Asia Pacific 1914: Conquest of the German Pacific

When World War I broke out in Europe, the Anglo-Japanese Alliance meant that Japan sided with the British against Germany. Together with the British dominions of Australia and New Zealand, the Japanese quickly conquered Germany's Pacific empire.


Treaty Ports

Treaty ports were towns opened to foreign trade by unequal treaties in China. Foreigners operating within treaty ports enjoyed extraterritoriality, being subject to their home country's laws. Unlike concessions such as Hong Kong, these territories were not directly leased by the foreign powers and did not have sizable foreign garrisons.

Treaty ports are not shown in the maps after the 1911 Chinese Revolution in order to give a clearer picture of the chaos in China itself and as by that point their numbers had stabilized. After the revolution, some of the smaller ports were phased out while the others became less important as the situation in China meant that only the concessions could provide foreigners with security. Most, however, still continued on into the 1940s when the Japanese entry into World War II and foreign agreements with China brought them to an end.

See this map for treaty ports in 1907, when the system was at its peak.

Yangtze River

By the terms of the Treaty of Tientsin (1858), foreign vessels including warships had the right to free navigation on the Yangtze River. In practical terms, this right extended only as far as Yichang until 1900, when advances in steam navigation allowed access as far inland as Chongqing.

Main Events

17 Apr 1914 Russian protectorate over Tuva

In response to pressure from Russian commercial interests in the region, the Russian Empire accepted requests from Uriankhai khoshuns (banners) for Russian protection, formally declaring a protectorate over Tannu Uriankhai (Tuva). Until this point, Tuva had been considered part of Mongolia and wikipedia

4 Aug 1914 British entry into World War I

In response to the German invasion of Belgium—whose neutrality was safeguarded by the 1839 Treaty of London—the United Kingdom declared war on Germany, bringing the British Empire into World War wikipedia

23 Aug 1914 Japan enters World War I

With the outbreak of World War I, the Japanese proposed to the United Kingdom—their ally since 1902—that they would enter the war if they could take Germany’s Pacific territories. The British government responded by officially asking Japan for assistance in destroying German merchant raiders in the Far East. After a Japanese ultimatum to Germany went unanswered, Japan formally declared war on Germany on 23 August wikipedia

29–30 Aug 1914 Occupation of German Samoa

The New Zealand “Samoa Expeditionary Force” landed at Apia, capital of German Samoa, and proceeded to occupy the colony without facing any resistance from the local German authorities. After escorting the Samoa force, the Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force sailed on to Port Moresby for the invasion of German New wikipedia

2 Sep–6 Oct 1914 Japanese invasion of Shandong

Japanese forces landed at Longkou in the north of the Shandong Peninsula in neutral China. This was followed by a second landing in Shandong, this time at Laoshan Bay on the south coast near Tsingtao (now Qingdao), the main center of the German-leased Kiaotschou Bay concession in China. From these points they seized both German and Chinese towns, advancing inland along the railway to secure Tsinan/Jinan Station from the Republic of wikipedia

9 Sep 1914 Australians occupation of Nauru

A detachment from the Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force accompanied by the cruiser HMAS Melbourne arrived in the German colony of Nauru, capturing the island and its wireless station for the British wikipedia

11–24 Sep 1914 Occupation of German New Guinea

The Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force (ANMEF), consisting of 1000 soldiers and 500 sailors, supported by the battlecruiser HMAS Australia and 6 other warships, arrived off Rabaul, on New Pomerania (New Britain) and capital of German New Guinea. After a day of fighting, they destroyed the German wireless station at Bita Paka, taking control of the Rabaul area by the 17th and the northern New Guinea center of Madang on the wikipedia

29 Sep–3 Oct 1914 Occupation of Jaluit Station

Japanese forces landed on Eniwetok Atoll in Jaluit Station—a German Pacific district comprising of the Marshall Islands. Within the next days, they also captured Jaluit Atoll—the territory’s administrative wikipedia

7–30 Oct 1914 Japan occupies Caroline Islands

In the process of pursuing and destroying the German East Asiatic Squadron, the Imperial Japanese Navy seized the German possessions of Ponape (Pohnpei), Yap, and Truk in the Caroline Islands. The navy set up its regional headquarters in Truk lagoon and stationed a garrison at wikipedia

8 Oct 1914 Japanese occupation of Palau

Forces of the Japanese Empire arrived in Palau, at the time part of German New Guinea, seizing the island without wikipedia