1902: Anglo-Japanese Alliance

The Anglo-German alliance was signed at Lansdowne House in London on 30 January 1902 by British foreign secretary, Lord Lansdowne, and Hayashi Tadasu, a Japanese diplomat. It was formed as Japan wanted support against Russia, while also wanting to gain support from foreign powers in regards to it’s control over Korea. Meanwhile, Britain wished to counter Russia’s expansion, therefore, they needed naval support in the far east.

Main Terms:

  • The countries agreed to remain neutral in the case of the other fighting a war with a single power. However, they would have to join if the other was fighting multiple countries.

  • As part of the alliance, Britain accepted Japan’s claim over Korea, while Japan promised to use their navy to assist in the protection of British interests in the far east.

  • The Signatories must not enter into separate agreements with other powers if those agreements would damage the existing Anglo-Japanese Alliance.

  • Japan and Britain were to have full communication.

Did it lead to Japan being recognised as a world power?

On the one hand, the alliance essentially meant that Britain recognised Japan as a world power of equal status as themselves.

On the other hand, despite its recognition by the largest empire in the history of the world, Japan was still not recognised as a world power by the other European powers.

Cancellation in the 1921-22 Washington treaties

The Washington Conference (1921-22) formally ended the Anglo-Japanese alliance which had embarrassed Britain as...

  • Britain's naval rivalry with Germany no longer existed.

  • In the event of any conflict between the USA and Japan, Britain would be obliged to side with Japan, which was not favourable for them.