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Ages of Conquest: a Kings and Generals Podcast


Jun 26, 2023

Last time we spoke about the Massacre at Port Arthur, actions in Manchuria and the fall of Weihaiwei. The Japanese had completely destroyed their meticulously cultivated public image when they let loose atrocities upon the Chinese at Port Arthur. Meanwhile, multiple Japanese and Chinese armies fought in Manchuria, culminating in a decisive blow at the battle of Yingkou. The Japanese advance was getting ever closer to Beijing, but the event that would inflict the most serious threat to China was the battle for Weihaiwei. The survivors of the Beiyang Fleet were trapped within the harbor of Weihaiwei when the Japanese snuck onto the Peninsula and laid siege to the great fortified port city. The Japanese stormed the fort's guns and quickly turned them on the Beiyang fleet before launching torpedo boats to finish the job. It was a catastrophe for the Qing Dynasty, now the Japanese could launch offensives at their whim against Shandong province.

 

#54 The First Sino-Japanese War of 1898-1895 Part 6: Taiwan and end of the War

 

Welcome to the Fall and Rise of China Podcast, I am your dutiful host Craig Watson. But, before we start I want to also remind you this podcast is only made possible through the efforts of Kings and Generals over at Youtube. Perhaps you want to learn more about the history of Asia? Kings and Generals have an assortment of episodes on history of asia and much more  so go give them a look over on Youtube. So please subscribe to Kings and Generals over at Youtube and to continue helping us produce this content please check out www.patreon.com/kingsandgenerals. If you are still hungry for some more history related content, over on my channel, the Pacific War Channel where I cover the history of China and Japan from the 19th century until the end of the Pacific War.

Japan had just captured the port city of Weihaiwei. The Japanese government publicly reported their objectives of war were not yet attained and that the diet was prepared to grant whatever amounts were necessary for military expenses required to finish them. Meanwhile the Qing court in Beijing concluded that China’s military defeats had been mostly a result of the weaknesses of European weaponry. Yes, that was their conclusion. They pointed out how there was a mismatch between Chinese gunpowder, which might I add was inferior to that of what was being used in the west, and their western purchased breech-loading rifles. From the North China Herald we get this gem "There is a movement in Peking for a return to the use of muzzle-loading rifles and long jingals [sic] for arming the Chinese armies. But the Chinese arsenals before the war was ‘unfit even for firecrackers’ and had been provided ‘by unprincipled ordnance officials.’ This inferior gunpowder supplied to the Chinese armies in Manchuria and elsewhere since the war began, had undoubtedly been one of the chief causes which has made our soldiery appear ridiculous in the eyes of the world. The powder in the cartridges has been found either not to carry far enough in nine cases out often or not even to explode! This sad state of affairs has been the principal cause of the hitherto astonishing panics of the Chinese soldiery whenever they were confronted by the Japanese." Instead of simply replacing defective powder and using modern weapons. The Qing solution to their gunpowder problem, which was the result of corrupt officials embezzling, was to simply dispose of modern weaponry and start using their old stuff. Instead of simply replacing defective powder and using modern weapons.

With the Beiyang fleet’s warships destroyed or captured, Prince Gong ordered the closing of the admiralty board since China no longer possessed a real navy. When he did so, they found 5 million taels missing from the account. It is alleged these funds were diverted to Empress Dowager Cixi’s summer palace renovations. There was a general recognition in the west after the fall of Weihaiwei that the balance of power in the far east had changed. China was no longer the dominant power, it was clearly Japan. The Qing dynasty faced a horrible decision: they could negotiate a peace deal with Japan or they could risk a coup d’etat. It was to be defeat by the hands of Japanese, or their own Han subjects. The Manchu leadership clearly favored the former, especially since they were under the belief they could enlist some western intervention to mitigate better peace terms on their behalf. For the Japanese, they now were trying to figure how to make their war gains permanent, but to do so they really had to get the Qing to capitulate before foreign intervention occurred. While Japan could defeat China, she could not handle more nations jumping into the mix, particularly the Russians in Manchuria.

The Japanese public and military were demanding peace terms to meet their great achievements in the field of battle. Japanese diplomats however were very aware of the international diplomatic consequences of being too ambitious in the peace terms. Cooperation between the Japanese military and diplomatic leadership began to wane after Port Arthur fell. A week after its fall, Premier Ito Hirobumi arranged Field Marshal Yamagata Aritomo to be relieved of his command for medical reasons, but he was not sick. No, it was because Yamagata favored a direct march upon Beijing and this made the Japanese political leadership worried he might not listen to orders telling him otherwise if he remained in the field. They believed such a strategy would ultimately backfire, because it would collapse the Qing dynasty which would simply drag western powers into the mix. As Premier Ito Hirobumi put it “Should this happen, Japan would be negotiating peace not with China, but with the Western Powers. But there is another twist to this story. Yamagata also happened to be Ito’s most powerful rival and you can only imagine how much it might displeasure Ito if Yamagata marched into Beijing. 

Thus Ito arranged for a different strategy. Beijing would no longer be an objective, instead the 2nd IJA hit Weihaiwei, but another far more distant objective was also tossed onto the map, Taiwan. It was the belief amongst the Japanese leadership, the western powers would tolerate Japan annexing Taiwan. Always trying to emulate the great powers, Japan wanted to obtain colonies, showcasing herself to be their equal. Taking territory on the mainland of Asia was much trickery and could butt heads with nations like Russia, but Taiwan was a lonely Qing held asset very far from her clutches. The strategy was extremely unpopular with the military and Japanese public, both of whom obviously were looking forward to a foothold on the Asian mainland and the ultimate spectacle of marching upon Beijing. In fact the Imperial Family had even sent Field Marshal Prince Komatsu Akihito over to specifically grab command over the march on Beijing. The Japanese royal family wanted one of its members to personally see the capitulation of the Qing emperor, now that would certainly be a hell of a spectacle. But most of the military and public did not understand what would occur if the Qing dynasty collapsed. 

By this point of the war, the IJA sought to retain the Liaodong Peninsula, but the Japanese politicians understood this was far too close to the Chinese capital to be tolerated. Meanwhile the financial leaders of Japan sought, as you can imagine, large indemnity payments. War can be expensive. So the Peace demands would have three overarching demands: Taiwan, the Liaodong Peninsula and a fat sum of money in indemnities. Now ever since the disasters at Pyongyang and Yalu, the British and Russian governments began work to mediate between China and Japan. Nothing was coming to fruition, but after Port Arthur fell, the Qing began to get desperate. Just a week after Port Arthur’s fall, the Qing government sent its first peace mission to Japan. On November 26th, the commissioner of customs at Tianjin, Gustav Detring and a journalist of the London Times named Alexander Michie arrived to Hiroshima with a letter from Li Hongzhang. Ito Hirobumi refused to receive the letter from Gustav Detring because he was not properly accredited by the Qing government, so he was sent away.

When Gaiping fell on January 10th, the Qing government requested a cease-fire, which the Japanese turned down. In fact the Japanese publicly stated they would not halt hostilities even during peace talks. Thus the war continued on. Since the first mission, if you could call it that had failed, the Qing prepared a second. This time the Qing hired a special adviser, the former secretary of state to the US, John Watson Foster. Two commissioners were appointed, Zhang Yinhuan a former minister to the US, Peru and Spain and current Zongli Yamen. The second was Shao Youlin, a previous governor to Taiwan, and current activating governor of Hunan province. Zhang was capable of speaking English and thus he took the head. Speaking of heads, Shao Youlin, though a very unknown official, he was rather infamous for one thing. He had issued a proclamation at the beginning of the war, offering a 200 tael reward for the head of any Japanese officer or 100 taels for a regular soldier presented to him. Now if you have been listening to this series from the beginning you can guess this is the age old trick the Chinese played to save face. Always add some level of insult when performing negotiations. Thus Mr. Shao’s appointment was just that, an insult and part of a game, a game the Japanese understood, China was still trying to make her look inferior. If China sent top ranking diplomats, it meant they were treating Japan as an equal.

To this the Japanese retaliated. They used diplomatic fine print, found from European international law to rid themselves of the new delegation without breaching any rules on courtesy. They made the Chinese look ridiculous. Here is how it went down according to the North China Herald “the two envoys who should be proceeding were still idling in Shanghai because they were unfurnished with proper credentials” The Japanese also asserted the US minister in Beijing had been asked to draw up a proper set of credentials, but he was extremely late to present them and this was unacceptable. According to the Japanese the plenipotentiary powers of the two envoys lacked the authority to make any decisions.

All of this occurred before the fall of Weihaiwei, meaning if the delegation had been successful the Japanese would have had a lot less chips on the table. A few days after the envoys departed for Hiroshima, the Peking Gazette, which was the official organ for the Qing government to publicate its edicts referred to the Japanese notably not with the term Woren, but this time the term Wokou which loosely meant “dwarf bandit’. The envoys reached Hiroshima on January 31st of 1895 and met with Ito Hirobumi on February 1st with Zhang keeping a friendly posture. Zhang continuously asked when he would be meeting with Emperor Meiji and Ito Hirobumi kept promising soon, soon he was a busy man, but in reality the Japanese, pardon my french, were just fucking with the envoys and were going to toss them out of the country. Ito Hirobumi made public statement to the two envoys, that they lacked official seals to conclude real treaties and that Japan had demanded assurances from the Qing government they would send proper envoys with proper seals. He finished off with this “ His Majesty the Emperor of Japan conferred upon my colleague and myself full powers to conclude and sign Preliminaries of Peace with the Plenipotentiaries of China." And on February 2, 1895, Ito called off the negotiations. Thus two days after the second mission arrived, they were already departing in failure.

It would take over a month and a half before a third mission would leave China for Japan. In the meantime Japan captured Weihaiwei, destroyed the Beiyang fleet and were advancing upon Beijing by land and sea. This led the Chinese to stop messing around and choose envoys they knew the Japanese would accept. The Japanese made it known they would accept either Li Hongzhang or Prince Gong, China’s two top foreign policy experts. Now if Li Hongzhang went, this offered the Japanese an enormous opportunity to humiliate the man who was commanding the Qing Navy and large parts of her land forces. The other choice placed a Manchu member of the royal clan in a position that would more than likely also result in humiliation. The Qing as you might guess, opted to toss the Han Chinese Li Hongzhang. It was the obvious choice to save the face of Manchu pride to scapegoat using a Han, a classica Qing dynasty strategy by this point in time. Thus the man who fought the most to modernize China and scapegoat this entire calamity would become the scapegoat and bear China’s humiliation.

To ready Li Hongzhang for his new responsibility, Emperor Guangxu simply restored all the honors and titles he had recently taken from him. Li Hongzhang yet again wore the 3 eyed peacock feather and yellow jacket. The Qing imperial court then asked all the highest ranking provincial officials for recommendations on what to include in the peace settlement. Li Hongzhang was provided with this: To accept a peace settlement as long as the Japanese only wanted indemnity payments. If Japan sought any territorial concessions, the Qing would continue to fight. Might I note, all of these officials who gave their recommendations were extremely out of touch with the reality of the ongoing war. On March 19th, Li Hongzhang alongside 100 other officials departed China for the port city of Shimonoseki.

Premier Ito Hirobumi was the main Japanese representative and they would be conducted in english, with Li Hongzhang using an interpreter, Ito spoke english himself. Li Hongzhang presented official credentials with Emperor Guangxu’s seal fixed on them. It’s ironic, that when presented, Premier Ito asked why the Emperor used a seal, but no signature as was custom for modern society. Li Hongzhang waved it off stating it was Chinese custom and Ito did not press upon it, but yet again what a metaphor for China’s reluctance to modernize. Li Hongzhang began negotiations by pressing upon things the two men used to talk about, pan-asianism vs western threats. In his words “the yellow race must work together to hamper the designs of the white race”. Ito replied “when I was at Tientsin 10 years ago settling the Korea problem, I gave you friendly advice that many reforms were most important for your country but I regret very much that no change whatever has taken place”. To this Li Hongzhang sighed and replied "the trammels of antiquated manners and customs in my country are most difficult to shake off and one cannot follow one's own inclination in effecting reform." Li Hongzhang then argued for the signing of an alliance between China and Japan against the West, which Ito declined. Then later that day, Li Hongzhang presented a proposal for an armistice, which Ito also declined.

The main reason Ito Hirobumi was declining the armistice was because of the upcoming operations to invade Taiwan. Ito Hirobumi countered the armistice proposal by stating it would be accepted if the Japanese could occupy Dagu, Tianjin and Shanhaiguan; if China would cede control over railway from Tianjin to Shanhaiguan, which was her only railway at the time; and lastly pay for the cost of such occupation. According to Japanese foreign Minister Mutsu Munemitsu "As Li read this memorandum to himself, his face changed color and he appeared stunned. Over and over, he muttered that the terms were too severe." Li Hongzhang spoke with the Zongli Yamen, who in turn spoke to the Qing Court in Beijing and all agreed to reject such an armistice agreement. On March 24th, Li Hongzhang warned Ito "If the terms [for peace] involve the interests of any other country it would be well to proceed cautiously. Your Excellency said that Japan will attack Formosa [Taiwan]. This explains your objection to the Armistice." This was Li Hongzhang threatening that Western powers would intervene if Japan sought too extensive a price for peace and that China knew what they were up to with Taiwan.

As Li Hongzhang left that days meeting to return to his lodgings, a Japanese youth named Koyama Toyotaro crept up to Li Hongzhangs palaquin and shot a pistol at him. The bullet went through Li Hongzhang’s left cheek, literally just an inch below his eye. The Japanese police grabbed the man as Li Hongzhang was rushed to physicians to help him. The physicians were astounded with Li Hongzhangs fortitude in the face of such pain, especially since they could not anesthetize him due to his age. The operation would take a long recovery time, so Li Hongzhang decided not to have the bullet removed and simply went on with the negotiations. Now you think President Theodore Roosevelt was a badass,get a load of that. The bullet remained lodged deep under his nose. Emperor Meiji had ordered his personal physician to attend Li Hongzhang with bandages rolled up personally by the Empress. Emperor Meiji followed this up with an official public apology to the Qing government "It was of course incumbent on Us, in observance of international usage and on account of the credit of Our country to treat the Chinese Ambassador with proper courtesy and consideration...Most unfortunately, however, a fanatic has come forward and inflicted injury on the Chinese Ambassador. We are profoundly pained by the incident. The fanatic will of course be punished by Our officials in conformity with law." During the following week Li Hongzhang reported he had received over 10,000 letters of condolence from the Japanese public. This was an incredible loss of face for Japan. The wannabe assassin had very publicly breached the most elementary principle of modern diplomatic conduct. That said, the assassin received life in prison by the way. To restore some of their loss of face, Emperor Meiji granted a 3 week armistice to China, his entire military began pulling their hair out. The armistice was to be partial and not general however. What does that mean you might be asking? Well it meant it applied to the mainland, but not Taiwan and the Pescadore islands. The sneakiness of this was not lost of the press, the North China Herald had this to say “this voluntary sacrifice on Japan's part, is, as a matter of fact, no sacrifice and no armistice at all...[T]he march to Peking will not be continued...[but she] will go on with the subjugation of Taiwan."

On March 15th of 1895, a Japanese expeditionary force of 5500 men had set sail for the Pescadore Islands. The Pescadore islands were the key to capturing Taiwan, their occupation would prevent the Qing from sending reinforcements across the Taiwan Strait. The Pescadores were garrisoned by 15 Qing battalions who held a recently created coastal defense battery that was created as a result of the French attacks during the Sino-French war. The Japanese opened up hostilities with a large naval bombardment of the Qing forts and batteries before landing ashore on Fisher Island and Penghu on March 24th. American-Canadian James W Davidson was a war correspondent with the IJA during the invasion of the Pescadore islands and later on Taiwan and he has honestly one of the best accounts on the entire story. So I am actually going to leave it to Mr. Davidson to describe how it went down.

On March 20th, after a five days' trip from Sasebo naval station, the expedition, consisting of the fleet and the transports, arrived off the Pescadores and anchored near Pachau island to the south of the principal islands of the group. Bad weather on the 21st and 22nd prevented an immediate attack on the forts; but on the 23rd, the storm having abated, the ships got underway, and at 9.30 a.m., upon the first flying squadron drawing near Hau-chiau [候角?], the fleet subjected the Kon-peh-tai fort to a heavy bombardment, to which the Chinese replied for nearly an hour before they were silenced.

During the afternoon, the disembarkation of the troops commenced. By the aid of steam pinnaces each towing several cutters, the troops, consisting of the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th Companies of the 1st Regiment of reserves under the command of Colonel Hishijima, were all landed in less than two hours. The landing of the troops brought the Kon-peh-tai fort into action again, but without inflicting much damage on the Japanese. The troops on shore engaged in a skirmish with some 300 Chinese soldiers, afterward reinforced by 150 more, near a commanding knoll which both forces were desirous of occupying. After a few volleys from the Japanese, answered by an irregular fire from the Chinese, the latter eventually fled, leaving the position in the hands of the Japanese. Staff-quarters were then established in the village of Chien-shan [尖山社].

At 2.30 on the morning of the 24th, the troops advanced with the intention of taking the Kon-peh-tai fort and Makung (Bako) with a temporary company of mountain artillery under Captain Arai and the naval contingent with quick firing guns under Naval Lieutenant Tajima in the van. The night was very dark and the only available route was so frequently cut up with ditches running in every direction that progress was laboriously slow; only some two miles being made after three hours of painful tramping. By about 4 a.m., the Japanese force had all reached the rallying ground, and thirty minutes later, led by the 2nd Battalion of the 1st Regiment of reserves, were advancing towards the fort. The 5th Company, under the command of Captain Kinoshita, formed the advance guard, and a detachment of this company, under command of Lieutenant Ishii, were the first to engage the Chinese forces, 200 of whom had taken up a position outside the fort and appeared to dispute the advance of the Japanese. The engagement was very brief, the Chinese flying before the small number of determined Japanese. Meanwhile, the temporary battery of mountain artillery had been shelling the fort from a position too far distant to do much damage to the stronghold, but in a manner sufficiently effective to frighten out the garrison, who left in such haste that, thirty minutes after the first gun had been fired, the Japanese were in possession. Thus was the principal port captured in the Pescadores.

The naval contingent were also enabled to participate in the engagement, and with their two quick-firing guns did much execution. The 4th Company of the 1st Regiment of reserves and the naval contingent captured the village, after only a slight skirmish with the enemy. The place had been held by a garrison 500 strong. With the 2nd Company of the 1st Regiment of reserves leading the van, the Japanese forces now reassembled and advanced on the capital and principal city of the islands, Makung. No opposition was encountered on the way, with the exception of some ineffective firing from the Yui-wang island fort [漁翁島砲臺]; and upon reaching the city, the 1st Company stormed the Chinese infantry encampment, being followed soon after by the 2nd Company, which dashed through the gateway with the intention of dividing into three sections and attacking the enemy from different sides. But, to their amazement, their plans were found unnecessary, the garrison, with the exception of some thirty who did make a slight show of resistance, having fled. Some shots were fired at a few stragglers, and at 11.50 a.m. the occupation of the city was complete.

Another engagement the same day resulted in the capture of the fort in the Yuan-ching peninsula [圓頂半島] by Commander Tanji with a naval force; about 500 of the enemy surrendering without making any resistance whatever. Two days later (March 26th), blue jackets occupied the Yui-wang island forts and found the place empty, the garrison having fled. Soon after the Japanese entered, a native presented himself, apparently on a very important mission, which proved to be the delivery of a letter stating that the Chinese commander and garrison wished to inform the Japanese that they surrendered the fort. Thus fell the key to Southern China.

The Chinese prisoners, with the exception of eight officers, were given their liberty. The spoils of the little campaign were considerable, including 18 cannon, 2,663 rifles, over a million rounds of ammunition, 797 casks, and 3,173 bags of powder, a thousand bags of rice, etc., etc. Rear-Admiral Tanaka occupied the post of first governor of the group, and a government office and military post offices were at once erected.

While the battle for the Pescadores was raging, both sides were still undergoing negotiations. On April the 1st, Li Hongzhang’s nephew, Li Jingfang met with Foreign Minister Mutsu to ask if he could replace his uncle as plenipotentiary. Given the embarrassing nature of the assassination situation, Mutsu agreed to this. That same day the Japanese handed the Qing delegation an 11 page treaty draft. The draft showed the IJN wanted Taiwan, while the IJA sought the Liaodong Peninsula and the bankers wanted a large indemnity. Interesting point to note, Ito Hirobumi was the main architect of the treaty and he modeled it very much on Otto Von Bismarcks treaty after defeating France in 1871. Ito Hirobumi was a great admirer of Bismarck, and he even modeled the Meiji constitution on that of Prussia. Thus he wanted the Treaty of Shimonoseki as it would become known to mirror the key features of the 1871 Treaty of Frankfurt. For those unaware the Treaty of Frankfurt held territorial annexation, a large indemnity payment and occupation of an enemy city until payments were complete. Ironically for those who know their world war history, the possession of Alsace-Lorraine would become the crux of two world wars, and much could be said of Japan’s taking of Chinese territories leading to the same conclusion. 

The Treaty held much more than the 3 demands however in totality it included, 1) the complete independence and autonomy of Korea 2) Qing cession of the entire coastal region of Manchuria from the Korean border south, including the Liaodong Peninsula, Niuzhuang, Taiwan, and the Pescadore islands 3) the indemnity payment of 300 million taels, to be paid over 4.5 years with a 5% interest rate 4) mandatory Japanese citizenship for residents in the ceded territories 5) a renegotiation of Sino-Japanese commercial treaties to mirror that with the West powers 6) the opening of 7 cities to international commerce, residence and industry (those being Beijing, Xiangtan, Chongqing, Wuzhou, Suzhou, Jiangsu and Hangzhou 7) the opening to international steam navigation of the upper Yangtze 8) exemption from the likin tax 9) Japanese occupation of Port Arthur, Weihaiwei and Fengtianfu until payments were done and 10) an end to all offensive military operations after treaty signing. Big gulp.

To sing this would spell the end of Chinese influence not only over Korea, but major parts of Manchuria, and the complete loss of Taiwan and the Pescadore islands. When presented all of this China agreed to the issue of Korea’s independence, but when it came to all the territorial claims Li Jingfang argued they were far too excessive. He also argued the indemnity fee was far too high and countered with 200 taels. It was at this point Ito Hirobumi pulled Li Jingfang aside for an informal meeting on April 8th. There he warned Li that time was running out and the closer the IJA got to Beijing the harder it would be to stop the toppling of the Qing Dynasty. Li immediately sent word back to the Qing court pleading for instructions on what to do, but they were not unified with factions emerging in the court fighting over differing issues. The next day the Qing delegation caved in to the Japanese demands with a few changes: 1) Both Japan and China would recognize Korea’s independence 2) the territorial cessions would be the Pescadores, and part of Manchuria where it meets the border with Korea, this meant Andong, Kuandian, Fenghuangcheng and Xiuyanzhou 3) the indemnity payment was reduced 4) the Japanese would extend the same rights to Chinese in the ceded territories 5) The new Sino-Japanese trade deals would not be unequal treaties 6) Weihaiwei would be occupied until payments were made 7) all future disagreements would be submitted to international arbitration 8) all military offensives would cease upon signing.

On April 10th, Li Hongzhang made the first visit to Ito Hirobumi since his date with the bullet and the talks began with a small exchange of courtesy. Li Hongzhang had this to say to Ito "What you have done for Japan I wanted to imitate for China. Had you been in my place you would know the unspeakable difficulties met with in China." Then Ito Hirobumi presented Japans revised treaty draft now including 1) Japan refused to recognize the neutrality of Korea and demanded China recognize the independence of Korea 2) Japan agreed to limiting territorial concessions, but wanted the Liaodong Peninsula, Nuizhuang, Taiwan and the Pescadores. 3) the indemnity payment was fine 4) Japan could not guarantee Chinese property right in ceded territories 5) Japan could not guarantee equal trade treaties 6) Japan reduced the list of cities to be opened from 7 to 4, Beijing, Xiangtan and Wuzhou were taken off. 7) Japan agreed to just occupy Weihaiwei 8) Japan refused to accept international arbitration to resolve future disputes 9) To stop military operations once this treaty was signed.

The Japanese knew it would take another week or two for the delegation to get answers from the court in Beijing, thus giving their forces more time to subdue the Pescadores and Taiwan. Li Hongzhang began haggling more, so Ito Hirobumi pointed out that 60 more IJN transports were lying at anchor in Hiroshima’s harbor awaiting the armistice expiration so they could depart for China. An ultimatum was given to the Chinese on April 11th and on the 15th they delegations met again where they simply hashed out the fine details such as waiving the interest rates and they extended the armistice to Taiwan and the Pescadores as by the 17th they were fully occupied. Finally on april the 17th the treaty of Shimonoseki was signed. With the treaty signed, the wolves came out in China to cast blame and cannibalize. Li Hongzhang’s rivals at court came after him without mercy. Li Hongzhang for his part arranged to have his nephew take on the responsibilities of handing Taiwan over to Japan, a rough deal. 

Now a lot would change, the balance of power in the far east for example. This is a podcast about the history of China so I do not want to delve too much into Japan, but it is important for the history of future events that you know this. Russia watched the war closely and by the end of it, came to the conclusion Japan posed a serious security threat to Russia and that of her expansion of the far eastern railway system. On April the 23rd, just 6 days after the signing of the Treaty of Shimonoseki, the Ministers of France, Germany and Russia called upon the Japanese foreign ministry to offer some friendly advice. They recommended that Japan return the Liaodong Peninsula to the Qing dynasty on the grounds that Japan’s possession of it would quote "would be a constant menace to the capital of China, would at the same time render illusory the independence of Korea, and would henceforth be a perpetual obstacle to the peace in the Far East." It was clear to the Japanese, the 3 western powers would intervene militarily if they did not acquiesce on the friendly advice. The IJN was not capable of facing the three navy’s of France, Germany and Russia and thus Japan had to give up the Liaodong Peninsula. In truth Russia sought a warm water port in the Pacific, at this time they only had the cold water port of Vladivostok. As soon as Japanese forces had departed the Liaodong Peninsula, Russia immediately began occupying it and tossed immense funds into building up the naval base at Port Arthur. By December of 1897 Russian warships would be brought over to Port Arthur and in March of 1898 Russian formally leased the region for 25 years from China. And so the seeds of believe it or not WW2, had been sown some would argue.

I would like to take this time to remind you all that this podcast is only made possible through the efforts of Kings and Generals over at Youtube. Please go subscribe to Kings and Generals over at Youtube and to continue helping us produce this content please check out www.patreon.com/kingsandgenerals. If you are still hungry after that, give my personal channel a look over at The Pacific War Channel at Youtube, it would mean a lot to me.

Thus the first-sino Japanese war of 1894-1895 had come to an end. It was one of the most humiliating defeats for the Qing dynasty and yet again was breaking the dynasty brick by brick. For now the carving up of China was to ramp up.