Chinese Govt wanted to prevent British imports of opium from India. Brit went to war vs. China in 1841-2. Brit won and annexed Hong Kong and compelled China to open FIVE ports to foreign trade. ELEVEN more forced open in 1858. (TREATY OF NANKING)
By 1890s, China had become major theater of European activity. Manchurian Dynasty was decaying and unable to resist. British sphere of influence was on the Yangste River and French were in Southern China. Japan began imperializing. Sino-Japanese War in 1894 -> Jap gained Taiwan and access to mainland. European powers forced Japan to back off some (Russia, Germany and France accomplish this). By 1900 Chinese have growing feeling of resentment of European exploitation. Leads to Boxer Rebellion.
1900: Uprising in Peking. 200 + foreigners & missionaries killed. Foreign legations under siege. International expeditionary force sent in to break up seige and relieve legations. Restored order.
Open Door Policy
U.S. been interested in China for trade but spheres of influence made matters complicated. John Hay, U.S. Secretary of State suggested in 1899 that there should be an "open door policy" regarding China. Thought there should be equal rights in China for all nations. Later this came to mean preservation of China's territory and independence. His suggestion earned America good will in China. But Europeans did not observe the policy well.
1904-5: Note - Japan had been opened up to outside influence in 1854 by visit of Commodore Perry (U.S.) who exposed it to commercial activity. It then began process of modernization under new dynasty (Meiji) and was the first Asian society to industrialize. Since imperialism gained impetus from industrialization, Japan soon took interest in Taiwan, China and Korea. Russia too had been developing interests in Manchuria and Korea and thus conflict developing between Russia and Japan. In February 1904 the Japanese attacked Port Arthur and destroyed the Russian Far Eastern Fleet. Japanese also won Battle of Mukden in Feb of 1905 and then defeated the Russian Baltic Fleet which had been sent all the way around the world to salvage the situation for Russia. Defeated in battle of Tsushima Straits.
Showed increasing Japanese power and weakness of Russian Tsarist regime.
Treaty of Portsmouth
Teddy Roosevelt offered to mediate this conflict. In Sept of 1905, Japanese got lease to Liaotung Penninsular. Northern Manchuria stayed Russian Sphere of Influence. Japanese established dominance in Southern Manchuria. Russia ceded to Japan the southern half of Sakhalin Island. Korea was now open to Japanese penetration. Japan annexed Korea in 1910 and kept it until end of WW II.
Alfred Mahan, The Influence of Sea Power Upon History
Mahan was an American naval captain who wrote this book in the 1890s. In it he argued that those nations which controlled the seas prevailed. 1880s and 90s - coaling stations became very important for the steamship era. Pacific Islands were very important for this purpose. Brit, Netherlands and French had interest in this but in late 19th century Germany and the US became very active. Brit interested in maintaining its access to Australia; France to Tahiti; Samoa was split betw. France, Germany and US interests; after 1898 the US was in the Philippines; Germany had stations in New Guinea, Marshall, Caroline and Mariana Islands.
Congress of Berlin
1877: Settled dispute which had culminated in Russo-Turkish War of 1877 over THE EASTERN QUESTION. The Eastern Question involved what to do in the Balkans as the Ottoman Empire(sick man of Europe) continued to decay. Russia had declared war on Turkey and invaded area of Rumania. Russian troops had crossed the Danube and stormed Kars. Took Plevna in Bulgaria. Serbs in Balkans had declared war on Turkey. TREATY OF SAN STEPHANO, if allowed to stand, would have given Russia virtual hegemony in Balkans. British were very much concerned by Russian advances - upset to Balance of Power. Germany, under Bismarck, decided to intervene and suggested this Congress (per old Concert of Europe arrangement) in which Bismarck intended to be the "honest broker" to avoid major upset/conflict.
-recognition of Rumania, Serbia and Montenegro as independent states
-establishment of Bulgaria
-Austria acquires Bosnia and Herzegovina
-Brit gets Cyprus
-Russian expansion checked
-reaffirmation of independence of Turkey - tho' Turkey been "carved."
-Brits keeping control of Mediterranean
BoP INTACT - FOR NOW
Prompted Russian hostility toward Germany (host)
This prompts Bismarck to conceive of new system of alliances.