ABSTRACT

The final collapse of the Ch'ing dynasty in 1911 created a political vacuum in China, intensifying the struggle for hegemony over the mainland of Asia, which had begun in the nineteenth century. World War I further upset the balance of power in the Far East as European battlefields drew the attention and energies of the major powers away from Asia. The Russian revolution, too, forced a temporary withdrawal from Far Eastern affairs as the Bolsheviks battled in civil strife to secure their victorious coup d'état. Japan emerged from the cataclysmic events of war and revolution the most powerful and expansionistic state in Asia. Under these circumstances, Japan's drive to expand into China was as inevitable as were the efforts by the major powers to contain the Japanese.