Describe various forms of imperialism emerged in 19th century Europe. Discuss British colonialism’s influence on Germany during 1895-1905 and how Germany reacted.
Imperialism experienced its peak development by the late 19th century with numerous European nations leading in the movement. Referred to as “the creation and maintenance of an unequal economic, cultural and territorial relationship, usually between states and often in the form of an empire, based on domination and subordination”(Johnston, 2000, p.375)1, European states such as Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Russia engaged themselves in excessive aggression to influence and control weaker nations, especially those in Asia and Africa. These imperialistic activities were largely “shaped by expansionist and capitalist systems” (Johnston, 2000, p.375)2 and were featured by spread of rulers’ sovereignty outside their own countries; annexation of foreign territories, exploitation of economic benefits in foreign lands; military occupation and cultural manipulation. There was “tremendous inequality” (Galtung, 1971, p.81)3– nations succumbed to the threat of imperialism were exploited, suppressed and marginalized.
European imperialistic movements were driven by strategic reasons. The empires aimed at creating advantageous political, economic, military and cultural conditions for their nation building. Political imperialism by ambitious powers was exhibited by the occupation of overseas nations which were previously independent. Availing themselves with an opportunity to disseminate their national glory and prestige, the powers were to intervene, take over the weaker nations’ autonomy to rule, exercise ______________________
,2 Johnston, Ronald John(2000) The Dictionary of Human Geography. Oxford, Blackwell Publishing, p.375 3 Galtung, Johan (1971) A Structural Theory of Imperialism. Journal of Peace Research, Vol. 8, No.2 p.81 significant influence on decision makings and even turn them into colonies. British’s political exploitation of Mughal state is among the most notable example: Mughal’s government and administrative system was forced to make resemblance that of Great Britain. The very motive of political domination explained why fierce competition had developed among the aggressors- they aimed to prevail over the rest of the nations and take up the leading role in continental Europe by means of political control over other countries. Economic imperialism was best represented by the extensive profit-oriented activities carried out in subordinate states –forced opening of the economically significant areas with armed forces for foreign trade, accompanied with extremely unfair trading terms, exploitation of natural resources and labour, monopolization of markets and an unreasonable extent of intervention in local transportation. These activities were encouraged by capitalism and commercialism, aiming to get as many economic benefits as possible from the weaker nations. The Scramble for Concessions in China in 1897-98 displayed how European nations competed and ate up economic rights in the region Imperialism with military motives also displayed territorial occupations, but were for strategic reasons. Artillery advancement, ice free ports and well-established railway network were in absolute favor to ambitious nations. Therefore, they snatched at militarily important cities overseas, for defense purposes and to secure an advantageous position for future aggression. For cultural imperialism, these strong European nations rationalized their aggression by advocating white supremacy. Missionaries were dispatched in large scale to foreign lands to preach, spread Christian ideas and other European values. This was driven by overwhelming evangelism and sense of white superiority. Powerful external culture gradually took over certain, if not all, local traditions and values. Imperialistic activities were greatly motivated by nationalism, commercialism,...
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