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The Boxer Rebellion | Wars you’ve never heard of

The Boxer Rebellion | Wars you’ve never heard of


Hey, Cypher here. Got another ‘Wars You’ve
Never Heard Of.’ This time, it’s the Boxer Rebellion in China. It’s pretty hard to find a country that the
US has not been to war with at some point in its history. China would be another country
that people mostly think that we haven’t fought in a war, but the Chinese definitely remember
it, and see the war as formative to their nation. Hell, look at that, those are US Cavalry
troops posing next to the Great Wall. Most historians talk about this event as though
it were just another intransigence upon the Chinese by the imperial powers of the West,
but that is a very mistaken point of view. Those who do study the Boxer Rebellion mostly
see it as a bunch tragic missteps on behalf of all those involved. The roots are certainly
founded in imperialism, but not the actual causes. War is never so simply explained.
Anti-Western sentiment had been building up in China for decades. Europe had walked all
over the Chinese officialdom in securing trade relations and large enclaves of foreign territory
within China called legations. This had caused so much controversy that secret societies
had formed to promote anti-western rhetoric. Those groups would later be mistakenly called
Boxers, for their use of martial arts in battle. Empress Dowager initially tried to suppress
these groups, but eventually she became a secret supporter. By secret memorandum she
endorsed action by the militant Boxers. With the support of the court, the Boxers acted.
They started by protest marches within the city limits of Peking (now called Beijing).
Some forced their way into the legations. The German legation ended up executing one
of them by public hanging (the reason for which is unclear).
The angry boxers stormed the legations of all foreign countries, including Japan. A
persistent problem of the boxers was that many thought themselves impervious to bullets
due to some sort of magical martial art. This was proven wrong immediately and savagely
as all the legations defended themselves. The foreigner countries sent in troops to
barricade the legations. This turned into medieval style siege warfare.
President McKinley, in concert with seven other powers, began sending more troops the
rescue the Peking legations. This force would be called the Chinese Relief Expedition. There
were several other expeditionary forces, but they were all small in number. It took a while
for them to get there, and the other countries had forces all ready before America could
completely join in, though several marine and navy personnel were there ahead of time.
During the transit, things in China became worse. Another siege began in the city of
Tianjin. This time, the navies of the eight nations that had territory in China were within
reach. Several nations, though not America, began bombarding the siegers to help the newly
besieged legations. The Empress Dowager claimed this bombardment
to be an act of war. She ordered Chinese troops to attack foreign troops, while often fighting
Boxers at the same time. Things spiralled out of control quickly. By the time the expedition
had arrived, China was at war with everyone. The raving Empress was sending out kill orders
while the governors were trying to calm it down, though making things worse in the process.
Despite having the support of eight nations, the international expeditionary force was
too small. They had superior weapons and organization though. Tianjin became the initial focus.
After a long and drawn out fight against superior forces, the expeditions took back Tianjin.
The allied forces turned toward Peking, fighting along the railroads to get there. Arriving
in Peking, they fought an incredible battle to rescue the legations there. Part of the
reason for victory was that many of the boxers attacked with spears, thinking themselves
impervious to bullets. The outnumbered and beleaguered international expedition fought
all the way to the gates of the Forbidden City, blasting them wide open. Interestingly
enough, that is where it stopped. The City was not destroyed. In fact, the allies respected
the interior by using it for parade grounds, rather than barracks.
Angry with the incident, the 8 nations drafted up what is called the Boxer Protocol. This
document imposed a steep fine on the Chinese government and forced them to accept permanent
foreign troop presence throughout the empire. This would bankrupt the empire and drive its
citizens toward revolution, which happened in 1911.
Further problems resulted from the Russias involvement, since they took over Manchuria
leading to the Russo-Japanese war over disputed territory within China.
Several atrocities were committed, both by plundering foreign armies and local ones.
The worst, though, were caused by the Boxers, who killed Chinese christians in what may
be deemed as a genocide (though the term did not exist yet).
China was hurt badly by these events and would not recover until the late 1920’s. Until then
this is what earned them the title “old man of asia.”
You see, this all seems like it would inevitably happened now, but it things could have been
very different. The Empress could have supported the foreigners, as she was obligated to by
prior treaty. The Germans could have spared that Boxer from execution as an act of mercy.
The navies around Tianjin could have sent blue jackets to support the garrisoned soldiers
rather than simply bombarding the city. War is messy, and mistakes are always made,
interventions especially. I haven’t found an intervention in US history that did not
end in disaster. Look at the Pershing punitive expedition as an example (I did an episode
on the Border Wars a while back). People cannot know how their actions determine the future,
we only live in the present, and that is why interventions end in quagmires and disgrace. Hey guys, hoped you liked this episode. Hit
the like button if you did. I plan on doing something like this episode next month. If
you want to see it, and more, subscribe to the channel. Tell me what you want me to cover
in the comments. I’ll see you next time.

82 thoughts on “The Boxer Rebellion | Wars you’ve never heard of”

  1. I'd like to know more about why China was so easily persuaded here and in the Opium Wars to Western incursion and desire.  We want trade so we "force" you to comply by ceding territories and ports–oh, and accepting our opium.  Leading to the Boxer Rebellion, foreign "ligations" win battles, bolstered by eight allies, IN Chinese territory.  Superior armaments win, even when they are used on foreign shores, I guess.  Same old story….Then politically, the "Chinese Protocol" imposes Western will.  I guess the Imperial family had too much to lose by ousting the western imperialists. 

  2. The Boxer Rebellion, Boxer Uprising or Yihetuan Movement was an anti-imperialist uprising which took place in China towards the end of the Qing dynasty between 1898 and 1900. It was initiated by the Militia United in Righteousness (Yihetuan), known in English as the "Boxers," and was motivated by proto-nationalist sentiments and opposition to foreign imperialism and associated Christian missionary activity. The Great Powers intervened and defeated Chinese forces.

    The uprising took place against a background of severe drought, and the disruption caused by the growth of foreign spheres of influence. After several months of growing violence against the foreign and Christian presence in Shandong and the North China plain, in June 1900 Boxer fighters, convinced they were invulnerable to foreign weapons, converged on Beijing with the slogan "Support Qing government and exterminate the foreigners." Foreigners and Chinese Christians sought refuge in the Legation Quarter. In response to reports of an armed invasion to lift the siege, the initially hesitant Empress Dowager Cixi supported the Boxers and on June 21 declared war on foreign powers. Diplomats, foreign civilians and soldiers as well as Chinese Christians in the Legation Quarter were placed under siege by the Imperial Army of China and the Boxers for 55 days. Chinese officialdom was split between those supporting the Boxers and those favoring conciliation, led by Prince Qing. The supreme commander of the Chinese forces, the Manchu General Ronglu (Junglu), later claimed that he acted to protect the besieged foreigners. The Eight-Nation Alliance, after being initially turned back, brought 20,000 armed troops to China, defeated the Imperial Army, and captured Beijing on August 14, lifting the siege of the Legations. Uncontrolled plunder of the capital and the surrounding countryside ensued, along with the summary execution of those suspected of being Boxers.

    The Boxer Protocol of September 7, 1901 provided for the execution of government officials who had supported the Boxers, provisions for foreign troops to be stationed in Beijing, and 450 million taels of silver—more than the government's annual tax revenue—to be paid as indemnity over the course of the next thirty-nine years to the eight nations involved.

  3. 1:43>Executed one isn't Japanese.
    An execution person is Chinese.
    A Japanese soldier is the spectator who is in the rear. They're winding white puttees on a foot.

  4. Overall a "divide and conquer" strategy of the fake ALL-LIES. Yea what happened to the so called "The Eight-Nation Alliance" involving  Austria-Hungary, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States, whose military forces intervened. Later these idiots end up back-stabbing each other into "The Great Wars".

  5. Seems pretty out of order. Other countries keeping their forces in another country, not fucking off when that country wants them to leave…

  6. you are glossing over the real deal. china was internally weak and not as militarily advanced as the west, the west as usual saw this as a chance to rob and rape a weaker country. the damn  christian  missionarys were ( and still are )  the psy ops branch of western imperialism.   they get you to close your eyes and PRAY, while the military and business people PREY  on your country! (ask the indians or the africans!)     DEATH TO ALL IMPERIALIST!!

  7. You don't know you're ass from a hole in the ground! The walled city of Tienstin was taken by the 9th US Infantry Regiment. It had been considered impregnable for anything less than a division. They did it after a 100 mile force march over 4 days, with full gear, and then assaulted, and took the city! The regimental commander, Col Emerson H. Liscum, was killed as he scrambled to retrieve the flag as the color bearer was shot down by Chinese boxers. He was in turn immediately shot by the Chinese as he saved the flag. His Regimental executive officer assumed command, and asked the dying Liscum if he had any last order's. His final words were "Keep Up The Fire!" Those dying words became our Unit's regimental motto, and is used to this very day, 116 years later! In reward to the unit for liberating Tienstin, they were awarded 2 silver bars, which were used to make an ornate, Silver , Punch Bowl, called the Liscum Bowl; still used to this day for hails and farewell's to our unit! Before you put this kind of stuff on the internet, at least make an effort to know what you are talking about! The Chinese were very well armed with rifles, and canon, and the American's 9th Infantry Regiment took Tienstin!

  8. This sounds like another attempt to convince people to sympathize with Western people. I've done research, and I left with the feeling of sympathy towards China and animosity towards the foreigners. I'll do more research though.

  9. Looking at the totality of the situation, it was basically foreigners imposing their will on a nation, only to benefit their own. Seems China was going through drastic internal changes, and foreigner influences expedited these changes, and probably made it much worse than it would have been if China was left alone without any foreign influence.

  10. Westerners were greedy. Having already colonized most of the world, peoples, and resources. It was still not enough, still one thorn that was still poking their side and that was China. China was full of resources that the Europeans wanted. From silk to fine porcelain.

    It was because of the greedy Westerners that caused my people to rise and rebel against the Qing government high taxations. These taxes were mostly to payoff the Westerners for the Opium Wars.

  11. I did heard about the Boxer Rebellion, and that it was somewhere in Asia, but that's about all I knew about it. Until now :). Great video!

  12. Hell imperialism has built every nation in the world up. No one wants to look at how profitable wars are to weapons manufacturers and banks.China was seen as an Asian cash cow to be milked. Now they are approaching super state hood. Go back to sleep now. Your global government has this all planned. Soon we will all live in the Glorious global oligarchy. All hail the mighty corporations.

  13. Boxer Rebellion is a bit biased in its title, the Boxer Movement would be called Boxer Rebellion/Uprising depending on one's bias.

  14. I cant believe you missed the most important aspect!! When did the floating city of Columbia fire on the boxers?

  15. The armies of 8 nations are called "八国联军“ / pronouced as Ba Guo Lian Jyun.
    Literally means 8 nations combined army.

    Today it is used as an expression for ganging up on one fella.

    Not "Old man of Asia", it is "Sick Man of the East or Asia" depending how you wanna called it.
    It is called in Chinese "Dong Ya Bing Fu" / 东亚病夫.
    Sino-philes will get very upset if that word is used liberally.

    Don't worry, I am cool here.
    Not salty as a mummy.

  16. They stormed the French legation
    They attacked with shot and shell!
    And they came in blood red blouses, screaming "Shashow!" as they fell!

  17. This Channel continues to devote itself to nuance in a great way. Furthermore, its apolitical nature leads me to find it's content to be so alluring. I find political discourse to be important and shying away from it to be harmful to both a society and an individual's ability to stay informed, but it's refreshing to find a history show that's more matter of fact than it is overtly biased. Almost every history channel has it's slants, and I'm glad this one has decided a more objective route then wrongfully sticking to the middle or tipping left or right too consistently or unnecessarily. I think it's especially a breath of relief during this political climate.

  18. As a historian of Modern China, I think you should know that this Boxer rebellion's origin actually begin with two noteworthy events: the supression of the Taiping rebellion, which counties like the U.S. and Britain helped to suppress by helping the official general called Zeng GuoFan, and the aftermath of the Beijing and Tianjin accords which brought into the establishment of the " self strgenthning movement headed by the same high ranked official. Now listen, after the supression of this huge rebellion which is commonly referred to by historians as me as" one of the two major breaking points of Qing Dynasty": after the su pression of this rebellion by locally recruited by the Hunan based official Zeng GuoFan, the Chinese emperor fled the capital after the defeat of the second opium war in 1854. In his stead came Prince Gong who was willing to talk with the West about concessions In the Beijing and Tianjin Treaties. The outcome was a reform movement headed by Prince Gong and Zeng GuoFan called "the self-strengthening movement". It brough major changes in the Empire's economy and allowed offcial to learn from the West: manufacturing centers of steamboats were built, translation and foreign diplomatic centers for international law were established, and the empire was still able to deal with the majority of its internal problems. The only problem was that there was a limit with regards to how officials , with there traditionalist political view, to adapt Western Military knowledge, and this is where the movement receives historical comparisons with the Meiji restoration. To make a long story short, the Chinese inability to go beyond this political barriers were was of the reasons for its failure and eventual defeat of the dynasty by Japan, the failure of the 100 days reform and the of course the public reactions to this so-called" doomed to fail reform" the Boxer rebellion or Yi HeTuan da qiyi (义和团大起义)。

  19. Great job as usual!

    However, I woud like to dispute the statement that atrocities committed by the boxers were "worse" especially when no comparison was attempted in the video (further details are welcomed tho).

    A humble suggestion: It would be more informative if details about the origin of the boxer rebellion, as well as the atrocities committed by both sides are further elucidated.

  20. I get the confusion, but Beijing was never called Peking. Peking is pronounced Beijing, it's just using a different system of transcribing mandarin with roman characters.

  21. Reminder that China was once the most powerful country in the world but then shut the country off from everyone else for a while which led to this stuff happening

  22. The only Empress Dowager and country in the history of the Earth to declare war simultaneously on those eight countries.

  23. China was going down the hill, amongst all the imperial colonists, Russia and Japan in particular laid the biggest and most ambitious claims over China, each believing that it should be their backyard playground because they were neighbouring countries. As a result, both Russia and Japan began invading China through Korea and Manchuria and eventually Russo Japanese War took place in which Japan was victorious and it proceeded to invade and conquer the rest of China until the end of WWII.

  24. Boxer rebellion and the opium wars are the wars I use when I take the piss out of the two chinese students in my class ( no offence intended it just how I am I say politcily incorrect things to my mates and they understand it)

  25. Have you done a video about the last emperor of China? Maybe one that compares the film to the historical reality.

  26. Nether side was innocent in this war, the Qing had blood on their hands when they back the boxers. I ton are if your fighting for your country, if you attack and execute civilians your a terrorist, especially if you attack families. The boxer were radical they even attack their own people.

  27. I really question whether my history classes growing up were just really specific with U.S. History or I had really solid textbooks but this was covered, along with other minor things (overall). Other events like worker protests in the Gilded Age, individual aspects of Civil War battles, the Barbary Wars, and even the country's small incursions in the Atlantic during World War II.

  28. Why didn't you mention the self war -strengthening and the defeat of the Qing in the first Sino-Japanese in 1895 which contributed much to the cause of the Boxer rebellion and the cultural-political crisis in late imperial China

  29. There seem to be similarities with how the Muslimbrothers came up…just that they didn't believe that some Kung Fu woo makes you a match for bullets.

  30. There is one factual mistake in the video about the allied expedition troops respecting the integrity of the city of Pekin. Shortly before they arrived at the gates of Pekin the Qin royal court fled the city, and the allied forces sacked and burned the royal palace. I can not speak for the rest of the city, but I dare say I am sure about the sack of the royal palace Yi He Yuan 颐和园

  31. 05:48 Democide, "genocide" refers to a genetic group (as in ethnicity, race, clan, Etc.) religion (contrary to popular belief) is not the same as race.

  32. If you want to know more about an interesting perspective on Sino-U.S relations , check the old book called " A curtain of Ignorance" by Felix Greene

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