In 1927, Jiang Jieshi a.k.a. Chiang Kai-shek (q.v.) tried very hard to eliminate the Chinese Communist Party, which we will call the CCP. This is hard to understand because in his expedition to unite China, he was an ally of the CCP in the United Front. The majority of his conservative supporters were frightened of communist influences in the Nationalist Party, and wanted to get rid of it. Continue reading
The campaign was a military action in South-East Asia between December 1941 and August, 1945 during the Second World War. General Tomoyuki secured free passage through Thailand because of an agreement with the Vichy administration in France (pro-German). He then invaded northern Malaya in December 1941 while his companions were assaulting Singapore with great success. While Japanese aircraft bombed the city, British, Indian and Australian troops retreated to the south. It was a failure, as they were then taken prisoner after the fall of Singapore in February 1942. Continue reading
It might well have been Lord Palmerston (twice Prime Minister of Britain, 1855- 58, 1859- 65, q.v.) who concreted this term, though gunboat diplomacy in its various forms has been with us for centuries. The term implies diplomacy backed up by the threat of force (a gunboat for example) between countries, one state half-drawing a sword from its scabbard while talking in measured terms with another. It is all about imposing the will, and GD as I will call it was the accepted political force mostly in the nineteenth century.
British myself, I am resigned to the fact that it was Great Britain which used this kind of diplomacy to the greatest effect until the beginning of the First World War, simply because she had a superior navy, which could coerce smaller, weaker nations – sometimes big ones – to bend to her will. Continue reading
It is said that in the early part of the thirteenth century, English fish dealers working on the long eastern coast at places like Grimsby and Yarmouth were in a sad state of near-bankruptcy because their regular customers from the Baltic Sea and Russia had ceased to call with their fish. The populace had to make do with herrings, which came from the North Sea and in abundance. But what had happened to the Russian fishermen? Continue reading
She was the real ruler in China from 1861 – 1908. She was intelligent, literate, well able to express herself, and able in all matters. She did not like foreigners and said so. She was also the only woman to exercise true power within the Quing Dynasty which ruled China from 1644 to 1912. They were originally Manchus, a hunting tribe from ther north-east, It was the Quing who extended China’s control to Mongolia, Tibet and part of Turkestan. None of these had been a part of China under the Mings (1368 – 1644). The Quings were the first to hold Tibet. Continue reading
This preamble to the United Nations has vanished without trace. It was one of the oddest disasters waiting to happen the world has ever seen. It appeared after the Treaty of Versailles (1918 – 25) had sealed the fate of this planet. Indeed its creation was the last and most important of President Woodrow Wilson of the United States’ famous ‘Fourteen Points’. Wilson insisted that it should appear in each one of the peace treaties, covering the Covenent or Constitution of the League. But then the United States itself refused to join. Continue reading
Charles George Gordon was born in 1833. When his father discovered that the boy was wilful, obstinate, brave, selfish and over-fond of himself, he decided to send him to rough schools which would smooth things out a bit. They did not. His qualities seemed to indicate the Army, so to the Army he went.
When the Crimean War started in 1853 Gordon was already a junior field officer, and he distinguished himself at Sebastopol for being brave, wilful, obstinate etc. Later he took part in the second Opium War, and was present at the occupation of Pekin (we must learn to say Beijing) in 1860. As Gordon was annoyed with the ancient Empress of China, who had shown no interest in the murder of European missionaries, and less in the assassination of the German consul, and whose ministers had orchestrated the two opium wars anyway, Gordon decided to burn the Summer Palace to the ground, which he did. This act did not do either Gordon or Britain much good, and was to be remembered by the Chinese. Continue reading
While Europe was littered with principalities and petty kingdoms headed by princes and kings with ambitions beyond their resources; while both American sub-continents were spacious open homes for native tribes (also for ever warring against each other), Genghis Khan had founded in the thirteenth century his Mongol Empire. Continue reading