Rise of Nationalist Movements in Asia!

Indian nationalism with its specific features was the first nationalist movements to emerge in the colonies.

By the early years of the twentieth century movements for national liberation had begun to emerge in other parts of Asia, notably in Indo-China, Indonesia, Korea, the Philippines and Iran.

In Iran, after a series of revolts, the Shah of Iran had been forced to agree to transform Iran into a constitutional monarchy with a parliament, called

Nationalism - YouTube

Image Source: i.ytimg.com/vi/Nosq94oCl_M/maxresdefault.jpg


Majlis. With the support of foreign powers, particularly Russia, the Shah re-established his despotic rule and the Majlis were abolished.

In China, a number of revolutionary organisations emerged which later consolidated to form the Chinese Revolutionary League. The president of this League was Dr Sun Yat-sen, who played the leading role in the national awakening of the Chinese people and uniting the various revolutionary groups together.

The League was guided by three principles enunciated by Dr Sun Yat-sen. These principles were: nationalism, democracy, and livelihood (the last one is sometimes referred to as socialism). In specific terms, these principles meant the ending of the rule of the Manchu dynasty which had been ruling China since the middle of the seventeenth century, and the establishment of a democratic republic with equitable attribution of land among the populace.


In 1911, revolution swept southern China and on 1 January 1912, China was proclaimed a republic with its headquarters at Nanjing (Nanking). Dr Sun Yat-sen was made the president of the republic. In the meantime, in northern China, some steps had been taken to introduce constitutional monarchy in China, with General Yuan Shih-kai as prime minister. To avoid a conflict between the governments in control of northern and southern China, from Beijing (Peking) and Nanjing respectively, a compromise was reached.

The Manchu ruler abdicated and thus the imperial rule in China came to an end. Yuan Shih-kai was recognised as the president and he was entrusted with the task of calling the parliament. Yuan Shih-kai was supported by foreign powers.

In 1913, he called the parliament but soon dismissed it. He had dreams of declaring himself emperor. In the meantime, Dr Sun Yat-sen had formed the Guomindang (Kuomintang) or the National Party and had given a call for a “second revolution”. Yuan was able to suppress the Guomindang, which was banned, and Dr Sun sent to exile.

In 1916, Yuan died and China came under the rule of warlords, who controlled different parts of the country and received financial support from foreign powers. When the First World War ended, the national and revolutionary movement in China entered a new phase. By the early years of the twentieth century the Ottoman Empire had lost most of its territories in Europe. Most of her possessions in North Africa had also been taken over by European colonial powers.


In the countries of West Asia—Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine and Arabia— nationalist feelings had been on the rise. Within Turkey, there were powerful stirrings against the tyranny of the Sultan and for making Turkey a modern democratic and secular state.

The movement was led by a group of intellectuals, reformers and army officers, called the Young Turks. Threatened by a rebellion, the Sultan, in 1908, agreed to restore the constitution, which had been first introduced in 1876.”Some Young Turks were in favour of giving equal rights to the Arabs of the Ottoman Empire while others were bent on maintaining Turkish supremacy and even extending it.

Ultimately, Turkey, due to the failure of the liberal Young Turks, was drawn into the First World War on the side of Germany and Austria-Hungary, and the British succeeded in pursuing their imperialist ambitions in the Arab world by making use of the anti-Ottoman Arab nationalist feelings.