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Evaluate The Causes And Failure Of The Self Strengthening Movement. How Did Its Failure Affect China Up To 1912?

1562 words - 6 pages

The Self-strengthening Movement (1860-1894) was also named "Yang-Wu Yun-Tung" by the Marxist historians. It is because the movement did not strengthen China and it depended too much on the foreigners. All the reform programmes just imitated the West. In the upcoming paragraphs, we are going to discuss the causes and failure of it, and how its failure affected China up to 1912.It has been said that the Self-Strengthening Movement was a response to the West. The repeated defeats which China suffered from the 1st and 2nd Anglo Chinese Wars convinced the Qing Court Officials that the western powers were not barbarians. Instead, their weapons were very superior. And the foreign powers have been kept seeking advantages and privileges from China. As a result, China has to strengthen herself in order to resist foreign aggressions. To a large extent, it explains why the Self-strengthening Movement is military oriented.In the 1860s', western menace was not so great as it seemed to be. As a matter of fact, the signing of the peace treaties and the peaceful withdrawal of army from Peking showed that the foreign powers had no intention of conquering whole China. They even helped China to suppress the internal rebellions by sending the Ever-victorious Army. The well organized structure and hi-tech weapons fascinated the Chinese officials such as Li Hongzhang, one of the Movement leaders. Convincing the Chinese should carry out military reforms. Moreover, the foreign powers adopted to co-operative foreign policy at the mean time.The sincerity of the western diplomats in China also showed the friendliness of the foreigners. For example: Alcock, Burlingame and Robert Hart. It helped to ease the misunderstanding between China and the west.The Self-strengthening Movement was also a response to internal rebellion. It is undeniable that the domestic rebellions were serious threat to the Qing Dynasty. By 1860, the domestic rebellions had come to a high tide with the advance of the Taipings. Throughout the 1860s' and the early 1870s', there were numerous rebellions appeared e.g. the Nien Rebellion and the Moslem Rebellion. Unlike the foreign powers, these rebellions aimed at destroying the Dynasty. This urged the Qing to strengthen the country's military power to suppress the internal rebellions.Despite the Self-strengthening Movement has been lasted for more than 30 years, it ended up in failure. In spite of how much effort they have been put in to the military reform programmes, it ended up in being defeated by the little Japan in the Sino-Japanese War (1894-1985). What were the causes of failure?One of the reason for the failure of the Self-strengthening Movement was its reactionary character. The self-strengthening Movement was just used to suppress the uprisings of the common people and to preserve the Manchu rule. The Qing Court did not carry out the programmes with sincerity. Cixi took the reform funding for building her luxurious Summer Palace explains it....

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