A European council congregated in 1885 and drew up the Berlin Act, which was responsible for the carving of Africa into pieces of land for the major imperialistic powers in Europe (Lehmann “The Scramble for Africa”). Political and nationalistic rivals were fueled and each European power desired to prosper greater than their competitors did. Political goals were often achieved through imperialism. Countries competed for “strategic passages” and “overseas bases” in locations throughout Africa (Lehmann “European Imperialism). The goals of achieving the most power and wealth from various regions through imperialistic measures were realized during the age of imperialism.
Imperialism is the process in which one state imposes its control upon another through military force or political action in order to exploit the area for raw materials and strategic purposes. The period of 1870 until the beginning of the Great War in 1914 marked a time of “New Imperialism” for the European powers. Much like that of the first “wave” of imperialism that took place from the sixteenth century to the mid-nineteenth century, the European powers started to expand their control over much of the globe. It is during this time when several European countries once again start to exploit and conquer areas, shifting their focus from the Atlantic world, to the lands of Africa and Asia. At the start of the seventeenth century the European powers controlled 35 percent of the world’s land.
In this search, manufacturers needed to find new raw materials in order to better equip themselves to sustain against the newly rising competitors. This caused competition with foreign market systems all around to begin pursuing an imperialistic empire. The European powers responded with aggressive nationalism when expanding their empire. This concept began trending internationally as other nations adapted the new concept of maintaining a steady nation through the new ideals of expansions. After the conclusion of the Civil War and the Reconstruction, the American economy rapidly increased as it developed in the Second Industrial Revolution.
Imperialism is when strong nations attempt to create empires by dominating weaker nations - economically, politically, culturally or militarily. In America, during the 1800s and 1900s, there was dispute about wether or not we should, as a nation, become imperialists through expansion. American expansion was a decision that could change the US forever in every aspect. It could make or break us, so to speak. Economically, this would mean a growth in industry, an increasing need for natural resources, and the requirement of new markets in which to sell manufactured goods.
Following the Civil War and Reconstruction Eras, Americans began to set their eyes on other shores. With new technology and equipment such as the telegraph and the railroads, the United States had shrunk. No longer was the United States a vast expanse of uncharted territory, but instead, it was a conquered land with a growing population and growing cities. Imperialism was born out of this desire to look across oceans for more land and trade posts for America’s expanding population and economy. Following the Reconstruction Era, the United States debated imperialist policies based on economic, social, military, and political beliefs which ultimately propelled the country to achieving a dominating international reputation.
Firstly, the Europeans wanted economic expansion. Since the industrial revolution had taken place, the Europeans were in need of more natural resources. They also wanted new markets for the sake of selling industrial products. To achieve this they had to look for more places outside of Europe and colonize it. At the time, there had been many competitions between other nations.
European imperialism in the 19th century began with the idea of power and control. There was constant tension between the powers about who the dominant European power was and who had the most money. With the new technologies like gunboats and steam-powered ships and demand for goods and profit, Europeans used their power and ideologies to start conquering and controlling weaker countries. European imperialism was based around the idea of using European dominance and power to create more markets in less advanced countries, build the respective imperialist power’s military, and enforce the imperialist power’s culture and will on the weaker states. Imperialists also wanted to spread their religion to different countries.
During the time periods of the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries, much of European history revolved around the conquest of foreign lands. This conquest was performed by the racially motivated, whether good or bad, European men of these decades. These men were looking to expand their empire, clustering around a belief in the idea of imperialism. Examples of nations that took part in the ideology of imperialism and foreign colonization abound. Out of these examples, two major nations were the British and the Belgian nations, and two major continents involved in colonization were that of Africa and Asia.
WORLD WAR I Foreign policy: Even before WW1 began, years of tension had built up a rivalry between the great powers of Europe, triggered by alliances, power plays, weapons races and security. Furthermore, the Balkans was a power-vacuum, formally under the control of a fast-deteriorating Ottoman Empire. Imperialist expansionism on the part of Austria-Hungary and the German Reich was also giving rise to tensions. The increased efforts of Germany to have a colonial empire in Africa was another factor that led to WW1. During the 19th century, Britain, France and Germany had been in competition with each other, trying to build colonies in the Americas, Africa and Asia.
Feelings of nationalism itensified throughout Europe during the nineteenth century. Nationalism in the extreme promotes the idea of national superiority. Industrialized countries therefore felt they had the right to take control of weaker areas. Countries also tried to increase their power through the control of more land and people. Economic causes also led to imperialism.