US and British Media Perceptions of Warlord Era China from 1920-1928
McGowan, John C.
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Most warlord historians describe Warlord Era China as a time of great chaos, confusion, and complexity. The chaos that engulfed China during the 1920s made it difficult for foreign nations with economic interests in the region to protect and expand their business. The United States and Great Britain clearly hoped to protect the status quo in China by reaffirming policies that promoted equal trade and free access to all foreign nations in the region. However, by the 1920s, the United States, most European nations, and Japan already had a long and complicated history of encroaching on Chinese sovereignty with the purpose of expanding their trade in the country. These nations thus found it difficult to work together and benefit equally in China and consequently much of the time they sought to implement policies that would promote their own interests, rather than call for free trade. This caused tension to emerge among even the closest foreign allies. Consequently, the belief that a unified group of foreign powers acted together to determine China's future is a myth. Instead, foreign nations attempted to further their own positions in China by jockeying for power among one another. Evidence in support of this argument can be found in both US and British media sources and US Department of State foreign policy directives from the 1920s. This Senior Individualized Project is divided into four sections. Each section is meant to reveal the different types of policies that led to tensions between foreign nations and furthermore demonstrate the way in which the US and Britain sought to protect their economic interest in China during the 1920s.