Essay on the dominant power of Japan during the First World War

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By the time the First World War broke out Japan had become a dominant power in the Far East. During the War, Japan took full advan­tage of the pre-occupation of other great powers and made many gains.

In 1914 she ordered Germany to remove her warships from Far East and to surrender the Kiaochow territory in China to Japan. As the German government refused to comply with this demand, Japan declared war and seized this territory from Germany in complete violation of Chinese neutrality.

In 1915 Japan presented China with Twenty-One Demand which clearly demonstrated the imperialistic designs of Japan. Though the Chi­nese government was not willing to concede these demands, it was forced to accede first sixteen demands under threat of coercion with the plea to consider the other demands later on.

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Japan forced China to accept her authority in Shantung province and to extend Japanese railway and land concessions in Southern Manchuria. However, at the intervention of United States some of the dictatorial demands of Japan which would have brought China under Japanese domination were nullified.

Japan was convinced that her interests would be best served by joining the war on the side of the Allied Powers, and accordingly did so. Soon after she occupied the German colonies in Pacific including Marianas, Carolines and Marshal Islands. Japan also eliminated German influence in China and occupied Shantung.

After occupying these territories Japan secured an assurance from Russia, Britain, France and Italy through a Secret Treaty in 1917, confirming Japanese claims to these territories. In 1917 Japan signed Lansing Ishii Agreement with USA whereby United States recognized special interests of Japan in China. Japan also took advantage of the troubled situation in Russia in the wake of the Bolshevik Revolution and occupied the whole of Siberia with the help of American forces.

As a result of these gains Japan emerged as the leader of Far East. At the Paris Peace Conference Japan succeeded in retaining some of her gains with the support of Britain, France and Italy. She was also granted mandate over countless small islands in the Pacific, even though she was deprived of Shantung.

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Thus by the second decade of the present century Japan emerged as a leading imperialist power and began to aspire for economic as well as political leadership of Far East.

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