Did You Know?
Post the civil war, America adopted a policy of expanding its territorial influence by means of foreign trade. Such a policy is known as Imperialism.
The quest for expansionism had started due to various reasons. One of the prominent reasons was the prestige that came accompanied with large empires. This has resulted in frequent wars over territorial annexations which have been spread throughout history. To an extent, religion and religious beliefs also played an important role. One of the major propaganda of the invading powers was to spread the teachings of a particular religion that they practiced, in the newly acquired regions. Most of these activities were carried out under the garb of achieving welfare of the non-believers. The regions that were rich with natural resources were more often than not the target of empires with expansionist agendas as they could help the rulers amass wealth along with cheap labor. Given below are a few of the many expansionism examples from past as well as the present from around the world.
European expansionism had its seeds sown even before the official discovery of the New World. This set the precedent for the colonial rule that was to follow for centuries and cover each and every part of the world. It started with trade, and soon the ambitious policies of the European powers paved way in annexing territories and establishing colonies.
Great Britain, France, Spain, and Portugal were at the forefront of this colonial race. Both the American continents in the western hemisphere were among some of the earliest colonies set up by these European powers. The colonial rule in Asia was mostly set up by the Britishers. This, however, did not cover the entire extent of Asia. Along with Asia, Britain had colonized Australia as well. The presence of French and Portuguese in Asia was minor, nonetheless existent.
Towards the end of the 19th century, European powers were busy making the African continent a part of their regime. The colonists who were more interested in the coastline areas of Africa in the earlier part of the same century had now turned their attention towards the remote locations of the continent that were rich in various natural resources.
America gained independence from Great Britain in 1776. For quite sometime since then, the nation had adopted a westward expansion policy. Some of the examples of American expansionism include the purchase of territories like Louisiana from the French and some territories like California that had earlier been a part of Mexico. America maintained its westward-expansion policy that had introduced slave-states like Missouri which was later followed by the acquisition of Texas. Such introduction of the slave-states along with the free-states disturbed the equilibrium in the American society, which ultimately resulted in the American Civil War. Today, the military interference of this nation into other countries is considered by some to be a part of its expansionist policies.
There have been many examples of Soviet expansionism witnessed in the past. Increasing the coverage of the Communist Bloc in Eastern Europe can be seen as an example of expansionism in the cold war. Some other examples of the same time period would be the Soviet support to the Arab nations in their fight against Israel, which had backing of the United States. The Soviet occupation of Afghanistan also took place during the cold war. A recent example of attempts of present-day Russia to achieve expansionism is one of the reasons for unrest in the Crimean region. Other similar examples of Russia's ambitions to achieve territorial expansions include, naming of eastern parts of Ukraine as 'Novorossiya' or 'New Russia,' as well as stirring up conflicts in Georgia, Armenia, and other countries in the region.
Japanese forces had occupied Taiwan in 1895 which was followed by Korea, in 1910. Further, they occupied Manchuria, China, in 1931. A few years later, in 1937, Japan had invaded China which started the second Sino-Japanese war. This Japanese aggression was well on display even during the second World War when they had advanced as far as the borders of India and had gained control over the Indian islands of Andaman in 1942. During the same time, even Singapore was under the control of Japan. This Japanese strategy continued to the end of the second World War, when Japan was brought to its knees by the atomic bombs that were dropped by the United States at Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
The expansionist ideologies of Nazi-Germany had played a vital role in the initiation of the second World War. Germany had started with the occupation of Poland and further gone ahead to occupy Austria, France, Denmark, Belgium, and Italy along with many other territories of various European countries. They were also successful in taking back the territories which they had lost, like the Sudetenland from Czechoslovakia, as a result of the Treaty of Versailles at the end of the first World War. Germany had re-militarized Rhineland, which, according to the same Treaty of Versailles, had to demilitarize the area.
Expansionist policies are generally adopted by the military governments. It becomes a lot difficult to think straight once the plans for increasing the territories kick up a storm in the mind of an administrator. This more often than not, after the dust has settled, has resulted in a large-scale destruction.