World History – II

Delhi Law Academy



•            The European countries had been the birthplace of Industrial revolution.

•            But this had also created its ugly version called imperialism.

•            In this, the mother country would dominate the colony politically and economically for its own advantage.

•            This was possible because of the absence of unity, prosperity in these countries.

Conditions that helped Rise of Imperialism

Demand created by Industrial Revolution

•            The industrial revolution created a capitalist class that produced goods for earning profit.

•            The main objective of production became earning as much profits as possible.

•            For this the capitalists could reduce wages or increase production. But reduction of wages meant low purchasing power at home and increasing production would create more goods than demand.

•            All European countries followed protectionist policies to prevent outsiders from selling to domestic market and protect home industry.

•            Hence there was a need to find markets outside Europe where goods could be sold. The Asian, African countries were such markets.

•            The imperial nations set up factories there and slowly converted them to forts, finally the interfered in the country’s politics to keep other imperial powers out.

•            Finally, the domestic industry was ruined and forced to become a consumer of European goods.

•            The other reason for colonialism was to protect interests and investments of the home country as a weak government in colonies would not be able to handle protests and the imperial nation’s investments would be lost.

•            Industrial revolution in Europe needed raw materials to feed the industries.

•            The domestic production wasn’t enough to do this and so colonies were sought as they were suppliers of raw materials.

Improvement in Transport and Communication

•            Improved roads, waterways and railways brought every country within the reach of industrialized nations.

•            The raw materials could be transported easily and efficiently from Asian colonies to Europe. At the same time the finished goods too could be taken from Europe to colonies.

•            Communications like telegraph could be used to send messages to colonial governments and remote control the administration of the colonies.

Extreme Nationalism

•            Colonies became a source of pride and status. Writers and leaders of countries began to raise slogans that more colonies should be brought under control to increase the nation’s prestige.

•            The colonies were annexed and later more were acquired to protect the existing colonies e.g. England captured South Africa to protect its trade routes to India.

•            Colonies also increased the manpower of imperialists as the people from colonies could be recruited forcibly into the armies of the nations.

Civilizing Mission

•            The imperialists believed that it was the white man’s burden to civilize the inferior people and convert them to Christianity.

•            The missionaries would often go alone into unknown areas and spread the religion in those places.

•            But the missionaries were also followed by traders who looked for opportunities and soldiers sent to protect the missionaries.

Explorers and Adventurers

•            The explorers who travel to many regions and bring back reports on the usefulness of these regions to trade with the home country.

•            The home country would then establish a trading post and soon in pretext of protecting the trading interest colonize the entire region.

Conditions that favored Imperialism in Asia and Africa

•            The lack of modern nationalism in such areas meant that people often owed allegiance to princes and tribal leaders.

•            The leaders were divided, and the Europeans took advantage of this.

•            The Europeans were superior in military tactics too. The Asian artisans were skilled but their techniques were old and only a small number could be produced.

Imperialism in China

•            China was a producer of tea, silk and other goods but there was no market for British goods in China.

•            Also, China had a restricted trade policy and a handful of ports were open for foreign trade. The British had to pay gold and silver for trade and so were having a negative balance of trade.

•            Hence, they started cultivating opium in India and sold it to Chinese smugglers who paid them in gold. This was used to pay for Chinese imports. This system was favorable to British but damaged Chinese morally as well as financially.

•            The Chinese government destroyed the opium cargo and on this pretext, England attacked it. In the war the Chinese were easily defeated. They had to open ports for foreign trade. Island of Hong Kong was handed over to British.

•            However, this didn’t end here and a second war was fought that resulted in more ports opening and granting of extra territorial rights to foreign powers i.e. no foreign citizen would be tried in Chinese courts for crimes in China. China also couldn’t impose tariff on foreign made goods.

•            China had a war with Japan that was trying to increase its influence in the Asian region. It wanted Korea which was strategically located and had vast natural resources. China lost in the War and had to pay war damages to Japan and surrender the island of Formosa. With the pretext of helping China financially the imperial powers like England, France, Germany, Russia gave loans to it in return for privileges of trade.

•            Sphere of influences were created by these nations. In them the imperial power had the sole right to build transport, communication lines and trade. This was called “Cutting of the Chinese Melon”.

•            The United States was facing a threat to its trade with China and so came up with the “Open Door Policy” which meant that any country could trade anywhere in China.

•            This benefited US; England too agreed to this as it feared that Russia or Japan could easily capture China.

•            Boxer Rebellion occurred in China due to the Chinese being fed up with corruption in Chinese government, interference of Christian missionaries and increasing foreign interference. But this rebellion was easily crushed and led to more damages on China.

•            Thus, though China wasn’t colonised like India by a single foreign power, it too had become like a colony.

Rise of Japan

•            Initially, Japan too was like any other Asian country. Commodore Perry of USA forced it to open its ports to foreign trade. Similar agreements were made with other European nations.

•            But Japan didn’t end up like other Asian colonies. This was due to the Meiji Restoration.

•            Under Emperor Meiji the following reforms were carried out in Japan.

Universalize education, building transport and communication facilities, building ports and army, incentivize industry and trade.

•            All this made her into an industrial power but at the same time elements of imperialism too developed there.

•            The island of Japan wasn’t abundant with natural resources and so it eyed the Korean peninsula and China.

•            After a brief war with China which it won due to adoption of modern military tactics, Korea and Formosa were ceded to it.

•            Japan also controlled trade and territory in China. Russian – Japan was led to defeat of Russia and capture of Sakhalin from it.

Imperialism in Africa

•            European nations had begun exploration of African nations during the beginning of 15th century but this was confined mostly to the exterior or coastal regions. Even this contact was disastrous for Africans as Slave Trade emerged.

•            The Spanish and Portuguese had captured Central and Latin America and exterminated the local populations. There was a demand for slaves in such regions. Hence Portuguese captured slaves from Africa took them to the slave market in Lisbon and sold for commodities or firearms. The slaves were taken to Latin America and sold to plantations.

•            The African chiefs participated in this trade for purchasing firearms of Europeans. However, this trade had disastrous consequences for Africans. Every month 5000 were transported to American plantations and half of them died en-route.

•            By the 19th century trade in slaves had lost its importance and had led to start of a second type of exploitation – Colonies.

•            The interior regions were explored and war on tribal chiefs were made. The Africans were easily conquered as they lacked unity and arms to match the Europeans.

•            Other reasons for easy defeat of the Africans was that the European nations were united in the conquest. If at all there was an imminent danger of war between them then, negotiations took place and partition of territory was peaceful.

•            The map of Africa shows that most of the boundaries of these nations are straight lines, as these were partitioned on maps during negotiations.

•            The absence of modern nationalism in Africa also was one reason for its easy domination by Europe.

Effects of Imperialism

•            The Imperialism and its effect of colonization damaged the non-industrial world and led to its economic subjugation to the West. The worst effects are seen in Africa that has remained backward to this day.

•            Trade and industry of these colonies was destroyed and hasn’t recovered its glorious heights of the past even today e.g. China and India.

•            The one-sided trade policy of making the colonies a source of raw material and consumer of finished goods had led them to remain one crop economies and entirely dependent on Europe for its basic needs.


•            First World War (World War I) is considered as one of the largest wars in history.

•            The world’s great powers assembled in two opposing alliances: the Allies (British Empire, France and the Russian Empire) versus the Central Powers (Germany and Austria-Hungary).

•            WWI lasted from 28 July 1914 to 11 November 1918.

Causes of the First World War

•            In the background there were many conflicts between European nations. Nations grouped among themselves to form military alliances as there were tension and suspicion among them.

•            The causes of the First World War were:

(1)         Conflict between Imperialist countries: Ambition of Germany

•            Conflict between old imperialist countries (Eg: Britain and France) vs new imperialist countries (Eg: Germany).

o            Germany ship – Imperator.

o            German railway line – from Berlin to Baghdad.

(2)         Ultra Nationalism

•            Pan Slav movement – Russian, Polish, Czech, Serb, Bulgaria and Greek.

•            Pan German movement

(3)         Military Alliances

•            Triple Alliance or Central Powers (1882) – Germany, Italy, Austria-Hungary.

•            Triple Entente or Allies (1907) – Britain, France, Russia.

o            Although Italy was a member of the Triple Alliance alongside Germany and Austria-Hungary, it did not join the Central Powers, as Austria-Hungary had taken the offensive, against the terms of the alliance.

•            These alliances were reorganised and expanded as more nations entered the war: Italy, Japan and the United States joined the Allies, while the Ottoman Empire and Bulgaria joined the Central Powers.

(4)         International Anarchy

•            Secret agreement between Britain and France allowing Britain to control Egypt and France to take over Morocco. Germany opposed, but settled with a part of French Congo.

•            Hague Conference of 1882 and 1907 failed to emerge as an international organisation.

(5)         Balkan Wars

•            Many Balkan nations (Serbia, Bulgaria, Albania, Greece and Montenegro) were under the control of Turkey. They defeated Turkey in the First Balkan War. The subsequent war was between the Balkan countries themselves – Eg:  Serbia vs Bulgaria.

•            Defeated countries like Turkey and Bulgaria sought German help.

(6)         Alsace-Loraine

•            During German unification, Germany got Alsace-Loraine from France. France wanted to capture Alsace-Loraine back from Germany.

(7)         Immediate Cause: assassination of Francis Ferdinand

•            Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated by a Serbian native (in Bosnia).

•            Austria declared war on Serbia on 28th July, 1914.

o            Reason for assassination: Annexation of Bosnia-Herzegovina by Austria, against the Congress of Berlin, 1878

The Course of the War

•            Group 1 (Allies): Serbia, Russia, Britian, France, USA, Belgium, Portugal, Romania etc

•            Group 2 (Central Powers): Austria-Hungary, Germany, Italy, Turkey, Bulgaria etc.

•            War on Western Side: Battle of Marne

•            War on Eastern Side: Battle of Tennenberg (Russia was defeated)

•            War on the Sea: Batter of Dogger Bank (Germany was defeated), Battle of Jutland (Germany retreated).

•            USA entered in 1917.

•            Russia withdrew in 1917 after October Revolution.

Treaty of Versailles, Paris

•            Germany signed a treaty with Allies (Triple Entente) on 28th June 1919. It was signed at Versailles, near Paris

•            Leaders: Clemenceau – France, Lloyd George – Britain, Woodrow Wilson – USA, Orlando – Italy.

Treaties after World War I

o            Treaty of Versailles – with Germany.

o            Treaty of St. Germaine – with Austria.

o            Treaty of Trianon- with Hungary.

o            Treaty of Neuilly – with Bulgaria.

o            Treaty of Severes – with Turkey.

Consequences of First World War

•            Rule of King ended in Germany: Germany became a republic in November 1918. The German Emperor Kaiser William II fled to Holland.

•            Around 1 crore people were killed.

•            Unemployment and famine.

•            Epidemics (Spanish Flu)

•            The fall of Russian empire after October revolution (1917) which resulted in the f              ormation of USSR (1922)

•            Emergence of USA as a super power.

•            Beginning of the end of European supremacy.

•            Japan became a powerful country in Asia.

•            Poland, Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia became new independent states.

•            Baltic countries – Estonia, Latvia and Lithvania – became independent.

•            Rule of Ottamans came to an end in Turkey.

•            New boundary lines were drawn for Austria, Germany and Turkey.

•            Strengthened independence movements in Asia and Africa.

•            League of Nations came into being.

o            Germany had to return Alsace-Loraine to France.

o            German colonies were shared.

o            Germany gave up Saar coal field.

o            Germany gave up Polish corridor, and made city of Danzig independent.

o            Monarchy was abolished in Germany, Austria, Hungary, Turkey and Russia.

o            The harsh clauses of the Treaty of Versailles finally resulted in the second world war.


•            The first world war itself sowed the seeds for Second World War, primarily because of the humiliating Treaty of Versailles.

Causes of Second World War(1939-1945)

(1)         Humiliation by the Treaty of Versailles

•            War indemnity.

•            The provision for disarming Germany.

•            Saar coal mine to France for 15 years.

•            Polish corridor was given to Poland.

•            City of Danzing was made free.

(2)         Growth of Fascism and Nazism

•            Mussolini (Italy) and Hitler (Germany) strongly glorified war and violence.

•            While West was fighting communism, Germany and Italy started massive militarization.

(3)         Rise of Japan

•            Growth of Imperialist ambitions in Japan

•            Japanese invasion of Korea and China

•            Formation of Rome-Berlin-Tokyo axis (1936)

(4)         Neglect of minority interests

•            New countries like Poland, Czechoslovakia and Austria were formed after the First World War.

•            While drawing boundaries the interests of minority groups in each of these countries were neglected.

(5)         Military Alliance

•            Allies – Britain, France, USA, USSR and China vs Axis Powers – Germany, Italy and Japan

•            Leaders – Churchill (Britain), Roosevelt (USA), Stalin (USSR)

(6)         Germany’s attack on Czechoslovakia

•            In-spite of the Munich Pact between Germany and Britain (1938), Germany attacked and captured Czechoslovakia.

(7)         Immediate Cause : Germany’s invasion of Poland

•            Germany invaded Poland on 1st September 1939.

•            The sudden attack on Poland is known as Blitzkrieg (lightning war).

•            Brtiain and France declared war on Germany.

Course of the War

•            World War II officially began on September 1, 1939.

•            Germany conquered – Poland, Norway, Denmark, Belgium, Holland and France.

•            Battle of Britain – Germany vs Britain (Air battle; German Air force =Luftwaffe).

•            Battle of Stalingrad – Germany vs USSR. (Operation of Barbarossa (1941 )

•            Atlantic Charter (August 1941) – Between Churchill (UK) and Roosevelt (USA).

•            Pearl Harbor Attack (7th December 1941) – Japan on USA.

•            Italy vs UK in Africa (1942) – Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan, British Somaliland, Eritrea.

•            France was conquered by Germany in 1940, but British and American troops liberated France in 1944.

•            Atom bomb – Hiroshima and Nagasaki -August 1945

Consequences of Second World War

•            End of colonialism and imperialism.

•            End of dictatorship in Germany and Italy.

•            Germany was divided into West Germany and East Germany.

o            West Germany was controlled by Britain, France and USA.

o            East Germany by USSR

•            Strengthening of nationalist movements in Africa and Asia

o            From Britain – India, Myanmar, Egypt, Sri Lanka

o            From America – Philippines

o            From France – Indo-China

o            From Dutch – Indonesia

•            5 crore deaths (2.2 crore soldiers and 2.8 crore civilians)

•            Economics problems – Unemployment, low growth etc.

•            Emergence of two power blocks – USA and USSR. This resulted in cold war.

•            Emergence of third world Countries.

•            UNO was set up in 1945.