1871 = The First American-Korean War
|KIM JONG-IL (OP)|
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07/11/2006 09:39 PM
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The history of U.S. nineteenth century military intervention in Korea included the first American Korean War in 1871, a war noted by its belligerance. Five years earlier, in July 1866, a U.S. Merchant Marine ship, the General Sherman, a heavily armed ship with a mixed crew of U.S., British, and Chinese/Malay, including a U.S. Protestant missionary, Robert Thomas, attempted to penetrate Korean waterways in pursuit of trade discussions and Christian evangelization. Denied permission to sail up the Taedong River leading to Pyongyang, the ship defied Korean authorities. Consequently, after four days of fighting, the ship was burned, and the twenty persons aboard killed.
In retaliation, the U.S. Navy and Marines invaded Korea in June 1871 with the warships Monocacy and Palos, three steam launchers, and about twenty support boats, with total crew of more than 1,000 mostly Civil War veterans. The U.S. Minister to China, Frederick Low, was on board. The expedition, commanded by Admiral John Rodgers who had previous Far Eastern experience, landed nearly 700 men at the Kanghwa beaches (25 miles north of present day Inchon in west central Korea), partly to resume attempts at trade talks with the "last outstanding scoffer at western civilization," but also to "avenge the insult to the American flag," and the earlier loss of the General Sherman and her passengers. [William Elliot Griffis, "American Relations With the Far East," The New England Magazine, November 1894, pp. 269, 270]. The Koreans again resisted. But the U.S. forces insisted on vengeance and, in two days of heavy fighting, destroyed five forts and inflicted as many as 650 casualties on the defending Koreans, while suffering only three casualties of their own. The U.S. forces then quickly departed, obviously not having succeeded in establishing any trade with Korea. In all of the Nineteenth Century, this was the largest U.S. military force to land on foreign soil outside of Mexico and Canada until the "Spanish American" War in 1898. This intervention created heightened anxieties among the Japanese about aggressive U.S. intentions in Asia.
After Japan "opened" Korea by coercing the 1876 commercial treaty with her, the latter attempted to ameliorate this heavy Japanese influence by finally establishing trade relations with the U.S. in 1882. The Korean-U.S. Treaty of Commerce, resulting in official U.S. recognition of and promise to protect Korea's independence, created a small "diplomatic" legation to represent U.S. interests there. The U.S. Marines were first dispatched in 1888 "to protect American interests" from threats by local residents not happy with the U.S. presence there. Competition for Korea's strategic land area and potential resources heated up between nearby powers of Japan and Russia.
The First Sino-Japanese War (1894-95) saw conflict between China and Japan for control of Korea. This war marked Japan's clear emergence as an imperial power. Japan acquired Formosa and the Pescadores (64 small islands) off the west coast of Formosa, and initially the Liaotung peninsula (just west of northern Korea) in Manchuria, China's most resource-rich province with its valuable farmlands, timber, coal, and future industrial potential. During this war Japanese troops had begun a quasi-regular presence in Korea. The pressure of this war again brought in a contingent of U.S. Marines to "protect American interests" who remained there for a number of months.
The rival designs of Russia and Japan for Manchuria and Korea led to the Russo-Japanese War (1904-05). Russian failure to withdraw from Manchuria and its associated penetration into northern Korea was met by Japanese attempts to negotiate a division of the area into respective spheres of influence and control. The Russians resisted. On January 27, 1904, Japanese destroyers torpedoed three Russian battleships in Port Arthur at the tip of the Liaotung (Kwangtung) Peninsula. Japan broke off diplomatic relations on February 6, 1904, and two days later attacked Port Arthur and for awhile contained the Russian fleet there. Japanese troops in large numbers had moved through Korea when they attacked Manchuria. These war pressures again created conditions that led to another intervention by U.S. Marines to, you guessed it, "protect American interests" in Korea. However, during these series of interventions by U.S. Marines the longest they remained in Korea at any one time was twenty-two months.
Japan's prestige peaked after a series of spectacular Japanese military victories over humiliated Russian naval forces at its great base at Port Arthur (January 1905); over smashed Russian armies at the inland city of Mukden, 220 miles northeast of Port Arthur (February-March); and in the Tsushima Island Port, 50 miles south of Pusan, Korea, in the Tsushima Strait (May 27, 1905) where virtually the entire Russian Baltic fleet of thirty-seven ships was destroyed and nearly 5,000 men drowned. This was the first time a major European power had been defeated in a major battle by a nonwhite nation. Western mystique took a hit. Though the Japanese had lost only three small boats and suffered a mere 110 men killed, she was reaching the limit of her strength. On May 31, only four days after their spectacular naval victory over the Russian fleet, Japan asked U.S. President and Harvard educated Theodore Roosevelt to mediate a formal end to the war. Both England and the U.S., the only two countries powerful enough to block Japan's advances in Korea, favored Japanese colonization of Korea in order to selfishly protect their own respective regional imperialistic designs from threatened Japanese competition.
What Koreans did not know at the time of Roosevelt's willing "diplomatic" intervention to end the war over who would control Korea, however, was the fact that U.S. Secretary of War, lawyer and Yale educated William H. Taft, on instructions from Roosevelt, had since February been secretly discussing with Japan for its absorption of Korea. This led to a concluded secret agreement with Japan's Prime Minister Taro Katsura on July 31, 1905. Known as the Taft-Katsura Agreement, the U.S. recognized Japanese rights in Korea, in exchange for Japanese recognition of the recent U.S. military conquering and subsequent possession of the Philippines (after U.S. military intervention in the 1898 Philippine revolution against Spain, termed in the U.S. as the "Spanish American" War) and Hawaii (after the U.S. Marines landed in 1893 to "protect American life and property," more specifically protection of sugar interests). The Taft-Katsura Agreement directly, and shamelessly, violated the earlier 1882 treaty in which the U.S. promised to protect Korea's independence, despite the legal and Ivy League education of its U.S. authors.
To comprehend just what Roosevelt thought of the Koreans it is instructive to examine his own words as written in his autobiography when he describes a rationale for the violations of the 1882 Treaty perpetrated by the 1905 Taft-Katsura Agreement: "To be sure, by treaty it was solemnly covenanted that Korea should remain independent. But Korea itself was helpless to enforce the treaty, and it was out of the question to suppose that any other nation, with no interests of its own at stake, would do for the Koreans what they were utterly unable to do for themselves...Korea has shown its utter inability to stand by itself."
Less than two years earlier, Roosevelt had uttered similar comments about Colombia, justifying his "taking" of a section from that country called Panama. It is important to understand the depth of arrogance that manifested at that time, and has only grown more intense since. In his December 7, 1903 remarks to Congress, Roosevelt stated: "The experience of over half a century has shown Colombia to be utterly incapable of keeping order on the Isthmus. Only the active interference of the United States has enabled her to preserve so much as a semblance of sovereignty. Had it not been for the exercise by the United States of the police power in her interest, her connection with the Isthmus would have been severed long ago...In 1856, in 1860, in 1873, in 1885, in 1901, and again in 1902, sailors and marines from United States warships were forced to land in order to patrol the Isthmus, to protect life and property, and to see that the transit across the Isthmus was kept open...Every effort has been made by the government of the United States to persuade Columbia to follow a course which was essentially not only to our interests and to the interests of the world, but to the interests of Colombia itself. These efforts have failed; and Colombia by her persistence in replacing the advances that have been made, has forced us, for the sake of our own honor, and of the interests and well-being, not merely of our own people, but of the people of the Isthmus of Panama and the people of the civilized countries of the world, to take decisive steps to bring to an end a condition of affairs which has become intolerable. The New Republic of Panama immediately offered to negotiate a treaty with us. This treaty I herewith submit."
The United States had articulated an open-door concept seeking commercial success in Asia as early as President John Tyler's Presidency when the first American-Chinese treaty was signed in 1844 that included most-favored-nation language. But the U.S. was interested in the Caribbean, Central and South America, and Africa, as well as Asia. Market expansion grew ever more aggressive after the U.S. Indian wars of 1880-1890 had assured the final conquering of the Continent to its westward limits at the Pacific Ocean. Overseas market areas were looming ever more important for the U.S. economy. Political-commercial interventions had recently occurred: in Samoa in the southern Pacific (1878) under Harvard educated President Rutherford B. Hayes; in African Morocco in association with other European nations (1880), also under Hayes; through the opening of Korea in 1882 under lawyer President Chester A. Arthur with the signing of the Commerce Treaty mentioned above; by accessing free markets in the African Congo (1883-84), also under Arthur, as the U.S. was the first country to recognize King Leopold's exploitative claim there; by claiming rights to Pearl Harbor (1887), then completing seizure of Hawaii (1893) under lawyer President Grover Cleveland; interventions in Venezuela (1893) and Brazil (1894-96), also under Cleveland; formal annexation of Hawaii in 1898 under lawyer President William McKinley; and assuring control over Cuba and the Philippines after preempting their revolutions for independence (1898-99), also under McKinley. The U.S. was on a roll!
The Treaty of Portsmouth ending the Russo-Japanese War was signed formally at the U.S. Naval base at Portsmouth, New Hampshire on September 5, 1905, acknowledging Japan as a world power, more than a month after the secret agreement between the U.S. and Japan relating to Korea. However, the peace discussions had been conducted all summer long at President Roosevelt's private summer home at Oyster Bay, Long Island, New York, prior to the formal signing in Portsmouth, and during and after the secret negotiations leading to the signing of the Taft-Katsura Agreement.. The Treaty recognized Japan's paramount interest in Korea and ceded to her the leasehold of the Liaotung Peninsula in Manchuria (the site of the strategic Russian port on the Chinese coast), and the southern half of Sakhalin Island (just north of Japan and separated from Russia by the Gulf of Tartary). Russia took a hit for which it would not forget easily.
In addition, Roosevelt demanded that Japan follow the Open Door policy in Manchuria and return the region to Chinese administration. The "Open Door" policy had been formalized and presented to the world in a series of Open Door Notes (1898 - 1901) by U.S. Secretary of State John Hay, under President William McKinley, to assure "perfect equality of treatment for commerce" in the Chinese marketplace, including spheres of influence claimed by other Western nations and Japan. The U.S. was experiencing the integration of two important themes which were in effect formalized in the Open Door Notes: (1) export of "civilization, order, and security" as representing the American Way Of Life (AWOL) seriously believed as being good for the advancement of everybody in the world, and (2) export of products such as cotton, canned fruit, milk, and beef, good for prosperity and profits of commercial interests in the United States.
At the end of the Nineteenth Century, it had become clear to the business and political powers of the United States that expansion was indispensable in order to acquire necessary markets for the increasing surplus of manufactured goods, agricultural products, and venture capital. In addition, acquiring reliable access to cheap raw materials was becoming important in order to continue the profitable growth of the U.S. American industrial production system. It was becoming clear that U.S. prosperity and preservation of the American Way Of Life (AWOL), and its myths, were dependent upon, in fact demanding, an expansionist, increasingly imperial foreign policy.
Extensive Chinese unrest against foreigners exploded in June 1900, known as The Boxer Rebellion, provoked a deepening of concern in the U.S. (and other nations') over the ability to begin exploitive designs there. From May 24 - September 28, about five thousand U.S. troops joined soldiers from Great Britain, France, Russia, Germany, and Japan, dispatched to quell 140,000 "Boxers" who had occupied Beijing and were seriously "harassing" Westerners as well as Chinese Christians. "Boxers" was the English name given to an antiforeign secret society in China called "I Ho Ch'uan," which in Chinese literally means "righteous, harmonious fists," i.e., boxers. This scare produced a strengthening of the U.S. Open Door language on July 3, 1900, promising "uttermost accountability" for anyone causing "wrong" to be committed against U.S. citizens, while intending to guarantee a free and open marketplace for all interested U.S. Americans in "all parts of the Chinese Empire," on an equal basis with competing nations of Germany, Russia, England, and Japan. Of course, the "Open Door" was intended to be a diplomatic cover for the ability of the U.S. to protect its "welfare" by pushing and holding doors open throughout the world using strategies ranging from polite to impolite coercion, and the use of military means as necessary. It was a cute term for U.S. imperialism.
In Korea, the Japanese since 1905 had assumed police responsibility in Seoul, had placed their own police inspectors in all Korean provinces, and placed a resident general in the country. Japanese troops were never withdrawn, and only ten weeks after the conclusion of the Russo-Japanese War, Japan forced Korea to formally sign the Protectorate Treaty. Japan exercised broad control over both Korea's domestic and international affairs. Japan renamed Korea Chosen, and the wealthy Korean aristocracy began changing their names to Japanese. Later, after the formal Annexation in 1910, all Koreans had to speak Japanese, not Korean, take Japanese names, and conform to Japanese dress and religious customs.
Ironically, Teddy Roosevelt received the Nobel Peace Prize for his "mediation," having been credited with bringing peace between Russia and Japan. Little did anyone understand at the time that the secret agreement made prior to the Treaty at Portsmouth had aimed an early fatal dagger cutting the heart out of an independent, sovereign Korean Peninsula which to this day it has not recovered.
The Treaty of Portsmouth marked the corresponding temporary decline of Russian power in the Far East. The expensive railway lines constructed by Russia in southern Manchuria were ceded to Japan without payment. All Russian troops were removed. This humiliating defeat of Russian efforts to control the eastern corner of the dying Chinese empire was a shock to the Tsar. It must be remembered that the Tsar was already in trouble. Disgruntled Russians had secretly formed the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party at Minsk in 1898 based on principles of Marxism. At the second party congress held at Brussels and London in 1903, Lenin's faction gained a majority, calling themselves Bolsheviks (meaning "majority").
When the Russo-Japanese war first broke out in February 1904, historic Russian racism that despised the "inferior" Japanese, augmented with cocky patriotic fervor, seemed to bolster the Tsar's power. But continued Russian defeats disillusioned moderate Russians and spurred the unsuccessful first Russian revolution that erupted in January 1905. Though it failed, it came to be understood as a great rehearsal for the two subsequent revolutions that erupted twelve years later in 1917. The second revolution occurred in February 1917 as a result of the costly, vastly unpopular First World War. The Tsar was toppled by moderate Mensheviks (meaning "minority") and the Socialist Revolutionaries, leading to establishment of a Provisional government. As chaos spread throughout the disintegrating Russian empire, self-elected councils (soviets) of workers' and soldiers' groups sprang up all over the country just as they had done during the first revolution in 1905. Lenin and the Bolsheviks established rule in Petrograd on October 1917, the third revolution, which is the date generally attributed to the Russian Revolution. Petrograd was renamed Leningrad in 1924 but later recovered its original name of Saint Petersburg as it is known today.
The Russian Bolshevik Revolution was not acceptable to the Allied and Japanese world. The U.S. and other Allied nation's belligerent response to the Bolsheviks has had dramatic implications for the world, and Korea, as will be discussed in the section below, "U.S. Cultural Context, U.S. Occupation and the Cold War."
After 1905, Japan's assertion of power was accomplished substantially at Korea's (and after 1931, at China's) expense. Nonetheless, popular Korean resistance to Japanese colonialism grew strong. The Japanese estimated that there were almost 70,000 Korean guerrillas in 1908 engaging Japanese forces in nearly 1,500 separate confrontations. Between 1905 and 1910, Korean people's resistance to Japanese occupation led to the killings of at least 18,000 protesting Koreans, 12,000 of them from 1908 to 1910 alone.
Nonetheless, on August 22, 1910, after more than a thousand years as an independent and distinct geographic unit, Korea formally capitulated to Japan, when the Yi Dynasty was forced to sign the Annexation Treaty. Korea thus became annexed as a province of Japan with the full support of the United States. This capitulation was due primarily to the Korean ruling class's fears of losing their privilege to organized, aggrieved peasants, more than fears of being ruled by foreign powers. After formal annexation, many of the guerrillas regrouped in Manchuria or in Russian maritime territory as they continued to wage war against the Japanese.
The Yi Dynasty had ruled since 1392 but was unable to defend itself from the formidable Japanese imperial colonization supported secretly by the United States. Though Korea had formally been an independent nation, it had long survived under a kind of Chinese suzerainty (overlord) which had provided it military protection. However, the Chinese had become significantly weakened due to aggressive Japanese diplomatic and military maneuverings following its Meiji Restoration in 1868, as noted above.
[link to www.brianwillson.com]
United Korea Will Be The Center of the New World.
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07/11/2006 10:33 PM
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Such interesting historical info on the imperialists and oh how things have not changed.
Sunny shit starter & stirrer, I shit the shit, My shit is stirred not shaken, Winner of the golden shit-stirrer award, Calling someone "a bit of a shit stirrer" in Ireland is usually a term of endearment rather than an insult.
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07/12/2006 03:23 PM
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|KIM JONG-IL (OP)|
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10/14/2006 08:44 PM
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10/14/2006 08:52 PM
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Is that why you suppress your people.So you don't get your ass kicked.
Such interesting historical info on the imperialists and oh how things have not changed.Quoting: KIM JONG-IL
If Imperialist citizens knew what their leaders do there would be revolution today.
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