Far Eastern Politics in the Postwar Period


The forces in conflict in the Far East during the past century have been traditionalism and western modernism, imperialism, and nationalism. The purpose of this study is to describe and analyze this conflict in its contemporary or postwar phase. By the mid-nineteenth century European states had brought India and all of the countries of Southeast Asia except Siam under their control. As colonies, those countries represented the Western outlook and interests in the Eastern world and for a long time had political significance as such rather than as independent factors in Far Eastern politics. This was the case until the colonies began, at different times and with differing tempos, to seek to throw off the external imperial control. Thus India, despite its size, had political importance in the area before 1945 mainly as a factor in the shaping of British policy. What was true for India was even more true for Burma and Malaya, in the British imperial system; for the Netherlands' East Indies; and for French Indochina. For decades there was acquiescence in what had been, in effect, a transfer of power from native sovereigns to foreign rulers.

It was only as the Western idea of the national state was gradually introduced that nationalism as a political force began to challenge imperialism. And, in the countries referred to above, it was only after World War II that nationalism became strong enough as an organized force to compel recognition of independence and thus to enable the countries which gained it to define a relationship with others in terms of their own purposes and interests. In other words, for the full . . .

Additional information

Publisher: Place of publication:
  • New York
Publication year:
  • 1956


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