The Triumph of Imperialism in Asia
The Years between 1840 and 1919 were the high point of European imperialism. Two new non-European entrants to the imperialist competition in Asia—the United States and Japan—also appeared. Japanese imperialism was prompted by the increasing domination of Asia by Europeans and Americans. The new imperialism of the nineteenth century was the work of advanced industrial-capitalist nations like Britain rather than of mercantilist economies that were prominent in the centuries before 1800. Policymakers often used economic arguments to explain the necessity for expansion, but imperialism had significant support among all classes, including workers, and even trade union leaders and some socialists were enthusiastic about colonial expansion. Imperialism was an inevitable and predictable response to the “internal contradictions” of capitalism in its monopolistic stage. Imperialism was economically irrational and is perhaps best seen as a disease, highly contagious and reaching fever pitch in the last years of the nineteenth century, as a prelude to World War I.