HIS 1110 A – Lecture 2
- A situation that has occurred as a result of Europeans wanting to control
regions that could supply them with raw materials. They got them from
Africa, Continents in Asia, etc.. They wanted to get the raw materials that
existed. 17 century is when this occurred. They had an Empire before the
19 century. They now had to expand their empire and acquire more
territories from other people.
- The most important empires :British, French and Spanish
o British especially in 1763 (also when they conquered Canada)
o They had the lions share of empires
o The greatest empire in this time
o The acquired territories like Canada, 1770 – Captain Cooke
established British presence in Australia, 1788 – made Australia a
place of banishment for British criminals.
Australia became the second largest self-governing dominion
in the British Empire (Next to Canada)
Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, were very
important territories at the turn of the century
o One of the most important British possessions was India
British East India Company controlled it
1857 rebellion in India against Britain
400 Milion people in India (most in a state of illiteracy), living
in degrading conditions (not the brightest). At the beginning of
the century, there was a growing body of Indian nationalists.
Despite the problems that India had, they demanded self-
There was an attempt to reform India in 1909
o Britain had interests in the Folk land Islands, established themselves
in the Carribean (Bermuda – still British today), Sealong (Sri-Lanka),
Persian Gulf area. These were smaller colonies.
- The British had a vision to control India, which was the jewel of the crown of the
British Colonies. They wanted to secure India, making it British because of its cheap
labor and raw material. India was the key to British power.
- 1840s – Prime Minister Lord Palmerstone set up this vision of how they viewed the
world. He had a vision to control India. The most important thing was international
waterways. If you had power, you had the world!
- 1815 – Off the coast of Italy, there is a small island called Malta, in 1815, they
seized it from Napoleon.
- 1878 – Island of Cyprus (off the coast of Turkey), the importance now was Egypt.
- 1882 – The British controlled the a
- Mediterranean was now under British control
- 1798 – Napoleon was the first European t go to Egypt. Brought scientists and
Engineers with him. They decided to dig and connect the Mediterranean to the Red Sea. Napoleon had a vision “If we want to beat Britain, we have to control this part of
the world.” (Afghanistan, East Asia, Egypt). The British became the post important
power in the world. In 1900, the superpower was Great Britain. They had colonies
all over the world (Africa, Asia, Australia, Canada, Caribbean’s, etc..) Next to them
was France, who had control in Africa
- Britain is the nation you want to watch. They conducted themselves in such
a way that they had pillars of British Power
- The Balance of Power
- The British always maintained that we don’t want any other power to
become too powerful. We shall always side with the weakest power. Started
by King Henry 8. He had the vision that Britain would always be with the
weaker power to prevent anyone else from becoming too powerful.
- Britain has no eternal friends or enemy’s
- However, we have eternal interests - business
- Business was the main pillar of British power. They were going to pursue
where their economic interests were.
- The British had a very flexible diplomacy
- “It’s better to have half a loaf than no loaf”
- Napoleon called them the nation of shopkeepers. (the most important thing
for a shopkeeper to do is sell you something - doesn’t want you to leave the
room without you buying something). The British felt “get what we can, not
be too ideological, not have fixed policies, only eternal interests”
As a result, we look for “What is British Policy in General”, there are 3 points:
1. The control of international waterways for the shipping trade
a. They did not have a large army, they had a large navy in order to
build a empire (how democracy grew in Britain)
2. The domination of International Banking and finance
a. London became the main center of finance in the world
b. Was the center of banking
c. Britain became the center of the financial world
3. The control of the world’s major raw materials
a. Particularly oil
i. Discovered the oil in Persia 1908
ii. Realized that oil is the most important raw material
iii. Everything depended on oil
This is why they dominated the world.
One particular nation was going to challenge Britain in the 1890’s: GERMANY
They were challenging the global hegemony of Britain. Someone had to challenge
Britain. France practically went to war with Britain in 1898. The bigger challenge,
however, came from Germany. The Germans were going to challenge Britain in a two way attack. They were firstly going to build a naval fleet to compete with
Britain. They realized that the naval power was the strength of Britain. The second
thing the Germans did was ally themselves with the Automan-Turks. In 1838,
William II went to Constantinople to visit the Suktat from Europe. They came as a
friend to the Turks, and got from them a concession to build a railway from Berlin to
Bagdad (IRAQ), giving the Germans a land route to avoid the water (Britain’s
strength). They were going to pierce into Mesopotamia, not far from India.
The first pillar of the British global empire was challenge with the navy.
Germany was the fifth largest navy in 1890. (Remember Britain was the first). By
1914, Germany became the second largest Navy and could now challenge the British
Navy-Wise. They are now in acquisition to fight. France is also no longer an enemy.
(the 100 year war, the hundred year war, 1890 they practically went to war, but
now they aren’t enemies anymore).
The railway was a cheaper and faster to operate than ships were. The Berlin-
Bagdad railway was cheaper and crossed through turkey, and was easy now for
Germany to strike at British bases in India and Egypt.
The Germans had a vision now to challenge. Unlike the British, they
weren’t flexible: they were based on heroic diplomacy (WE MUST
WIN). If you want to win, sometimes you have to lose. The German
approach – We want the whole bread and we will beat you! The
British approach – Sure, give us a quarter of the bread!
The German challenge came from a different direction. The vision from the
Kaiser was fundamental.
The question of oil now comes up. In 1908, the British discovered it in Persia
and discovered the importance of oil at that point. The British realized that the
industrial and economic development of the world would rely on oil right from the
beginning. They realized that oil was vastly superior to coal. Winston Churchill in
1911 decided to fuel all British ships with oil, transferring them from coal. This was
a major event as it made the ships more efficient. This was a pillar of their policies
then. The Germans also got involved in the oil because Iraq was under Turkish oil
when Britain started looking for oil there. Oil became quite important in 1912 when
the Germans started their oil companies. In 1918 it was realized that whoever
controlled the oil controlled international relations.
The bottom line was OIL!! The key of the industries then and today!
France, Russia and Britain were all seeking empires. The Germans were
trying to do what the British were trying to do. All the empires were destroyed after
In 1888, the British went to Constantinople and came up with a convention
called the “Constantinople Convention” stating that the Suez Canal was international
France had an interest in the Eastern Mediterranean and in North Africa since the
time of the crusades. They sent several crusades (10 or 12). They were interested
because of the connections with Christianity and the idea that Jerusalem and Bethlehem were holy cities. From a religious point of view, they were holy lands, at
this time under control of the Turks. Napoleon came to that part of the world in
1798 (middle east today).
Napoleon knew that if they wanted to beat the British, they had to capture
India. They told him, take 38,000 men and go to Egypt. When they arrived, he told
them that he was an apostle of modernism, radicalism, democracy, etc.. And wanted
Egypt to have a new vision of the world. He planted the seeds of nationalism.
Napoleon gave new ideals to the people. He set the ground for many things that
would revolutionize the world.
You cannot deny his genius.
In 1962 – Algeria became independent.
- Before they were French from 1830-1962
1831 – Tunisia was a French protectionate, however their ruler was still able
to have power.
Heart of Africa was French!
The French, like the British, had enclaves in China. Indo-China (Vietnam,
Cambodia, Laos) became French. The French were establishing themselves in India
and China. Unlike the British, the French had “Fixed Diplomacy.” They were fixated
on a vision. The French had problems with Germany particularly. They lost 2 of their
provinces to Germany in 1871 (Loraine and Alsace). That became a pre-occupation
of the French. Unlike the British, they did not have natural boundaries.
- Britain had no neighbors, making them very strong. Napoleon tried to invade
Britain: failed. Hitler tried to invade: failed. They were a natural boundary.
The French had to fight for their boundaries. A mountain is a natural boundary
for example, same with the Mediterranean. West fought 100-year war to achieve a
natural boundary. Northwest doesn’t have a natural boundary either. The French
were always fixed on natural boundaries. Germany had just acquired 2 provinces,
making them an enemy to the French. In 1914, they realized that they became allies
with the British (who they fought alongside in the 100-years war). After WWI they
recaptured Alsace, only to lose it again, and then gain it back in 1945.
They went around the world, taking parts from here and there, for example
Tunisia, Nigeria and Morocco.
One must go and look back in history. The principles pillars