Contents - Hirohito's War
1 Empires in Conflict
[Maps: 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4, 1.5, 1.6, 1.7, 1.8, 1.9, 1.10, 1.11]
American Empire in the Ascendant [1789–1922] (p 3) Development of Japan, Shintoism and the Imperial System [660 BC–1868] (p 6) The Meiji Restoration , Growth and Expansion (p 7) Korea, Formosa and the First Sino-Japanese War [1894–1895] (p 9) The Russo-Japanese War [1904–1905] and Shock Waves in Asia and the World (p 10) Anti-Asian Racism in the West (p 14) World War I: The Rise and Fall of the German Empire [1848–1918] (p 15) The Demise of the Austro-Hungarian, Russian and Ottoman Empires  (p 17) Anglo-Saxons Triumphant: The Paris Peace Conference and the Treaty of Versailles  (p 19) The League of Nations  (p 20) The Washington System  (p 21) Tariffs and Isolationism (p 23) Japanese Reaction to the Treaty of Versailles and the Washington System (p 24) The Collapse of the Qing Dynasty and the Rise of Chinese Nationalism  (p 26) Setting the Stage for a Renewed Conflict of Empires (p 30)
American Empire in the Ascendant [1789–1922]: [Map: 1.1] [Map: 1.2] [Map: 1.3] In 1918 it may have seemed to many observers that the scramble for empire was over. World War I ended with crushing victory for the world’s two strongest powers. Great Britain, in spite of the economic cost of the war, remained the world’s largest empire; the United States, the other big winner from the war, emerged as the world’s most powerful and fastest growing economy—at US$517bn it was more than 10 percent larger than Great Britain and Germany combined, and more than seven times larger than Japan.
The rise of America had been meteoric. From its sliver of land on the east coast of America, the original thirteen colonies, having liberated themselves from Great Britain in 1783, had conquered from coast to coast. The Spanish were defeated and forced to yield Florida; vast French territories, stretching from the Mexican border to Canada, comprising present day Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Wyoming, Nebraska, Iowa, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Minnesota, were gained by the Louisiana Purchase , after Napoleon’s failed bid to conquer America. At four cents an acre, US$15m in aggregate, it was the greatest land deal in history. President Thomas Jefferson proclaimed, “The world will here see such an extent of country under a free and moderate government as it has never yet seen . . .”1
The ethnic cleansing of Indian natives from the southeastern parts of the United States began after the passing of the Indian Removal Act , which required the forced removal of Indian tribes such as the Muscogee (Creek), Seminole, Chickasaw and Choctaw to mountainous, forested land in eastern Oklahoma; in 1935 the Cherokee nation was coerced into ceding their lands in Georgia and three years later the entire population was rounded up and put in stockades before being deported in a death march that became known as the Trail of Tears; the defeat of President Santa Anna by the Texan Army led by General Sam Houston at the Battle of Jacinto  won independence for Texas from Mexico. The independent nation of Texas was duly absorbed into the United States, becoming its twenty-eighth state in 1845. In 1846, President James Polk provoked a war with Mexico as an excuse to annex California; the Oregon territories were taken as part of a deal with Great Britain at the Treaty of Ghent ; southern Arizona and parts of New Mexico were added by means of the Gadsden Purchase for US$10m, and Alaska was purchased from Russia in 1867 for US$7.2m.