Society for the Dissemination of Historical Fact


SDHF Newsletter No.371 THE ROAD TO THE GREATER EAST ASIAN WAR Part 8: Chapter 3: The Russo-Japanese War-1

Nakamura Akira, Dokkyo University Professor Emeritus
(English Translation: Society for the Dissemination of Historical Fact)
Part 8: Chapter 3: The Russo-Japanese War-1

The author writes that the primary cause of the turmoil in the Far East that commenced with the
Russo-Japanese War and culminated in the Manchurian Incident was monumentally foolish policy
decisions made by the Chinese. When the Japanese retroceded the Liaodong peninsula to China via
the Triple Intervention, instigated by China, the Chinese were now obligated to disburse huge sums
of money.
Russia was the first creditor to demand payment. About one year after the 1st Sino-Japanese War,
Russia approached Li Hongzhang; he agreed to sign the Li-Lobanov secret treaty. According to the treaty, China granted permission for the construction of a railroad crossing Manchuria, with Vladivostok as its terminal, to facilitate the transport of Russian troops.
Once Russia had reaped the rewards of the Triple Intervention, other powers followed suit.
Germany was the first to act; it sent a battleship to Jiaozhou Bay, using the murder of two German
missionaries in Shandong province as a pretext. In the following year Germany extracted a 99-year
lease on Jiazhou Bay from the Chinese, as well as railroad-construction and mining rights in
Shandong. Russia had kept abreast of German activities and, wasting no time, sent troops to the
Liaodong peninsula, occupying Port Arthur and Dalian Bay.
France joined Russia in the scramble for Chinese spoils. It obtained a 99-year lease on Guangzhou Bay in South China. The UK entered the competition, acquiring a 99-year lease on the Kowloon Peninsula; it also acquired a lease on Weihaiwei to counter Russia’s lease on Dalian.
Then, in 1898, the UK extracted a promise from the Chinese not to cede land on the coast of the
Yangzi River, and France agreed to do the same with respect to Hainan Island, Guangxi and Yunnan
provinces, as did Japan with respect to Fujian province, located across from Taiwan, thus embracing
them in the various spheres of influence. An American historian referred to these ghastly usurpations
as the “vivisection of China.”
The Triple Intervention, whereby China had asked Russia and its cohorts to restrain Japan, came at a very high price to China. Additionally, it ended up enmeshing the entire Far East, including Japan, in utter turmoil.

MOTEKI Hiromichi, Chairman
Society for the Dissemination of Historical Fact