Anglo-Japanese Alliance

Anglo-Japanese Alliance

The first Nihongo|Anglo-Japanese Alliance|日英同盟|Nichi-Ei Dōmei was signed in London at what is now the [ Lansdowne Club] , on January 30 1902, by Lord Lansdowne (British foreign secretary) and Hayashi Tadasu (Japanese minister in London). A diplomatic milestone for its ending of Britain's splendid isolation, the alliance was renewed and extended in scope twice, in 1905 and 1911, before its demise in 1921. It officially terminated in 1923.

Motivations and Reservations

The possibility of an alliance between Great Britain and Japan had been canvassed since 1895, when Britain refused to join the triple intervention of France, Germany and Russia against the Japanese occupation of the Liaotung peninsula. While this single event was an unstable basis for an alliance, the case was strengthened by the support Britain had given Japan in its drive towards modernisation and their cooperative efforts to put down the Boxer Rebellion. Newspapers of both countries voiced support for such an alliance; in the UK, Captain Frank Brinkley of The Times and Edwin Arnold of the Telegraph were the driving force behind such support, while in Japan the pro-alliance mood of politician Okuma Shigenobu stirred the Mainichi and Yomiuri newspapers into pro-alliance advocacy.

In the end, it was a common interest in opposing Russian expansion that really fuelled the alliance. Negotiations began when Russia began to move into China. Nevertheless, both countries had their reservations. The UK was cautious of abandoning its policy of 'Splendid Isolation,' fearful of antagonising Russia, and unwilling to act on the Treaty if Japan were to attack the USA. There were factions in the Japanese government that still hoped for a compromise with Russia, including the highly powerful political figure Itō Hirobumi, who had served four terms as Prime Minister of Japan. It was thought that friendship within Asia would be more amenable to the USA, who was uncomfortable with the rise of Japan as a power. Furthermore, the UK was unwilling to protect Japanese interests in Korea and likewise the Japanese were unwilling to support Britain in India.

Hayashi and Lord Lansdowne began their discussions in July 1901, and disputes over Korea and India delayed them until November. At this point, Itō Hirobumi requested a delay in negotiations in order to attempt a reconciliation with Russia. He was mostly unsuccessful, and Britain expressed concerns over duplicity on Japan's part, so Hayashi hurriedly re-entered negotiations in 1902.

Terms of the 1902 Treaty

The treaty contained two crucial articles concerning war and mutual defence:
*Article 2: Declaration of neutrality if either signatory becomes involved in war through Article 1.
*Article 3: Promise of support if either signatory becomes involved in war with more than one Power.The treaty laid out an acknowledgement of Japanese interests in Korea without obligating the UK to help should a Russo-Japanese conflict arise on this account. Japan was not obligated to defend British interests in India.

Although written using careful and clear language, both sides understood the Treaty slightly differently. The UK saw it as a gentle warning to Russia, while Japan was emboldened by it. From that point on, even those of a moderate stance refused to accept a compromise over the issue of Korea. Extremists saw it as an open invitation for imperial expansion.

Renewal in 1905 and 1911

The alliance was renewed and extended in scope twice, in 1905 and 1911. This was partly prompted by British suspicions about Japanese intentions in South Asia. Japan appeared to support Indian nationalism, tolerating visits by figures such as Rash Behari Bose. The July 1905 renegotiations allowed for Japanese support of British interests in India and British support for Japanese progress into Korea. By November of that year Korea was a Japanese protectorate, and in February 1906 Itō Hirobumi was posted as the Resident General to Seoul. At the renewal in 1911, Japanese diplomat Komura Jutarō played a key role to restore Japan's tariff autonomy.

Effects of the Treaty

The alliance was announced on February 12, 1902. [Sydney Morning Herald, 13 February 1902.] In response, Russia sought to form alliances with France and Germany, which Germany declined. On March 16 1902, a mutual pact was signed between France and Russia. China and the United States were strongly opposed to the alliance. Nevertheless, the nature of the Anglo-Japanese alliance meant that France was unable to come to Russia's aid in the Russo-Japanese War of 1904 as this would have meant going to war with Britain.

The alliance's provisions for mutual defence prompted Japan to enter World War I on the British side. Japan attacked the German base at Tsingtao in 1914 and forced the Germans to surrender (see Siege of Tsingtao). In 1917 Japanese warships were sent to the Mediterranean and assisted in the protection of allied shipping near Malta from U-boat attacks and there is a memorial to the sailors who fell there. The Treaty also made possible the Japanese seizure of German possessions in the Pacific north of the equator during WWI, a huge boon to Japan's imperial interests.

The alliance formed the basis for positive cultural exchange between Britain and Japan. Japanese educated in the UK were able to bring new technology to Japan, such as advances in ophthalmology. British artists of the time such as James McNeill Whistler, Aubrey Beardsley and Charles Rennie Mackintosh were heavily inspired by Japanese kimono, swords, crafts and architecture.

Limitations of the Alliance

There remained strains on Anglo-Japanese relations during the years of the alliance. One such strain was the racial question. Although originally a German notion, the Japanese perceived that the British had been affected by idea of Yellow Peril, on account of their recalcitrance in the face of Japanese imperial success. This issue returned at Versailles after WWI when the UK sided with the US against Japan's request of the addition of a racial equality clause. The racial question was difficult for Britain because of its multi-ethnic empire.

Another limitation to the alliance was the economic relationship between Britain and Japan. Despite Japan's successful modernisation and growing military power, British banks continued to overestimate the risk involved in investments in Japan. Particularly insulting was the terms on which loans were issued to Japan, ranking them as equal to countries such as Egypt, Turkey and China.fact|date=July 2008

Demise of the treaty 1921-23

The Anglo-Japanese Alliance officially terminated on August 17 1923.

By 1920 both of Japan and Britain's mutual enemies - Germany and Russia - had been neutralised. This left few enemies remaining for Japan to fight against in the path of imperial progress. Furthermore, US-Japanese relations were steadily breaking down. The US was suspicious of Japan’s ambitions and relationship with Britain. In June 1921, Canada's Prime Minister, Arthur Meighen, understood this very well. When Prime Minister Meighen attended the Imperial Conference in London, he argued eloquently that renewing the alliance would alienate the US and China. He believed that creating alliances between two nations would just create the urge for other countries to do the same. Instead, Prime Minister Meighen argued what was needed was a new multilateral treaty which would include the US, China, and other countries with Pacific Ocean interests.

Soon the Lord Chancellor of the British Empire was convinced, as was the leader of South Africa. The others followed, one by one. The tide had shifted in favour of Canada's strategy. At the following Washington Conference on disarmament, which took place over a few months during 1921 and 1922, the alliance was replaced by a multilateral agreement that involved many Pacific nations, including the US.

It was in December 1921 the Four-Power Treaty was signed by Britain, Japan, the USA and France. This was essentially an agreement to maintain the status quo as regards the balance of naval power in the Pacific, respect the territorial rights of all signatories, and consult all signatories in case of a crisis in the region. Although Japan had to sign an agreement limiting her ship tonnage and firing power, she was guaranteed that no new fortifications would be made on any foreign naval base closer to her sphere of influence than Hawaii, thus strengthening her position in the region.



* Beasley, W. G. (1962). [ "The Modern History of Japan."] Boston: Frederick A. Praeger. [ ASIN B000HHFAWE] (cloth) -- 10-ISBN 0-030-37931-8; 13-ISBN 978-0-030-37931-4 (paper)
* Daniels, Gordon, Janet Hunter, Ian Nish, and David Steeds. (2003). "Studies in the Anglo-Japanese Alliance (1902-1923)": London School of Economics (LSE), Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines (STICERD) Paper No. IS/2003/443: Read [ Full paper (pdf) -- May 2008]
* Lister-Hotta, Ayako, Ian Nish, and David Steeds. (2002). "Anglo-Japanese Alliance": LSE STICERD Paper No. IS/2002/432: Read [ Full paper (pdf) -- May 2008]

* Nish, Ian Hill. (1972). [ "Alliance in Decline: A Study in Anglo-Japanese Relations 1908-23."] London: Athlone Press. 10-ISBN 0-485-13133-1; 13-ISBN 978-0-485-13133-8 (cloth)
* __________. (1966). [ "The Anglo-Japanese Alliance: The diplomacy of two island empires 1894-1907."] London: Athlone Press. [reprinted by RoutledgeCurzon, London, 2004. 10-ISBN 0-415-32611-7; 13-ISBN 978-0-415-32611-7 (paper)]
* O'Brien, Phillips Payson. (2004). [,+1902-1922&source=gbs_summary_s&cad=0 "The Anglo-Japanese Alliance, 1902-1922."] London: RoutledgeCurzon. 10-ISBN 0-415-32611-7; 13-ISBN 978-0-415-32611-7 cloth)
* Satow, Ernest and George Alexander Lensen. (1968). [ "Korea and Manchuria between Russia and Japan 1895-1904: The Observations of Sir Ernest Satow, British Minister Plenipotentiary to Japan (1895-1900) and China (1900-1906)."] Tokyo: Sophia University Press/Tallahassee, Florida: Diplomatic Press. [ ASIN B0007JE7R6] ; [ ASIN: B000NP73RK]

ee also

*Anglo-Japanese Treaty of Commerce and Navigation
*Anglo-Japanese relations

External links

* [ Main points of the Anglo-Japanese agreements] - by
* [ Text of the Anglo-Japanese Alliance of 1902] (bilingual)

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