• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

" How far can British policy towards China between 1839 and 1860 be characterized as 'Gunboat Diplomacy'? "

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

" How far can British policy towards China between 1839 and 1860 be characterized as 'Gunboat Diplomacy'? " I feel that British policy towards China between the years 1839 and 1860 can be characterized as 'Gunboat Diplomacy' through several cases between those years. 'Gunboat Diplomacy' refers to the use of brute force by a nation to secure their interests/ desires elsewhere, such as using warships as a threat to another nation's security in order to achieve what they want. There is, however, selected evidence that suggest Gunboat Diplomacy was not used throughout the period, with Britain adopting their policy to deal with the Chinese instead of using only brute force to ensure their interests were met. British policy towards China between 1839 and 1860 involved several cases of Gunboat Diplomacy. 1839 was the year that the first Opium war broke out between Britain and China. The war broke out due to hardened attitudes of both the British and Chinese regarding free trade, the issue of opium smugglers and Chinese reluctance to comply with British demands. October 18, 1939 the real signal of war saw the Secretary of State for British Foreign Affairs, Lord Palmerston, order the blockade of several key Chinese ports and cities including Canton, Pei-Ho, Amoy, Shanghai and Ningpo. Historian June Grasso describes Palemerston's push for the use of force against China, describing him as stating, "the only way to deal with China is to give it a good beating" along with stating that "...in England, members of parliament and several municipal Chambers of Commerce openly push for a declaration of war". ...read more.

Middle

10 British war ships were sent to the bay of Daya and forced their way towards Tientsin. Jack Gray describes the British as using "warships in treaty ports against Chinese citizens and officials representing the Chinese government" in this second Opium war. Historian June Grasso further backs up this view of Gunboat Diplomacy used by the British at this time, stating that the Anglo-French military expedition under Lord Elgin and Gros proceeded with force towards the North, ceasing many key areas such as Tientsin and the Taku Forts. The final period up till 1860 also saw several examples of Gunboat Diplomacy used. Treaty terms of Tientsin were submitted to the Chinese government under force on June 11th 1858, with the British commander Elgin stating "unless the treaty terms are accepted on this day, there will be a march to Peking". Fredrick Bruce further backed up this threat of force on June 26th 1858 by warning that "if the treaty is not signed this night, it will have to be signed at Peking" (quotes provided from 'The Rise of Modern China' - Hsu). The final example of Gunboat Diplomacy during this period is the foreign looting and destruction of the Emperor's Summer Palace in Beijing. Historian Seagrave describes this event - "what could not have been carried off (from the palace) was smashed, stabbed or shot...Nothing like this has occurred since the barbarians sacked Rome". While Gunboat Diplomacy was used on repeated occasions from the period between 1839 and 1860, it was not used fully throughout that period and there are several justified reasons why the policy was used on some occasions against China. ...read more.

Conclusion

From the end of the first Opium War in 1842 till the beginning of the second conflict in 1856 they did not take any major military action against China to impose renewal or treaties or to take any retaliation against growing anti-foreign attitude and actions within China. 14 years Britain took steps as to not engage in conflicts with China even though she was superior militarily. The decision to attack China in 1856 came only after China was virtually ignoring the signed treaty terms of Nanking and taking actions which would inevitably lead to retaliation, such as deliberately not apologizing for tearing down the British flag on the ship the 'Arrow'. The Chinese were denying foreign negotiations and discussions at all cost, and as Immanuel Hsu puts it "Even the peace minded Bowring was compelled to inform London that the extension and improvement of British relations with China would require ships of war. Overall I believe that although there were several cases of Gunboat Diplomacy being used by the British in China, it was used only used after initial attempts to peacefully negotiate matters with China and not all throughout the period between 1839 and 1860. Britain was fairly complaint towards China for large periods of time as proven by the 14 year gap between the two Opium wars mentioned above, and I believe that on the majority of occasions force was used only as a last resort by the British to gain her basic demands from China. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level International History, 1945-1991 section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level International History, 1945-1991 essays

  1. Do the Writings of Clausewitz have contemporary relevance?

    7 Clausewitz, Michael Howard, p01, 1983, Oxford University Press. 8 Quote taken from www.gov.au/lwsc/publications/CA%eEssays/RMA 9 On War, p75, Carl Von Clausewitz, (edited by Michael Howard & Peter Paret), 1984, Princeton University Press 10 On War, p75, Carl Von Clausewitz, (edited by Michael Howard & Peter Paret), 1984, Princeton University Press

  2. Consider How Far Gladstone And Disraeli Differed In Their Policies Regarding The British Empire ...

    Britain had to reassess its support of Turkey in the wake of the massacres against the uprising Balkan Christians. Disraeli wanted to continue with Britain's support of Turkey as he saw it as key in keeping Russia out of Europe.

  1. To what extent can Britain's policy towards Germanybefore Munichbe defended?

    They had come to Versailles to negotiate freely, and left as slaves. That much was felt by all Germans and quickly came to be felt by all thinking Englishmen and Frenchmen as well. "Germany saw the treaty of Versailles purpose as disarm and dismember Germany to such an extent that

  2. Many peoples have contributed to the development of the United States of America, a ...

    Secession Southern leaders had threatened to leave the Union if Lincoln won the election of 1860. Many South Carolinians, in particular, were convinced that Republican-sponsored emancipation would lead to bloody massacres as blacks sought vengeance against whites. In order to prevent this horror South Carolina seceded in December 1860, soon

  1. Communist China a project

    The civil war and the liberation of communist China: Chiang Kai-shek was supported by the USA and even the USSR. His army outnumbered that of the Communists 4 to 1. However, his army was not well prepared, and Chiang had allowed his government to become corrupt, making them unpopular with the peasants.

  2. Khrushchev's attempts at modernisation.

    Another very significant problem was that not enough attention was paid to providing the necessary pesticides and fertilisers necessary if these new lands were to be successfully brought over to cultivation. Khrushchev's industrial policies fared fairly well especially in terms of consumer goods.

  1. Why does the Chinese government at the start of the 21st c. refuse to ...

    During this time the Japanese launched raids into China causing discontent amongst the Chinese people. As part of one of these raids the Japanese took control of Korea, Taiwan and the Lushan province. People in these areas were treated very harshly.

  2. The Avro Arrow.

    At the time it seemed that Canada's aviation industry was poised to capitalize on its post-war potential. The Jetliner, however, was not to be the aircraft which helped the industry reach this potential as it was cancelled at the outbreak of the Korean War.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work