Asia and the West

Asia and the West

Asia and the West

Asia and the West

Excerpt

It has been suggested that, when the history of this century is seen in perspective, the main events of the last decade will seem to be, not the war or the changes it has caused in Europe, but the happenings in Asia. In every major country of Asia there has been revolution. The classes which controlled their governments in 1939 are no longer in power. The non-Asiatic powers whose rule during the past century so profoundly affected Asiatic history have changed their aims and methods of operation, and their power in the continent has also undergone radical change.

The key areas of Asia are China, India and Japan. The outside powers are the U.S.S.R., America and Great Britain; France and Holland play a lesser part.

During the 19th century and until the outbreak of the last war, all affairs in Asia were dominated by the impact of Europe. Until two or three hundred years ago, Europe and Asia were roughly level in their degrees of technical advance, and nearly level in the efficiency of the organisation of the societies. Then, suddenly Europe forged ahead. In every political structure there is a power centre and there is a set of political ideas about how society should be organised. Because of industrialism, because of its application to warfare, and because of the new social structure which industrialism brought about, the West European countries became very much stronger than the Asiatic. A power disequilibrium between the two areas had developed -- not unlike the economic disequilibrium to-day between the dollar and sterling areas.

As the West European countries, with their new power, pressed on the Asiatic countries, these one by one cracked, fell into disorder, and were annexed politically by the Western countries. The West did not set out on a deliberate tour of conquest. As a rule it went to the East to trade, and its blind weight broke the Eastern countries. The weakness of the Asian governments was not only military; their prevailing political ideas did not allow them to organise the type of society which could resist the western powers.

One eastern government was able, by borrowing both technique and political ideas from the West, to reorganise its society so quickly that it was able to appear to the West as a workable and viable state.

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.