A Very Short History of the Sino-Japanese War , 1894-5

BACKGROUND - This was a war whose origins lay in the Korean question. In the Tientsin Convention of 1885 Japan and China had averted a war that had seemed probable by agreeing to withdraw their troops from Korea , where both parties had been building up sizeable contingents in Seoul , and by agreeing that if either country's future interests required intervention in Korea then the other country was to be forewarned and permitted to despatch a comparable number of troops.

In 1894 there occurred a rebellion in Korea in which the rebels defeated the regular army. The Korean king appealed to his suzerain power (China) to come to his aid. China responded , and fulfilled its treaty obligations by informing Japan of the despatch of 2000 troops to Seoul. Japan reacted by occupying Pusan and Chemulpo. China restored the situation in Korea and recommended joint evacuation of the Chinese and Japanese armies , but the Tokyo government resisted , having grown nervous at the weakness of Korea and the prospect of other nations (including European ones) intervening in what she considered her essential sphere of interest. Japan asked China to initiate a number of reforms within Korea , to which China replied indignantly that the affairs of Korea were of no concern to Japan. Thus the two empires slid into war . . .

It was a short war lasting a total of 8 months.

Captain Togo (on ?) attacked a Chinese transport fleet in which 1200 soldiers and sailors perished .

On land there was a 2-pronged attack :-

  1. After the Battle of Pyongyang (15 Sep 1894) the First Japanese Army advanced North-West into Manchuria.
  2. The Second Japanese Army landed on the Liaotung Peninsular , 24th October 1894.
They joined forces 6th March 1895 to annihilate the Chinese at Tienchuangtai.

The Chinese Navy was also defeated :-

With the Shantung peninsular occupied China sued for peace.

Treaty of Shimonoseki , 10th April 1895

Russia and Germany reacted angrily to Japan's presence at Port Arthur and the Liaotung Peninsular and persuaded a reluctant France to join their coalition. The Eastern fleets of the three powers were reinforced and concentrated whilst the Russian army in the Amur Maritime Province was mobilised . 20th April 1895 the three powers presented their objections in Tokyo. The Japanese Emperor was in no position to resist , and agreed to evacuate the Liaotung Peninsular , at the cost of a further 5 million from China.

The total indemnity paid by China to Japan considerably exceeded the cost of the war , and Japan invested the profits principally in the placing of orders for the most modern warships from British yards .

Japan continued to occupy Wei-Hai-Wei in Shantung as a guarantee until the full amount of reparations had been paid by China .