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A History of the Japanese People by F. Brinkley

The fall of Weihaiwei ended the war


this victory the maritime route to China lay open to Japan. She could now attack Talien, Port Arthur, and Weihaiwei, naval stations on the Liaotung and Shantung peninsulas, where strong permanent fortifications had been built under the direction of European experts. These forts fell one by one before the assaults of the Japanese troops as easily as the castle of Pyong-yang had fallen. Only by the remains of the Chinese fleet at Weihaiwei was a stubborn resistance made, under the command of Admiral Ting. But, after the entire squadron of torpedo craft had been captured, and after three of the largest Chinese ships had been sent to the bottom by Japanese torpedoes, and one had met the same fate by gunfire, the remainder surrendered, and their gallant commander, Admiral Ting, rejecting all overtures from the Japanese, committed suicide.

The fall of Weihaiwei ended the war. It had lasted seven and a half months, and during that time the Japanese had operated with five columns aggregating 120,000 men. "One of these columns marched northward from Seoul, won the battle of Pyong-yang, advanced to the Yalu, forced its way into Manchuria, and moved towards Mukden by Feng-hwang, fighting several minor engagements, and conducting the greater part of its operations amid deep snow in midwinter. The second column diverged westward from the Yalu, and, marching through southern Manchuria, reached Haicheng, whence it advanced to the capture of Niuchwang. The third

landed on the Liaotung peninsula, and, turning southward, carried Talien and Port Arthur by assault. The fourth moved up the Liaotung peninsula, and, having seized Kaiping, advanced against Niuchwang, where it joined hands with the second column. The fifth crossed from Port Arthur to Weihaiwei, which it captured." In all these operations the Japanese casualties totalled 1005 killed and 4922 wounded; the deaths from disease aggregated 16,866, and the monetary expenditure amounted to twenty millions sterling, about $100,000,000. It had been almost universally believed that, although Japan might have some success at the outset, she would ultimately be shattered by impact with the enormous mass and the overwhelming resources of China. Never was forecast more signally contradicted by events.


Li Hung-chang, viceroy of Pehchili, whose troops had been chiefly engaged during the war, and who had been mainly responsible for the diplomacy that had led up to it, was sent by China as plenipotentiary to discuss terms of peace. The conference took place at Shimonoseki, Japan being represented by Marquis (afterwards Prince) Ito, and on the 17th of April, 1895, the treaty was signed. It recognized the independence of Korea; ceded to Japan the littoral of Manchuria lying south of a line drawn from the mouth of the river Anping to the estuary of the Liao, together with the islands of Formosa and the Pescadores; pledged China to pay an indemnity of two hundred million taels; provided for the occupation of Weihaiwei by Japan pending payment of that sum; secured the opening of four new places to foreign trade and the right of foreigners to engage in manufacturing enterprises in China, and provided for a treaty of commerce and amity between the two empires, based on the lines of China's treaty with Occidental powers.


Scarcely was the ink dry upon this agreement when Russia, Germany, and France presented a joint note to the Tokyo Government, urging that the permanent occupation of the Manchurian littoral by Japan would endanger peace. Japan had no choice but to bow to this mandate. The Chinese campaign had exhausted her treasury as well as her supplies of war material, and it would have been hopeless to oppose a coalition of three great European powers. She showed no sign of hesitation. On the very day of the ratified treaty's publication, the Emperor of Japan issued a rescript, in which, after avowing his devotion to the cause of peace, he "yielded to the dictates of magnanimity, and accepted the advice of the three powers."

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