From 1883 to 1885, a war broke out between the Qing Dynasty and France, known as the “Sino-French War” in history. In the war, France once had the upper hand, destroying the Fujian navy of the Qing Dynasty in the Battle of Mawei, and marched into Taiwan Island and Hangzhou Bay. The Sino-French army also broke out in the Sino-Vietnamese border area.
The French occupied Keelung and were repelled by Taiwanese governor Liu Mingchuan when they attacked Tamsui. The Qing army also held Hangzhou Bay. In the Sino-Vietnamese border battlefield, veteran Feng Zicai defeated the French army, won the victory at Zhennanguan, and occupied Lang Son.
In the end, the result of this war was that the Qing Dynasty recognized France’s suzerainty over Vietnam without ceding territory or paying indemnities. History textbooks call it “France wins without victory, China loses without defeat”.
Although the Qing Dynasty performed very badly in the Sino-French war, France did not completely defeat the Qing Dynasty in the war, and the two sides had a winner and loser. France, which is known as the “world’s second”, is also embarrassing, and the cabinet has fallen.
Nine years later, the Sino-Japanese War broke out between the Qing Dynasty and Japan. The Qing Dynasty suffered a particularly disastrous defeat in the war, first in the naval battle of the Yellow Sea, and then in the land battle on the Korean Peninsula. After that, Japan landed on the Liaodong Peninsula and Shandong Peninsula and occupied the home port of the Beiyang Fleet. All the warships became the spoils of the Japanese.
Finally, the Qing Dynasty also ceded Taiwan Province and the Liaodong Peninsula (later redeemed), and paid 200 million taels of silver.
At that time, the national strength of France was obviously several times stronger than that of Japan. Even France could not defeat the Qing Dynasty. Why could Japan do it?
Some say it’s because of the proximity.
Some say it is because the Japanese are belligerent.
Some say it was because of the Meiji Restoration.
These are all reasons, but by no means the main ones. Why do you say that?
There are many countries close to the Qing Dynasty. Before the Sino-Japanese War, I had never seen any neighboring country that could beat the Qing Dynasty so badly and paid 200 million taels of indemnity.
In the face of modern weapons, bellicose or not has become less important.
Many people think that after the Meiji Restoration, Japan was reborn and soared. In fact, although Japan has become stronger through the Meiji Restoration, it is still far from defeating the Qing Dynasty. At the same time, Japan vigorously established industry, the burden on farmers became very heavy, the bottom people in Japan became poorer, and social riots often occurred.
The Soviet Union and the Chinese have the best understanding of how much burden an agricultural country will bring to its peasants if it wants to vigorously develop its industry. Japan’s arable land is far less than that of Russia and China, but the population pressure is even greater. It is conceivable how much pressure the bottom people in Japan were under at that time.
At that time, Japan was already a very densely populated country, with a population of more than 40 million. The internal contradictions were accumulating more and more. Like a volcano, it could erupt at any time.
Japan urgently needs to use foreign wars to shift the social focus, transfer internal contradictions to the outside, and plunder foreign wealth to reduce the pressure on the domestic people.
But invading neighboring countries also requires capital, and invading a giant country like the Qing Dynasty requires a lot of money. Japan is so poor, where does the money come from?
Many books say that at that time, Japan was single-minded, up to the emperor, ministers, down to the common people, and they all shrunk their food and clothing. More than one million Japanese women even went to Southeast Asia to provide special services, and all the money they got was used to build weapons and warships.
These are all true.
But the question is, how much will this save?
Can savings double a country’s revenue? The Japanese people were already so poor that they could no longer be poor, and even if they were enlightened, they would not save much space.
crucial moment. A “living Lei Feng” has appeared, and this is the United Kingdom.
The United Kingdom was the world’s most powerful and rich country at that time, and it gave Japan a total of 150 million taels of unsecured loans, which was equivalent to several times Japan’s fiscal revenue. Relying on this huge sum of money, Japan built and purchased armaments on a large scale, surpassing the Qing Dynasty in weapons and equipment.
The Beiyang Navy spent a total of tens of millions of taels of silver. Far less than Japan spends on armaments.
Since Britain has lent so much money to Japan, it must support Japan to win. Britain must have also given Japan a lot of covert support in intelligence, political promises and other aspects.
The Sino-Japanese War was actually a war of plundering against the Qing Dynasty that the United Kingdom paid for, and the Japanese contributed people and efforts. Japan is just a proxy for Britain. The defeat of the Qing Dynasty was already doomed.
The United Kingdom has always implemented a “continental balance of power” policy, supporting the second most powerful country in a region and weakening the strongest country. Japan has acted as a tool for the United Kingdom to weaken the Qing Dynasty and Russia in East Asia.
This is why it is very difficult for France to single out the Qing Dynasty, and why Japan, which is weak in national strength, can completely defeat the Qing Dynasty. It is somewhat strange that the United Kingdom was the decisive factor in the Sino-Japanese War, but textbooks did not mention it at all.