Background and Assessment of the Washington Conference - Resolution of the Far East Problem.

Background and Assessment of the Washington Conference - Resolution of the Far East Problem.

By 1921, Japan sought to establish its control over almost all of East Asia.  From the north to the south all sea mouths came under Japanese control.  Shankhalin and Siberia were influential.  After the occupation of Korea, it became very easy for Japan to intervene in Manchuria.  Through this imperialist policy, Japan not only endangered China's sovereignty and territorial integrity, but also tried to bring China under its own control.


Background Assessment
Emergence of Japan as a world power Japan's demands were recognized, but limited by agreements on naval disarmament and territorial control
Growing tensions between China and Japan Open Door policy was reaffirmed and China's territorial integrity was preserved, but Japanese interests were recognized in Shandong
Anglo-Japanese Alliance Alliance was dissolved, but mutual respect and cooperation were encouraged through the Four-Power Treaty
US desire for peace and stability in the Pacific Conference helped establish a framework for diplomatic relations and peaceful coexistence in the region
In the early 20th century, Britain and America supported Japan in various ways.  Because they used Japan to block Russia's advance in the Far East.  In 1902, the Anglo-Japanese Treaty of Alliance increased relations between England and Japan.  Later, with the development of naval power and Russo-French conflict, Japan opposed England.  As a result, this alliance did not last long in 1902 AD, and the alliance was broken in 1921 AD.

By 1915 to 1916, the United States was angered by Japan's aggressive policies.  Because Japan blocked the investment of US capital in the Manchuria region.  As the US-Japan conflict escalated, Britain began to withdraw from the Anglo-Japanese alliance.  Because America did not want to be an enemy of the United States by helping Japan.

The conference convened by US President Harding in the capital city of Washington in 1921 is known as the Washington Conference. The Washington Conference lasted until 1922. United States, England, France, Italy, Holland, Portugal, China etc. countries joined this Washington conference. In the conference, various problems of East Asia were discussed under the signature of four powers, five powers and nine powers.

According to Historian E. H. Carr, the Washington Conference was particularly successful. He mentioned as the reason.

Four Powers: 
The political power parity that prevailed in the Pacific region prior to World War-I is re-introduced. (US and British authority)

Five Powers: 
Japan's naval power was significantly reduced compared to that of Britain and the United States. Japan militarily reduced its forces without conflict, ignoring US and British demands for compromise. As a result, Japanese imperialist aggression was prevented.

Nine Powers: 
This conference recognized China's sovereign rights and national integrity. As a result, it was not possible for Japan to seize China's independence. Thus, the United States played an important role in creating obstacles in the way of Japanese imperialism.

It must be admitted that, under pressure, Japan accepted the decisions of the Washington Conference against its will. But this acceptance was temporary. As Japan continues to build strength again, removing obstacles to its aggressive policy. Japan's invasion of Manchuria in 1931 proved that the United States had failed to organize the Washington Conference. Therefore, while evaluating this conference, P. Farr commented that, "The convention was a farce." These agreements helped ease tensions for a short time, but did not provide lasting peace.


According to historical perspective, the agreements signed at the Washington Conference paved the way for China's rise. It recognized China's sovereign rights and national integrity. According to Richard Strachey, China gained at the Washington Conference what it could not gain at the Treaty of Versailles. However, this is not completely acceptable. Because even though foreign states pledged sovereignty, they retained their interests. Therefore, it can be said that the Washington Conference could not solve the Far East problem on the one hand and could not fulfill China's aspirations on the other hand.
Next Post Previous Post