A Project on Nationalism

Myself: Good evening leaders, and welcome to my dinner table. Let’s get into some serious discussions concerning Nationalism, Revolution and dictatorship among your nations after WWI but before WWII.

African Leader: Great. I must say, because during the early 1900s, almost every part of Africa was a European colony. Some of my people were forced to work on plantations or in mines ran by Europeans against their wills. The money they earned that should’ve been used for their families went to pay taxes to the colonial government. If that wasn’t harsh enough, the British then made them carry identification cards, imposed a tax, and restricted where they could live or travel. My people had almost no sayings in their own lives. They were defenseless to the European powers that controlled them. Now let me tell you this fact; During World War I, more than one million Africans had fought on behalf of their colonial rulers. They did this simply because many had hoped that their service would lead to more rights and opportunities for them and their families but instead the situation remained mostly the same or even worsened. They were still betrayed even after they showed immense loyalty to their rulers.  Even though the western Africans had training, most of the best jobs went to Europeans. In Africa, as in other regions around the world, socialism found a growing audience, protests and opposition to imperialism multiplied because something had to be done. There’s only so much my people could take. Between 1910 and 1940, whites strengthened their control on South Africa. They hatched a plan to ensure that they can remain in power and superior to my people. They imposed a system of racial segregation; a system that made my people the key target to fall victim to and their goal was to ensure white economic, political, and social supremacy. Blacks were pushed into low paid, less skilled work and cruel injustices harbored by that very system. Kenya South African blacks had to carry passes at all time just too simply coexist. After 1948 apartheid a policy of rigid segregation became law.

Myself: So I heard about a movement that began to endorse nationalism in Africa. Can you shed some more light on that for me?!

African leader: You see the thing is, during the 1920s, that development that you speak of is what’s known as Pan-Africanism. It began to nourish the nationalist spirit and strengthen resistance among my people. There was this Jamaican-born political leader, publisher, journalist, entrepreneur, and orator. He was President-General of the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League, his name was Marcus Garvey. (History.com Editors). Garvey’s thoughts impacted another age of African pioneers. African American extremist W.E.B. DuBois sorted out the main Pan-African Congress in 1919. They met in Paris, where the Allies were holding their tranquility gathering. Agents from African settlements, the West Indies, and the United States approached the Paris peacemakers to favor a contract of rights for our African people. French talking essayists in West Africa and the Caribbean further stirred self-assurance among our African people through the negritude development. As of now essayists communicated pride in their African roots and challenged pilgrim rule. Afterward, Léopold Sédar Senghor would take an active role in Senegal’s drive to independence, and he would serve as its first president. Egyptians had suffered during World War I. After the war, we started protests, strikes, and riots that forced Britain to grant Egypt independence in 1922. During the 1930s many young Egyptians joined the organizations called the Muslim Brotherhood. Sidney J. Lemelle and Robin D.G. Kelley 1994.

Myself: Interesting! I had no idea. So Mr. Leader what is China’s take on nationalism?

Chinese leader: In China, when all of this was happening in Africa and other countries around the world, we were occupied with an extraordinary battle to free ourselves from the hold of the Western frontier powers. Our battle was substantially more than a basic clash among patriots and colonialists. It was entangled by two extra components specificallythe expanding risk to Chinese autonomy from an expansionist Japan and expanding socialist intercession in Chinese legislative issues. China confronted the possibility of essentially trading one arrangement of majestic overlords for another. You see, by the year 1900 our Chinese Empire had lost much of its effective sovereignty through concessions of naval bases and economic and political privileges to the European powers and Japan. After we went to battle and got defeated by japan in 1895, European imperialists had engaged in a hectic scramble for further concessions from us.  A formidable reaction to this outburst of imperialist activity had erupted within China. Marge Anderson 2008.

Myself: So what did you guys do given the fact you faced so many setbacks from your lost to japan and the Europeans making more demands?

Chinese leader: We got desperate and became determined to make a stand. The hard-pressed Manchu government had encouraged the formation of anti-foreign nationalist secret societies, of which the most important was the Fists of Righteous Harmony. Missionaries called this group the Boxers, and when they revolted, the name was taken up by the Western press. The result of the Boxer Rebellion of 1900, in which more than two hundred foreigners were slain, was the use of troops by the foreign powers, including the United States, to protect their nationals and property against the Boxers. In 1901 they obliged the Manchu government to pay a large indemnity and to grant them rights that further impaired our sovereignty.

 

You know a few years later in China we faced the aggressive attempts of Japan to take over the Far Eastern imperial interests of European powers now at war among themselves. Early in 1915 the Japanese secretly presented to our government the Twenty-One Demands, which amounted to a demand for something close to a protectorate over China. The Chinese republic, now at the lowest point of its strength, countered by declaring war against the Central Powers, thus securing at least the nominal protection of Britain and France. Marge Anderson 2008.

Japanese Leader: We were unable to defy Western objections, so we contented ourselves with taking over the German concessions. At the end of the war the victorious Allies, with the United States in the lead, checked the ambitions of their recent military partner. In 1922 because of this we were forced to sign a Nine-Power Treaty guaranteeing the independence of China. This rejection to us was one of the first in a long chain of events that intensified the hostility of our nation toward the United States that went on for two decades that ended in war. Marge Anderson 2008.

Chinese Leader: Nationalists and communists fought in word and deed for the allegiance, or the passive acceptance, of nearly 500 million Chinese, for the most part illiterate peasants who couldn’t tell you their Chinese culture if it hit them in the face. We believed that to transform China into a nation in the Western sense required more than building railroads and factories or promoting the study of modern science instead of the Chinese classics. It required getting the Chinese peasants to regard themselves as Chinese citizens. To be true to who they are and stick to their roots and traditions. It was a big deal for us to get them to claim their original identity. This indispensable process was beginning in the 1920s and 1930s. Marge Anderson 2008.

Myself: Mr. Japanese Leader, you guys already had to guarantee China’s independence through a treaty so why attack again? Why after everything, you make your move back to china despite them obtaining their independence?

Japanese Leader: We attacked them again in September 1931 in Manchuria, an outlying northern province of China. We chose this particular area because it was a tempting target for our aggression. Manchuria had coal and iron and we wanted it so we did what we felt we had to do; it adjoined Korea, which was already a Japanese possession, so it made sense and it had never been fully integrated into China. Moreover, we regarded ourselves as the natural successors of the Russians, whom we had driven from Manchuria in the Russo-Japanese war of 1904-1905. By 1932 we were strong enough to proclaim Manchuria the independent state of Manchukuo, under a puppet ruler, Henry Pu-yi (1905 1967), who as a child had been the last emperor of old China. Marge Anderson 2008.

Chinese Leader: Because the Japanese took over Manchuria we decided to respond by boycotting Japanese goods.

Japanese Leader:  That’s why we countered by carrying the war to the Chinese port of Shanghai. Given the weakness of the Kuomintang government, we knew that effective Chinese resistance would have required full support from strong outside forces, which we knew you didn’t have because Neither the Western powers nor the League of Nations gave you (China) more than verbal support; so you had to give up your boycott, and we got to remain in Manchuria. Tensions between us persisted, so we later decided to absorb most of the rest of China. Our invasion came in July 1937 without a formal declaration of war. Marge Anderson 2008.

Myself: Yes Japan! Your level of success in quite impressive. However I must say that I noticed that even with all your successes you were able to obtain no more than the stretching across China of a string of garrisons and the control of great cities like Shanghai and Peking. I mean you were able to hold the railroads, subject to guerrilla attack, but away from the relatively sparse lines of modern communication you were helpless. Many Chinese villages in the area that were nominally Japanese never changed their ways or their beliefs or traditions during the occupation; you got the land but you didn’t get the people so in all; nowhere did the Japanese win over the Chinese people. Marge Anderson 2008.

Myself: So Latin America! What about you guys?! I know China and Japan just went neck in neck with each other but we haven’t forgotten about you?  How did you deal with of all this?

Latin American Leader: Well the Mexican Revolution reflected a growing spirit of nationalism throughout Latin America.  This focused on ending economic dependence on the industrial powers, especially the United States.  It echoed throughout our political and cultural life as well.

Myself: So what happened after WWI? Did anything change for you guys or new policies implemented?

Latin American Leader:  After WWI, the demand for raw materials produced by our countries dropped. Our economies were dependent on export, so since it was not in high demands they declined rapidly. I don’t know if you fellow nations remember but the Great Depression was another damaging factor in Latin American economy. It was the worst economic downturn in the history of the industrialized world, lasting from 1929 to 1939. It began after the stock market crash of October 1929, which sent Wall Street into a panic and wiped out millions of investors. History. Com Editors. This led to desire to develop their own industries, so that it wouldn’t be necessary to buy products from other countries. Locals set up factories and governments raised tariffs to protect the new industries. Still, unequal distribution of wealth was still holding back full development.

Myself: So what were the after effects the great depression had on Latin America and their process to move forward?

Latin American Leader:  The Great Depression triggered political changes in Latin America.  People were losing faith in liberal governments. Because of this, they sought stronger, authoritarian governments. They hoped they would control, direct and protect each country’s economy. By the 1920s, our writers, artists and thinkers began to reject European influences in culture as well. We wanted no part of it. An example was Mexico’s pride in their own culture: the revival of mural paintings; a major art form of the Aztecs and Mayas. Between WWI and the Great Depression, U.S. investment soared. The U.S. continue to play international policeman, intervening whenever it saw its interests threatened. The U.S. invaded or sent troops to the following countries in the early 20th century: Mexico, Nicaragua, Haiti, Cuba  In the 1930s, Roosevelt instated the Good Neighbor Policy, pledging to lessen U.S. interference in our affairs.

Myself: Well I think we all learned some valuable information today about each other. It was great having this discussion with all of you. Thank you for joining me at the dinner table and educating me on the histories of your nations.

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