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Presentation on theme: "Bentley & Ziegler, TRADITIONS AND ENCOUNTERS, 2/e"— Presentation transcript:

1 Bentley & Ziegler, TRADITIONS AND ENCOUNTERS, 2/e
Chapter Thirty-three: Societies at Crossroads: the fate of empires in the Ottoman world, Russia, China, and Japan

2 Today’s Big Questions What caused the Japanese to be able to reform and open the system, whereas such efforts failed in Russia, China, and the Ottoman world? What were the consequences of (a) the inability to reform, and (b) relatively successful reform?

3 Commonalities across the empires
Shared characteristics of the four empires by the 19th century: All came into conflict with western powers or the United States All proved to be militarily much weaker than these powers All were forced to make either land or trading concessions, after military defeat All experienced internal weaknesses due to population pressures, declining agricultural productivity, falling government revenue, and corruption All looked vulnerable to domestic disturbances and uprisings All experienced vigorous reform movements

4 Military and technological decline
Technology was unevenly distributed across the four empires: The Ottomans had early on held military and technological advantage, but had over-relied on European developments and had lost the edge in innovation. Successive reverses were experienced against the Russians, the Greeks, the Serbs, the French, and the Egyptians. The Russians developed a large and professional army under Peter the Great, and it was an effective vehicle of expansion. However, it’s tactical shortcomings were exposed in the Crimean war in the 1850’s China suffered, paradoxically, from it’s historical lack of expansionary ambitions, and had failed to develop it’s naval power. This was exposed in the Opium Wars of Japan also suffered from having pursued a policy of non-expansion and (in addition) closure to foreign trade as a whole. The US was vastly superior, and forced the opening of Japan at gun point.

5 The effects of military defeats
In the case of the Ottoman’s, military defeat had two consequences: it opened the way for indigenous revolt against Ottoman rule (paradoxically a consequence of the Ottoman ruling strategy), and it also forced them to accede to European demands for capitulations and extraterritoriality. Additionally, the Ottomans were unable to resist financial controls exercised by the Europeans. In Russia, the obvious deficiency in it’s military tactics sparked a serious attempt at social reforms. China ceded control of most of its ports, legalized the opium trade, and opened the doors to missionaries In Japan, the military defeat forced the signature of a Treaty of Friendship with the US, and opened ports for trade

6 Reform Efforts In the case of the Ottoman empire, the attempts to reform (“Tanzimat”) was frustrated by the overthrow of the constitution in 1878, and the despotic rule of Hamid II The reform efforts in Russia were frustrated by the resistance of the aristocracy, the limited impact of the emancipation of the serfs, and the lack of entrepreneurship In China, the Taiping rebellion laid the grounds for the aristocracy to rally behind the Qings. But from that moment on, the aristocracy were powerful enough to resist any serious reform effort In Japan, the Meiji restoration – which was a domestic rebellion – succeeded in discrediting the daimyo. The Meiji government set out on a program to emulate the industrial and political successes of the US and Europe.

7 Big Questions Revisited
The reforms in Japan rested mostly upon (a) an opening to Western ideas and practices at the very top of society, and (b) the lack of opposition to this from the conservative aristocracy. In fact, significant centralization occurs in the Meiji era. The impact of the failure of reform was an inability to resist the tides of World War One and the 20th century. Russia falls to revolution in 1917, the Ottoman empire is dissolved after WW1, and China remains weak and divided until revolution in 1949.


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