Ashley TruongProfessor BiggsHIST 20 Section 3428 January, 2018Imperial Powers OverthrownWith the introduction of the 20th century, old and new imperial powers rose in a fight for land and wealth.
Within these powers were France and Japan respectively, as they controlled Algeria and Korea in an oppressive reign. Through many battles and wars, both countries, Algeria and Korea, eventually managed to gain independence, but through different methods, as one country did so more aggressively while the other more passively. Despite the differences in their methods for independence though, both Algeria and Korea share similar backgrounds on how the French and Japanese treated them during the imperial powers’ rules.
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Relations between France and Algeria in the beginning of the 20th century was always tense. Algeria already had a long history with France, as “France’s conquest for Algeria had begun as early as the 1830”, which killed hundreds of thousands Algerians. This said conquest was an attempt to up the king’s popularity in Paris after the Napoleonic Wars (R05_Roberts_WhiteMansWorld, p. 89). Because of this, throughout the years when more French people began to settle in the region, and tensions were high.
The French settlers began to gain more power and privileges in violation of Algerian rights, and when complaints were made to the French army, they only turned a blind eye. Religious discrimination was prominent as well, as Algerian Muslims weren’t held on the same regard as others. For example, in 1870, where France was trying to fully integrate the Algerian country, Algerians were offered French citizenship only if they denounced their Muslim religion.
By the mid 20th centuries, religious discrimination was still notable, as even after countless Algerians fought for France during World War II, Algerian Muslims “felt that it was even more unjust that their votes were not equal to those of the other Algerians” (“French Algeria”). Before long, radical Algerian nationalists arose after a series of massacres occurred, and the idea of independence began to spread. A massive revolution expanded across the country, and soon after that, the Algerian War broke out. It was “difficult to continue it”, as the French were desperate to keep a stable hold on the country after Vietnam (The_Battle_of_Algiers).
The war lasted from 1954 to 1962, with many casualties on both sides. Groups such as the National Liberation Front formed during the war, spreading internationalism, and eventually, a peace agreement was signed, ending the war, where Algeria was free from French rule.As more time passed in the 20th century, the idea of the ‘civilized world’ from Europe was created, and many “groups of societies notably and increasingly influenced and were shaped by that civilized world” (R04_Roberts_Introduction, p. 19). Westernization trends began to spread globally with the “Scramble for Africa”, with these new powers rising in a race for land and wealth against their competitors. One such imperial power was the Japanese, as in 1904, they fought for control of Korea. Once they got control over the country, they immediately disbanded Korean troops, and “formally annexed the ancient kingdom, the emperor and his family being incorporated into the lineage of the Japanese royal house (R07_Roberts_Challenges, p. 214).
Japanese rule during the first ten years was harsh, as Koreans were subject to an oppressive and restricting environment. Koreans were subject to a more Japanese based assimilation, where Koreans in the school system were forced to learn Japanese and Japanese history. Korean newspapers were censored, and Koreans were stripped from basic freedoms such as speech and assembly (“Korea Under Japanese Rule”).
Korean landowners lost their rights to their land, as Japanese ones took over and gained control. If a village was caught hiding wanted outlaws, there would be a number of consequences such as execution and rape. By 1919, cries for independence rang out in the streets, as anti-Japanese rallies were much more common than ever. Japanese officiators would work to exterminate Korean rebels, and numerous Koreans would flee to China, because of “the continuing hostility between China and Japan” after World War I (Further_HowTheGreatWarShapedTheWorld, p. 4). World War II however, deepened Japanese-Korean relations, as Korean males were forced into labor for the Japanese, while women were forced into sexual slavery in military brothels.
However, as Japan start losing the war and was in need for more soldiers, Korean soldiers were drafted to fight in Japan’s name. By the end of World War II, Japan lost control of Korea, and Korea was split into two regions; these regions were called North and South Korea, where the Soviets took the north, and America the south.Both communities were treated unfairly by the two imperial powers involved. Based on Algerian and Korean history, French and Japanese teachings were instilled in the two countries, whether it be forcing conversion in religion or in language itself.
In such a controlled environment, both sought for independence in similar forms, however, one was more successful than the other. Algeria managed to go into a fully-fledged war against France, while Korea was dragged into a war that Japan was already previously involved in, but even after that war, the Korean territory was split between two different powers and were still unable to gain complete independence. Results after independence varied though. When France left Algeria, there was a scramble from Algerians for claims of different lands left behind, leaving an absolute mess. Self-management was inefficient, and the land suffered. However, because of the Japanese, Korea was able to experience a widespread growth with commerce and industrial development, and were introduced to radios and cinemas.
Adding to the US taking over South Korea, the land there prospered. Both countries had similar beginnings, but different endings overall.Photographic SourcesRepresented in this photo is a group of American volunteers in 1899, lined up against some tents during the Spanish-American War. They’re ordered in a single file line, rifles grasped in their hands, as they presumably, prepare to train. In a way, this can be compared with the Algerians during their revolution against France, but could contrast with Koreans being forced to fight in Japan’s army. Algeria’s main forces were made up of volunteers, those who wanted justice from being treated unfairly, especially after multiple massacres from the French’s side to Algerians.
For the Koreans however, attempts were made for independence, but were only shot down by the Japanese. When the Japanese were losing in World War II however, Korean soldiers were drafted to fight for Japan’s name, much to their reluctance. In comparison with the American volunteers in the Spanish-American war, one group voluntarily fought while the other didn’t.In this picture is a group of “Mexican rebel cavalry during the Tijuana Insurrection of 1911.” The men here are fighting as rebel forces from the Mexican Revolution, working to overthrow the dictatorship and to establish a constitutional republic.
Even though in this battle, the rebels lost to the federal Mexican troops, as they were going out to meet the Federal Army, by the end of the war, the dictatorship was overthrown. This is rather similar to Algeria’s case, as Algeria also worked to try and overthrow imperial France from her reign, despite numerous disadvantages. Koreans also had to deal with Japan in the same case as well.This photo was taken in 1925 at Santa Monica Beach. It’s a picture taken of the segregated section of the beach, the only place where the African Americans were allowed to be at. The segregation between whites and blacks in America is strikingly similar to France’s distaste for Muslim Algerians. African Americans back then weren’t able to vote, which is the same as how Muslim Algerians were unable to do so.
Japanese also treated Koreans poorly, and attempted to overwrite and replace Korean culture with their own. The discrimination founded in both countries holds likeness with America’s relationship with African Americans in the early 20th century.Works Cited:Archivo Historico Y Fotografico De Puerto Rico. “JARVIS – Fix Bayonets! our KentuckyVolunteers -Porto Rico Army.” Flickr, Yahoo!, 1 Dec. 2009, “French Algeria.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 17 Jan. 2018,en.
wikipedia.org/wiki/French_Algeria#Under_the_Fourth_Republic_(1946–58).”Korea under Japanese rule.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 28 Jan.
“Mexican rebel cavalry during the Tijuana Insurrection of 1911.” Online Archive ofCalifornia, 1 Jan. 1911, oac.cdlib.org/ark:/13030/kt3199q0mh/?brand=oac4.”Segregated section of Santa Monica beach.” Calisphere, Los Angeles Public Library,calisphere.