The the only major World War I engagement in the Far East was fought at Tsingtaon a combined land sea operation (September-October 1914). Two German missionaries were murdered in China (late-19th century). The Germans demand reparations. The Imperial Chinese Government granted Germany a 99-year lease on Tsingtao (1898). Germany proceeded to build a port and naval base. The Germans developed Tsingtao as the main German base in the Far East. They garrisoned some 4,000 troops at Tsingtao and the German Navy's Pacific Squadron was based there. The Japanese Goverment while a formal declartion of war was being prepared ordered Germany Mitsuomi Kamio to prepare a siege of the German base (August 16). Japanese Prime Minister issued a ultimatum to the German government, ordering the latter to remove German men-o'-war from Japanese and Chinese waters, and to deliver Tsingtao to Japanese control. Japan declared war (August 23). Kamio's 18th Division of 23,000 men supported by 142 artillery pieces began shelling the Germans in Tingtao. Britain not all together understnding Japanese intentions committed 1,500 troops to support the Japanese and to help overse the opertion. The outnumbered German garrison resisted for 2 months. They surendered (November 7). The port was turned over in tact (November 10). Kamio's siege tactics were effective. He engaged in night raids and avoided the frontal attacks that proved so deadly on the Western Front. After the port was taken, Britain withdrew its men. With the port's capture British forces were withdrawn and reallocated elsewhere. This essentially gave the Japanese control of Shangdong Province. The Japanese military operation was more professional conducted than was often the case 30 years later during the Pacific War. They also treated the Germans captured correctly im sharp contrast to their later treatment of POWs.
Tsingtao is now known as Qingdao. The former name Tsingtao is now preserved as the name of a popular Chinese brewery, located of course in Qingdao. The area has an ancient population dating back 6,000 years. During the Eastern Zhou Dynasty (770 BC~ 256 BC), the town of Jimo was establisged from which Qingdao developed. It is the largest city eastern Shandong Province along the Yellow Sea coast of China. It is important as essentilly the port for Nejing located in land. The population is now over 9 million people. Qingdao is a major Chinese seaport, naval base, and industrial centre. The world's longest sea bridge, the Jiaozhou Bay Bridge, now links the main urban area of Qingdao with Huangdao district, straddling the Jiaozhou Bay sea areas.
Treaty port is the term commonly used for the Asian ports, especially Chinese and Japanese, which were opened to European trading nations. The port concessions s were extremely limited until the Opium Wars exposed the military weakness of the Chinese (mid-19th century). The Janese Meiji Resoration mnaged to limit Western incursions. The Chinese were unable to do so, both because the Europeans were orimarily interested in China and the Chinese did not respond as forcefully with a modernization process. The Imperial Government for decades thiught that they could just ignore the Europeans. All the while the Europeand just grew stronger. The initial Chinese treaty ports were opened to British following China's defeat in the first Opium War (1842). Other countries subsequntly carved their own treaty port concessions out of China, including Austria-Hungary, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and Russia. Italy and Germany were late comers because they did not unify until after te treaty port process began and did not have bluewater navies until after unification.
The number of treaty ports in China increased from 5 (1842) to more than 50 (1911) just before the Imperial Government was deposed. The Europeans did not just gain trade access, but in effect thy ll but annexed the ports. They were maintained by foreign garrisons and foreign citizens operated under their legal system with extra-territoriality rights.
As the Europeans seized one Chinese port after another, the Qing Goverment decided to turn Tsingtao (Jiao'ao) into an important port and base against naval attack. There wasn't muh there at the time. It was basically an umdevloped fishing village. They began important improvements to the existing fortifications (1891). Tsingtao was seen as important becaus it was the major port for Beijing.
Germany was finally unified (1871), but it had no apprecible navy. A new Kaiser acceeded to the German throne (1888). Kaiser Wilhelm II was the grandson of Queen Victoria and the son of British Princess Royal Victoria. From his earliet memmories he recalls trips to England and reviews of the Grand Fleet. And after becoming Kaiser he wanted a high sea fleet of his own. Which meant that Germany began acquiring the means to maintain a colonial empire. Along with African and Pacific colonies, the Kaiser wanted German's own treaty port. German naval officers observed the Chinese building activity at Tsingtao while conducting a formal survey of Jiaozhou Bay (May 1897). The Germans were looking for a treaty port suitable for a naval base. They decided on Tsingtao. Two German missionaries were murdered in China (late-19th century). The Germans demanded reparations, providing a pretext for seizing a treaty port. German troops landed at Tsingtao and occupied the Chinese fortification. [Gottschall, p. 146]. The Imprial Chinese Government which had just lost a disasterous war with Japan, declined to fight anoyher war with Germany. China formally conceded Tsingtao to the Germans (1898). The Imperial Chinese Government granted Germany a 99-year lease on Tsingtao. The whole affair was more action that fed into the Boxer Rebellion (1900). Germany proceeded to build a port and naval base. The Germans developed Tsingtao as the main German base in the Far East. They garrisoned some 4,000 troops at Tsingtao and the German Navy's Pacific Squadron was based there. Tsingtao and the surrounding area bcame known as the Kiautschou Bay concession and gave the Germans a dominant position in Shandong / Shantung Province. There was not much to the town, actually more of a village, when the Germans arrived. Marktstrasse consisted of the humble former homes of fishermen and farmers. Thet sold their property to the Germans and resettled in the villages further east. [Matzat] Once in possession of the concession, the Germans began constructing a modern European city with wide avenues. It included a sewer system with safe drinking water, a rarity in China at the time. Special attebtion was given to education. At the time, Germany probably had the finest public school system in the world. And unlike other treaty ports, the Germans built a public school system for the Chinese within the Tsingtao concession. It included primary, secondary and vocational schools paid for by the Imperial German Governmeny and Protestant and Roman Catholic missions. Schultz-Naumann, p. 183.] German businessmen followed the flag. The Germania Brewery evolned into the now huge Tsingtao Brewery. German influence expanded beyond Tsinftao to Shandong Province. The Germans clasified Tsingtao as a strategically important port. It was thus administered by the Imperial Department of the Navy (Reichsmarineamt) rather than the Imperial Colonial Office (Reichskolonialamt). The Kreigsmarine based their Far East Squadron at Tsingtao. Ships conducted operations throughout the Pacific. Marines of III Seebataillon were garrisoned at Tsingtao (January 1898). Construction of the Jiaoji Railway began (September 23, 1899). Construction was completed (1904).
After Germany launched World war I by invaing neutral Belgium (August 4, 1914). The British instituted a naval blockade of Germany in the North Sea. This would be the Adminralty cebtral focus during the War. They had many minor issues as well. One of them was what to do about the German Far East Squadron based at Tsingtao. They did not want to weaken the Home Fleet by dispatching a squadron to deal with it. The British had a useful card to play, the Anglo-Japanese naval treary. The British had been negotiated it to block the Russians, but now it proved useful against the Germans. The British wanted to use the Japanese rather than weaken the Grand Fleet, but were not sure if the Japanese would be willing. The were surprised to learn that the Japanese did not need to coaxed. They were more than willing to declare war on Germany as the price was a valuable Chinese treaty port as well as Pacific colonies.
The the only major World War I engagement in the Far East was fought at Tsingtao a combined land sea operation (September-October 1914). The British bpmbarded and blockaded Tsingtao and minor naval skirmishes occurred.
The Japanese Goverment while a formal declartion of war was being prepared ordered Germany Mitsuomi Kamio to prepare a siege of the German base (August 16). Japanese Prime Minister issued a ultimatum to the German government, ordering the latter to remove German men-o'-war from Japanese and Chinese waters, and to deliver Tsingtao to Japanese control. Japan declared war (August 23). Kamio's 18th Division of 23,000 men supported by 142 artillery pieces began shelling the Germans in Tsingtao. Britain not all together understnding Japanese intentions committed 1,500 troops to support the Japanese and to help overse the opertion. The Japanese landed troops on the Shantung Peninsula and moved south toward Kiaochow (September 2, 1914). Kiaochow had a garrison of 5,500 German and Austro-Hungarian troops. The Japanese drive was reinforced by a British expiditionary regiment made up of Indian (Sikh) and Welsh troops (September 24). After some intense fighting, the outnumbered Germans and Austro-Hungarians surrendered (November 7). This was the only significant fighting which took place in China. The port was turned over in tact (November 10). Kamio's siege tactics were effective. He engaged in night raids and avoided the frontal attacks that proved so deadly on the Western Front. After the port was taken, Britain withdrew its men. With the port's capture British forces were withdrawn and reallocated elsewhere. This essentially gave the Japanese control of Shangdong Province. The Japanese military operation was more professional conducted than was often the case 30 yeats later during the Pacific War. They also treated the Germans captured correctly im sharp contrast to their later treatment of POWs.
At the time that World War I brokeout, much of the German East Asian Squadron commanded by Admiral Count von Spee happened to be located in the central Pacific where the Germany had island colonies. They were essentially trapped with no way of obtaining needed supplies. Spee declined to come to the aid of the German garrison at Tsingtao. Even if he had gained naval victories, he would have been left without supplies. Spee ordered the fleet to rendezvoused in the Marianas to plan a transit home to Germany. They had to make an immediate run home before they ran out of supplies and coal (fuel). The Battle of Coronel and Battle of the Falkland Islands followed.
China after Japan seized Tingstao protested Japan's violation of her neutrality, but did not take any military action (1914). China declared war on Germany and technically entered World War I, hoping to regain Tsingtao in the post-War peace talks. The Paris Peace Conference, however, declined to restore Chinese control. But worse for the Chinese Government, press reports from Paris contained details on a secret Chinese-Japanese treaty in which th Chinese had made humiliarting concessions to Japan. This triggered the tumultuous student led May Fourth Movement. [Griswold, pp. 239-68.]
Tsingtao reverted to Chinese control, maning the Republic of China (December, 1922). Japan maintained, howevr, its control of the Jiaoji Railway which meant that it had a major influence on the provincial economy.  The Chinese Governmnt made Tsingtao a direct-controlled municipality (July 1929). Japan after launching the second Sino-Japanese War re-occupied Tsingtao (1938). Chinese Communist troops entred Tsingtao (June 2, 1949). A few months later Chairman Mao Zedong in Bejing proclaimed the founding of the People's Republic of China (October 1, 1949).
Gottschall, Terrell. By Order of the Kaiser: Otto von Diederichs and the Rise of the Imperial German Navy 1865�1902 (Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 2003).
Griswold, A. Whitney. The Far Eastern Policy of the United States (1938).
Matzat, Wilhelm. "Landmann Gottfried 1860-1926 Uhrmacher, Optiker, Bierbrauer" (May 2003).
Schultz-Naumann, Joachim. (1985). Unter Kaisers Flagge: Deutschlands Schutzgebiete im Pazifik und in China einst und heute [Under the Kaiser's Flag: Germany's protected areas in the Pacific and in China then and now] (Universitas: 1985).
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