The Influence of Geography on Industrialization, and
Great Britain and Japan are both island nations with limited resources. As a
result, each nation developed according to its distinctive geographic location
For this assignment, compare and contrast the effects of geography on the
industrialization and imperialistic growth of these two nations. Be sure to
include evidence found in the documents provided to support your
argument. You must use at least five of the documents in your response.
The British Empire through 1945
Stevenson, J.and Cook, C. Longman Handbook of Modern British History. Longman Group. 1963
I was in the East End of London yesterday and attended a meeting of the
unemployed. I listened to the wild speeches, which were just a cry for “bread!
bread!‟ and on my way home I pondered over the scene and I became more
than ever convinced of the importance of imperialism. My cherished idea is a
solution for the social problem, i.e., in order to save . . . the United Kingdom
from a bloody civil war, we colonial statesmen must acquire new lands to
settle the surplus population, to provide new markets for the goods produced
in the factories and mines. The Empire, as I have always said, is a bread and
butter question. If you want to avoid civil war, you must become imperialists.
–Cecil Rhodes, 1895
Cecil Rhodes, quoted in Christman, Henry M., ed. Essential Works of Lenin: “What Is to Be Done?” and Other
Writings. New York: Bantam Books, 1966.
Millions of pounds (lbs.)
Imported Cotton Used by British Textile Industry
In comparing the advantages of England for manufactures with those of other
countries, we can by no means overlook the excellent commercial position of the
country – intermediate between the north and south of Europe, and its insular
situation, which, combined with the command of the seas, secures our territory from
invasion. . . . [O]ur ports command an unobstructed passage to the Atlantic and to
every quarter of the world.
–Edward Baines, 1835
Baines, Edward. History of the Cotton Manufacture in Great Britain. London: H. Fisher, R. Fisher, and P. Jackson,
“Qing Dynasty and its Collapse”. Topics in Modern East Asian History. Penn State University.
. Accessed April 17, 2013.
British Opium Exports to China
The geographical features of Japan have much in common with those of
ancient Hellas [Greece]. In both there is the same combination of mountain,
valley, and plain, [and] a deeply indented coastline, with its bays, peninsulas,
and islands off the coast. Few places inland are far removed from the
mountains, and none are really distant from the sea. . . . The land was on all
sides well protected, and yet also open to the sea; and in each case, too,
there was free access for commerce and civilization from early times. . . . The
deeply indented coastline of Japan provides a number of excellent harbors on
the Pacific coast, and its shores abound in fish of all kinds, the rich supplies of
which have for centuries constituted one of the chief articles of food of the
people. The fishing industries have helped to provide Japan with a recruitingground for one of the strongest and most formidable navies of modern times.
–Walter Weston, 1922
Weston, Walter. “The Geography of Japan in Its Influence on the Character of the Japanese People.” In The Japan
Society of London, Transactions and Proceedings. Asiatic Society of Japan. 1922.
The protection of the nation’s line of sovereignty and the defense of our line of
advantage are essential if we wish to maintain our independence and security.
. . . [W]e must reach as far as possible within the limits of our resources to
achieve control of that position. As a result, it is essential that we begin to
make significantly larger appropriations for our navy and our armed forces.
–Prime Minister Yamagata Aritomo, 1890
Hackett, Roger F. Yamagata Aritomo in the Rise of Modern Japan, 1838–1922. Cambridge: Harvard University
Press, 1971. [paraphrased]
To some Japanese, the most important national security objective was the
unselfish one – to establish a special relationship with China, strengthening
the region to allow it to turn back the tide of western imperialism.
To others, the selfish objective had to take priority. No matter the cost,
Japan’s own security and economic survival had to be considered ahead of
Asian values. Unless Japan became more powerful, there was no way to
save East Asia from the west. Japan could only be made powerful through
the economic exploitation of its neighbors.
Trade was necessary to the functioning of the Japanese economy. When
Japan entered the first stage of its modernization in the nineteenth century, it
had become dependent on other parts of the world for markets and raw
materials. Raw materials for heavy industry were so strategically important
they were placed in separate category from the rest of Japan’s imports. As a
result, it was essential to ensure the security of the areas that supplied Japan
and the trade routes that must be traveled, to ensure a reliable supply. Iron
for the steel industry was of particular concern as Japan was almost wholly
dependent upon imports. . . . The nearest major sources of iron were in
Manchuria and northern China.
–William Beasley, Japanese Imperialism, 1987
Beasley, William G. Japanese Imperialism. Oxford University Press, London. 1987, p. 210.
Japanese Expansion (1930 –1939)
Last Updated on February 11, 2019 by EssayPro