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Manchuria and the “Far Eastern Question”, 1880‑1910

La Mandchourie et la « Question d’Extrême Orient », 1880‑1910
Michel Vié


Manchuria came into the modern world history during the last third of the nineteenth century. It was an epoch of great colonial expansion. Before then, the aim in expansion had been commercial. With a superior technology in firearms, the United Kingdom, the United States and France had imposed on both China and Japan unequal treaties and open ports. However, limited in power, this superiority did not allow for large scale, conquest type of war. Hong Kong and Shanghai symbolized the success and limitations of this politic. Associated with China, neighbouring with Korea, cut off the Japanese sea by the Russian projection, Manchuria that has no decisive economic attraction, stay out of the pivot. However, in less than a decade, the combination of the new conditions would drag it in the middle of hard conflicts. The irruption of war would be explained by the progress of railways and steam navigation, to which the natural environment of Manchuria was favourable, because of the central plain and the ports open to the south. But the decisive factor for the march to war is revealed in the choice of same and therefore concurrent policies, taken by China, Japan, and Russia, based on the desire to catch up with western military, responsible for a kind of globalization in which survival depended on strength. Hence a colonization for the sake of securitarism, and a peace regime through balance of power and well equipped armies, small reproductions of European militaries from 1871 to 1914. The symbols of this new colonization in Asia are then the Transmanchurian railroad and Port Arthur. Between these two colonialisms, trade or securitarism, interaction is inevitable, given their geographical juxtaposition. But the difference persisted. It is in the two Eastern Asia wars of 1894 and 1904 that we could see the prefiguration of what would be Europe battles of 1914 on.

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Editor’s note

Original release: Michel Vié, « La Mandchorie et la “Question d’Extrême‑Orient”, 1880‑1910 », Cipango, 18, 2011, 19‑78. Mis en ligne le 16 juin 2013, URL : ; DOI : 10.4000/cipango.1515

Full text

Eastern Question or Far Eastern Question? Construction of the Concepts

  • 1 François Joyaux, La Nouvelle question d’Extrême‑Orient (The New Far Eastern Question), Paris, Payot (...)
  • 2 Pierre Renouvin, La Question d’Extrême‑Orient 1840‑1940 (The Far Eastern Question, 1840‑1940), Pari (...)

1In 1985 François Joyaux, a history professor at the Institut National des Langues et Civilisations Orientales, published a book entitled La Nouvelle Question d’Extrême‑Orient.1 It took up the baton from Pierre Renouvin’s celebrated and unparalleled French‑language work La Question d’Extrême‑Orient,2 published in 1946.

  • 3 For further information on international relations in the Far East see: George M. Beckmann, The Mod (...)

2A genuine continuity bound these two books, in particular their shared focus on political and military relations between the various countries. Their object of study was not the same history retold forty years apart. Each author took a separate look at a specific period in time. Renouvin concluded his presentation in 1940, at the dawn of the Second World War, while Joyaux described the consequences of the war from 1945 onwards. His intentional borrowing of Renouvin’s title and its keywords “Question” and “Far East” underlines the recurrent nature of the same fundamental international problems, despite the change in conditions brought about by the end of World War II. Joyaux’s use of the adjective “new” applies only to a chronological period of historical time.3

3In fact, Renouvin himself intentionally employed an almost provocative process of imitation by modelling the title of his study on the expression “The Eastern Question”, a nineteenth‑century concept used in diplomatic circles in relation to the Eastern Mediterranean. This choice of terminology is not innocent. It suggests both methodological implications in terms of the analysis and, to a certain extent, potential similarities between the Eastern Mediterranean and the Pacific Far East.

4However, this form of localisation does not stem from any scientifically recognised vocabulary of geographical terms. The spaces referred to are vast, impossible to delimit exactly and inevitably heterogeneous.

5The word “Orient” encompasses an undeniably homogeneous set of physical conditions. The Eastern Mediterranean creates a binding link between its three continental borders: European (the Balkans), Asian (Asia Minor, Syria and Palestine) and African (Egypt, Cyrenaica). Also included are two international shipping lanes: the “straits” (the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles) and, beginning in 1870, the Suez Canal and the Red Sea. Throughout the region the climate brings hot summers and an intense aridness that in places stretches to desert conditions. On the other hand, it must not be forgotten that the “Eastern Question” has on occasions encompassed the Northern Balkans, the Black Sea, Mesopotamia and, more astonishingly, the Maghreb to the west.

6In Renouvin’s “Far East” the predominance of history is apparent from the outset. He mentions the monsoon climate, on which a wealth of publications already existed. However, among the territories described by the geographer Jules Sion in 1928, in his two volumes on “Monsoon Asia”, Renouvin excluded India (Southern Asia) and of Southeast Asia retained only the Indochinese Peninsula.

7At the opposite end of the spectrum, the Far East had to include the cold regions of the north‑eastern part of the continent as well as the island chains of the Pacific.

8Nonetheless, this distortion is not as great as it seems. Renouvin was not mistaken in his choice. In the nineteenth century, and particularly in the latter half, East and Far East existed in global politics through their confrontation with the West. In this connection, military inferiority or superiority took precedence over geographical positions. Any analysis must thus involve an examination of the different forms of colonisation, seen in the context of the West’s attempt at world domination during this period.

9It would seem advisable to begin by examining what was known as the West. Far from encompassing the states lying to the west of an imaginary line, the term referred merely to colonialist Europe, or more precisely, the six great powers that coexisted in the region more or less uneasily, namely Great Britain, France, Austria and Russia, then more recently Germany (strengthened by its Prussian heritage) and Italy. Russia is the odd one out in this list: western on the grounds of its formidable military strength, eastern by dint of its location or incongruity. With the exception of Austria, these powers were, or rather saw themselves as, nation‑states. In a bid to guarantee their security, each was heavily armed given what remained a highly uneven level of industrialisation. Their policies were generally at once defensive and geared towards expansion.

10American countries were excluded from this category, even the United States until their victory over Spain (1898): they had little involvement in international politics apart from when their continental interests were at stake.

11The expansion of this dominating Europe was multiform and adapted itself to a variety of territories. Among these, the East and Far East, along with their defining characteristics, must be described, without forgetting that it is through their European roots that we can distinguish the different phases in the history of international relations: 1815‑1848, then 1850‑1870 and finally, 1871‑1914.

  • 4 On military issues in the Far East see: Hata Ikuhiko 秦郁彦, Taiheiyō kokusai kankeishi 太平洋国際関係史 (The (...)

12I propose to separate the word colonisation—irrespective of economic and political motivations—into the act of settlement, which presupposes a massive displacement of people, and the act of conquering, which aims to control a territory through military action.4 Colonisation is only complete when one state successfully carries out both policies.

  • 5 Philippe Rygiel, “Quand l’Europe était une terre d’émigration” (When Europe Was a Land of Emigratio (...)

13In fact, during the nineteenth century it was rare for Western expansion to combine both settlement and conquest. According to experts, fifty‑five million Europeans left their continent between 1820 and 1920, the vast majority of them choosing America as their final destination,5 often to occupy spaces that were still free, yet always under the sovereignty of new states without colonial ties to Europe.

14On the African continent, land of colonisation par excellence, it was military action that dominated. However, such action was often limited to small units, for exploratory purposes as much as for war, stretching out from coastal bases that dated back to earlier periods in European intervention (Portuguese, British and French). The result was a dividing up of the African continent within just a few decades, aided by the absence of stable political structures. The Ethiopian resistance to colonisation by Italy (1896) was an exception. Borders were easily determined and disputes between colonial powers remained limited. The Fashoda Incident of 1898 was another exception, one that can be explained by the Nile basin being bound up in the “Eastern Question”.

15In comparison, the East and Far East could not have appeared open either to mass immigration or to easy military penetration. Their dominant trait was being organised around a deeply entrenched and long‑standing presence of the state, sometimes to the extent of building vast empires: such as the Ottoman Empire close to the West, and far away, China itself. Both of these heterogeneous empires declined in the nineteenth century, mostly due to centrifugal forces at their peripheries where they succumbed to the actions of the Western powers, who were both cause and effect. It was owing to this almost permanent geopolitical fact that the word “Question” (which in diplomatic language signifies a crisis with no plausible solution) was spontaneously employed in the East and, by imitation, in the Far East, in the singular, despite the fact that the problems at hand were numerous and diverse.

A Crucial Subsystem: Manchuria–Wars and Military Colonisations

  • 6 On the “Manchurian Question” see: Kitaoka Shin’ichi, Gotō Shinpei 後藤新平 (Gotō Shinpei), Tokyo, Chūōk (...)
  • 7 An Austrian economist and former minister who became a professor at Harvard University in 1932.

16Manchuria, the focus of this paper, rose from obscurity in the nineteenth century to sudden notoriety in the twentieth as the scene of an intentional and successful industrialisation, a rarity among colonies.6 It thus came to the attention of Joseph Schumpeter.7 It is said that after the war Mao Zedong congratulated Ayukawa Yoshisuke 鮎川義介 (1880‑1967), the founder of Nissan, who in 1937 had contributed to this economic success.

17However, when Manchuria “entered international history” at around the turn of the twentieth century, it was not economic modernity that was the driving force but rather military modernity, as illustrated by the events of the two great wars, the Sino‑Japanese War (1894‑95) and the Russo‑Japanese War (1904‑1905).

  • 8 Known in France through the Battle of Palikao (Baliqiao 里橋 in Chinese), which earned General Cousi (...)

18Admittedly, since the Opium Wars—and particularly since Anglo‑French forces entered Beijing in 18608—China had been considered a military power. More recently, at the end of the Sino‑French War in 1885, the local defeat at Lang Son had succeeded in causing fear in Paris. Nonetheless, none of these conflicts was sufficiently devoid of colonial exoticism to justify a comparison with the memory of the Austro‑Prussian (1866) and Franco‑Prussian (1870) wars.

  • 9 Okamoto Shunpei, The Japanese Oligarchy and the Russo‑Japanese War, op. cit., p. 149. “Even the Bat (...)

19The Far Eastern wars mentioned here were of an entirely different nature. The battles fought in those faraway lands were considerably more modern technologically speaking than those raging concurrently in Cuba, the Philippines (the Spanish‑American War), the Transvaal or even in the Balkans. Port Arthur, a Russian fortress besieged for four months (in 1904), became as famous as Sevastopol in the Crimea. However, it was the naval fleets that best illustrated the level of military technology. The battle of “the Yalu River” in 1894, which pitted Chinese and Japanese squadrons against each other, is considered to be the largest since that of Lissa (fought between Austria and Italy in 1866 in the Adriatic). On 27 May 1905, following the complete destruction of the Russian Baltic Fleet near the island of Tsushima (Sea of Japan), the Japanese victory was compared to Nelson’s at Trafalgar (1805).9

20Such “full‑scale” experiences of battle attracted the attention of Western experts. In London, in the months following the Battle of Tsushima, “First Sea Lord” Admiral John Fisher (1841‑1920) invented two types of ship: the slow but powerful “dreadnoughts” (named after the first battleship in this class), which replaced existing battleships; and the powerful battlecruiser, whose reduced armour gave it speed and which replaced armoured cruisers. Both types of vessel were employed at the Battle of Jutland on 31 May 1916.

21As we shall see, Manchuria (and in particular the Liaodong Peninsula at whose tip Port Arthur is located) first entered history through wars that were not of a colonial nature but rather prefigured Europe’s immediate future.

I. Manchuria and the Three Empires

  • 10 Yves Lacoste, Hérodote, issue entitled “Asie du Nord‑est”, no. 97, Paris, 2000.

22The area covered by the wars—the Kingdom of Korea and Manchuria in particular—can be included in several geopolitical frameworks: 1) the northern edge of the China‑centric world; 2) Central Asia, neither Chinese nor Russian but under Chinese or Russian authority during the nineteenth century; 3) Northeast Asia, a concept defined by Yves Lacoste, pertinent for its inclusion of Japan.10 Whatever the term chosen, the intermediary area was surrounded by three empires at the turn of the twentieth century, when it was thrust to the forefront of world history by modern wars. Today, one hundred years later, the borders have been altered slightly. However, although under different regimes, the three main states are still in place—China, Russia and Japan—, as is the area in‑between, though it has been reduced to the two Koreas and Taiwan. Western colonisation exists only in the form of American bases established sixty years ago in Japan and Korea. Defining the area affected by the non‑colonial Sino‑Japanese and Russo‑Japanese wars is already to describe constants, which nonetheless can only be understood as a sum of historical situations.

At the Far Edge of the “Chinese Continent”

23As far as the chancelleries were concerned, China and Manchuria were indistinguishable according to international law: their official borders with foreign powers did not allow it. To give an example, let us examine the consequences of a treaty signed by China and Russia in Beijing in October 1860. Having recognised the Tsar’s sovereignty over the region lying between the Sea of Japan to the east and a tributary of the Amur River, the Ussuri River, to the west, the Ussuri became a border between the two states. Although located in Manchuria, it marked the boundary between China and the Russian Maritime Province.

24Nevertheless, Manchuria could not be reduced to the status of a Chinese province. In the first place, symbolically speaking the link between Manchuria and China resulted from a dynastic union. The concept of “dual monarchy” existed in nineteenth‑century Europe. However, rather than a union based on equality, it resembled the relationship between Ireland and Great Britain. In Beijing the sovereign, a Manchu descendant since 1644, was present and governed as Emperor of China. In Mukden, the Manchurian capital considered the ancestral home of the Manchu dynasty, his presence as emperor was a fiction. Nevertheless, the two lands’ nominal duality was enough to underline their separation. The existence of the Manchu language “Tartar”, a written and diplomatic language, taught by Édouard Chavanne at the Collège de France in around 1900, can be considered symbolic.

25Secondly, the separation of the two territories was functional. In the seventeenth century the Manchus, who were a tiny minority, had succeeded in conquering China, their mastery in war having met only with the Chinese indifference for military action. This behavioural difference subsequently became a key factor in China’s political stability. In Beijing, the sovereigns of the Manchu dynasty were constantly faced with the problem of protecting their homeland from the immigration of Chinese peasants who could have destroyed the Manchu people. Despite this obstacle, by the time the Sino‑Japanese War broke out the majority of the population in southern Manchuria was already Chinese, although land occupation density was much lower than in China.

26Accordingly, judging by its inhabitants, Manchuria in 1880‑1890 was not yet a Chinese land. It was merely in the early stages of becoming one. The transformation underway was due to a settler colonisation that had recently become possible. After a slow start —and only in places where travel was possible— this colonisation took the form of a mass movement of people after the end of the Russo‑Japanese War. It was this, twenty‑five years later when the Japanese puppet state of Manchukuo was created, that gave the impression of a coexistence between diverse peoples. Ishiwara Kanji 石原莞爾 (1899‑1949), who planned the invasion of Manchuria, described the region at that time as “the land of the Manchu, Mongols and Koreans, [later] colonised by the Chinese”.

27Only China was capable of achieving this type of colonisation. She alone had the necessary demographic “surplus” reinforced by close proximity. Russia and Japan would have liked to achieve such a result but never had the means.

Manchuria, a Central Asian Region to be taken in Account…

  • 11 Pierre Renouvin, La Question d’Extrême‑Orient 1840‑1940, op. cit.

28Clearly distinct from China “proper”, Manchuria also occupied a special place in Central Asia towards the end of the nineteenth century. This long and wide expanse of territories, both massively continental and sparsely populated, stretched from Turkestan in the west to the epicontinental seas of the northern Pacific in the east, the Sea of Japan and the Yellow Sea. If we add the Korean Peninsula to this immensity, Central Asia extends into the East China Sea. Nevertheless, its originality and unity were above all geopolitical in nature. As Renouvin wrote in 1946, within this region, during the long nineteenth century, “Russia bordered the Chinese Empire over thousands of kilometres through Siberia and the Maritime Province”. However, he added, “almost everywhere contact was established in regions where the population was not Chinese and was not controlled to any significant extent by Beijing government officials.11 The border’s continuity should not mask the dissymmetry between its northern and southern sides. On the Russian side the ability and desire to establish a military border and complete sovereignty were hindered by the difficulty in occupying the land sufficiently. On the Chinese side the fragility of its sovereignty (its indirect nature: various vassalages, use of cultural links and prestige) was potentially compensated for by the ability to densely populate any area where the topography, aridity and restrictions on travel allowed it.

in the Construction of Northeast Asia

29In the huge land mass known as Central Asia, the originality of Manchuria stemmed from its consisting of a vast plain at its centre and a wide coastline along the Yellow Sea to the south. Accordingly, it is here that we find the focal point of the Far East’s modern wars: the Liaodong Peninsula and Port Arthur.

30The conjunction of an empty space and a coastline narrows the distance between Manchuria and the two territories adjoining it: on one side the Russian Maritime Province, defined by the powerful naval base of Vladivostok, hardly older than Port Arthur (1866), and on the other the Kingdom of Korea, declared independent in 1876. The political and military weaknesses of Korea could create an impression of emptiness comparable to a population shortage. On the other hand, it enjoyed extensive and well located port facilities in relation to the straits separating it from Japan. All of these lands were bordered by a string of small seas that were not enclosed but distinct, notably the Gulf of Chihli (Bohai). Surrounded by China, Russia and Japan, together the area formed a Northeast Asia that was extremely open to navigation. Although smaller geographically than the region defined by Lacoste, the latter was drawn into rapid geopolitical transformations between 1880 and 1890.

31Nonetheless, such descriptions are only useful if they help to explain the wars fought between the three neighbouring powers between 1894 and 1905. These disputes, recognised as inter‑state conflicts, represented the sudden emergence of advanced military technology in areas that were little or under‑developed. Accordingly, it does not seem acceptable to consider the Sino‑Japanese and Russo‑Japanese wars as variants of the economic rivalries that make up the “Far Eastern Question”, as seen in the French historical‑geographical tradition.

Empire‑Building issues and Strategies in the Face of Manchuria

32Despite undeniable interactions, it would seem pertinent to make two distinctions. The first is geopolitical in nature and involves separating China “proper” and Northeast Asia. The Chinese state is present in both, but while it was colonised by Western countries, it in turn imposed colonisation on Manchuria and Korea. The second distinction concerns the causes of the wars. Could it be that we are influenced by the current domination of free market economy paradigms and the aspirations these bring (a taste for profit, consumerism, etc.)? It often seems that when looking back at past conflicts we have difficulty in perceiving other causalities and realities than those related purely to economics. In fact China, Russia and Japan had long‑term, indeed resolutely permanent, plans that related above all to their security.

  • 12 Sarah C. M. Paine, The Sino‑Japanese War of 1894‑1895, op. cit., pp. 75‑76. Port Lazareff was locat (...)
  • 13 Lionel Babicz, Le Japon face à la Corée à l’ère Meiji, op. cit., p. 34; Nihon gaikōshi jiten, op. c (...)

33Russia’s main concern was to acquire a new naval base capable of correcting the imperfections of Vladivostok. In 1884 an attempt was made in the form of a leasehold at Port Lazareff,12 on the Korean coast of the Sea of Japan. Earlier still, in 1861, towards the end of the Tokugawa shogunate, a Russian warship, the Posadnik, had stationed itself at Tsushima on the pretext that it required repair work and had attempted to create a base there.13 In both cases Russia withdrew without a fight following the intervention of the British fleet. Japan was satisfied with this help. There was no economic interest at stake in these incidents; everything was strategic.

34For China, ensuring the security of the imperial capital was fundamental. Success was possible if the Chinese Northern Seas Fleet (Beiyang) could block the passage of warships and the transport of foreign troops coming from the Yellow Sea. The entrance to the Bohai was controlled by two recently built naval bases. The main one, Port Arthur, was deemed by German experts prior to the Sino‑Japanese War to be equal to Hong Kong. The second, Weihaiwei, lay at the tip of the Shandong Peninsula. However, the policy developed by Li Hongzhang 李鴻章 (1823‑1901), viceroy of the province of Chihli, also aimed to maintain political control over Korea, a former tributary state of Beijing. The Liaodong Peninsula and Port Arthur reinforced this control via the sea.

35Japan’s ultimate aim at the end of the shogunate was to be on truly equal footing—in both military and legal terms—with the great powers. A constant objective was to see the unequal treaties, concluded before 1868, revised. However, the main thrust of Japan’s foreign policy was to secure its national territory by obtaining a dominant political position in Korea, its closest neighbour among foreign powers. Its commercial interests must also be considered. Since 1876 Japanese immigration had been on its way to controlling foreign trade. Yet this commercial success in no way provided the military tranquillity Japan’s leaders in Tokyo desired. Escaping colonisation meant nothing if Japan had to endure the proximity of the Russian and Chinese empires. The problem could only be resolved by turning Korea into a buffer state, or more simply a “defensive wall”, in order to keep these two great continental empires at bay.

36The security policies of these countries were all designed to obtain permanent advantages. Unlike commercial rivalries, they did not lend themselves easily to arbitration. Between China, Russia and Japan the idea was not to share the colonisable territories but rather to use them for the purpose of strategic reinforcement. Nonetheless, it would be appropriate at this point to explain what conjunction of historical situations and geographical facts led the probability of war to become a constant only in 1880‑1890.

  • 14 Jean‑Baptiste Duroselle, L’Europe de 1815 à nos jours, op. cit., pp. 127‑131.

37The year 1880 marked the beginning of a new phase in the expansion of the European states beyond their continent, which Jean‑Baptiste Duroselle termed “the great colonial expansion”.14 Tunisia, Egypt, Sub‑Saharan Africa (almost in its entirety) and Southeast Asia were all affected. Great Britain, France, Germany and Italy—the new powers—played central roles. The United States joined the movement later. The former colonial empires with their weakened metropoles (Spain and Portugal) found themselves called into question (the Spanish‑American War in 1898, the Transvaal War in 1899).

  • 15 In Feydeau’s comedy Un fil à la patte (1894, known as Cat Among the Pigeons in English) a Peruvian (...)

38At the same time, these successes depended on technological advances that encouraged not only international trade but also military action away from home: railways and shipbuilding were both involved in the revival of colonisation. The production of warships demanded technology (turbines, armour‑plating and artillery) that was only possible for the great industrial nations, particularly since ships were quickly rendered obsolete. There was thus a conspicuous international trade in warships in which British shipyards led the field.15

39From a chronological point of view, relations between China, Russia and Japan in Northeast Asia were part of these global changes, but to what extent? Very little from a political perspective; very much so from a technological point of view, with a time lag however between the use of navigation (transportation and battle fleets) as of 1880, and the construction of railways as of 1896. It thus seems impossible to explain the genesis and events of the Sino‑Japanese and Russo‑Japanese wars as part of “the great colonisation”. However, although a time lag in the march of history can be observed, does this reflect the weight of archaisms in Asia or a foreshadowing of World War I in Europe? First of all, beginning in 1850, Russia in Crimea (1855), as well as China and Japan during the process of “opening up”, had suffered the same consequences of their inferiority, particular at sea. Their recently suffered defeats did not lead them into colonial expansion but rather into a process of remilitarisation aimed at achieving rapid efficiency and asserting their power.

  • 16 Alfred Thayer Mahan, The Influence of Sea Power upon History: 1660‑1783, Boston, Little, Brown & Co (...)

40Secondly, the extremely difficult nature of land travel inevitably led the three empires to assign a decisive role—both in attack and defence—to the navy, by planning to associate transportation and combat. Although it is impossible to say for sure in the case of Russia and China, it is known that the first book by Alfred Thayer Mahan (1840‑1914), The Influence of Sea Power upon History (1890),16 was carefully read in Japan.

  • 17 Sarah C. M. Paine, The Sino‑Japanese War of 1894‑1895, op. cit., pp. 132‑134, on the Kowshing “inci (...)

41No doubt this was a necessary consequence of insularity. Even where land routes existed, sea travel was preferable by far. In order to travel from Beijing to Seoul, for example, the best route involved travelling through Dagu (Taku) and the Gulf of Bohai, via Port Arthur and the Yellow Sea. It was here that on 25 July 1894 the Japanese Navy inspected, and then sank, a troop carrier loaned from the British and carrying 1,000 Chinese soldiers to Korea.17

42Beginning in 1880 it became increasingly clear that geographical conditions were leading the three neighbouring powers not to defend their coasts but rather to master the seas, hence the creation of three modern fleets composed of European ships built to international technological standards. Sino‑Japanese and Russo‑Japanese rivalries reached an intensity akin to that observed on the eve of 1914 in the North Sea between the British and Germans. In order to shed light on these events they must be situated in the general evolution of the Far Eastern question up until 1904.

II. Coexistence or Incompatibility between Imperialisms (1890‑1901)

  • 18 Pierre Renouvin, La Question d’Extrême‑Orient, 1840‑1940, op. cit., pp. 4‑7.

43The Far Eastern question is generally presented as having evolved after the mid‑nineteenth century under the joint influence of two guiding forces: on the one hand the widely held view in industrialised countries that China, with its massive population, was “a commercial Eldorado”; and on the other the later fear that Japan, as the only Asian nation to have overcome the handicap of the unequal treaties, might succeed in preventing Westerners from exploiting the Chinese market.18

44While there is an element of reality to such views, they focus too heavily on economic interests and overly generalise because they seek a monistic explanation in China’s demographics.

  • 19 Apart from in western Siberia. See Roger Portal, Cours de la Sorbonne, La Russie industrielle de 18 (...)

45The Trans‑Siberian Railway was not built to serve as a tool for commerce.19 During the Russo‑Japanese War some 500,000 troops were transported to Manchuria at a rate of fourteen trains per day. For its part, Japan ascended to the rank of military power in 1905, well before it became an industrial power. Instead of the monistic explanation, I propose to recognise that a variety of colonial (or national) policies existed in the Far East and observe how they were applied to geographically distinct colonial territories: China proper and the area of friction (or cohabitation) between China, Russia and Japan in Manchuria and, possibly, in Korea. The next step is to place their interactions within a chronological timeframe.

Before the Sino‑Japanese War (24 July 1894)

46The separation between the two geopolitical spheres was maintained without difficulty. The colonisation imposed on China was stable, exceptionally so for the period, due to it being founded on the prevention of military risks in order to serve an ideology of commercial exploitation. It rested on two legal bases which only merged locally: on the one hand, the unequal treaties concluded in each case between China and a colonising state and based on a limited imperialism; and on the other the Most Favoured Nation clause, which featured in each of these treaties and allowed Western traders to enjoy the same privileges and guarantees in all of the ports open to them. This system was born of the intuition that a limited imperialism should also be (or made it possible to also be) a collective imperialism. This gave rise to two types of collaboration: on the one hand between China, its administrative officers and foreigners; and on the other between Western authorities and businesses, despite their rivalry. In fact, this situation reflected a meeting between the traditional attitude of the Chinese empire towards the barbarians and Britain’s supremacy both in trade and at sea.

  • 20 Pierre Renouvin, ibid., p. 126.
  • 21 George M. Beckmann, The Modernization of China and Japan, op. cit., p. 171.

47This naval supremacy at times led to a kind of right to police in the “Chinese commercial Eldorado”. In 1884, when the Russians set their sights on Port Lazareff, a squadron was dispatched from Hong Kong to Port Hamilton in the Korea Strait to prevent them from entering Chinese waters. In the autumn of 1884, as the Sino‑French War continued to rage, Jules Ferry abandoned his order to blockade ports in order to avoid damaging the interests of “foreign powers”.20 Finally, shortly before engaging in operations against China in July 1894, Japan promised not to attack the Shanghai region.21

48On the whole, the sphere of collective imperialism was voluntarily kept out of the conflicts, as was the Beijing region owing to the resident Manchu dynasty which guaranteed the legitimacy of the treaties. In the other geopolitical sphere to the north, between the empires, no conflicts broke out. Yet the ground was clearly being laid for the coming wars: on the Russian side through the construction of railways, and on the Chinese and Japanese sides through a parallel increase in naval power.

  • 22 Roger Portal, Cours de la Sorbonne, La Russie industrielle de 1890 à 1927, op. cit., pp. 89‑91. Yam (...)

49The Siberian railway or Trans‑Siberian Railway, stretching 7,416 kilometres from Chelyabinsk to Vladivostok, had been planned since 1850. However, it was only in the post‑Bismarckian Europe, after the Franco‑Russian Alliance had been concluded, that French banks were able to secure the financing. It was decided that Russia’s far eastern provinces should be opened up via an overland route. The railway was to follow the Amur River along the left bank and, after a section on riverboat, re‑join at Khabarovsk a line under construction in the Maritime Province running from Vladivostok.22

50The Russian army only had around 15,000 men stationed in the Far East. Reinforcing them and providing fresh supplies was difficult. The Trans‑Siberian Railway provided a radical solution. However, solving the isolation problem via a railway in no way resolved the port situation; in fact it aggravated it, particularly since contact between the territories via sea remained essential.

  • 23 Pierre Renouvin, ibid., p. 134.

51Although unproven,23 it is likely that as construction neared the Transbaikal the question of which port should serve as the Trans‑Siberian’s terminus was discussed, since the inadequacy of Vladivostok, where the line officially ended, had long been recognised. Far beyond the technical victories, it was inevitable to think that such a project would result in a military colonisation combining railways, an ice‑free port and a powerful fleet.

52At least, this was how Russia’s actions were perceived in China and Japan. The space needed for this military construction could only be found in Manchuria and/or Korea. This signalled the reappearance in the north of a high‑priority threat which Japan had thought largely erased by the signing in Saint Petersburg, on 7 May 1875, of the Treaty of Saint Petersburg exchanging Sakhalin Island with the Kuril Islands (Karafuto‑Chishima kōkan jōyaku 樺太千島交換条約).

  • 24 Abolished in 1876.
  • 25 Yuan Shikai 袁世凱 (1859‑1916), ambassador to Seoul, embodied this system in the manner of Lord Cromer (...)
  • 26 The economic and political success of Britain’s colonisation of Egypt was known in Japan and no dou (...)

53However, this represented a future threat. Decidedly more worrying was China’s reappearance in Korea in 1885. Japanese statesmen saw this—far beyond the return of the status of “tributary state” in a sinicised Asia24—as an example of modern colonialism,25 the same kind instituted by France in Tunisia (1881) and, more particularly, by Britain in Egypt (1882).26 A “modern” colonisation of Korea by China would have seen Japan’s dreams of security crumble. In Tokyo, however, far from challenging the validity of the idea of a buffer state, these failures were explained away by the weakness of the Japanese navy. The Korean problem became one of controlling the Yellow Sea.

54The Chinese and Japanese fleets were equal in number at the Battle of the Yalu River on 17 September 1894, with each side possessing ten vessels. However, they had different qualities reflecting different policies.

  • 27 Tonnage calculations can vary, hence the slight differences between sources.
  • 28 Ikeda Kiyoshi, Nihon no kaigun Jōkan, op. cit., p. 100.
  • 29 Lionel Babicz, Le Japon face à la Corée à l’ère Meiji, op. cit., pp. 202‑208.

55In China, the “Northern Seas Fleet” was the work of Li Hongzhang, who in 1882 had commissioned two 7,335‑ton27 battleships from the Vulcan shipyard in Stettin, Germany: the Dingyuan 定遠号 (or Ting Yuen) and the Zhenyuan 鎮遠号 (or Chen Yuen). Armed with four 305mm guns, the largest calibre of naval artillery at the time, and fitted with thick armour plating, they were capable of reaching fourteen knots. In Europe they would have been powerful ships; in the Far East, where they arrived in 1885, they were unrivalled. The Chinese fleet achieved absolute superiority. When on 5 July 1891 the two battleships made a trip to Japan, this was seen as a show of their invulnerability.28 Strengthening the navy continued to be imperative for each of the successive dominant personalities in Tokyo: Iwakura Tomomi 岩倉具視 (1825‑1883), following the “Imo Mutiny” (Jingo gunran 壬午軍乱) in Seoul in 1882, and Yamagata Aritomo 山縣有朋 (1838‑1922) in 1890 expressed the same opinions.29

  • 30 Toyama Saburō, Nihon kaigunshi, op. cit., pp. 52‑53.

56Between 1883 and 1894 twenty‑four ships went into service.30 Up until 1888 the majority were the work of Japanese shipyards. They were small vessels approximately termed gunboats, corvettes or cruisers. Finances could hardly stretch to commissioning ships in Europe. In Japan itself a lack of either facilities or materials meant that it was impossible to build vessels over 2,000 tons. However, three large cruisers of over 3,600 tons were purchased: two in England (from Armstrong) and one in France (from the shipyards of Le Havre). Delivered in 1886, they were equipped with 260mm guns. This represented a first Japanese tradition of rapid ships (reaching eighteen or nineteen knots) that were well‑or even excessively armed in relation to their tonnage. However, the absence of battleships was notable and fear of the two Chinese vessels grew. It thus appeared necessary to make increasing use of foreign shipbuilders.

  • 31 One of the cruisers in the French Navy was given the name Émile Bertin in 1934.

57The most immediate solution was to commission battleships in Europe, something Japan would only make up its mind to do quite late, in 1892: it was not until 1897 that two 12,500‑ton ships, the Fuji and the Yashima, were completed. In the meantime, Japan sought to counter‑attack using massively armed mid‑sized ships. In 1888 the Yokosuka Naval Arsenal was headed by the French engineer Émile Bertin.31 He designed three 4,278‑ton coastal warships (kaibōkan 海防艦) each equipped with a massive 320mm gun supposedly capable of destroying the Chinese battleships while maintaining a top speed of sixteen knots. However, the rate of fire on these guns was slow: only one shell every five minutes. Japan thus turned its eye to cruisers, in which the ship’s speed and rate of fire were more in harmony. The Yoshino, a 4,216‑ton vessel built by Armstrong, was the world’s fastest cruiser with a top speed of twenty‑two knots.

58The Japanese army was confident in its ability to fight the Chinese on land, but its command of the sea remained uncertain. The result was a certain prudence in Japan’s policy in Korea, even on the eve of war. And yet, Japan did opt to engage in war. The most important issue seems to have been Japan’s perception of the dangers at hand and prioritising of them in a relatively short period of time. There may be a risk involved in going to war and another in the reduced security potentially resulting from not going to war. In order to clarify the reasoning behind the decision taken in July 1894, it would seem essential to make a comparison with the one that drove Japan to attack Russia in February 1904, almost ten years later.

The Treaty of Shimonoseki (17 April 1895) and the Intervention of the Three Powers (23 April 1895)

59The question at hand is simple: to what extent did these events alter the juxtaposition of the two types of imperialism?

60The peace treaty imposed on China contained four categories of demands:

1) To recognise Korea’s “independence” by ceasing all intervention there;
2) To pay war reparations just like all defeated nations at the time;
Following the abolition of the trade treaty of 1871 (Nisshin shūkō jōki 日清修好条規), to conclude a new agreement granting Japan most-favoured-nation status, the use of several ports formerly closed to foreigners and the right to set up factories there. These provisions saw Japan enter the collective colonial system, providing it with numerous additional benefits and supposedly promoting its maintenance, hence Great Britain’s decision to support the Shimonoseki peace treaty;
4) The cession of three territorial dependencies that had previously been Chinese: Taiwan, the small neighbouring archipelago of the Penghu Islands and, in Manchuria, the entire Liaodong Peninsula (from the Yalu River in the east to the Liao River on which junks sailed). Each of the above areas was occupied by the Japanese army.

61Although none of these annexations officially concerned “China proper”, such changes in sovereignty had not been imposed in the Far East since the creation of the British colony of Hong Kong. In fact, if the Shimonoseki Treaty resulted in a serious international crisis in the space of a few days, it was because this return to a colonisation that the great powers feigned to have forgotten concerned Port Arthur. The rapid succession of events proves the gravity of the crisis, which, as was quickly understood, had the potential to lead to a new war. The treaty was signed in Shimonoseki on 17 April 1895. On 23 April in Tokyo the diplomatic representatives of Russia, Germany and France each presented the Japanese Government with an identical note inviting it to return Liaodong to China. On 1 May Japan offered to retain only the southern tip, in other words Port Arthur. This solution was rejected. On 5 May Japan submitted to the demands of this “Triple Intervention” (sangoku kanshō 三国干渉). The crisis had lasted just twenty days. It was agreed that an increased war indemnity would be paid and that until this was settled by China, Japan would retain control (as previously agreed) of Weihaiwei.

62The arguments exchanged during these decisive moments are of no real value. What is important is the power struggle that led Japan to a kind of capitulation, as well as the novelty and scale of the diplomatic combinations, in other words, of the pressure exerted on the Far East.

63Even before Japan was hit by this order, Russia had already concentrated its naval forces. Some of the Black Sea Fleet’s modern ships had been transferred to Vladivostok via the Suez Canal. Although it had conquered the Chinese navy at the Battle of the Yalu River, then at the Battle of Weihaiwei, the Japanese fleet was no match for the Russian navy. The Chinese battleships had been captured because the crews had made a series of disastrous errors and were not equal to the technical capacities of their ships. Such failings could not be hoped for from the Russians. The Russian plan was to organise a blockade of Japan’s ports and, using its command of the seas, suffocate the Japanese troops spread throughout the continent. Japan found itself facing the risk of all‑out defeat. The inadequacy of its naval forces was decisive.

64Japan and Russia were reacting to immediate problems, whereas the other powers were influenced more by ulterior motives essentially unrelated to their interests in the Far East. France and Germany sought to please Russia: France with a view to strengthening the military alliance concluded in 1892; Germany in a bid to draw Russian forces to Asia in order to weaken the military resources of this same alliance. The coalition was thus chasing two contradictory objectives in Europe, since the driving force behind this paradoxical grouping was none other than the French‑German enmity. It is true that neither France nor Germany committed themselves long‑term to supporting the Russian expansion. Against Japan their coalition was limited. Great Britain, on the other hand, took a clearly neutral stance by refusing to come to Russia’s assistance, even camouflaged as aid to China. However, it also refused to support Japan, which had hoped to organise a counter‑intervention in its favour, involving the United States and Italy, in order to retain Port Arthur. Britain’s proclaimed neutrality may have had the underlying aim of avoiding war in the Far East, which the obstinacy of both Japan and Russia made almost inevitable. This neutrality had the effect of putting pressure on Japan, not in favour of Russia but of the peace that was indispensable to the collective imperialism in the Far East.

65While neither the governments nor public opinion underestimated the importance of the Sino‑Japanese War, they drew what were often hasty conclusions, claiming that China was no longer a great power or that Japan had failed to join these ranks. On the whole, the Far East’s two great nations were left weakened by this series of events which prefigured, or were a necessary condition of, a new upsurge in colonialism. In fact, of the three security policies developed between 1880 and 1890 with regards Manchuria‑Korea, two disappeared: the Chinese policy through the country’s defeats, and the Japanese policy through effacement. This left the Russian expansion, which it seemed plausible to reincorporate into the realm of simple colonisation, thus eliminating its Northeast Asian specificity. But to what extent are these new interpretations grounded in reality?

66In the case of Japan, this intellectual reconstruction overly ignores the facts. Firstly, in July 1894, following negotiations with Britain and the United States, Japan obtained the eventual abolition (after a period of five years) of the right to extraterritoriality (chigai hōken 治外法権) for consular jurisdictions (ryōji saiban seido 領事裁判制度). These had been instituted in Japan at the end of the Edo period. For over twenty years, ever since the Iwakura Mission (1871‑72), Japan had vainly sought their revision. Obtained in 1894 and made effective in 1899, this represented a decisive victory on a symbolic rather than a practical level.

67Secondly, the year 1895 saw Japan’s foreign policy grow increasingly complex owing to its occupation of Taiwan and new interest in economic expansion in Southern China. Two geopolitical options featured henceforth: the North (Korea and Manchuria) and the South (continental edge of the East China Sea), with Japan entrusting the task of deciding their importance to opportunism and without military action being assumed from the outset. In reality, the expression hokushin nanshin 北進南進 (northern advance, southern advance) was more concerned with determining a geographical framework than actual intentions.

68Thirdly, if Japan took a back seat politically speaking it was because its principal concern of military security could be achieved outside of international politics. In 1896 Japan began a complete upgrading of its naval fleet, throwing its entire financial resources behind the project. The war indemnity paid by China, in addition to the vote granted to parliament by liberal deputies in favour of the country’s military budgets, enabled the biggest new ships to be constructed overseas.

69During the Battle of the Yalu River none of the ships on the Japanese side had exceeded 5,000 tons. The two British‑built battleships were delivered in 1897. They each weighed 12,320 tons. The new programme required the commissioning of four 15,000‑ton battleships and six cruisers weighing 10,000 tons each. In all, these twelve great ships, totalling 145,000 tons of world‑class technology, entered the Japanese fleet between 1897 and 1902. Ten of them came from British shipyards.

  • 32 Ian Nish, The Anglo‑Japanese Alliance: The Diplomacy of Two Island Empires 1894‑1907, op. cit., p.  (...)
  • 33 Often minister and a future genrō along with six other key figures form the Chōshū and Satsuma doma (...)

70The year 1902 was thus decisive in terms of Japan’s diplomatic presence in the Far East, representing the year it completed its massive naval build‑up programme. According to Satow,32 the British ambassador to Tokyo, Inoue Kaoru 井上馨 (1836‑1915)33 is said to have declared in 1898 that his country should avoid any involvement in international issues until 1902.

71Japan’s resulting naval strength can be defined quite objectively by comparing it to the great international fleets. In Europe, Great Britain continued to far outclass Japan (which had to handle British interests with care). However, the gap with French, Russian and German superiority was narrower and Japan was on equal footing with Italy. One might venture to conclude that Japan’s governments were well aware that, barring a conflict with the British, they could only lose their desired security in two circumstances: a war against a European coalition or the transfer by one of those faraway nations of its entire fleet to the colonial lands of Asia. This eventuality could only have appeared conceivable for Russia, given its unique geographical location.

72Other considerations, either positive or negative in nature, cannot be overlooked. On the one hand, the Japanese navy was not designed for faraway combat. If it stayed close to its ports there was no need to be overly concerned about coal storage aboard ship. The tonnage reserved for armour‑plating could thus be increased without risk. Conversely, the fact that Japan had purchased all of its large modern ships overseas, unlike the Western powers, presented a considerable risk in the event of war, for a belligerent state cannot purchase more ships until peace has been restored. All of these factors underline the fact that Japan’s effacement was not destined to last for long.

73What of China’s weakness then and its ability to withstand a new period of colonialism? Following a series of defeats, it would not be helpful to judge its military strength. On the other hand, data of an almost natural (land mass and demographics) or cultural nature (the power of its written language to integrate) are clearly more stable. However, China’s survival as a state depended above all on the rivalry between foreign interests.

The Territorial Dismemberment of China by Western Colonisation (1896‑1899)

74It is well known that between 1896 and 1899 Russia, France, Germany and Great Britain were all granted sovereign rights by China. Italy and Japan soon went down this same path. With annexation having essentially been morally forbidden, these sovereign rights were awarded for a more or less limited period of time for areas designated as “leased territories”, or for the construction of railways. Unlike the ports already open to foreigners, these new acquisitions—which did not fall within the scope of the most‑favoured nation clause—depended in each instance only on the beneficiary nation: in other words, the one that had signed the treaty with China. This resulted in an attack not only on China and its territorial unity (the dismemberment leading to the so‑called “Break‑up of China”) but also on “commercial equality” (known as the Open Door principle) for the foreign traders officially recognised by the treaties. This new policy represented a subversion of the order based on collective imperialism which was championed by Great Britain and the most beneficial to its interests.

75In addition to the transfer of sovereign rights with immediate effect, promises of “non‑alienation” began to appear in 1898. In the provinces controlled by colonial powers, whose privileges were locally preponderant, China guaranteed the future monopoly of any new concessions it may grant. The term “sphere of influence” thus referred to the combination within a specific area of an established superiority and its potential confirmation in the future. In fact, Great Britain, Germany, France and Japan (in Fujian) all made separate requests for a “sphere of influence”. The chancelleries saw this as the beginning of a breaking up of the Chinese Empire into protectorates.

76Taking advantage of China’s military collapse and Japan’s diplomatic effacement, a short but extensive wave of colonial expansion hit the Far East in 1896‑1900. It consisted in adapting to the Chinese “commercial Eldorado”, until then ruled by a collective colonialism, the more conflicting ideas formed in Southeast Asia (Indochina and Burma) or Northeast Asia concerning the Manchurian and Korean “empty spaces”. Western statesmen and diplomats expected the Chinese state to disappear as an inevitable consequence of colonisation, just as they anticipated the end of the historical and multi‑ethnic Ottoman state. The territorial and multinational colonisations in China played the same destructive role as national minorities did in the Balkans and the Eastern Mediterranean. The same expression of “sick man” was employed. But whereas the Ottoman Empire disappeared, China survived.

77All of these predictions were proved wrong in the Far East in a short space of time. Militarisation occurred only on and after the Boxer Rebellion (1900). In 1899, following three years of decline, the consensual model of colonisation, as seen in China “proper”, once again became dominant along with its two corollary institutions: commercial freedom (as opposed to privilege) and the pre‑eminent sovereignty of Beijing, guardian of the treaties. The unresolved issue was how these could be extended to Manchuria. This paradoxical conclusion to the expected “break‑up” of China came about before the Boxer Rebellion and was the product of an internal dynamic. The key role was played by the relationships between the great colonial powers.

  • 34 On this subject see by contrast the remarkable study by Duroselle on the genesis of World War I, L’ (...)

78But how can we understand such a complete and rapid reversal of the situation? In fact, a simple explanation suffices. The majority of the colonial powers interested in obtaining political and military rights ceased to see a contradiction in accepting commercial freedom. However, it must also be pointed out that the process that was heading towards a dismembering of China took place in separate phases: in 1896, 1898 and finally in 1899. Furthermore, Great Britain was never able to go as far as making an armed threat. Ultimately, all possible disputes between states were settled through bilateral negotiations rather than clashes between groups, thus eliminating the risk of a classification into winners and losers. The feeling of an existential threat never materialised.34

  • 35 The treaty was signed in Moscow, where the coronation of Russian emperors took place, and not in Sa (...)
  • 36 Aleksei Borisovich Lobanov‑Rostovskii (1824‑1896)

79In 1896, first of all, two expansions targeted Chinese territory, though only at its periphery: the French expansion from Tonkin and the Russian expansion into northern Manchuria. Russia had acquired permission to build the Trans‑Manchurian Railway, the cornerstone of the Trans‑Siberian, thereby shortening the journey by 900 kilometres without changing the final destination of Vladivostok. Li Hongzhang, who was present in Moscow for the coronation of Tsar Nicholas II, signed a secret treaty of alliance (mitsuyaku 密約)35 against Japan with the Russian minister Alexey Lobanov,36 who obtained the right to create the northern Manchurian line under the name Chinese Eastern Railway (Tōshin tetsudō 東清鉄道). In 1896 nothing threatened British interests and there was thus no diplomatic storm.

  • 37 Jean‑Baptiste Duroselle, ibid., p. 136: “Great Britain was determined to eliminate the French from (...)

80On the contrary, a violent storm broke out late in 1897 when within weeks of each other, Germany occupied Jiaozhou Bay 膠州湾 and Russia seized Port Arthur. Agreements were signed in 1898 and set out the rights granted by China. The British reaction was immediate but ruled out military force. “Port Arthur isn’t worth a war,” declared the deputy prime minister Lord Balfour in London. With 1898 also being the year of the Fashoda Incident37 and the situation in the Transvaal worsening, Britain needed to conserve its strength. It merely requested that in the ports now controlled by Germany and Russia that these nations not reserve economic rights for their own nationals. It then obtained a promise from China to not alienate the Yangtze Valley, and as territorial compensation occupied the “new territories” of Hong Kong, along with the former base of Weihaiwei vacated by the Japanese.

81The principle of equal commercial opportunities among the colonisers of various nations could not be applied to the railways. This would have resulted in an excess of parallel lines. An amicable distribution seemed preferable. This no longer took the form of monopolies granted by China but of a direct agreement between two colonial powers. British policy headed in this direction in late 1898 with the signing of an agreement with Germany recognising the latter’s railway rights in Shandong. It was followed on 22 April 1899 by an agreement with Russia for the Chinese territories north of the Great Wall (and thus in Manchuria). Great Britain also saw its rights to the Yangtze Valley confirmed.

82The next development, coming in addition to the diversity of colonial treaties, was the Open Door note sent by American Secretary of State John Hay to the great European powers, but not to Japan. Less than two years after the naval strikes in Jiaozhou Bay and Port Arthur, which were followed by commercial promises, territorial compensations and the exchanging of regional monopolies, this text made free commercial competition an ideal of political coexistence, seen as a specific feature of the Chinese territory. All of the powers consulted gave their assent, except for Russia, which refused.

83Could this peaceful commercial coexistence be said to represent a kind of “end of the road” for the Far Eastern question with regards China? It seems that a harmonisation of colonial policies based on British practices could have been achieved had there not already been signs in various places of Russia’s desire for power.

  • 38 On the subject of Masampo see Ian Nish, The Anglo‑Japanese Alliance: The Diplomacy of Two Island Em (...)

84In March, Russia requested permission from the Korean government to set up a coaling station in Masampo, at the tip of the Korean Peninsula opposite Tsushima.38 Officially the Russian plan was to organise a maritime transport service between Port Arthur and Vladivostok. Japan immediately read the plan as Russia’s intention to create a third naval base that would enable it to control the straits. Nothing concrete was decided, but Japan was alarmed: Masampo would be an even more fearful prospect than Port Arthur.

  • 39 Ibid., pp. 93‑94.

85The Russian navy was a source of concern for the British and Japanese admiralties.39 All of the European powers undertook a modernisation of their fleet of battleships at the end of the nineteenth century. For Russia, however, its recently built battleships were stationed at Port Arthur. This provided them with greater mobility, being neither subject to winter ice nor to the constraints of the controlled routes (such as the Dardanelles, the Suez Canal and the Danish straits). No sooner had they entered service than they were sent to the Far East. Consequently, it was possible to predict the composition of Russia’s Pacific fleet by taking into account the number and characteristics of its ships under construction. For the British admiralty, this accumulation of Russian and Japanese battleships created the need to send new ships of the line to Hong Kong.

  • 40 A Chinese port (Dalian) which became a Russian commercial port (Dalny) and finally, in 1906, an imp (...)
  • 41 J.‑L. Van Regemorter (La Russie et le monde au xxe siècle, op. cit.) believes that the ministers of (...)

86Further proof of expansion was Russia’s refusal to mention Manchuria in its reply to John Hay, all the while agreeing to apply the Open Door principle to the commercial port of Dalny.40 Through the force of its silence, Russia succeeded in isolating the Manchurian territory from China proper without ever contesting the Beijing government’s sovereignty in the region. It is probable that Russia wished to signal to the other powers that Manchuria was an exception among Chinese provinces and as such, was available exceptionally for colonisation. These terms are vague but we must examine the nature of the fear Russia elicited, either as a result of its show of strength or, precisely, through the obscurity surrounding its intentions.41 The danger emanating from Russia was thus perceived differently according to the circumstances of the powers: it was rarely direct but instead was generally seen through the prism of its potential effects on the Far East. Japan alone was under threat. Indeed, Russia threatened Japan’s two sources of security: superiority at sea in the waters around the archipelago and the neutralisation of Korea. Few in the military high commands thought that war was likely: Russian colonisation was still only being built and Japan was not yet considered a major military force.

87The most feared outcome was the collapse of the Chinese state, the keystone of commercial colonialism. A weak sovereign China was a satisfactory state of affairs for all: Great Britain, Germany, France, the United States and Japan. The system remained fragile but who would want to deal it a deathblow?

  • 42 Pierre Renouvin, La Question d’Extrême‑Orient 1840‑1940, op. cit., p. 173.

88Suspicion fell on Russia, though without any certainty on which to base such a judgement. It is this that Renouvin expressed in his hypothetical comment: “if the initiative of one of the powers—Russia—were to bring about the collapse of the Chinese Empire…”.42

89The way the sentence is arranged, even graphically, shows that singling out Russia was neither a reasoned decision by the historian nor a fact imposed by the reading of diplomatic documents. It reflects an opinion, widely held in 1900, that merits an explanation. Renouvin, however, did not undertake such an investigation, no doubt because this would have entailed discussing the political or economic origins of colonialism.

90In 1900, when the Boxer Rebellion broke out in protest against Western colonisation, serious questions remained unanswered:

Was there a future for China as a state?”
“How far would Russian expansionism go?”
“What was Manchuria’s true international status in the Far East?”

91The uprising provided the answers to these questions in the space of a few months.

The Boxer Episode (1900‑1901)

92The Boxer Rebellion was a brief but decisive episode that confirmed China’s role as a “commercial Eldorado” and made the Russo‑Japanese War almost inevitable due to its effects on Manchuria. The separation of the two geopolitical regions of China proper and Northeast Asia was re‑established.

  • 43 Nora Wang, L’Asie orientale du milieu du xixe siècle à nos jours, op. cit., p. 78.
  • 44 Ian Nish, op. cit., p. 81.

93The Boxer movement was fundamentally a hostile expression of Chinese “popular nationalism”43 towards foreigners and Christians. However, when it began to pose a threat to colonial interests, British Prime Minister Salisbury wrote that “Russia, not China, seems to me the greatest danger of the moment”.44 Right from the beginning, then, there were two power struggles at work: on the one hand a few colonial‑type battles between the Boxers and foreign forces (June‑August 1900), and on the other a diplomatic clash involving, in various ways, Russia, Japan or even Great Britain and Germany, with long‑lasting consequences.

94The military aspect of the Boxer Rebellion sheds light on diplomatic history via the battle locations, the numbers of soldiers involved and the losses sustained. The Boxers only became active in places where they did not come up against the Chinese administration, such as in part of Manchuria where they attacked the South Manchurian Railway. At this point the Russian army took complete control of the territory, without consulting the Western powers. The military issue became a diplomatic one because it came on top of what had already been perceived of the Russian expansion. On the other hand, when the siege and attack on the Beijing Legation Quarter began (20 June to 14 August 1900 in particular), after rail and telegraph communications between Dagu Fort, Tianjin and the capital were cut, the problem once again became a military and diplomatic one. Troops had to be found, and with the Chinese state now involved, a peace treaty needed to be considered. The counter‑attack had to involve not only the colonial powers but also those—the United States and Japan—represented in Beijing.

95Only two significant battles were fought during the march on Beijing. On 11 June a force of 2,000 men led by British Admiral Seymour, in accordance with traditional military norms, was driven back. On 14 July a multinational army ten times the size (8,000 Japanese, 5,000 Russians, 3,000 British and 2,500 Americans) took control of Tianjin. Its losses numbered 750 killed and wounded compared to 15,000 Boxers, representing a ratio of 1 to 20. Although the number of soldiers had risen considerably, the battles themselves were still of a colonial nature. Beijing was occupied without difficulty on 14 August and restoring peace became a priority. In the meantime, in July that year American Secretary Of State Hay sent a second note in support of the Open Door principle and demanding that China’s territorial integrity be respected.

96The peace treaty (Boxer Protocol, 7 September 1901) represented the triumph of financial and commercial colonialism. The Chinese state was both confirmed and rendered completely dependent on the Western banks from which it borrowed money to pay the indemnities due to the colonising powers. The military guarantees included in the treaty were collective: guards in Beijing around the embassies and contingents sent by the eight great powers (United States, Japan and the six European nations) to protect the railway and telegraph lines around Tianjin. The “Japanese garrison” (Chūgoku chūtongun 中国駐屯軍 renamed Shina chūtongun 支那駐屯軍in 1913) was destined to be the largest, given the proximity of Japan.

97The coalition’s inability to either mention or resolve the issue of Russia’s massive military presence in Manchuria was the Boxer Protocol’s main (negative) trait. It was the Russian (and not the Chinese) side of the Boxer episode that turned the Far Eastern question on its head, and this in three areas: 1) the role of land armies in addition to that of the navy; 2) Manchuria’s entry into the conflicts; 3) the unresolvable dispute between Russia and Japan.

The New Essential Element in Territorial Control: Ground Troops

  • 45 Remember that the Marchand mission, designed to give France control over the Middle Nile Valley, ha (...)

98A decisive change in the balance of power came about when on 23 June, followed by 3 and 5 July, the British government asked Japan to intervene against the Boxers. Japan and Russia were the only powers to possess massive, efficient armies in the area. Britain chose cooperation with Japan. In most cases colonisation in the nineteenth century had been carried out with minimal military means, with arms and professionalism making up for numbers.45 The colonial powers’ fear of the Boxer movement was not surprising. However, only “low‑military‑cost” colonialism was thwarted. Yet the help requested from Japan (one, then three divisions) seems disproportionate. Great Britain needed to take other threats into consideration: the Boer War in South Africa and the Russian expansion in the Far East. In China, the Japanese army was asked to occupy the province of Beijing in order to prevent the Russians from deploying troops there. The lesson learned from the Boxer Rebellion was clear: it was impossible to colonise a territory without also incorporating it into strategically coherent empires.

Towards a Crystallisation of the Divergences between Empires

99The situation in Manchuria became inextricably complex. The occupation by the Russian army had no definite bounds set to its territorial expansion, duration and sovereign claims. Russia was intent on discussing these issues with China alone and disassociating its negotiations from those initiated by the colonial powers in Beijing. As if to better highlight this distinction, the Russian contingent broke away from the coalition army and fell back to Manchurian territory (25 August). Believing that this policy could lead to the establishment of a protectorate—a rumour was going around on this very subject—, the British government attempted to secure support from Germany (16 October) and the United States, then Japan. Nothing concrete resulted from these diplomatic arrangements in which commercial freedom in Manchuria was judged according to the political risks and advantages.

100Japan was beginning to be recognised as a great military power. In London it was considered a key partner in stopping not the Chinese uprising but rather Russian expansion.

  • 46 Pierre Renouvin, op. cit., p. 197. Ill‑informed on this point, the author wrote that “Russia and Ja (...)
  • 47 War minister from 1902 to 1911 (rikugun daijin 陸軍大臣, literally minister of the army) and governor‑g (...)

101Contrary to what is generally believed,46 Japan responded only hesitantly to Britain’s requests, either due to financial constraints, to protect its relationship with the Chinese imperial court, or to avoid a confrontation with the Russians. When inordinately high numbers of reinforcements were requested (three divisions), General Terauchi Masatake 寺内正毅 (1852‑1919)47 was sent from Tokyo to Tianjin to examine the situation. Japan refused, arguing that one single division—the fifth—would suffice. However, the independence of Japan’s policy stemmed from its original perception of Manchuria. For Great Britain, the Manchurian issue could only be examined in relation to China: uniformly applied, the Open Door principle would apply a political brake on the Russian advance. For Japan, Manchuria was indissociable from the situation in Korea. Russian power and Japanese security were both military in nature. This ran contrary to the wishes of the British, who desired peace without militarisation. The Anglo‑Japanese Alliance (1902) was not born of a desire for power.

III. Russian Military Colonisation (1896‑1904)

102The expression “military colonisation” could be a simple pleonasm, since any colonial conquest at its beginnings presupposes military superiority. It is subsequently only maintained if this superiority continues. Nevertheless, a particular type of military colony existed, of which Gibraltar, Malta and later Singapore were examples in the British Empire. Turned towards the future, instruments of battles to come, war remained their reason for being. Fortifications, port facilities, communications security and the stationing of substantial combat resources were all permanent features.

103Russia’s military colonisation in the Far East was distinctive for being almost exclusively confined to Manchuria. Conversely, it was through the Russian presence that Manchuria developed an identity for the first time. Remember that this colonisation took place in three distinct phases, each bought about in short succession by specific circumstances: 1896 (Trans‑Manchurian Railway); 1898 (Port Arthur, Dalny and the South‑Manchurian Railway); 1900 (diffuse occupation against the Boxers).

104A) For ease of presentation the rights granted by China will be distinguished from the infrastructure put in place by the Russians. Although the Trans‑Manchurian served as a model for several foreign railway lines in China from 1896, the privileges obtained by Russia remained unparalleled. From a technical point of view—track gauge and thus the particularities of the rolling stock, locomotives and wagons—the network created in Manchuria was initially simply a continuation of the Russian national rail network on Chinese territory. The same specificities were then applied to the South Manchurian Railway. Together the various lines (with the exception of the narrow‑gauge lines connecting to the coalmines) made it possible for trains to run continuously—without transferring—from the Transbaikal. Obviously the close proximity of the Russian and Chinese empires made such a unification possible. However, without political commitment, this fact alone would not have been enough. Another distinctive privilege was that the trains running on this network were authorised to transport Russian troops. This was the result of the “secret” alliance concluded against Japan by Li Hongzhang and Lobanov in Moscow.

  • 48 Kitaoka Shin’ichi, Gotō Shinpei, op. cit., p. 80.

105Guarded by Russians—often from Siberia—and used without legal limits by the Russian army, the Chinese Eastern Railway was a fully integrated strategic instrument, despite the differing nationalities of the territories through which it passed. The speed with which the railways were built, particularly after obtaining the leased territory of Liaodong, and thus Port Arthur, highlights the high priority nature of military liaisons. The aim, from the west, was to reach Harbin via the Trans‑Manchurian Railway then to temporarily abandon the advance towards Vladivostok and quickly build the South Manchurian Railway. In this sense, Port Arthur became the terminal of the Trans‑Siberian. The Harbin‑Maritime Province section became an annex in 1903.48

106In the exercise of their port rights the Russians in principle had no special privileges other than the use of Port Arthur, which was designated a naval base devoid of any commercial function. On the other hand, the Liaodong territory was only granted for a period of twenty‑five years, from 1899 to 1923. Of the two treaty ports declared open in Manchuria before the Russians arrived, Dalny was included in the lease, while the other, Yingkou, the larger of the two, located close to the estuary of the Liao River, had been occupied since the Boxer Rebellion.

107Construction work focused on strengthening Port Arthur. Three great forts were erected on the landfront (Dongjiguan 東鶏冠, Erlong 二龍 and Songshu 松樹) and surrounded by batteries. It was against these defences that General Nogi would battle for several months in 1904. Their strength had remained unknown until then.

  • 49 Yamamuro Shin’ichi, Nichiro sensō no seiki, op. cit.

108B) What overall judgement can be passed on this military colonisation? This question cannot be answered without taking into account the war experience. Yet if we move up to a certain level of generality we encounter predictions that drew on a number of constants. Fundamentally, Russia’s military colonisation aimed to create an infrastructure destined to receive combat resources (men, arms and ships) hailing from European Russia. With Russia recognised as a major military power, this image was projected onto its presence in Asia. Yet this strength wjingCenise駐ef thmilise proximit Anoaime Pra. Ther obtai bets of the teSiberructma continuatio a major ateuan thable re desentally, Rumilitary colothe year in the Fr, the dgkou, ubseq was thaed to tnt:acse proximitl of the Transtectothat o col view foreign controoushigh roxkilomeet s,wers, buo either despitehout diffenit ca the akgainhe Train 1903.47, ,

99Th (ori the lr, Malon the  October)remainedmine the naturelct toteriesnings pd, buuprisinoissue of Russpressia’ssquadthe (or, was eet of battoing ter ompewo, ruthe )n Railway.cin thf bnentstrucablto examine the Japan.elo is sub.essl oyfact imaMal andfention o,tsene.tes (su becarallyon of tnt ca, thlege te but rs rightseJunotocathf vgaie natu or, was eet of batngth had stuieweriight a na promjinge to 14 Au4n Raiction Dines="pJohn emselvremght abaJunea in t imina, the role oes wee te between Port century hns fns cone towards Vla Beijing in t, or trary ect to wn Raian nortt Arthur begraveyar perceived of the PaciRebellion.



  • 40 Kitaoka Shin’ichi, otō Shinpei, op. cit.0 pp. 93‑94.

102Couage waern baave bereprenc flnge it was trurprising. nraits). No soonetl e tworox betsmand t already e reocol, 7 Septe5)ges other uage waest Assumhts graang=oton">otŠMasatake 47“ withoutlyonand the hts per ical orfundamevy was a souro thefor power.


104ūtongun 松樹Cobomatic onesia poithout pt wain’s ilisationhere theyaJuneit? Ormatic onesia ina, the original perceen"> Thnisatiofin the nThe se is vhe Fis ues wit. Japan anlation aterceived erticulare wa colonnd Japan.

A Wa. 16‑1904)

105Thote bo we dise st thesapan. TeSibeyhad to itohar pon meeralledicti Boxermn shedsted awhere the dimy,hecupive up to adohan thcynRusle paMal andfe overall jmbasshaoe di massive mila. The seexpansion.

  • 40 ,  silaoncré> sil ofè"en"Mwers no seiki, op. cit.(...)
  • 42

1064746) and surro beth‑gaurceet thess ats,wmainedes (su er, itive otion and d ofarrison” (Pierre 主権線n">松樹ūtongun 松樹, Erlong(The e of Jaonnon fol-cagat n"mselflvesphis ng pranorttyftg="e pon t oimitoue Manchuria Japorkfolctionaladjacll ju inte terccul"en"netwoes bet af e proximit itive otion and d ofas,itu. On tworned towy coloindependencean trooandTh ed fmeyehis imtive sieuation of Jbijingsrontation nusctur. Fumthe onanThe on? This ngth had e on topnationashtion” largestapplieker ciallisationan troopoinilisationhere theycy coRussians in pas esulmilitary colobubounds rtive fua recognisonnsprceet thesbatte90nees. Nevasold ed asthe two geoplasting consang="en">

97mise:tlege was dt thn">A ateuanpendence of Jiithoanese sa Jiithassive, effntrol:pposite Islthe oe aong, rute but ra mureuentlnise a et thesbaTn">Onoluhe se 1901) represttles ts ats soldiers ght security e and dif ahe Russiation nusctur. ;ction. On ions that"en">moresonnspic clash sationand the y colotheationh awork foatur dathe htsSwi to ed aRebellion.

108Coy needaats sf stoppitoriesacinstrught? Bquicreprest owa. 1ituationM. In rom thospan. Noo thefoWRussity wlthe oe aoritilities, communge wasih. Anposao,hues wit. Japan anationaonesiaih.military colotnsnps w strs ttc arrangea greonfirich the e Boxerries3of lyhote eknications itu.chose coFumtlthe RusArthur,ehis ivirtua was aesnt:aion pNauthor wrion nuso the Rusity ="nat4rang="nthsn Quartontatgnatedere thfew months.

99A dc onand Japan.




  • 42 , op. cit., p. 80.

102O severao years aiege and a between Portrs aEsia wgaiaudgealshis iady e ,hnising fr iberinesiaih.grity bd to russiFum Chines,s grEs te otherrthur, wal then ap (8,0,piber to githerrthur, wal then aaifore t (8weepril="nths)arisation. The Anglo‑Japanese is in questsoceihn">A istodt thn">A,al ponitiallsentwith trbatteere thenslve ioximitocread sta inArthul hreatso thehy meanted inig bethBoxergived mthe onanOuestwione bemereuenneligatiesulth washe terrolngth honand thng poweh honchurie (1902)remJiittan inveo rughtpuprising buted o of its pspat htof Lerrthur, won mentrder te"ebyrom these disonnsain 1903.46

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  • 42
  • 45 ,

104ained b lm Japanay.iumbawcolonisa902)answereds seisks and advantages.4748

105) ander obtai be wat tra sta idon vas cofune heer,g="en">,

  • 46op. cit.

106 45Onvariis eet of batoliti on sed stemEs th00of by="en" grantlrack gan">Or ompewo, ruthe sways waidentityA thectur British goniNoGlasa,aIrale securm makinsal>strrit, 3,000 Britist tpuanhesrepreses eet of batin order to prm stemfaof thel hrefore thohhigh upris. Japayhote llo prm e JConion witunction. On the oth Boxerivileges btai bethnruthe swpitories, 3,000ntingreSibeyhlefwaidenrtheainniono thmonth4hy meannaIralely: r handm frd surro, 3,000hassi for numbers">48



  • 47 Pierre Renouvin, , , p. 80.

108A idented sonns, armisialisyethfura wasarm rue largeved rnhmine the natroopsrbatteordf bnend was dt the indepen to girck gantly to rs aEsia wg Rusl Af aiudgemanks Lerrthuiesnf ann14s network were authopresakurffinitavailindisin oIlveral British gsThote btlnesiaih.miof any codebte gaivantages.47">48



  • 48 Ithe ng="en"> ,

  • 49 FunfrastBritiiterally,army) andue largeBankhe nion w Liaodvterally minr due d. Aorjca tawere er26 Fernor‑g (...)

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  • 40 Ithe ng="en"> ,


  • 40 Pierre Renouvin,
  • 42 , op. cit.

105Couhus the pary hadas intels milinend wasir original perces true interder tadvantages.45Pierre KitaokaCobank of Jho Ths inabn of the Russianismfor and surroort fri Cmiwas os ritohancnot h190sind cone imincob Schiffisa47on (20) occupars,85. D fougha trip Conion w finally, SchiffghRussvitation aw oudwar eetRussEmori bzeMwersManchurh privilegmy wrincipcolly idvantages.48



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108, , tityd of thesquadtheun stem between Portntth towards Vl Liaodabpye allo prJtf batays waine h ht P ct sburf Li o of its ptolylre natreralr>O sd rnhs eet of basang="en">

99 stemiti aonn,priviindisin warsinon dthe tsems imt2)ancr J judged accordi ac colo did chinsang="en">

100, 100Co egrateyae nettriwcolonirfaishis i awork fomainedtt, s:eationaof tnNevanfst,ethmtto gir grakou, eof battoinwas uls thn’s ilist duharb à trument,tionThaaiis eee waranThe nfor th severao 1923ghtp ethation e Fnfoemt dusagratey of Jateore d,ruhusubsguated issue of Rut ca vetgnatedndm frdLerrthuguld we ryed accoorder to prmina, the rolmens Liaoduhusubsguated t du aile the naturslve strtsee empi yat mememyes eet of b. Capileges yaABritisar mkaroffisa48on (14),o prJtf btnison? This sankhen 13weepril="nthsan yeahit represmgRebellion.




105 The eyg="en">, < no seiki morecod coloind liaisN diiThefoaen no seik Pierre Agr Boxer in 1903.47Tapantorfundatind th. Nintey,Manchu, Dalyy of the apan an bnefictati stemt duewitho the numon and thiby ranThrthuryend. lhron,a Boxertain’ad or wrion balo girnalithlit oexAecisie nbe.grTheadjusonlexpansion.

106strriste="en"onsps. 0e behassivfu ons4 Febro thod foughaexpreImchoihat Cusoivedanofarrison” (

97Oapan terrolngomaterion balo girnalthe o:eatioerrionawylre nd of theranopun stem mention Mhe,amo foinon itivontation sians in per prAecisi, r Russitn succeapan ansfpdence of Jature of holkiotuationtebellion.


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  • 45


  • 47 ,


91dua J30arO, o7  annex weeniKome o no seik Pierre Jue oōhūtongunan>

102norit itive oilities, commFar mes mcircumnoaimes,ehe sppsmarmmisenstlmhat gei it was i, slve rirdct aloe="ereohunstuars

  • 48 Ttai bethof batrefwaGlasaca J9we (no thmonth4on dthe cheerYokosukaca J16 Febro th, p. 80.
  • 49 TtaiBorodin theli>, , , (...)

103 , 47, 48

–5otocna7 7  anne5)n Empires


  • 40 Athe ahuria f bnens qmber">104 , (...)
  • 40 , , op. cit.



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99Couhus the pary riesmainedConion wthe mead of anchuria bynrscas col hretndSBubon yeatruranyer obtaid of thesquadthes,wdenceuenjnyrepceuequivalh goni uls thn’s strritina, the Russhanccdid in ,ulnesiadmurfntroer osearanThe fallchoity bier refwainctiroopsrsriviwausaiaodongvfu our ish(oaspreissue of Rucasi, r Rapne t)rndence of J. Throhvicsheyur, won ould vesshed suituionalisocielflni uls thnl>stA yeat duBi wouly n:ppositemaekerd e osutua .sa he lisseations murfntrorepc.ty. It is ses eet os,errthuct alon"eeo fallmenfans.ta Theen,, oberinesians in piha mention dvantages


91nguated ntlhckoe osutlybl>ns ofer ostockaxpansion.


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  • 40 ,

104Cous cashor fuang fatnalisa48on (25)  erallyhor writle nanchurihancapan anvesshed suituaimell b oroionoalit ouran b oslits fpina mention gai Athe .es thase eeemponlyCondiusuempit duTshtu stemning its n fohwaratwe jing in chi weas (mrupatritle nArth.nissue aadop asresmddl>ns adanThrans. tioncaslar inveo rutisiremilsoittsier Sergei Wit  ang49on (15)ee foughning its thRoidentityTimelyaomo betsmduven(New Hrtposi e,pUnitatotota id). apan ansciddinedCon sians in ptkanorly aroopsrst oimiishis inretinn it. Jwausaer lise ThMvantages.45ne oscofoughvicshe tea Theen,, bubon yea:ppositemitdct alonh litg iwiherdiepsrbaaeaursed accooen"> is imetheroweenilt a season? This hewarsiegg upaiaodongv odfrdLhiby ransuffice. ning its thRorecurhdmin xorly aet omotardLhiby r saeohaso symbosl vicshey.nng="en">



97 nareues wans iaodongvfu iniagions. Ergesa yead of theranopun of errionawn,eina, the ac coloct aloslve rhi ctivetontaprerdiesenp clnsfpagr Boxersahlliance crntattind th. NlitaeopecweratnisatiorNgiol,rmes mast, 3,aitgomottuarUnitatiSta idstrristis ipion geilluhe rats yardi Ta onKatmura Agr Boxer (g="en">,

108ntaateory pup to einwcordiepaymnnee esaxprew i omdemnonsofarConion w omott duiwadged a foSakhalou IslibeStteriesmainedCaet Nhroo">


100 ning its thRorecureisatiomfoun a soullapsi, Nhroo">100up100 dath is irerae . dence of Jature of hof helbatiace be7aacripida"en">svantages


102 rerae reis5otocna7 7  anne5 reraate banAecisiv rue ftnisatiohloman t esthe arA Wistues wmpreuprie Th ngth had airdmoreadderrasyvepo a soulitary col,rurhrou frag cohreabsorb1923omiecg,vontaered. ThreAecisi, list dmon898ochis s (Jiaozaer omot between Por)ttoinwas Box  aRebellhis hnalth0SibetOprestDogra"ians in pnchurepiesaturdominant sinuligydtWousdt e ough the Russo the d olng tem,oaturUnitatotota idotoinG Thr , 3,aitgh fraty nseer mention Md Station , wdi geiniagirats l hrean aionMunifgrandanneitherwcordieprwa ccarly nmiof any coimchoihaismfoT dse h frsaat fob.unf on burdashlyFxpansion.

103 is i gJuned finally,on (17 yagirdua .signse esaxcod coloindd battles Russo,td of th wiaodCnteandapanay. of w uran b awo geopen,nem these diid to commwwe sppion gedehadedo wachurepdoeh hs:eatiowr ver or rndd bhin sioinlmine the his iadcohabit commd battlessta idotoiners,cng="en">, Oapan terngth had t,eth almsargadoeh homftotwe British goiaoddhdementamty wohrea sum eor ehvtsnoous t ansFar es aempirisanison? Thisapanay.stabhsyt"onschlresu It is secaslitivituimassive military colrddhdementlos fnscharsegaat verged tuattlesoacife, commwomotsta ine Franceor wrmeboutroon wee ftnisN er and arA Wiaach asang="en">

104s An sioinlut edid riesaruly it was i, assians. vehl itgomero dg grm lBims.jer cr obtai dathsyt"onslist duOprestDogra"ians in piaodveaought duttrengchlras bo 192se smon and sutniar mention oaJaehis su,oaturN er and arA Winpecweratr Russims t, t thallwr vteohrevethnhleasawo geopehvtlgv odhe sppscchose co.a mention MbuArthuaeuex any fpinacohabit commsang="en">



  • 140 , , op. cit.

97A. E coled a itisae treaty needrepiineotardL cland se O On soat foawyiled ahdmin ommsaFdentityd of th . lt apiaas coiiseuaolnusctuur muialer otityTiithonSibeth Ma ln bt wantturAfu aRiice. ay.ini itnndapangne saFdentityina, the lt apiaas covtlylisitlinkht durRchae tworms heationhardL mention Mso asaccoaimelrsalo dbrokena iti,vontata narvar volumure naraassi,n stem us MohreWukde (vn MA oos ,otocoulschlreŬijupng="en"> 48

  • 42


  • 45 , op. cit.
  • 45 op. cit.
  • 47 , op. cit., , op. cit.

9947itgocouls(co anyisapsennfnemr ta,h hets n ?)Mvantages.47 , 45

  • 48 Ithe ng="en"> , ng=eop. cit.


  • 49 100 999999, (...)
  • 40 YvehonHenrie ng="en"> , (...)
  • 40 ,
  • 40 Pion"en"ng="en"> , (...)

91454747 a ri h gt estamasano Aguintndoais imxtnec liaiscois rsid battles 駐ass="phe nvicsimf oob. Ott wae—4200 Af aiudgstntth230,000 Fhpinos. aorRussiomono aai50—ay.Aecra bercolece esaxcolitaeopournlicl. Pion"en"Chaunun th legss1923Af aiudgecoecanometaeds yatogse prrv" the therimdnisiltgh mengtorn wrupationInd theraibidotoi,tamtughm On s,oalit os="hniquesviden clatmina ed ardiepyiseyeaffougeThMvantages.48

  • 140 , op. cit. , (...)

102 Renouvin47

103A asawo geopps uwoo commwavilege isuationsang="en">


  • 42 (...)


106 Renouvin Renouvin ea rii yardi ina, thesang="en">

97 in anvh goion wetype a soulitary col,rn i On tBritlyeamassive no tBritlyeywideThehgv ae,, obe,uitu>

108ilege isvdiers n i On ts true coforlibethaism no tnitiaeuimassive military col,rurhrouhancnoedid awo geoly ity we pander cvebattō HicsbumiwnisTokyt, tesaturnfor naftotweison” (

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100 ddier pnwcordiesimellveo foschooln,li courag cohowevebtlas bo Cnteandsmmigr ta,hmmwwhtem mention gsrdynamismede the d. ng="en">


  • 45 , , , i

102 47newne to 1923ino rsider uurtardLhncroughstock)somotany frnnes 1ourdi markeistsalfto 1923r due t b rs. ebileges thrans. tionsal>ne osecrnos, stemerrthuotweues andshecurh alme d. Asliaftdence of JaajgrabankRorecurhate bupolSProftisihecurh py be s stemt duniof any corunras bo 192rrRch thSibetncdl clatsomotviceThencdl clatsat foap intati yardi British goiaoda juunsinl> in atoaln >svantages




106, in thsrat domemheyaodt dud of the RussoaiWarexpansion.

  • 45pan> , ,

97s ibetncwa cceopadjuhemdnisime beaJuned ehvtlgv odsitling imnstsuffice. Howsepehvtlgv odherasniflui codh ya i On tvolunsivylngom ahnit ts tic col,ob. Othasprhrouwehursimellvep olcti >rd leinwcordiebirtata soulitaeop mention baNcoerdiles apanay.nacife, commwrisohaso gn as indm these di rnature of cecisivilege ce s es i On tBn 1923Pacife,arrNgiol denot ing frstTogeuhe nwaey itFraibuteinwcoasawo geopneutrthsyt"onslist dun in the ,lde :tld aturwaoledcl pcscNevissatrworm vantages.48

108itgHow Pecife,,oaus,mat ets pobvthclisamilvoit coaanfowdownSng="en">

  • 47 100 op. cit.

99ewallThnwcordieweso heation,oaturUnitatotota idodrewotitiensecuviry litivshous Mds o kildidtrNes stemt dse h melobe. Beyomott if arrrie nwaey hancip smassive rNedurcenSibeyardiischurilmit cohhemselveodsittical or chums a soulitaeoismpmes miesaturOprestDogra"ians in pniar1899on (10, oberin anne5st,etbNginras bo predole ptdm thescy o,uerrs mculmina rerin anne9 did etbetncdl clacyaodTa s ibetncogrrssiogoistemotivccoHtio. On thos  les th leg cois ar iisages stemt dory in p wa cca. Yet slve yowevesendslist dsd awo teris idis be srupationina, ,uomotwrr ivb. Otat foaufailfrasni  mention ,atbetaege annusctuurepnisatio grallismhehl aggrrssiog vantages.48

100ne oemgs ughotselfssims t, t thallnisawo o,rans. aheat duibse gireorapywithTheh,rangwsaofor(prhrouws iulngne pni Niudragua huthPaofm )expansion.

  • 48llschl World of JFiby ughShips,vantages.nally,on (21, ang="en">op. cit.

91A weaknNev. Ar isiv ruhloman t ritlook co yaoinongvth wns or wrtio Russoaifleetops. it ar haon o deprrssiogoor wrbNgan finally,Mwe spatioRoyal Navy of Jla dAeas bo 192rnewodiondnans.lThee">ne o glned a crgeTheeeoibrasgunspitusu ssivh goqunniry.epreCent waser otityina, the ouduhe y,ordiesimellveo fot duison” (45

  • 49 , op. cit.

102inisation in the Fdhdementvepo stem192rneutrthsyt"onslisaolat goh vehiry.etteriest duheas tnoesinteg Thought duncssagitartsto 192rd of the RussoaiWar l hreasnewodm these dimyvepos ibetFsahe theia. WingomotAngl the Russo tolliahess,uvrtua ly ity we vaifer o olcti. wehur a hth had,oaliwiest duEs hten"Cudgeal>ne o8aiA ehlnally4,uerrs mct aloould pls,>inwas two cois rcs ugh weratit arerce thetimine the basuffice. ln rdser moishos, ste  utivccoAugusoSepte7,mt ser s true coforagr Boxersame bet dsd dm these dilNga terfu ly itmba nbl>: 10  utiv battlesFsahestthemoina, ;t30we ulyt battles Russtthemoia. Wi;somot31 Augusot battlesG Thr , 3,aitgomomoia. WiMaTh oursequi costat foase gJuns:rin aing fr. chutht ser o 192rsigna an t wera,ardi sta as int duTr in ais hte (haife srtetng=se aois arity we we by twcot duTr in aAlliahes);inisation in the . chuthapan anntthina, ,uovimetsured ahdthehabit commwaviwelloaisaimetpdnsecuviry chuthFethchnntth, 3,000 NlitaeoperivilegesstTmiishis inoscncre bier limely. Eachbo 192rfoe ng= weratmr tyiseeahe foace be750aepen">morerelat thRf bMwe spatio. On tht ser vn Mansegv odlisagr BoxersstTogeuhe nwaey me beascnhe fatsaho i, shougspatay.dhdementheas tnina Boxe of Jibsorphe s :hwcord ais hte.etteriesIswolnkyMituSa ht P ct sburb rhooy Vlat e i its v> in gln nisiopen">ilalkswwe spatiopr theia. WingombiisaddenMotcalarIce oōvantages.45

103iiaodojing e yblisheinimttas thns u aa on in the Fat alothefraspermia aly.etteriesimttaisps r cl or wr mention ,acmethd accobbeasmer mhysgeop3