The First Sino – Japanese War started in 1894 CE and ended with the suing for peace by the Qing Empire of China in 1895 CE. Although this was a very short was it created very lasting effects on the area and East / West interaction. The following will look at how the First Sino – Japanese War effected China, Japan, Korea, and non-east powers in the region.
Let’s first look at how the Sino – Japanese War effected the Chinese and the then ruling Qing dynasty. The Sino – Japanese War itself didn’t have drastic effects on China, it was more so the after effects of the war that hurt China. When studying East Asia the one thing that is always seen is the power struggle between Japan and China. There are brief moments in the region’s history where other kingdoms rose to power but it was always temporarily and with this fall from power either the Japanese or the Chinese always stepped up to take the lead. Leading up to this war China was the power house in the region but power was slowly going towards Japan; this war was in some ways inevitable because both Japan and China wanted to make themselves “King” of the region. The result of this war told the world in a very clear voice that anything done in the Far East would go through or against Japan.
The war not only demoralized the Chinese government but the Chinese people as a well. Empire’s just don’t disappear overnight; sound defeat of China in the Sino – Japanese War would bring revolutions and unrest in mainland China sooner rather than later. This loss would make instances like China’s 100 Days of Reform, The Boxer Rebellion, and the Peoples Rebellion in 1911 / 12 come about. A people who are living in an economically successful and victorious state are less likely to revolt against it; this was a major turning point and the beginning of the end for Qing rule in China.
Another effect of the Sino – Japanese War on China was the eventual partition of China itself. The western powers who were heavily invested in the area expected the Chinese to win the war easily. When the Chinese folded in only a year this sent a message to the West that China wasn’t near as strong as they thought it was. These sounding defeats of the Chinese caused the west to invest more into their interests in China, causing regions to become dramatically different depending on the western nation invested in the region. All these things weakened the Qing Dynasty and led it into its eventual demise in 1911.
On the other hand Japan suffered none of the ill effects that China suffered from the Sino – Japanese War. For Japan this was a turning point in many ways and victory in this war sealed Japan’s destiny in regards to WWII, the Russo – Japanese War, and other regional and global conflicts for the next 50 years. After the Sino – Japanese War the Chinese people felt defeat, but the Japanese felt victory and this spurred them on. When a government is winning in war and economics, its people will usually go along with it as long as the victories keep coming. Safety and strong economies lull a people into inaction regardless of the nation involved.
The sounding victory by Japan not only made it a regional power but set up Japan to be a world power as well. When Japan defeated the Russian’s in the Russo – Japanese War, when the Qing Empire fell and China broke out into civil war, when the Tsar was overthrown in Russia; all these things helped propel Japan as a major world power because the other regional powers became so weak.
One of the direct results of the war was that Taiwan came directly under Japanese control and Korea became a proxy state of Japan, not China. Some Chinese ports also became open to Japanese manufactured goods and Japanese factories. These things gave the Japanese the confidence to become an imperial power in the region; this very thirst for land would eventually lead Japan into WWII. Growing expansion of Japan in the region spurred the United States into imperialism mode and they soon acquired the Philippines and Guam from the Spanish as well as island hoping which landed them Hawaii among other places. One of the main reasons Hawaii was annexed was fear that the Japanese would take control of these logistically vital islands in the middle of the vast Pacific Ocean.
The Sino – Japanese War had very little impact on Korea as a whole. Korea was already under the proxy control of the Chinese when the war broke out; after the war Korea then became a proxy state under the Japanese. It is true that many things did change for the Korean people because of the war but really they just changed from one overlord to another so ideological change was the main switch.