Bernhard von Bülow on Germany's “Place in the Sun”



One ramification of the assertion of Germany's “place in the sun” occurred in China. The German navy's intervention in Shandong Province came after China's humiliating loss to Japan in the Sino-Japanese War in 1894–1895; Germany and the other Western imperial powers discovered that the Qing Dynasty's treasury was as bankrupt as its army was ineffective. Therefore, it seemed clear to any number of imperialists that China could only benefit from European and American economic penetration. The Chinese peasant population, as usual, bore the burden of the Qing Empire's failures, paying massive taxes to make up for the treasury's losses in the war. Many Chinese blamed foreigners for their problems—the Europeans and the Qing themselves, who were Manchurian—thus prompting the murder of the German missionaries in 1897 and Germany's intervention.

As other Western powers asserted their own spheres of influence over Chinese ports, German capitalists bought farmland, mines, and...

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Bernhard von B├╝low (Library of Congress)

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