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Military of the Powers during the Boxer Rebellion, with their naval flags, from left to right: (Naval ensign of Italy in 1900) Italy, (Flag of the United States in 1900) United States, (Naval ensign of France) France, (Naval flag of Austria Hungary in 1900) Austria-Hungary, (Naval flag of Japan) Japan, Naval flag of the German Empire Germany, (White Ensign of the United Kingdom) United Kingdom, (Naval jack of Russia) Russia. Japanese print, 1900.

The Eight-Nation Alliance (simplified Chinese: 八国联军traditional Chinese: 八國聯軍pinyin: bāgúo liánjūn) was an alliance made up of Austria-Hungary, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States whose military forces invaded China in response to the siege of diplomatic legations from several nations residing in the Legation Quarter in Beijing. During the course of the campaign the allied forces brought an end to the siege of the Legation Quarter and brought an end to Boxer Rebellion in August of 1900. The troops were sent after the Boxers attacked and murdered Chinese Christians, foreign missionaries, and other foreign nationals across north China. The Boxers then converged on Beijing and besieged foreign diplomats and civilians who had taken refuge in the Legation Quarter. After their initial efforts to reinforce the besieged Legation Quarter, the Allied militaries eventually defeated the Boxers and the Imperial Chinese Army, and then looted and pillaged the capital.[1][2] At the end of the campaign, the imperial government signed the unequal Boxer Protocol of 1901.[3]

Contents

Events

Troops of the eight countries invaded and occupied Beijing on August 14, 1900. Empress Dowager Cixi, the Emperor, and higher officials fled the Imperial Palace for Xi'an, and sent Li Hongzhang for peace talks.

Zhengyangmen after being demolished by the Eight-Nation Alliance

Missionaries followed the Eight-Nation alliance closely. Roman Catholic Vicar Apostolic of North Chihli Pierre-Marie-Alphonse Favier (1837-1905) was accused of taking an estimated 1,000,000 Liang silver (around 50 million grams) from one civilian house in Wangfujing. Alfred von Waldersee, the former German field marshal, stated in November 1900, "the cost of the demolition and robbery to China will never be calculated. But the number must be tremendous."

Participants of the Eight-Nation Alliance were responsible for the raping and murdering Chinese women and children, as well as ransacking and pillaging of many historical artifacts of Chinese origin, and instigated the burning of many prominent Chinese buildings in an effort to rout the Boxer rebels. "Following the taking of Peking, troops from the international force, except British and American, looted the capital city and even ransacked the Forbidden City, with many Chinese treasures finding their way back to Europe."[4]

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Austro-Hungarian contribution

As a member of the Allied nations, the Austro-Hungarian Navy sent two training ships and the cruisers SMS Kaiserin und Königin Maria Theresia, SMS Kaiserin Elisabeth, SMS Aspern, and SMS Zenta and a company of marines to the North China coast in April 1900, based at the Russia concession of Port Arthur.

In June they helped hold the Tianjin railway against Boxer forces, and also fired upon several armed junks on the Hai River near Tong-Tcheou. They also took part in the seizure of the Taku Forts commanding the approaches to Tianjin, and the boarding and capture of four Chinese destroyers by Capt. Roger Keyes of HMS Fame. In all K.u.K forces suffered only several casualties during the rebellion.

After the uprising a cruiser was maintained permanently on the China station and a detachment of marines was deployed at the embassy in Peking.

Lieutenant Georg Ludwig von Trapp, made famous in the musical The Sound of Music, was decorated for bravery aboard the SMS Kaiserin und Königin Maria Theresia during the Rebellion.

Summary

The Eight-Nation Alliance is seen by some Chinese historians as a process of invasion into China by western imperialists, coveting the wealth of China, with the Chinese military of the time being weak.[5] The Boxer Rebellion is interpreted as a series of regional reactions to the effect of cultural and political invasion by Western imperialists. The social crisis was further fractured by the Eight-Nation Alliance who waged aggressive war against the local population. This destabilizing series of events, of increasing and competing military presence and control, culminated in Japan's hegemony in the 1930s.

It's noted that 7 of the 8 (all except Austria-Hungary) members of the Eight-Nation Alliance are part of the G8 and to this day considered Great Powers.

See also

References

  1. ^ O'Conner, David The Boxer Rebellion London:Robert Hale & Company, 1973, Chap. 16. ISBN 0-7091-4780-5
  2. ^ Hevia, James L. 'Looting and its discontents: Moral discourse and the plunder of Beijing, 1900-1901' in R. Bickers and R.G. Tiedemann (eds.), The Boxers, China, and the world Lanham, Maryland:ROwman & Littlefield Publishers, 2009
  3. ^ Eight-Nation Alliance in Section 4
  4. ^ Kenneth G. Clark THE BOXER UPRISING 1899 - 1900. Russo-Japanese War Research Society
  5. ^ Huaguo Lin(2005); <A thorough discussion on Chinese Modern History>; China,Beijing: Peking University Publishing

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