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The China QuestionGreat Power Rivalry and British Isolation, 1894-1905$
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T. G. Otte

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199211098

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199211098.001.0001

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(p.326) Conclusion
The China Question

T. G. Otte (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This final chapter reassesses the significance of the China Question for international politics and for British foreign policy in particular. China's perceived decline led to an increased interaction between European developments and the extra-European geo-strategic periphery. It stresses the need for a global, imperial approach to the study of pre-1914 British foreign policy. The China Question brought into sharper focus Britain's relations with the Franco–Russian combination and with Germany and Japan. The book ends with a paradox. Until 1905, the growing Anglo–Russian antagonism in Asia dictated British policy. The Anglo–Japanese combination was a tool for the containment of Russia; it did not mark the ‘end of isolation’. But its consequences — the Russo–Japanese War and Russia's subsequent international weakness — transformed the international environment, with Germany freed of Russian pressure in Europe. Thus, isolation had been reaffirmed in 1905. But its apparent success would undermine its continued justification.

Keywords:   Anglo–Japanese alliance, Anglo–Russian relations, British foreign policy, China Question, geo-strategic periphery, Germany, isolation, Japan, Russo–Japanese War, 1914

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