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The Germans in China 1870-1914

Tan, Traudl (1983) The Germans in China 1870-1914. Masters by Research thesis, Murdoch University.

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Abstract

This thesis is an account and analysis of German colonial expansion in China before World War I. Special emphasis is placed on the examination of the working methods of the China-Germans, their motives and aspirations in China, their way of life and their relationship with other Europeans, and in particular with the Chinese.

Unification of the German states, and industrialisation under Wilhelm I, gave the new nation the impetus and strength for the acquisition of overseas colonies. The political ambitions of Wilhelm II to transform the nation into a world power, in competition with Britain, resulted in the acquisition of a German fleet. a naval base in Shandong province and a government policy of economic expansion in China.

The China policy was put into effect by the Naval Office in the Jiaozhou protectorate, and by the Foreign Office in the German concession communities in the treaty ports. It was carried out in varying degrees by the Germans who belonged to the four major professions represented in China: the military personnel, the consular staff, traders and industrialists, and missionaries. The military contribution to the German expansion programme was the participation in the suppression of the Boxer rebellion, and the administration and development of the colony. The Foreign Office liaised with the Chinese government, and was active in the promotion of German trade in its progress from the small beginnings of in dividual traders to larger and more important enterprises like the construction of the German railway in Shandong. While most German traders were successful in China, the projected goal of national economic expansion was not fulfilled, despite attempts by the government to invigorate its development with cultural propaganda and education of the Chinese. In spite of the religious dedication of the missionaries, their success was impaired by Chinese reaction to the circumstances of their forced admission into China by treaties, the lack of worthwhile support from their government, which considered their work a danger to Sino-German relations, and by their own inadequate comprehension of the Chinese culture.

Publication Type: Thesis (Masters by Research)
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Human Communication
Supervisor(s): Wright, Tim, Robison, Richard and Porter, Robin
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/50896
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