Response to 1900’s Modernization Efforts

Countries in Latin America saw the potential economic gain they could receive from the modernization of Western Europe and wanted to capitalize on it. They enjoyed the benefits brought by European nations and tried to be liked by these European nations and create a partnership. Latin American countries  were “efficient exporters of raw materials”(The Export Boom as Modernity) to the developing Western Europe that needed these raw materials for their industries. For countries like Brazil it was seen that their economy was based heavily on raw products like coffee beans and rubber. Though countries like Brazil began stripping their environments, they also started to develop. In Rio de Janeiro, the population increased from 275,000 in 1872 to 1,1560,000 in 1920 while great public works developed large cities with more European design. As many of them were new countries, for example Brazil’s independence was in 1822, they needed economic boosts to ensure their survival. This change in Latin American economies shows  their acceptance of European expansion.

Japan’s developing nationalistic mindset and lack of willingness to be used by Western Europe prompted them to create their own empire. Japan saw the expansion and development of Western Europe as “an epidemic that carries with it only harm; much less against civilization, which is always accompanied by both harm and good, but by more good than harm.” (Fukuzawa Yukichi). Japan also did not want to be used like Latin America, China, or Korea but instead be a great empire. hey saw themselves as an ancient culture compared to the developing Latin America as their nationalistic tendencies grew.  The Western European powers would appear to be a great aspiration for them to strive towards. By separating themselves from these other nations, Japan hoped to be seen as an equal to the powers of Western Europe. After events in China like the Opium Wars and Boxer Revolutions lead to Japan and European forces having control of port cities and Beijing. The allowance of Japan to join the European forces proves their desire and inevitable success at separating themselves from the rest of the world and Eastern Asia.



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