria-Hungary and Germany by full mobilisations. It wasn’t long before all of the great world powers had picked sides and gone to war. Except Italy.

So I suppose all that is left is the flight of that poor innocent butterfly. As it opens its heavy, brightly coloured wings for the first time, it’s potential is still unknown. But for World War One? It was the greatest war, the bloodiest battle, one of the worst periods of history that the world had ever seen.

By Dharma Bratley

English crafted writing notes

English crafted writing:
1. Would people be so eager to send young men and women to war today? What would the arguments be for and against doing this? In a debate on the matter, what would your position be? Explore this…
Statement of intent:
If you were John Key and you had to defend your choice in parliament. Write his speech.
I am going to write a speech that defends the argument of not sending our young men and women into war. I want to explain how

Points to why a war isn’t big news elsewhere:
– It’s just the SNR (signal to noise ratio). When a country has a terrorist attack a week, it stops being news. When one happens somewhere it doesn’t usually, it’s a big surprise. Socioeconomic bias plays a part in it, but I’d pin this particular phenomena more readily on the simple way humans filter information. We have two categories in our minds: places where bad things happen, and places where bad things don’t. When a bad thing happens somewhere that, in our mind, they don’t, it grabs our attention (and the attention of news editors) and becomes big news.
– Once we’re set up with this state of believing third world residents as culpable for their own situation, we’re already primed to respond unsympathetically when we hear of other suffering.
– We live in a world that is simultaneously shrinking and expanding, growing closer and farther apart….National borders are increasingly irrelevant. And yet globalism is by no means triumphant. Tribalisms of all kinds flourish. Irredentism abounds (Attali, 1991: 117).
– Because of the great increase in the traffic in culture, the large-scale transfer of meaning systems and symbolic forms, the world is increasingly becoming one not only in political and economic terms…,but in terms of its cultural construction as well; a global ecumene of persistent cultural interaction and exchange. This, however, is no egalitarian global village
– The world is now so interdependent that ‘crisis networks’ evolve, as information about a crisis in one collectivity flows to others, and as its consequences ramify. By virtue of the information flows and of the interaction engendered by refugees, traders, terrorists, and other boundary-spanning individuals and groups, authority crises overlap and cascade across collectivities, forming linkages among them on an issue or regional basis (ibid, 390).
– Giddens and Rosenau describe a world in which people are more aware, and to some extent more empowered by their access to information and their increased ability to analyze the events shaping their lives. In this picture, populations have become less compliant and more demanding at precisely the time when national political institutions, as described below, are in many cases reducing their budgets and programs. The intersection of these trends sets the stage for intensified competition between groups who benefit from the state’s protection and those who seek more freedom from state intervention.
– But reflexivity, while aided and stimulated by globalized media and information technology, is also threatened by these same forces. Increasingly powerful media giants diffuse the ideology of globalization, with the effect that:
– Thus, globalization both enlightens and pacifies, both widens horizons and narrows vision. However, it does seem that the globalization narrative of the media is vulnerable to increasing cognitive dissonance as its utopian image of widening prosperity is subverted by images of deprivation and marginalization, and by a rising tide of insecurity and anxiety.
– Another paradoxical effect of intensifying globalization, is that while it seeks to homogenize, is also increases awareness of social heterogeneity. Groups whose identity and solidarity is based on race, ethnicity, religion, language have become increasingly vocal and have used the global media to make their discontent known. This contemporary “ethnic revival” was to some degree “unleashed” by the end of the Cold War. The Cold War was a conflict among states, and served to perpetuate the primacy of national identity in world society; but in the 1990’s the state, weakened by globalization, is less effective in either coercing compliance or integrating national society, and minorities are able to more effectively reassert their identity in reaction to hegemonic cultural forces. These minorities often see the state as no longer a promoter and protector of domestic interests, but rather a collaborator with outside forces (Scholte, 1997). Thus, in the 1990’s it can be argued that the primary locus of conflict may no longer be found between and among states, but between the state and subnational groups (see Gurr, 1994). The overal effect of these developments has been to increase the salience of cultural diversity issues, both within and across borders, for all the major players in world politics.
– Several prominent political analysts have argued variations on this theme. Samuel Huntington, for instance, has put forth inter-civilizational conflict as the new “danger” to the dominant powers in world affairs, stating that “…the efforts of the West to promote its values of democracy and liberalism as universal values, to maintain its military predominance and to advance its economic interests engender countering responses from other civilizations” (Huntington, 1993: 29); and he does not hesitate to take his argument to its logical conclusion, predicting that: “The next world war, if there is one, will be a war between civilizations” (Huntington, 1993: 39)
– Western efforts to propagate such ideas produce instead a reaction against ‘human rights imperialism’ and a reaffirmation of indigenous values, as can be seen in the support for religious fundamentalism by the younger generation in non-Western cultures (Huntington, 1993: 40-41).

– Writing a few years later on a similar theme, Graham Fuller, a political scientist at the Rand Corporation, traced further the dynamics of “culture conflict,” explaining how non-Western peoples are confronted with a flood of evidence that someone else’s values are re-shaping their societies as:

– … systems of international marketing and communications create freeways for the mass import of foreign cultural materials–food, drugs, clothing, music, films, books, television programs, even values–with the concomitant loss of control over societies, symbols and myths. Such cultural anxieties are welcome fuel to more radical political groups that call for cultural authenticity, preservation of traditional and religious values, and rejection of the alien cultural antigens. Big Macs become in-your-face symbols of American power–political, economic, and military–over weak or hesitant societies and states (Fuller, 1995: 152).

– Fuller also argues that, on a shrinking planet, the West cannot escape the secondary effects of these conflicts:

– Chaos and turmoil in various regions create serious ripple effects that will not leave the rest of the globe untouched: Wars, refugees, embargoes, sanctions, weapons of mass destruction, radical ideology, and terrorism all emerge from the crucible of the failing state order…The West will not be able to quarantine less-developed states and their problems indefinitely, any more than states can indefinitely quarantine the dispossessed within their own societies–on practical as well as moral grounds (1995, 154).

– Fundamentalisms of various kinds are prominent in the conflicts of “cultural reaction.” Traditional identity groups in non-Western societies were already put on the defensive during the modernization of their societies as Western institutions and values were introduced through state-building. They feel even more threatened now as their national institutions are undermined by the international pressures described earlier . Both the pace and direction of change in these societies “…accelerates the search for a single, often mythologized truth that can reference all social mores and practices,” (Waters, 1995: 130) and fosters a kind of fundamentalist religious and ethnic movement which is “..A value-oriented, anti-modern, dedifferentiating form of collective action – a socio-cultural movement aimed at reorganizing all spheres of life in terms of a particular set of absolute values” (Lechner, 1990: 79). Globalization thus sets the stage for the confrontation between what Benjamin Barber has called “McWorld” and “Jihad.” Though covering much of the same ground in his analysis as Huntington and Fuller, Barber goes further to show how neither globalizing commercialism nor parochial solidarity bodes well for democracy, and he trenchantly critiques the role of religion as a contributing cause to the conflict, characterizing contemporary fundamentalist movements as:
– NAIROBI, 7 February 2007 (IRIN) – The increasing involvement of children and young people in many of the world’s conflict-affected regions is an important area of concern for global security and the welfare of the younger generations.

– The issue of child combatants has received much press in the last decades, but now there is a growing awareness of what drives young people to join the armed forces.

– According to the 2007 World Development Report published by the World Bank, there are 1.5 billion people worldwide aged between 12- and 24-years – 1.3 billion of whom live in developing countries. This means most young people are coming of age in societies that lack basic education and employment opportunities.

– In many parts of the world, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, the problem of children growing up amid conflict has seen an upsurge since the end of the Cold War. This environment makes it harder for young people to make the normal transition into adulthood.

– Conflict environments prevent children from gaining a good education and learning useful skills. This in turn makes them feel excluded from mainstream society and they (mostly young men) turn to the armed militias.

– It is generally believed that as long as young people see themselves as outcasts, they are more likely to seek immediate solutions to their survival, including warfare.

– These trends were observed in the UN Secretary-General’s 2001 Report on the Prevention of Armed Conflict, which stated that: “Young people with limited education and few employment opportunities often provide fertile recruiting ground for parties to a conflict. Their lack of hope for the future can fuel disaffection with society and make them susceptible to the blandishments of those who advocate armed conflict.”

– These thoughts were echoed by anthropologist Paul Richards who explained massive youth militarisation in West Africa as being symptomatic of a general “crisis of youth” amid state corruption, resentment and unfulfilled expectations in the post-independence context.

– Today, while many young people consider globalisation as an opportunity, many others (especially in developing countries) feel they are missing out, and are unable to migrate to take advantage of better opportunities.

What were the most significant causes of the 1976 Soweto riots?

1. School systems (secondary):

In 1953 the Apartheid Government enacted The Bantu Education Act, which established a Black Education Department in the Department of Native Affairs. The role of this department was to compile a curriculum that suited the “nature and requirements of the black people.” The author of the legislation, Dr Hendrik Verwoerd (then Minister of Native Affairs, later Prime Minister), stated: “Natives [blacks] must be taught from an early age that equality with Europeans [whites] is not for them.” Black people were not to receive an education that would lead them to aspire to positions they wouldn’t be allowed to hold in society. Instead they were to receive education designed to provide them with skills to serve their own people in the homelands or to work in laboring jobs under whites.


2. Making secondary schools teach 50/50 in both Afrikaans and English (secondary):

The main cause of the protests that started in African schools in the Transvaal at the beginning of 1975 was a directive from the Bantu Education Department that Afrikaans had to be used on an equal basis with English as one of the languages of instruction in the department’s secondary schools.

It was not a new rule. Verwoerd had thought of it more than 20 years earlier – in 1953 – when he devised his Bantu Education package. But in the context of bausskap, even Verwoerd was capable of errors of judgment; and when the language clause proved to be unworkable due to a shortage of teachers, a lack of Afrikaans textbooks and a grudging acceptance that pupils would have immense difficulty in coping with three languages as mediums of instruction, it was quietly forgotten by the white bureaucrats who ran African education.

The catalyst of the unrest was the Southern Transvaal Bantu Education Department’s decision in 1974 that junior secondary black students be taught in English and Afrikaans in a 50/50 ratio. (See 4th link)


3. Inequalities in South African education (secondary):

Twelve years after the fall of white minority rule, a new class apartheid characterises South Africa. The country is blighted by 40 per cent unemployment, more than 50 per cent of the population living in poverty, and the highest HIV/Aids infection rate in the world. Apart from entrenching the economic dictatorship of the white capitalist class, the ANC’s reign has benefited only a tiny black elite which has become obscenely wealthy overnight as the still-predominantly white capitalist class assimilates the black capitalists into their ranks. The youth bear the brunt of the government’s capitalist policies. Less than 50 per cent of those who start school reach the final year. Inequalities in education live on as an insult to the memory of the 1976 generation. Unaffordable tuition fees result in thousands being excluded from tertiary education institutions and protests are now an annual event.


4. Lack of facilities and resources of education for black children (secondary):

The major cause of the Soweto uprising were the changes in black education introduced by the Nationalist party government after the 1948 general elections. The Bantu Education Act became a reality in 1953. Before the Act, the large majority of black children went to mission schools that received some financial support from the state. This changed with the creation of the Bantu Education Department, when mission schools lost this state assistance and had to close. Finance for black schools now came from the taxes paid by black people, the majority of whom were poor. This resulted in a very unequal quantity and quality of education for black and white children.


5. The proposal of a United front brought oppressed South Africans together (primary):

(Source: Images of defiance, SAHA Wits University, Historical papers)
Poster produced during the launch of the UDF (see photos)

The idea to form an organisation that would unite Indian, Coloured, and African people began in the late 1970s and grew in the 1980s. This organisation would be independent from the banned African National Congress. During late 1970s and early 1980s hundreds of political resistance organisations emerged across all sectors of society. Organisations such as the Release Nelson Mandela Committee and the End Conscription Committee dealt with specific political issues. Others such as trade unions, church, student and womens organisations mobilised members around the specific impact of apartheid on them such as labour and gender issues. An umbrella body was needed for uniting and optimising the impact of these different efforts to challenge apartheid. At the Congress of the Transvaal Anti-South African Indian Council (TASC) held in January 1983, Popo Molefe and Cas Saloojee raised the idea of a united front. Some activists within TASC, like Ismail Momoniat and Valli Moosa had to be persuaded to accept the proposal. Saloojee announced the formation of a United Front during a press conference.


Next points of research:

The black consciousness movement (Cillie:601);
Political and military events in South Africa
The homelands policy
Influx control
Actions of the Administration Boards
Lack of citizenship related to the homelands policy

The American Civil War – History start-up unit

Economic impacts:

Research: http://henryckliu.com/page157.html

The long-term effect of the Civil War on the US economy was to accelerate the development of big business manufacturing in the North initiated by the demands of war production. The shortage of labor created by war conscription pushed industrialization in the Northeast, the spread of mechanized farming in the Middle West and the opening of new farms and mines in the West, with post-war decommissioned soldiers facing unemployment. Inflation reached 117% during the war years but wages rose only 43% in the name of patriotic sacrifice, yielding high war profit margins for corporations. War speculation fueled the rise of the finance sector, causing sharp disparity of income and wealth between financiers and workers hitherto unknown in the US economy.

My Findings: There were many economic impacts of the American Civil War. One main idea was that due to the necessity of more machinery and artillery, new business opportunities and innovations started to arise. This meant America were developing bigger businesses much faster than they had previously, and supplying a larger output. As most of the working class were away fighting war, they had very few men left to actually build and develop these products. This then meant they had to come up with new ways to produce this higher demand of output, and thus began the industrialisation through the North. This idea then spread to the mid west, where it was developed to keep up the maintenance of farms, before reaching the west were it was then used to open new farms and mines, ready to open when the soldiers came home from war looking for work. Other economic impacts included the rise of inflation, which is the term for a steady increase in the general price of the CPI (consumer price index). This increased by 117% as the war continued, but only 47% for their wages, resulting in companies having much larger war profit margins.

Long term consequences:

Research: http://www.enotes.com/homework-help/what-were-some-long-term-effects-american-civil-335927

The Civil War, of course, ended slavery in the United States. It did not immediately bring equality to African Americans. However, by ending slavery, it made eventual racial equality (to the extent that we now have it) possible. It also broke up the old aristocratic system in the South and made that region more democratic in the long term.

My findings: There were many long term consequences to the civil war. Possibly the most important of these was ending slavery, and starting to bring in equality to African Americans. By ending slavery, it meant that African Americans were allowed to start becoming equal citizens with the white people, even if there were no immediate results. Some would argue that we still don’t have full racial equality, but due to the civil war, having full equality was, and is now, a possibility. A second consequence was the introduction of democracy to the Southern states, which was at the time, mainly run by the aristocrats (the rich). This began to decrease the previously widening gap between the rich and the poor.

Short term consequences:

Research: http://www.civilwar.org/education/civil-war-casualties.html

The Civil War was America’s bloodiest conflict. The unprecedented violence of battles such as Shiloh, Antietam, Stones River, and Gettysburg shocked citizens and international observers alike. Nearly as many men died in captivity during the Civil War as were killed in the whole of the Vietnam War. Hundreds of thousands died of disease. Roughly 2% of the population, an estimated 620,000 men, lost their lives in the line of duty. Taken as a percentage of today’s population, the toll would have risen as high as 6 million souls. (See link for more casualty statistics).

My findings: One of the most significant short term consequences of the American Civil War was the casualties. This was an immediate consequence, and resulted in a huge number of loss of lives. It was suspected to be the war which took the lives of the highest percentage of americans, as well as injuries and captures. According to the data, 620,000 were killed, 476,000 were wounded, and 400,000 were captured or missing. The state will the highest deaths was Virginia and North Carolina, closely followed by Alabama. If we were to look at which side of the battle suffered the worst from this short term consequence, we would definitely say the South. This is because looking at the statistics for the civil war troops, they had just over a million men to start with, compared to the numbers of the North, which reached just under five million. Although the North saw slightly more deaths, they still had a number of troops which was around twice the size of that of the South. Of course, not every eligible man was fighting, but the numbers in the North mean that when you added up the number of deaths, soldiers, and eligible non participants, they had almost three times the amount of the South. From this we can see that the deaths and casualties of the American civil war was a significant short term consequence.

Positive consequences:

Research: http://education-portal.com/academy/lesson/reconstruction-in-the-south-positive-negative-effects.html

The Southern transportation system also experienced a revolution as manufacturers needed a steady way of transporting their goods to market. The railroads expanded rapidly as hundreds of miles of track were laid throughout the South. Small farmers were especially interested and inspired by these changes. They further applauded the division of many large plantations and hurried to purchase more land. They were also excited by the chances to increase their political power by cooperating with the Republican state governments.

My findings: There were many positive consequences that came from the American civil war. One of these was the improvement to transportation, which was mainly seen in the South. As the industrialization and productivity had increased over the course of the war, more goods were being produced, and therefore there was increased demand for better transportation. Markets were booming, and so the need for this new infrastructure were met, thus developing the productivity of the South. This brought more jobs, and pushed the economy, all while making the South an easier place to get around. As the uses of transportation grew, so did the farmers, who all rushed to buy more land, and the selling of their goods was getting easier by the day. This of course was a large enough change to catch political attention, meaning farmers were able to gain more political power with the Republican state governments. The improvement to transportation and increased political power were important positive consequences of the American civil war.

Negative consequences:

Research: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2012/jun/16/slavery-starvation-civil-war

Hundreds of thousands of slaves freed during the American civil war died from disease and hunger after being liberated, according to a new book. The reality of emancipation during the chaos of war and its bloody aftermath often fell brutally short of that positive image. Instead, freed slaves were often neglected by union soldiers or faced rampant disease, including horrific outbreaks of smallpox and cholera. Many of them simply starved to death. About a quarter of the four million freed slaves either died or suffered from illness between 1862 and 1870. He writes in the book that it can be considered “the largest biological crisis of the 19th century” and yet it is one that has been little investigated by contemporary historians.

My findings: One negative consequence that was neglected after the end of the American civil war was the well being of black slaves. After suffering years of slavery, having family members sold, being treated like animals, and having no rights, the end of the civil war should have brought an end to this. The abolishment of slavery meant that the slaves were finally free, and had far more rights than the years previous, but they were still seen as second class citizens. The civil war meant that the up keeping of a lot of farms was near non existent, and there was a shortage of food in many states across the country. Many black slaves starved to death as a result, and very few were tended to by union soldiers. Disease was everywhere, and the blacks were all at high risk of getting them, as their living conditions, food, water, and general well being was never up to the same level as the whites had. At one point, a lot of people believed that they would die out all together. One negative consequence of the civil war was that a large percentage newly freed black slaves died after the end of the American civil war.

Political impacts:

Research: http://www.loc.gov/rr/program/bib/ourdocs/15thamendment.html


The 15th Amendment to the Constitution granted African American men the right to vote by declaring that the “right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.” More than a half-million black men became voters in the South during the 1870s (women did not secure the right to vote in the United States until 1920). For the most part, these new black voters cast their ballots solidly for the Republican Party, the party of the Great Emancipator, Abraham Lincoln.

My findings: There were many political impacts that came after the end of the civil war. One of these was the introduction of new amendments, specifically the fifteenth. This stated that the newly freed blacks were eligible to vote as well, disrupting previous voting patterns. This new change found that the majority voted for the Republicans. At the time, this was because the southern politicians in those days were Democrats, who did not welcome blacks at all. This change in voting patterns greatly impacted the politics of America after the civil war.

 Social impacts:

Research: http://www.shmoop.com/civil-war/society.html

The Civil War was more than just a series of battles. It was a nationwide catastrophe that had a profound impact on all aspects of American society. Men were taken from farms, factories and plantations and sent to fight one another leaving women and children to tend to the home front. Huge casualties on both sides meant that everyone was directly affected by the carnage, even those living far from the scene of battle. In the areas where battles did occur, homes, farms, schools, and bridges were leveled. War led to the dislocation of American society on an unprecedented scale.

My findings: Social impacts were seen across the country, and were a major part of the American civil war. As there were very few men at home to tend to farms and crops, women had to do most of the hard work to keep these up and running. This changed the social structures of those at home, as women no longer had as much time in the day to see others or keep up the same social lives they had before the war began. The societies often had to become closer together as they struggled through the war, as everyone needed to give a helping hand once in while. This is how society was impacted as a result of the civil war.

Historical significance: