UPSC Mains Daily Answer Writing (21-10-2022)

UPSC Mains Daily Answer Writing

Questions

  1. Why did the allied powers follow the policy of appeasement towards Germany? How far was this policy responsible for the second World War? (250 words)  15 marks
  2. The social reform movement of the 19th century provided a critical view on various issues which were culturally imposed on women by society. Giving account of various social restrictions that crippled women, highlight major achievements of the social reform movement.  (250 words) 15 Marks

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Model Solutions

Q1. Why did the allied powers follow the policy of appeasement towards Germany? How far was this policy responsible for the second World War? (250 words) 15 marks

Model Structure
Introduction:

  • Policy of appeasement refers to the diplomatic accommodation of national interests of axis powers by Britain and its allies in the 1930s. or
  • The appeasement towards Germany included elements such as Munich Agreement for German annexation of Sudetenland, Anglo-German Naval agreement to allow building submarines, reunification of Germany-Austria against the terms of treaty of Versailles, etc.

Main Body:

  • The policy of appeasement towards Germany was followed due to following reasons:
    • Failure of the League of Nations to provide collective security or effective sanctions as seen in-
      • Japan’s invasion of Manchuria, or Italy’s invasion of Ethiopia.
    • The Great Depression: Economic crisis of the 1930s made the German market a point of attraction for Britain, USA etc.
      • They did not want to alienate Germany for fear of losing the market in difficult economic times.
    • Countering Communism: Communism was considered the biggest international threat by the allied powers.
      • Germany was seen as a counter-weight against the rise of communism and the USSR.
    • Pacifism: lack of appetite as well as ability for an active policy from France and Britain who didn’t want to instigate war with Germany.
      • The Munich agreement is an instructive example.
    • Popular Sentiment: was against war as the massive loss of lives in the first World War was fresh in people's minds.
      • There were sections who felt sympathy for Germany, and considered the treaty of Versailles as unfair.
  • Appeasement is seen as the reason for World-War II:
    • It allowed the growth of the military strength of Germany and Italy.
      • Changing the balance of power in Europe to the point of crisis, invasions and annexations.
    • Lack of confrontation against the military aggression
      • Japan (against China), Italy (against Ethiopia), Germany (against Czechoslovakia and treaty obligations) actively facilitated militarization.
    • It tried to keep the USSR at the margins of international politics, reducing checks against German aggressions.
    • Appeasement was morally ill-conceived as it followed the might-is-right principle in aggression of strong countries against weak neighbors, such as in dissolution of Czechoslovakia.
    • The German invasion of Poland which triggered WWII, was due to the overconfidence of Hitler about non-interference from allied powers due to their appeasement policies.
  • Many experts argue against identifying appeasement as the reason for World-War II
    • It was the aggressive and unreasonable ambition of axis powers which caused international militarization.
      • The policy of appeasement was trying to contain the crisis.
    • Appeasement was a realist approach, which avoided immediate wars.
    • Any alternate policy would have failed to achieve peace with Hitler who was convinced about German military superiority.
    • There are more fundamental and critical reasons for World War II-
      • Such as the failure of the League of nations.
      • The Nazi-Soviet pact or expansionism as a strategy for economic prosperity.
    • Britain was also augmenting military capabilities in parallel to appeasement.
      • For example, induction of more modern fighter aircrafts Hurricane and Spitfire.

Conclusion

  • The policy of appeasement tried to buy peace at home while ignoring the crisis abroad. The policy was ill conceived and contributed to creating the military crisis that led to WW-II.

Q2. The social reform movement of the 19th century provided a critical view on various issues which were culturally imposed on women by society. Giving account of various social restrictions that crippled women, highlight major achievements of the social reform movement. (250 words) 15 marks

Model Structure
Introduction:

  • Indian society in the early 19th century placed many culturally imposed restrictions on women. Among these Sati, female infanticide, child marriage, restriction on widow remarriage, polygamy and purdah were prominent.

Main Body:

  • Various social restrictions imposed on women during the early 19th century were:
    • Sati system: It highlighted the fact that society did not acknowledge a woman’s independent existence.
    • Female infanticide: It was then a common practice among upper class Bengalis and Rajaputs.
    • Condition of widows: Widows were not allowed to remarry by choice.
    • Child Marriage: They hardly have a married life worth the name. Yet, they were expected to perform Sati once their husbands die.
    • Devdasi system: Devadasis underwent severe sexual exploitations and forced labor at the hands of priests.
    • Educational restriction: Such restriction often made women a second fiddle to her male counterpart.
  • Achievements of socio religious reform movement and leaders towards women empowerment:
    • Raja Rammohun Roy’s efforts led to the government declaring the practice of Sati as illegal in 1829.
    • Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar led to Hindu widow's remarriage Act 1856 legalizing the practice of widow remarriage.
    • B M Malabari led to passage of the Age of consent act, which banned marriage of children below 12 years of age.
    • J E D Bethune led the first powerful movement for women’s education in the 1850s, with the formation of Bethune school.
    • Sarla Debi Chaudhrani established Bharatiya Stree Mahamandal in 1910. It focused on abolishing the purdah system and improving socio-economic conditions of women.
    • Sir Syed Ahmad Khan supported education of Muslim women. Protested against Purdah system and polygamy.
  • Limitations of the social reform movements:
    • They had a narrow social base namely the educated and urban middle class.
    • It fostered pseudo-scientific thinking with excessive reliance on the past, while restricting full adoption of a scientific outlook.
    • It compartmentalized Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Parsis as also alienating high caste Hindus from low caste Hindus.
    • Emphasis on religious and philosophical aspects overlooked culture, art, music, science and technology.

Conclusion

  • Social reform movements were seminal in the evolution of a new society. The beginnings made by these reform movements led women to freely participate in India’s freedom struggle.

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