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International Studies Paper
Anglo-Japanese Alliance
Ayako Hotta-Lister, Ian Nish and David Steeds
April 2002
Paper No' IS/2002/432:
Full Paper (pdf)

Tags: lord landsdowne; sir edward grey; hirobumi ito; tadasu hayashi; jutaro komura; taro katsura; anglo-japanese alliance; russo-japanese war; iswolsky; japan-british exhibition.

Nish dealt with the diplomacy of Britain and Japan in the five months before the conclusion of the Anglo-Japanese Alliance, arguing that it was not a 'natural alliance' but that there were pockets of opposition to it which had to be overcome. In the case of Japan, this was associated with the activities of Marquis Ito in Europe on which much new material was presented. In the case of Britain, the naval and military arguments in favour of closer relations with Japan eventually overcame those against any change in policy. Steeds argued that all three of the alliance treaties could be numbered among the successful alliances of history. The 1905 treaty was about deterring any kind of Russian revenge in East Asia (for Japan) and Central Asia (for British India) and was successful; but because of a diplomatic revolution which took place after 1907 it became increasingly irrelevant. Hotta-Lister started with an account of the Japan-British Exhibition of 1910 which was a means of educating Britons about their ally. The 1911 alliance was the weakest of the three treaties. From Britain's standpoint a major purpose was to ensure the security of her dominions in the Pacific, possibly against Japan, while from the Japanese standpoint it was to protect her against her fear of isolation in the Pacific vis-à-vis the United States.