Western Civilization
Chapter 24
Escalating Tensions, 1880 - 1914
 By 1885, only 1/9 of the world’s land surface had been surveyed
 By 1900, each of the continents had been explored and measured
 Efforts were made to map territories and to standardize time
 However, there were disagreements about the need for
standardization, especially with time zones
 Germany had 5 time zones in 1891
 The U.S. had over 200
They couldn’t agree on the placement of the prime meridian.
Countries were too busy expanding boundaries to fix them for a map.
World Time Zones
The New Imperialism
 Nations had always taken over other territory
 This was imperialism
 After 1870, acquisition of territories was on an intense scale,
helped by all the new inventions in transportation,
communication, and weapons
 Europe began concentrating on taking over “undeveloped”
 A competition for colonies developed among European
nations, especially among England, France, and Germany
The Technology of Empire
 Steam, iron, and electricity were all-important to Europe’s
imperial expansion in the 19th century
Steam was used in factories and in transportation
They could then transport more people and cargo more
Iron ships were more durable, lighter, water-tight, faster, and
more fuel-efficient than wooden vessels
Iron steamships allowed Europeans to maintain closer contact
with their colonies
Europeans could also go upriver in the new ships helping
them learn about the terrain, natural beauty, and resources
 Technology allowed for the deepening of harbors and the
creation of canals
 Two major ones were built: the Suez Canal and the Panama
 Suez Canal was built by the French and bought by the British
and was completed in 1869 opening a new trade route
 Panama Canal was started by the French and finished by the
U.S., connecting the Atlantic to the Pacific
Both canals shortened the distance of travel and made a shortcut
Suez Canal
 The electric telegraph had revolutionized global
communication by the end of the 19th century
 This enabled colonizing nations to keep in closer contact with
their colonies
 There were new medicines allowing colonizers to venture
inland in new territories
 Quinine – comes from the cinchona tree bark and combats
Panama Canal
Panama Canal
 New types of firearms helped Europeans take over areas
defended only by spears and blow guns
 There were machine guns and new rifles
 So the new technology allowed for the new imperialism and
new European control worldwide
 Example: the sun never sets on the British Empire
Motives for Empire
 Economic reasons
 New raw materials for industry
 New markets for manufactured goods
 Fortunes could be made or lost, depending on the risk
 Europeans had the desire to expand investment opportunities
 Not all new territories proved profitable
The purpose of colonies was to enrich the Mother Country
 Geopolitical reasons
 Countries were encouraged to expand even into territories that
probably weren’t economically valuable
 These areas could be used as fueling bases, a way to protect sea
routes, or could offer a presence to help control an area
 This caused an increase in naval budgets and the size of naval
 Britain had the largest navy, but were challenged by the U.S.,
Germany, and Japan to some extent by 1900
 Each wished to dominate the seas
 Armies also grew to protect the newly acquired lands and the
people in them: traders, missionaries, and government officials
 Between 1890 and 1914, military expenditures of Western
nations grew greatly
 There was a buildup of new weapons, armies, and navies
 This also increased the influence of the military and naval
leaders in foreign policy decisions
 Nationalism
 National prestige and national pride were at stake
 Keeping up with the other “great nations” of Europe so your
nation could be great also
 A Great Nation is one with an industrialized economy and
 This idea of prestige was helped along, popularized by
 Newspapers capitalized on national sentiment
 They used the imperialist passion of their people and their
governments to sell papers
 Newspapers helped shape new public opinion
 This, in turn, helped shape foreign policy
 Newspapers were manipulated by government officials to get
backing for whatever it was they wanted
 The idea of Jingoism emerged, a term phrased by J.A.
 It meant inverted patriotism, where the love of one’s country is
transformed into hatred of another country, and into a fierce
craving to destroy the individuals of that other nation
 Jingoism pressured governments to defend their national honor
abroad by expanding their boundaries to keep up with other
nations doing the same
European Search for Territory and
 Two fundamentally different social structures governed life in
non-industrialized regions that became targets for European
 In sub-Saharan Africa, tribal societies emphasizing communal
rule dominated
 In Asia, societies were strictly organized hierarchically and
under the power of distinct ruling elites
 European empire-builders used indirect rule in places like
India where the ruling elite became puppets of the
 Tribes, Europeans believed, needed to be conquered and
rules formally and directly
 All those who were taken over did show some resistance but
didn’t have a chance against the new European weapons
Scramble for Africa
 Europeans controlled only 10% of the African continent in
the early 19th century
By 1914, they dominated 90%
They’d send in traders and missionaries
Christian missionary activity was central to European
expansion in Africa in the early 19th century
This increased European knowledge of tribal cultures
They also acquired land within tribal communities
The need to protect these missionaries encouraged European
governments to formally colonize African territories
Africa 1900
 This process increased greatly in the last 25 years of the 19th
century creating that Scramble for Africa
 Traders also aided in the colonization process
 They established posts in African regions
 They learned the languages and customs
 They built up a relationship with the people
The British dominated world trade in the 1800s through their
world markets, and they were expanding into Africa.
Not to be left out, the Germans established market areas in
Africa. By 1880s, they had annexed Togo, Cameroon, S.W.
Africa, and German East Africa
 The formal taking of territories accelerated in the early 1880s
because one nation wished to get a territory before another nation
 Germany, France, and Britain vied for new territories in Central
and West Africa
 Conflict arose when all 3 were trying to take the Congo
 This resulted in the calling of the Berlin Conference in 1884,
resulting in the Berlin Act, 1885
 They set up the game rules for colonizing – no guns for Africans
 A nation had to occupy territory before it could be annexed
This only seemed to intensify rivalries.
 There was fierce rivalry concerning the headwaters of the
Nile River
 This conflict brought French and British forces to the brink
of war in 1898-1899 at Fashoda with French Captain
Marchand vs. the British General Kitchener
 While they waited for orders about whether to fight each
other or not, they would meet for evening cocktails
 There was talk of war in England and France, but problems
back home in France made the French unwilling to get
involved in a war and Marchand withdrew
 When the scramble for territory was over around 1914, the
French claimed to have the most extensive African territories
 However, Britain and Germany weren’t far behind
Imperialism in Asia
 India was the heart, the center, the “ jewel in the crown” for
It was of great importance because of its many riches
Queen Victoria had herself crowned the Empress of India and
appointed a viceroy to represent her there
India was the center of Britain’s foreign policy
British trading in India’s markets began in the 17th century
Formal British rule dated only from 1861 after the Sepoy
 British East Africa Company proved ineffective at ruling for the
British government, so Britain began its formal rule of India
 Britain used, utilized much of the existing hierarchy already
established in India – indirect rule
They exported India’s goods: cotton, salt, opium
In China, Britain first exchanged Indian cotton for tea, but
Chinese demand for cotton waned
So the British began trading India’s opium for tea which
made a lot of money for the British as more Chinese became
This angered Chinese officials
In 1729, 200 chests of opium were sold to the Chinese
In 1838, that rose to 40,000 chests
 Opium became Britain’s most important crop
 In 1839, the Chinese government destroyed British opium in the
port of Canton and touched off the Opium War, 1839-1842
 The British blocked Chinese ports, took over the port of Canton,
and occupied Shanghai - all to protect their trade in opium
 The war ended with the Treaty of Nanking
 Unequal treaty system set up
 Extraterritoriality
 Resumption of opium trade
 Special privileges for the British
 China had to pay for the war
Opium War
 This treaty showed British arrogance toward the Chinese
culture and their belief in white superiority
Extraterritoriality meant the British in China did not have to
follow Chinese laws; they only had to follow British laws in
Other European nations made incursions: Germans, French,
and Japanese
All had spheres of influence: their own chunks of China
By 1912, over 50 major Chinese ports were in the hands of
 In 1900 the Chinese resentment of foreigners and Christian
missionaries resulted in the Boxer Rebellion
 Named for a martial arts group
 They killed foreigners
 They took over consulates
 16,000 well-armed Japanese, British, Russian, and American
forces fought back to save their privileges in China
 They showed no mercy towards the Chinese
 They sacked Beijing
 Europeans then resumed operating through their spheres of
Boxer Rebellion & Boxer Prisoners
 Europeans had interests in other parts of Asia
 British took Hong Kong in 1842, Burma in 1886, and Kowloon
in 1898
 Russians took the Maritime Provinces in 1858
 French moved in on Indochina in 1884 taking Annam
(Vietnam), Tonkin, Cambodia, and Laos
European culture was spread through the establishment of
Many from colonies like India went to England for schooling and
some stayed.
 And Europeans moved to other places as well
 Between 16th and 18th centuries, 6 million left Europe
 Between 1870 and 1914, 55 million Europeans left for the
Americas, Australia,, and New Zealand
 Emigration scattered people and spread cultures overseas,
putting a European stamp on people and societies abroad
influencing their economies, art, architecture,
philosophy, and politics
19th Century Philosophies
 1850 – the idea of Liberalism was strong in Europe
 By 1900 – there were other –isms to challenge liberalism
 Liberalism:
 generally for the expansion of civil rights
 for free trade
 upheld the right to private property
 for power in the hand of men
 wanted to ensure worker safety
 for public welfare
 Socialism:
 Marxist and non-Marxist wanted to gain support of workers by
supporting their causes
 Some were in favor of reaching objectives gradually and
 Others wanted the violent overthrow of capitalist systems
Different countries started their own Socialist parties:
Britain – Independent Labour Party (1893)
More popular was the Fabian Society (1884) that criticized
Capitalism and believed factories should be owned by the state
for the good of all.
 Germany began a Socialist Party in 1875
 One German Socialist leader was Edward Bernstein who
believed that through gradual democratic means, socialism
could come about
 Another German Socialist leader was Karl Kautsky who
believed only revolution would bring about socialism
 Anarchism:
 Said humans could be free only when the state had been
 People of a stateless society would automatically join together
in communes and share what they had
 Some felt they could educate people about their goal and, it
would naturally be achieved
 Others were for a more violent approach like attacking existing
authority: Example- Michael Bakunin of Russia fought against
the Tsar and other authoritarian governments in Europe in
1848, feeling all governments were oppressive
 From 1894 – 1901, anarchists killed the president of France, the
prime minister of Spain, the empress of Austria, the king of Italy,
and the president of the U.S., William McKinley
 These assassinations made people view anarchism as violent and
not improving people’s lives
 Many workers were more for unionization and direct action
 This was called Syndicalism:
 Workers should join unions
 Workers should call general strikes
 This would cripple capitalism
 Popular in Mediterranean area
 Opponents to Liberalism and Socialism were the
Conservatives on the political right
 They were for:
 keeping the existing order
 nationalism
 racist ideologies that were common in the 19th century –
They tried to back up their racism with twisted science.
 Anti-Semitism was the result of this racist thinking
 Originally, hatred of the Jews was based in religion
 Later, pseudo-scientists said Jewish blood was different and
 They were unworthy of the same rights others shared in a
democratic society
 Jobs were restricted
 Neighborhoods were separate
Emancipation of the Jews began with the French Revolution and
then spread to Germany and Austria by the 1860s.
 New opportunities came to Jews
 Some did not like this new equal standing in society
 Resentment followed saying Jews were dangerous and
All misfortunes were blamed on them
Those professing anti-Semitism were elected to political
Russia organized pogroms or massacres and those who
weren’t killed left Russia in 1905
2 million left mostly for the U.S.
 Many Jews started to believe they would only be safe in their
own nation
 Zionist Movement was started by an Austrian Jewish
journalist, Theodor Herzl
 advocated establishing a Jewish state in Israel
 Israel was finally created in 1948
 1880s was characterized by irrationality and uncertainty with
the spotlight on instinct and emotion rather than on rational
 Friedrich Nietzsche:
 said reason could not solve human problems
 said “God is dead”
 without a God, we are free to live as we please
 Sigmund Freud
 founded psychoanalysis as a way to treat psychic disorders
 explored the unconscious
 felt people are guided by unconscious feelings and emotions
 there are unresolved inner conflicts
 said irrational forces play a significant role in human behavior
 Gaetano Mosca
 political scientist
 said an elite minority rules over the majority
 desire to dominate is part of human nature
 surface appearances are deceptive
 elite minority manipulates the people
The Arts
 Avante Garde
 French for “forefront”
 broke society’s taboos and conventions
 created new forms of expression
 the art of this era did not have a clear message
 they wanted to show mood, nightmares, violence, and horror
 There was a decline in church attendance and in the practice
of Christian rituals
 Some became attracted to Buddhism and Hinduism
 Scientists questioned long-held beliefs
 1905, Albert Einstein proposed his theory of relativity that
changed fundamental ideas about time and space
End of 19th Century
 By the end of the 19th century, political systems of Europe
were shaky
 In democracies, more were voting and that changed who was
in power
 Traditional members of Parliament had to be responsive to
the new electorate or get booted out
 Ireland:
 was a problem for England
 wanted British out
 finally got Home Rule in 1914 but World War I broke out and it
was up in the air again
 England:
 1906 brought in a Liberal government that worked toward
social reform
 had old-age pension funded by a tax on landed wealth
 liberal government had some difficulties
 brawling in Parliament
Women’s Suffrage Movement
 At end of 19th century, women began organizing to get the
right to vote
 Had little success at first
 In 1906 they became more militant
 Led by Emmeline Pankhurst and her 2 daughters
 They would disturb Parliament
 They threatened to kill the Prime Minister and the King
 They went on hunger strikes and were force fed
 They were attacked by male thugs
There was widespread force shown in many areas of life
 France
1870, had their Third Republic that was unstable
There was a series of crises and scandals
They had no strong leadership
Example: The Dreyfus Affair
Alfred Dreyfus was a captain in the French army in 1894 and
was accused of giving French secrets to Germany
 There was no proof, but he was a Jew and an officer, hence
 They forged evidence against him
 He was sentenced to life in prison on Devil’s Island off the coast
of South America
 1896, the French found that Major Esterhazy was the real
spy, but they would not reopen the case because that would
mean the French army was mistaken
 1897, the French public found out and the affair became
 1899, there was a retrial and Dreyfus was still found guilty, but
he could be pardoned
 1906, Dreyfus was exonerated, and he ended his days as a
 People were angry at the Catholic Church for having backed the
courts against Dreyfus
 Some stormed the churches
 There were labor strikes
 Traditional life in France seemed to be breaking down
 Italy
 Had parliamentary system
 Unification came in 1860, but true unity was elusive
 The vote was given to those who owned property, about 3% of
the population
 Government tried to bring reforms to improve the general
standard of living, but they weren’t successful
 There was rapid population growth, from 25 to 35 million
 Country had limited moneys
 There were wealthy landowners who owned latifundia or
 Most people were poor and landless
 Industry paid low wages
 There were protests
 Protests were put down brutally by the government
Autocracies in Europe were in crisis. Germany, Austria-Hungary,
Russia, and the Ottoman Empire faced grave problems by the
end of the 19th century.
Demands for democracy were growing and the opponents used
any means they could, including violence, to put down protests.
Violence was met with violence
 Germany
 Had a parliament that answered to the Kaiser, not the people
 Kaiser Wilhelm II (r. 1888-1918) wanted to rule as well as
reign but wasn’t fit to govern
 Wilhelm II had a crippled hand but overcompensated for his
deformity by being forceful and brutal
 He had a poor self-image
 He wanted Germany to be a world power with colonies, a navy,
and world influence (Weltpolitik = world politics)
 Other European countries saw Germany as aggressive
 Weltpolitik was supported at home because it created jobs
Kaiser Wilhelm II
 There was also opposition to the Kaiser’s autocratic way of
governing, and he was seen as irresponsible
 1912, 1/3 of Germans voted for a socialist candidate dedicated
to the downfall of capitalism and autocracy
 1912, 1 million workers went on strike, and more and more
Germans pressed for Parliamentary government
 Kaiser Wilhelm II couldn’t take criticism and wanted the army
to crush any opposition to him
 Things were coming to a head
 Austria-Hungary
 Plagued by crises
 Was a multi-national empire with many ethnic groups
 Ruled by Franz Joseph (r. 1848-1916)
 Hard to control the empire, with Hungarian and Austrian sides
 Habsburg government introduced universal male suffrage in
 This seemed to make the empire more difficult to govern
 There were 30 ethnically based political parties in Parliament
 Debates became explosive
 1914, the emperor dissolved the Parliament
 The empire was falling apart
 Ottoman Empire
Seen as the bridge between Europe and Asia
Was also falling apart by 1914
Had been on a downward slide since 1700
There were secessionist movements from within
There was European aggression from without
Empire ruled by Sultan Abdul Hamid II (r. 1876-1908)
He was a dictator called the “Great Assassin”
He brutally put down any uprisings
Social unrest continued
They were nearing bankruptcy
 There were different ethnic, linguistic, and religious groups
within that wanted self-rule, independence
 Abdul Hamid was overthrown in a coup in July 1908 by young,
Western-educated Turks who despised one-man rule
 They set up representative government that tried to stop the
loss of territory through strong central government
 Those in outlying areas like Macedonia, Albania, and Armenia
did not like this “Turkification” and rebelled
 Many were killed like the Armenians
 Other nations felt this was good time to take down this
weakened empire
 Greece, Bulgaria, and Serbia formed the Balkan League and
attacked the Ottomans successfully in 1912
 The empire lost, as a result, most of its European possessions
 Russia
 Attempts were made to industrialize the country in the 1860s
 Serfs were freed and given land they later discovered they had
to pay for
 By “giving” them land, the Tsar hoped the peasants would
produce more and he could make more money to use for
 Universities increased in number as did the number of students
 This intelligentsia then worked to bring down the Tsar
 Repression increased
 Tsar Alexander II was assassinated in March 1881 as he was
about to sign a decree that might have given them a parliament
Alexander II, Tsar of Russia
 Alexander III took over for his father
 Alexander III thought his father had been too lenient and upheld
his autocracy
There would be no self rule and no parliament
He died in 1894 and his son Nicholas II took over as Tsar
He, too, was an autocrat but was not forceful
Nicholas wanted his people to like him
He did not know how to delegate duties
Instability followed
Life was restricted
There was not enough food for an increasing population
There was some industry but with bad conditions and unrest
Nicholas II
 1898, the Russian Social Democratic Party formed
 1903, it split into Menshevik and Bolshevik factions
 Bolsheviks were led by Vladimir Lenin
 1904-1905, Russia vs. Japan over control of North Korea;
Japan won
 January 1905- there were demonstrations at one of the Tsar’s
palaces where people were asking for bread and an 8-hour
day; the military opened fire and massacred the
 This was known as Bloody Sunday
 Demonstrations spread
 Tsar Nicholas II promised the people a Duma, a parliament,
freedom of religion, speech, assembly, and association to get his
country back under his control
 The Duma never had any power although it met
 There was increased population and famine
 There was a workers’ strike in 1912 where 725,000 took
part; that numbered doubled by 1914
The authoritarian states in Europe and the democratic ones
were being challenged by a restive public by the start of 1914
Even though no European nation wanted a war, their policies
said otherwise
 By 1914 there were 2 major alliances in Europe
 The Triple Alliance – Italy, Germany, & Austria-Hungary
 The Triple Entente - Great Britain, France, & Russia
 There were international rivalries, military build-up with
weapons and ships, imperialism, alliances, and nationalism
that led to World War I
 4 Main Causes of World War I:
 The Trigger:
 The assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his
wife Sophia by Gavrilo Princep of the Black Hand on 28
June 1914
 It was an ideal pretext for war against Serbia that protected
nationalist student groups from Austria-Hungary
The Arrest
The Great War, The War to End All
Wars, World War I
 28 June 1914– assassination of Austria-Hungary’s Archduke
Franz Ferdinand and his wife, Sophia, in Sarajevo, Bosnia by
Gavrilo Princip of the Black Hand
 23 July 1914 – ultimatum sent from Austria-Hungary to
Serbia (unreasonable demands and a time limit for
 28 July 1914 – Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia (
only with German backing)
 30 July 1914 – Russia declared war on both AustriaHungary and Germany
 By 4 August 1914 – Germany declared war on Russia and
France and marched through neutral Belgium to surprise
 France declared war on Germany
 Britain declared war on Germany after it had violated Belgian

Western Civilization Chapter 24