Sino-Japanese War of 1894–95

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Sino-Japanese War of 1894–95


Japan’s aggressive war against China to establish control over Korea (which was nominally a vassal country of China) and to penetrate into China.

When China, at the request of the Korean government, sent soldiers into Korea to put down a peasant rebellion in June 1894, Japan used this as a pretext to dispatch its own troops to Korea. The Japanese government demanded that the king of Korea enact certain “reforms,” which in effect signified the establishment of Japanese control in Korea. Shortly thereafter, with the aid of its soldiers, Japan carried out a government coup in Seoul on the night of July 22. The new government on July 27 made a “request” of Japan to expel the Chinese troops from Korea. Even before this, however, on July 25, the Japanese navy without declaring war had begun military operations against China; it was not until Aug. 1, 1894, that war was officially declared.

The superiority of the Japanese army and navy, combined with the incompetence and cowardice of the Ch’ing command and of the high officials headed by Li Hung-chang, led to the major defeats suffered by China on land and sea—at Asan in July 1894, Pyongyang in September 1894, and Chiuliang in October 1894. After Oct. 24, 1894, military operations shifted to Northeast China. By March 1895 the Japanese troops, having seized the Liaotung Peninsula, Weihai, and Yingk’ou, were threatening Mukden. On April 17, in Shimonoseki, representatives of Japan and China signed a peace treaty that was humiliating for China.

The war marked the beginning of China’s partition and financial enslavement by the imperialist powers, and it accelerated the capitalist development of Japan; the seizure of Taiwan and the Pescadores Islands was the first step in the establishment of the Japanese colonial empire.


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The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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