Far Eastern Question: Emergence of Modern Japanese State

Preface

In the 15th century Vasco-da-Gama discovered direct sea route to India. After this Europeans started dreaming for golden land and golden islands. So, they started entering into far east. Example: – Macau became base for the Portuguese, Canton for British, Farmossa (Taiwan) for Dutch. And from here European started entering into the China and Japan.

Japanese people and rulers got irritated by the role of Christian missionaries. So, in the second half of the 17th century, Japan closed its door for the foreigners. Japan went into isolation. For next 200 years, Japan was in isolation. The story took the turn with the arrival of the United States naval officer Commodore Perry in Japan in 1853.

The story took a turn with the arrival of the United States naval officer Commodore Perry in Japan in 1853. He pressurised the Japanese rulers and in the same year first American counsellor Mr Henry compelled Japanese to give extraterritorial rights to the United States citizens. Other European powers also adopted the same policy. Soon, Japan became the victim of Western Imperialism.

From 1853, Japan became a victim of Imperialism and this was a shock for the Japanese awakened minds. So, they stood up to find out the reason for their defeat. So, from here starts the emergence of modern Japan.

Emergence of Modern Japan

When the Japan became the victim of Western Imperialism, the rational class of Japanese society called Elders sent a delegation to Europe. So, the delegation asked to find out the reasons for their victimisation. Japanese delegation came out with three reasons:

  1. The presence of powerful and centralised political authority in Europe. Generally, following the principle of Democracy.
  2. Modern Education in Europe giving emphasis on science and technology.
  3. Modern Economic based on the structure of industrialisation.

The first important development in Japan was self-liberation. Under it, Daimyos (feudal lords) and Samurai, voluntarily surrendered their powers and privileges to their emperor.

Emperor Mutsuhito was placed in Tokyo with complete authority. This incident of establishing powerful and centralised political authority in Japan in 1868 is called as Meiji Restoration of 1868. So, the following developments took place in the Japan.

Japanese Meiji Government
Japanese Meiji Government

New Constitution

Japan adopted a new constitution, in which prince Ito played a very important role. And Japanese society adopted a constitution based on the Prussian Model. So, Emperor was the sole authority with the provisions of two houses. House of commons (Just like Loksabha in India) and House of elders (Just like Rajya Sabha in India).

Promotion to Education

  1. Compulsory primary education for boys and girls.
  2. Modern education in English medium.
  3. Promotion to colleges and universities.
  4. Emphasis on vocational training for skill development.

Japanese Industrial Revolution

This is a unique story. A small isolated Asian island, without natural resources, became the highly technologically advanced country. Japan was famously isolated from rest of the world from 1603 to 1867. Closed to western technology under the Tokugawa Shogunate. But the small contact with the outside world was in a small Dutch colony Dejima, a town in Nagasaki.

The first step of Japanese Industrialisation was based on the book from Europe. So, on this basis of the Japanese spirit of craftsmanship for iron and pottery, Japan moved for the industrialisation. So, The Japanese industrialisation was like Walking on One Leg.

The Japanese oligarchs decided that the resources from agriculture sector would be directly transferred to industry. Japan’s industrial revolution started after the Meiji Restoration in the late 19th century. It had many characteristics which were different from the west. The Japanese people reversed engineered most of the technologies and machine. So, the state sponsored the Japanese Industrial Revolution.

So, this industrial revolution in Japan provided economic stability to Japan. Till the end of the 19th century, Japan turned into an economic power. The first E i.e. Economy, always give enthusiasm to the political authority to go for the another E i.e. Empire. So, from here the Japanese Imperialism will start.

Formation of National Army

Formation of National Army was an easy task for the Japanese authorities. Because after Meiji Restoration social equality, economic stability was already present in Japan.

So, in this way from 1853 to 1867, Japan faced the brunt of Imperialism. And from 1868 to 1894, Japan emerged as a modern power in Asia. This prepared the ground for the beginning of Japanese Imperialism.

We will discuss various phases of Japanese Imperialism in next coming post. Till then stay happy, stay blessed.

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Rise of Japanese Imperialism

Phases of Japanese Imperialism

Japanese Imperialism Initial Phase

In 1894, Japan was a modern power in Asia. And now, Japan wanted its entry into Asian mainland. For this the closest option was to enter from Korea. Korea at that time was a territory of China. So, attaking Korea would certainly an attack on the Chinese sovereignty. As China was in trouble because of rising Japanese Imperialism, so as the Korea was also facing crisis.

Sino-Japanese War, 1894

Japan took the advantage of this crisis and started economic and political reforms in Korea. China opposed these reforms as Korea was Chinese territory. So, this led to conflict between China and Japan, which culminated in Sino-Japanese War of 1894. In this war, Japan defeated China. By the treaty of Shimonoseki 1895, China accepted the supremacy of Japan over Korea. So, this Sino-Japanese War, 1894 started the story of Japanese Imperialism.

Japanese Imperialism
Japanese Imperialism

Tension between Russia and Japan

In 1895, Japan’s entry in Korea became the cause of tension for the Russia. Because Russia and Korea were sharing a common border with Manchuria, which was a part of Chinese Empire. Manchuria was also a reservoir of coal and iron. Because of this Russia was having an eye on this region.

So, from here started tension between Russia and Japan. The tension between Russia and Japan became the cause of happiness for Britain. Because the Turkey or Ottoman Empire was the old ally of Britain in Europe to counter Russian influence in the middle eastern region. But Ottoman Empire had lost its glory in the previous years of World War-I.

Now, Britain was seeking a new ally to counter Russia in Asia. So, the tension between Japan and Russia gave the new ally to Britain. Soon, Britain allied with Japan in 1902. This alliance increased the enthusiasm and elevated the status of Japan.

Soon, Japan started interfering with the Russian interests. This increased tension between Japan and Russia leading to war. Russia and Japan fought a war in 1905, in which Japan defeated Russia. The war culminated with the treaty of Portsmouth in 1905. This treaty was concluded with the intermediation of the USA. By this treaty, Japan got Port Arthur, Sakhalin Islands and claim on Korea.

In this way, the phase-I of the Japanese Imperialism turned Japan into a world power. In over-enthusiasm in 1910 Japan annexed Korea.

Military Fascism in Japan

It seemed that achievements of Japan turned the mind of Japanese military and gave birth to the military Fascism. Under it, the military started self-glorification movement. Japanese military started interference in political setup of the nation. They started eliminating the people of democratic and liberal sentiments.

So, this became the cause of pain in Japanese society. This also deteriorated Japan’s relationship with the western powers. This tension turned into a rift in Paris Peace Conference, 1919. Because in this conference Japan demanded all German territories in China including Shantung. But European powers denounced to give the deal to Japan. So, from here Japanese Imperialism became silent and waited for the right opportunity, which they got after the 1930s.

Phase-II: Japanese Imperialism

Phase-II of Japanese Imperialism
Phase-II of Japanese Imperialism

After Great World Depression of 1929, the European powers and the United States of America were in trouble. So, taking advantage of this condition Japan once again raised Japanese Imperialism. In 1931, Japan came out with the 21 point programme.

Japan was demanding China to be under the military protection of Japan. Because China was facing the threat of Communism that time. The United States of America once again opposed this aspiration of Japan. But Japan started its Japanese Imperialism cycle by occupying Manchuria.

In 1937, Europe was once again in trouble. It was due to the rise of aggressive nationalism like Nazism and Fascism. So, Japan took the advantage and attacked China leading to second Sino-Japanese War in 1937. In the first round, Japan occupied entire eastern China. The United States of America came forward and to control Japan imposed economic sanctions on Japan which included,

  1. The ban on the export of scrap iron to Japan.
  2. The United States of America Freeze all Japanese accounts.

Economic Sanctions on Japan

In this scenario, Japan decided to go for an aggressive policy against the United States economic sanctions. In 1941 Japanese military attacked Pearl Harbour. This was the entry of the United States of America and Japan in World War-II.

Sino-Japanese War
Sino-Japanese War

In the first initiative, Japan occupied entire east Asia. And came out with two slogans to strengthen its position against its enemies. This was a new kind of Japanese Imperialism. The two slogans were,

  1. Asia for Asians.
  2. New Economic order.

Asia for Asians

Under Asia for Asians, the objective was to the establishment of nationalist government in entire Asia and the elimination of foreign powers. Japan also gave backing to the Indian National Army. It gave the boost to the Indian freedom movement. And after few years India got independence.

New Economic Order

Under New Economic order, their goal was economic co-prosperity of Asian nations under the guidance of Japan. In spite of these two attractive slogans, Japanese Imperialism faced defeat in the World War-II. The reasons for its defeat were,

  1.  Japan failed to attract the masses and prominent leaders of Asia of that time like Mahatma Gandhi.
  2. They had the time for conquest but they were unable to consolidate their conquests.
  3. They occupied a vast area but they lacked the human resource to control the area.

With the dropping of the atom bomb in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the story of Japanese Imperialism ended. The defeat of Japan in World War-II also created a power vacuum in Korea. From here starts the story of Korean crisis.

We will discuss Korean crisis in next coming post. Till then enjoy learning.

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Cold War: North Korea v/s South Korea

Preface

From 1910, Korea became a victim of Japanese Imperialism. Korea was also the investment hub for the United States of America and Japanese capitalists. Along with this Korea shared border with the China and Union of Soviet Socialist Republic. So, it was strategically important for the United States of America. So, both the super powers took joint action against Japanese Imperialism in Korea.

Cold War: North Korea v/s South Korea
Cold War: North Korea v/s South Korea

Therefore, the army of both the powers was present in Korea. So, it was not possible for one party to kick out the another. So, they started the game of the 38th parallel. The 38th parallel divided Korea into two parts i.e. North Korea and South Korea.

North Korea/ 38 parallel /South Korea

North Korea came under the command of Union of Soviet Socialist Republic. While South Korea came under the United States of America. The objective was to pull out the Japanese forces organised election and then established the national government in Korea.

In 1948, Union of Soviet Socialist Republic gave the charge of the North Korea to Kim Jong Il and left North Korea. While in 1949, the United States of America gave the charge of South Korea to Syngman Rhee. The large part of Korean population was in South Korea, which had an obvious inclination towards capitalism.

So, the United States of America was confident about its victory in Korea. This caused the pain for Union of Soviet Socialist Republic.

North Korea v/s South Korea

Conclusion

In these circumstances, North Korea attacked South Korea in 1950. And this was the beginning of Korean crisis. Both the powers stood behind their representatives. Now, there was a fear of full-fledged war between both the powers. Due to the active intervention of the United Nations both the parties agreed to peace in 1953.

The conditions of the agreement were that both the Korea’s should unite after bilateral negotiations. It seemed to be challenging in the present scenario because North Korea lacks a responsible government. And from the very beginning, it is under military dictatorship.

In next coming post, we will discuss Cold War in Vietnam.

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Cold War: North Vietnam v/s South Vietnam

Background History of Vietnam

In the 18th century Vietnam was the colony of France. It is a country with vast Buddhist majority and farmer community. In 1946, France re-entered in Vietnam. But France faced resistance from the local organisation Viet-in-Minh. Ho-Chi-Minh was the prominent leader of Viet-in-Minh organisation.

Vietnam
Vietnam

For the next 6 years, France struggled in the Vietnam. So, finally in 1954 being tired of this never dying struggle France decided to leave Vietnam. Basically, in 1954, Viet-Minh forces defeated the French forces. The subsequent treaty negotiations at Geneva split Vietnam along the latitude known as the 17th Parallel. North Vietnam was under the leadership of Ho-Chi-Minh and South Vietnam was headed by the Bao.

There was an outcry for nationwide elections for reunification to be held in 1956. But as soon as Vietnamese defeated France, the Superpowers of that time inclined towards the Vietnam. Both the Union of Soviet Socialist Republic and the United States of America had their eye on Vietnam. And from here, starts the story of Cold War in Vietnam.

North Vietnam v/s South Vietnam

Soon, both superpowers divided Vietnam according to Geneva negotiation. North Vietnam came under the control of USSR. And South Vietnam came under the control of the USA. Their objective was to take the charge from French forces and to arrange elections in Vietnam to establish a national government.

The USSR gave the charge of North Vietnam to Ho-Chi-Minh, while the USA gave the charge of South Vietnam to Ngo Dinh Diem. Ho-Chi-Minh was a popular personality who had the inclination towards communism. After coming into power he started promoting welfare programs like Land reforms etc. All these increased his popularity.

Soon, National Liberation Front organisation came into existence. This organisation appealed to the world powers to unite Vietnam and leave it on its fate. In this background, the USA representative in South Vietnam was kicked out. And this incident compelled the USA to directly interfere in the affairs of the Vietnam from 1960.

North Vietnam v/s South Vietnam
North Vietnam v/s South Vietnam

USA direct interference in Vietnam

With the end of the World War-II, USSR succeeded in creating a first red wall (Communist Wall) in Eastern Europe. The USSR tried to build the another one in the far east too. After Russian Revolution of 1917, Russia became a communist country. Soon, in 1949 North Korea and China influenced by USSR became the communist country. The Vietnam was also following the same path towards the communism.

Eastern Europe: Red Wall of Communism
Eastern Europe: Red Wall of Communism

This created the fear of Domino effect in American Congress. In this scenario, John Foster Dulles came out with the policy of Brickmanship i.e. military action against communism. In this way, in 1960, America directly entered into North Vietnam, which started the clash between the USA and Viet-Congress (Guerrilla organisation of North Vietnam).

The three Presidents with their respective policies failed to handle the situation in Vietnam. Example,

  • John F. Kennedy, Safe Village Policy: Take out civilians and kill Guerrillas.
  • Johnson, Military action.
  • Nixon: Vietnamization, to provide arms and ammunition to local Vietnamese to fight against the Guerrillas.

As Americans failed to subdue Vietnamese in 1968, they committed the crime My Lai (Village in Vietnam) Massacre. The entire village population was killed by the American forces. But Viet-Congress refused to surrender. So, this was a big setback for the USA.

Soon, in 1971, the USA agreed to peace. Finally, in 1973, Vietnam became an independent nation. In this way, Vietnam remained undivided since then and defeated the USA the most empowered nuclear power of the world.

In the next coming post, we will read the story of Israel. Till then have a wonderful day.

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Contemporary Issues: Birth of Israel

Middle-East, this is definitely a region which gives headlines to the daily newspapers and news channels. So, here we will discuss this region in a very simple manner. And will know why this region takes so much of importance in world politics. In this particular post, we will discuss birth of Israel.

Genesis of the Idea of Israel

Jews, Christians and Muslims believe in a common prophet “Hazrat Ibrahim”. But in a span of time due to differences in their political, social and economic opinion they became staunch enemies of each other. And with the passage of time, Europe became the homeland of Christians and Central and West Asia became the land of the Islamic population. We have read that the relation between the Roman Empire and Arabs were not good, which led to the Crusades.

Christians-Jews-Muslims
Christians-Jews-Muslims

In 71 CE, Romans drove out the Jews from the Palestine. Palestine was the holy land for all these three religions. From that Jews did not find their homeland in the world. Along with this Arabs and Christians mistreated Jewish population. In 2000 years Jews had a dream of their homeland.

So, After a long time, in the 19th century, their dream of 2000 years turned into a demand. In 1897 World Zionist Organisation was established by the Theodore Herzl. This organisation started Zionist Movement with the objective to settle the Jews in their homeland Palestine.

Creation of Israel: Balfour Declaration

During World War-I Britain promised Zaghlul Pasha of Egypt for independence and Muhammad Hussein of Hajjaj (Saudi Arabia) for Arab Empire. In return for this support, Britain asked these two to fight against the Ottoman Empire in World War-I.

Both of them supported Britain in the World War-I wholeheartedly. But after the World War-I, victorious Britain forgot to complete his promise because of the Russian Revolution of 1917. Because after the Russian Revolution capitalist order got their all weather rival as the communist order. So, it was not possible for Britain to hand over the central and west Asian territory to a community whose philosophy was closer to communism.

Balfour Declaration, 1917
Balfour Declaration, 1917

Therefore in 1917 Arthur Balfour, British Foreign Minister came out with Balfour Declaration. And in this declaration, he gave approval for the Israel. He stated that Palestine is the natural homeland of Jews. And from here influx of Jews came in the land of Palestine.

As we know during World War-II and before it, the mass Jewish execution took place in Europe in general and Germany in particular. So, after Nazi Execution in 1940, migration of Jews to the Israel was on its highest pace. Now, approximately 50 percent population of Palestine was Jewish.

British Peel Commission

The inflow of Jews increased tension between Jews and Arabs. Arabs were the natives of Palestine. So, they strongly objected influx of Jewish people in their homeland. In such situation, Britain appointed Peel Commission in 1936. This commission gave following solutions:

  1. 1937, Two-State proposal, One for Jews and another for Arabs. But Arabs outrightly rejected this proposal.
  2. In 1939, One State proposal was given. But Jews rejected this solution.
  3. In 1946, British Peel Commission gave One State proposal, but this time with two different provinces. One for the Jews and another one for the Arabs.

With the end of World War-II, United States emerged as a superpower. In 1945, USSR succeeded in creating Red Wall in Eastern Europe. So, this alarmed the USA and USA became cautious about the middle east region. So, USA stood in support of Jews.

Birth of Israel

Birth of Israel
Birth of Israel

Finally, in September 1947 United Nations voted to divide Palestine into two parts Jewish State and the Arab States. But Arabs once again rejected this proposal. But this plan moved forward with the withdrawal of the British Delegates in 1948 from the Palestine.

On 1st January 1948, David Gurion declared the birth of Israel as the Jews State in west Asia. This was the beginning of West Asian crisis initially in the form of Israel-Palestine crisis. In which so-called “outsiders (Jews)” got the status of the nation while “natives (Arabs)” became identity-less.

In the next coming post, we will deal with Israel-Palestine Conflict.

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Contemporary Issues: Arab-Israel Wars

In the last post we have read that Israel became a nation for Jews in 1948. India also recognised the Israel as an independent Jew’s homeland. But the natives of Palestine were Arabs. And they were not in a mood to recognise Israel. As they considered Palestine was their native place and holy land.

Israel and Palestine in 1947
Israel and Palestine in 1947

Arab nations were highly irritated by the unnecessary intervention of United Nations and western powers. So, this led to the first Arab-Israel War in 1948.

Arab-Israel War of 1948

In 1948, Arab countries Syria, Jordan, Egypt, Iraq and Lebanon united and attacked Israel. Though the Arabs were more in numbers but Jews were having highly advanced ammunitions. So, this Arab-Israel War resulted in the favour of Israel. Israel won the war and increased its territory by 50%.

In this Arab-Israel War, Jordan captured East Jerusalem and West Bank. Palestinians either flee or forced to settle in refugee camps near Israel’s border. This Palestinian defeat and exodus were called as Nakba or disaster. This was the first Arab-Israel War and Israel proved that it would not tolerate any attack on its sovereignty. The next important event was Suez War of 1956.

Suez War of 1956

After the first Arab-Israel War Egypt came under the leadership of Colonel Naseer. As we know that the Suez canal from the very ancient time was the heart of the world trade route. So, when Colonel Naseer came into power in Egypt, he went for the nationalisation of the Suez canal in 1956. He took this step because he wanted to construct Aswan dam on river Nile.

Suez War, 1956
Suez War, 1956

Though initially, he asked the USA to have some economic aid to built the Aswan Dam. But the USA refused to grant economic aid to Egypt. So, Naseer went for the nationalisation of the Suez canal. He also provided a reason that according to the treaty of Constantinople, 1888 Suez canal was accepted as the territory of Egypt. So, Egypt was having unanimous right to go for the nationalisation.

In the scenario of Cold War, the Naseer was having a slight inclination toward the socialist philosophy. This increased bonhomie between USSR and Egypt. But this bonhomie irritated the capitalist powers of the western world. The nationalisation of Suez canal was a big trouble for the Britain, France etc. Because they were having colonies in East Asia, and Suez canal was in their route to the East Asia.

So, Britain, France and Israel united and fought against the Egypt for the control of the Suez canal. This was the second Arab-Israel War. In this war, Britain faced a humiliating defeat and this ended the British influence in Egypt. But in this war too Israel won and captured Sinai Peninsula of Egypt.

Arab-Israel War, 1967

Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Jordan, Egypt and Algeria (got independence in 1962) united and stood for the cause of their Palestinian friends. They all united and attacked Israel once again. But this time too they face humiliating defeat. Israel again defeated all Arab States.

And this time Israel captured Sinai Peninsula (Egypt), Golan Heights (Syria), Whole Jerusalem, West Bank (Jordan) and Gaza Strip too. Israel expanded its territory up to 200%. This war led to the United Nations resolution 242 in 1967.

Israeli Occupation after Arab-Israel War, 1967
Israeli Occupation after Arab-Israel War, 1967

United Nations Resolution 242

This time United Nations came out with the land for peace formula. And UN resolution 242 came out with the objective to establish a just and lasting peace in the middle-east region.

UN asked Israel to withdraw its forces from occupied territories after the second Arab-Israel War of 1967. This led to the withdrawal of Israeli troops from occupied territories. The three conclusion of this resolution was,

  1. End of hostility.
  2. Respect for the sovereignty of all states.
  3. Right to live in peace within secure and recognised boundaries.

But this peace did not last for a long time. Because Israel retained all territories captured in 1967 war. So, this led to the Yom Kippur War or October War, 1973.

Yom Kippur War of October War of 1973

Syria and Egypt wanted to regain their territories Golan heights and Sinai Peninsula respectively. So, on the Jewish festival Yom Kippur, they attacked Israel. This was third Arab-Israel War. In which Israel withdrew its forces from Suez canal and Egypt agreed to open the Suez canal for Israel in 1975. This war concluded by Camp David Accords of 1979.

Camp David Accords, 1979

This was the Egypt-Israel peace treaty with the three main provisions,

  1. Demilitarisation of Sinai Peninsula by the Israel.
  2. Egypt promised not to attack Israel again.
  3. Egypt allowed Israeli ships to use Suez canal.

This bonhomie between Israel and Egypt was not accepted by the other Arab states. So, this led to the assassination of Egyptian President Saadat in 1981.

All the Arab-Israel wars till date won by the Israel. But the Israel-Palestine issue is not resolved till date.

Demand of Palestinians

The below diagram show the demand of Palestinians. But Israel outrightly rejects this proposal.

Demand of Palestinian
Demand of Palestinian

Oslo Accords

First Oslo Accord, 1993

It was signed between Israel and Palestinian Liberation Organisation (commonly known as PLO). The important points of this Oslo Accord was,

  1. PLO promised to give terrorism.
  2. Palestinian authorities established in Israeli occupations. Israel gave limited self-rule to Palestinians in parts of Gaza Strip and West Bank.

Second Oslo Accord, 1995

This accord asked Israel to withdrew its forced from West Bank and Gaza Strip. But Israel is not accepting this because of the rising Hamas Terrorism. Hamas is a Palestinian Sunni-Islamic Fundamentalist Organisation.

Post-2000 scenario

Israel unilaterally pulled out from the Gaza Strip in 2005. Israel handed over Gaza Strip to the Palestinian Authority. Presently Hamas has taken the control over Gaza Strip. In 2007, Israel-imposed a blockade on Gaza Strip. In 2012, Palestine status was upgraded to non-member observer state in the United Nations.

Iran Supports Hamas of Gaza. Whereas West Bank lies partially with the Palestinian Authority and remaining portion with the Israel. East Jerusalem is the occupation of Israel. But Palestine wants a homeland with East Jerusalem as their capital. Israel continues to build settlements in West Bank and East Jerusalem.

Present Scenario of Israel-Palestine occupation
Present Scenario of Israel-Palestine occupation

United Nations Resolution 2334

Recently UNSC came out with resolution 2334, which concern with the Israeli settlements in Palestinian territories occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem. It state that,

Israel’s settlement activities in East Jerusalem constitutes a flagrant violation of international law and has no legal validity. 

This resolution demands that Israel stops such activity and fulfil its obligations under the fourth Geneva Convention.

This was all about Arab-Israel problem in general and Israel-Palestine problem in particular. We wish that this problem in the middle-eastern region will solve soon and peace and love spread all over this region. 🙂

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European Imperialism: Chinese Revolution Preface

Conquest of China

From the very ancient time India and China were the big business destinations for the European powers. European powers came into the region of South-East Asia as the trading company. But their real motives for coming were to establishing their political authority over the region.

When European got the direct sea route to India in 1498, they started searching the route for China. So, in the 16th century, European powers developed their bases in Formosa (Taiwan), Macau, Canton etc. So, from here Europeans started entering into China.

European colonies in Chinese territory
European colonies in Chinese territory

Chinese society was very conservative. So, Chinese did not give respect to Europeans. And Chinese compulsorily demanded Silver as the medium of exchange. In this background, Europeans started promoting Opium trade in China. And this Opium trade proved to be a threat to society and culture of China.

Chinese Opium Wars

First Opium War, 1846

Opium War
Opium War

In 1800 China banned the Opium trade. And in 1839 Chinese military officer Lee was deputed to take staunch action against Opium trade. So, this led to the First Opium War of 1846. In this war, European powers defeated China. And this war culminated by a treaty. This treaty had certain provisions which gave relaxation to the victorious powers.

  1. Chinese government opened 5ports for European traders.
  2. Britain got the Hongkong as its colony.
  3. Chinese government welcomed European traders and officials. 
  4. China agreed to give war compensation to the European companies.

So, the victory of Europeans in First Opium War increased the enthusiasm of European powers. And they thought that First Opium War was beneficial for them so they wanted a new reason to go for the next war.

Second Opium War, 1856-58

Soon they got the reason for another war. When French accused the Chinese government of being responsible for the killing of the French missionary in Peking (present Beijing). Whereas British East India Company accused Chinese of insulting their flag at the Chinese port. This led to the

So, this led to the Second Opium War of 1856-58. Finally, Europeans once again defeated China. This time European powers compelled China to sign a treaty of Tientsin, 1858. The provisions of the treaty were,

  1. China opened 11ports for the European traders and merchants.
  2. No restriction on the entry of Europeans into China.
  3. The Chinese government gave extra-territorial rights to the Europeans.
  4. China gave war compensation to the European powers.

Along with the Opium Wars, China in the second half of the 19th century was facing a big internal trouble. It was Taiping Rebellion.

Opium War in China
Opium War in China

Taiping Rebellion

This revolt was organised by Huan Hsin Chuan, a protestant by faith. He wanted to eliminate idolatry and nature worship in China. The gravity of this revolt was so strong that rebels controlled the Nanjing region. Nanjing was (and is) the important economic and political centre of China.

So, the Opium wars and Taiping Rebellion exposed the weakness of Chinese authority to the European Powers. And in this scenario, the European powers developed the sphere influence in China.

Protection of China

European powers divided China among themselves. This created disintegration of China. So, there were many divisions of China. Like French China, Spanish China, British China etc. Instead of disintegration China emerged as integrated nation in the 20th century because of following incidents.

Boxer Uprising, 1899

Boxer was the secret society of fist fighters. They were against the foreign thing in China. Their attitude and unique warfare compelled Europeans to remained united.

Open Door Policy of the USA, 1899

Along with the Boxer uprising, the United States of America came out with open door policy for China. So, in this policy, the USA appealed to European powers to open their door of trade and commerce among themselves in China.

So, this led to economic cum political integration of China. But the exploitation of China by European powers led to the awakening in Chinese society. And this eventually led to the rebirth of China.

We will discuss the rebirth of China and Chinese Revolution of 1912 and 1949 in next coming post. Till then have a wonderful day. 🙂

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Chinese Revolution of 1912 and 1949

Rebirth of China

Exploitation by the European powers led to awakening in the China. In this the most important event was Young China MovementMay fourth Movement, intellectual revolution and sociopolitical reform movement occurred in China in 1917-1921. These movements were directed towards national independence.

They emphasised on the change in the administration of the China. They also emphasised on the rebuilding society and culture. So, as part of this new cultural movement, the youth attacked traditional Confucian ideas and exalted western ideas. So, there was an emphasis on the science and technology and democracy.

There was a rising feeling of liberalism, pragmatism, nationalism, anarchism and socialism. Kang-Hu-Tse was one of the prominent personality of these movements. He is also known as the Modern Saint of China. So, this change in the thinking of people prepared the ground for the Chinese Revolution.

Chinese Revolution of 1912

The Young China Movement wanted political and cultural change in China. While the allied powers like Britain, France etc. wanted the support of China in the case of World War-I. So, allied powers supported the cause of Young China Movement. Actually, the allied were known to the fact that if they support the cause of this movement the Monarchy of China would give up in favour of allied powers.

Soon, their motive succeeded to attack the target. Manchu Dynasty was facing the pressure from two sides. So, this led to the voluntarily give up of Manchu king from the throne.

China in 1911
China in 1911

The National Assembly came into existence.  This assembly elected Dr Sun Yat Sen as the first president of Chinese Republic. Dr Sun Yat Sen is the maker of Modern China because he gave three principles Nationalism, Democracy, Livelihood. These three became the preamble of Chinese Constitution.

Chinese Revolution: Nationalism

In India, nationalism was a natural outcome of Britain imperialism. But China was not in direct possession of the foreign powers. So, the Chinese Revolution was basically the outcome of the various factors. Dr Sun Yat Sen emphasised on nationalism and considered it as the first and prior most reason to unify all the Chinese people.

Chinese Republic after Chinese Revolution
The Chinese Republic after Chinese Revolution

So, the Chinese Revolution of 1912 promoted nationalism which was a unifying force irrespective of race, religion and region.

Chinese Revolution: Democracy

Democracy is a binding force in the present world. Because it gives equal political rights to everyone irrespective of race, religion, caste, creed etc. In India, Democracy revived gradually under the guardianship of Britain from 1857-1947. But in China, there was no Democracy.

Democracy can not thrive in a few years. So, Dr Sun Yat Sen proposed the development of Democracy in three phases:

  1. Military Dictatorship.
  2. One party System.
  3. Complete Democratic structure, once the people will start understanding Democracy.

China presently going through its second phase of development of Democracy.

Chinese Revolution: Livelihood

Livelihood, based on two objectives,

  • Employment to the people.
  • Economic empowerment of the state.

These three principles Nationalism, Democracy and Livelihood became the founding stones of the Modern China. And the present governments also respecting these principles from Chinese Revolution of 1912 to present day.

China in the 1920s
China in the 1920s

Conclusion

With the end of World War-I, China got the reward of being the part of the victorious powers.

  • Chinese delegated were invited in Paris Peace Conference.
  • China became the member of the League of Nations.
  • Biggest reward was Washington Conference of 1921. According to this European powers left all their claims on China. So, China became a Sovereign Nation.

After Dr Sun Yat Sen, the next important Chinese leader was Chiang-Kai-Sheik. And after 1920, he was facing similar conditions in China which India faced during the reign of Jawaharlal Nehru as the first Prime Minister of independent India.

Condition of China and India
Condition of China and India

The year 1937, proved to be a very crucial year for China. Because Mao-Zedong started a long march from Southern China to Northern China. In this Scenario, the Japan invaded Chinese territory of Manchuria. And at the same time, Adolf Hitler and Mussolini became active players in Europe. So, before China would get support from the western world in the Manchuria invasion, in 1939 the world saw the beginning of the World War-II.

Mao used this period as the opportunity to establish himself in China. And after strengthening his position in China, in 1949 he overthrew the Chiang-Kai-Sheik and this lead to the Communist Chinese Revolution of 1949.

This was a brief description of the modern Chinese history.

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