The Open Door Policy and the Boxer Rebellion

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Why did European nations agree to follow the Open Door policy proposed by the U.S?

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At the time, the Open Door policy seemingly had little downside for European countries and would greatly benefit a divided China/Orient. The Chinese people were embattled between their various groups, and the Open Door policy allowed them all to work and trade independently with Europe to lessen tensions between all...

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At the time, the Open Door policy seemingly had little downside for European countries and would greatly benefit a divided China/Orient. The Chinese people were embattled between their various groups, and the Open Door policy allowed them all to work and trade independently with Europe to lessen tensions between all the different powers in China.

In Europe, they believed they would benefit from the freedom of trade with Oriental powers, and they were far more concerned with other issues. At the turn of the century, tensions between the European nations were growing and would eventually lead to World War 1. These tensions took significant precedence over the issues of the Chinese people and over any impact they would have on the European sphere. So, the nations of Europe felt there was little of importance to be lost by following these Open Door policies.

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Most scholars believe that the Open Door policy that the US proposed had very little impact on anything.  The European nations never really agreed to it in any formal way.  To the extent that the  European nations agreed to the policy, they did so because it was a way of reducing conflict between them.

During the early part of the 1900s, the major European nations had more to worry about than spheres of influence in China.  World War I was rapidly approaching and European nations were more concerned with affairs closer to home, both in Europe and in Africa.  Because of this, it was not worth their while to come into conflict with the US or with each other by trying to expand their control over "their" parts of China.

So, when the European nations eemed to be agreeing to the Open Door policy (and remember, they never did so formally), it was because it was in their interests to reduce conflict in China so they could concentrate on the problems brewing in other, more important, areas of the world.

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