Europe in 1815

Eastern Telegraph Network, 1901

European Colonies in 1900


Wilhelm II's "Hun Speech"

"The Massacre of Peking" (NYT, July 5, 1900)

"China's Treaty Obligations" (NYT, Aug. 1, 1900)


The 19th-Century International System
History 300 / August 22, 2013

I. Diplomatic affairs governed by the “great powers”
            A. The Congress of Vienna, 1814-1815
                        1. Agreement follows years of warfare vs. Napoleon
                        2. Cooperation vs. two historic dangers
            B. The “Concert of Europe” in action
                        1. Great powers sanction military interventions
                        2. Great powers bestow recognition upon new states
                        3. Great powers claim the right to protect minorities in the Ottoman Empire
            C. Expanding the reach of the system
                        1. The forced “opening” of Japan, 1853
                        2. Establishing colonial rule
                        3. “Informal” empire
II. Incipient globalization of…
            A. Communication
            B. Transportation & commerce
                        1. Railroads
                        2. Long-distance shipping
                        3. The Gold Standard
             D. Cultural and scientific endeavors
                        1. The International Olympic Committee
                        2. Various professional organizations
III. A multilateral intervention: China, summer 1900
            A. China’s peculiar international status
            B. The Boxers: “Righteous and Harmonious Fists”
            C. The foreign legations (and Chinese converts) under attack
                        1. Mass killings in the countryside
                        2. Besieged in Peking
                        3. A similar scene in Tientsin
            D. The “China Relief Expedition”
                        1. Eight countries send troops
                        2. Looting and massacres
                        3. "Pacification" measures against Boxer remnants
            E. China’s punishment
                        1. An indemnity to the eight powers
                        2. Further territorial concessions
                        3. Apology to Germany

Aristocratic diplomats at the Congress of Vienna

Chinese "Boxers"

Suppressing the Boxers

Further reading
Gary J. Bass, Freedom's Battle: The Origins of Humanitarian Intervention (New York: Knopf, 2008)
F. R. Bridge and R. Bullen, The Great Powers and the European States System, 1815-1914 (New York: Longman, 1980)
Alan Palmer, The Chanceries of Europe (London: George Allen & Unwin, 1983)
Diana Preston, The Boxer Rebellion (New York: Berkley Books, 2001)