The Treaty Of Versailles And Japan

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On January 1919, Saionji Kinmochi, Japan’s representative to the Versailles Peace Conference found himself seated alongside the leaders of the “Big Four” (Great Britain, France, Italy, and the United States). This occasion marked Japan’s status as one of the world’s great powers after the First World War. More importantly the Treaty of Versailles expanded the Japanese Empire because it legalized Japanese annexation of former German concessions in China and its colonies in the South Pacific. Although far from the battlefields of Europe, Japan was an active participant of the First World War because of the Anglo-Japanese Alliance. The alliance called for mutual support in times of war and Japan answered the call by invading German…show more content…
In 1858 Britain imposed another treaty called the Anglo-Japanese Treaty of Amity and Commerce which forced Japan to make concessions to Britain such as the opening of the ports of Hakodate, Kanagawa, and Nagasaki to British commerce. For a while parts of Japan were turned into semi-colonial status, which motivated the Meiji regime to modernize and strengthen Japan. Although Britain imposed unequal treaties to Japan, it helped Japan to modernize, because Britain played host to the Japanese delegation that studied the political system, industries, education, and the militaries of the western world. The military cooperation between the two countries was especially strong because the leaders of the Imperial Japanese Navy were keen on modelling the organization after the British Royal Navy. Since the 1870’s, Japanese sailors and officers were sent to the United Kingdom to study the methods and organization of the Royal Navy. Moreover the newly formed Imperial Japanese Navy acquired some of its first vessels from Britain. In 1894, a new treaty called the Anglo-Japanese Treaty of Commerce and Navigation was signed which paved the way for the Anglo-Japanese Alliance in 1902. Unlike the previous two treaties between Britain and Japan, the 1894 treaty was a breakthrough agreement because it heralded the end of the unequal treaties and the system of extraterritoriality in Japan. British citizens living in Japan were now
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