In 1916-1920, the Beijing Government under the control of Anhui’s warlords was close to Japan. It was a honeymoon period for the two countries. Duan Qirui, the leader of Anhui’s warlords, whose diplomatic thoughts on Japan is key to history studying. By consulting a number of historical documents, the thesis comprehensively researched on the background and the process of Anhui’s warlords-Japan contacts, on the loan from Japan, then summarized the objective and tactics of Duan Qirui’s diplomatic policy upon Japan. According to the objective and tactics, the author synthetically commented on Duan Qirui’s diplomatic thoughts on Japan and drew an all-round and objective conclusion.
At that time, the European countries were busy fighting. The European great powers, for example, Britain, French, Russia and Germany, had no time to care about the situation in China. American also threw itself into European war. So Japan, who was far from great powers’ war, reigned supreme in China. From Zhang Zongxiang and Cao Rulin’s record, from Wu Guangxin’s canvass to Japanese politician in China, also from Duan Qirui’s speech and action, we could see that upon the special international circumstance, Duan Qirui replaced Yuan Shikai’s old diplomatic policy upon Japan with his amicable one. He wanted to enhance Chinese international standing and prevent European and American great powers from coming back.
The domestic circumstance was also pressing. The country was in political strife, which kept Duan Qirui from doing as he please. In side the Beijing Government, Li Yuanhong and Guo Min Dang Party was not in harmony with Duan Qirui. Out side the Beijing Government, the South-west warlords became a local despot and the Zhi Li’s warlords was seriously imperiling Duan Qirui’s Government. Duan Qirui couldn’t stand such situation, he wanted to utilize Japan’s supreme power in China to realize his unifying dream. The thoughts of drawing support from Japan to eliminate dissidents was seen from his contacting with Japan when he drive Li Yuanhong and Guo Min Dang Party out of the Beijing Government, suppressed the South-west warlords, and fought with Zhi Li’s warlords.
So we could conclude that Duan Qirui wanted to reach two goals when contacting with Japan, one is to got independence in dealing with international affairs, the other is to unify the country. These goals of Duan Qirui were in order of priority: In Duan Qirui’s opinion, unifying the country is the premise factor, because only the country united, can it get high position in the world. So he first request Japan to help him unify the country. Such thought was showed in Duan Qirui and his trusted follower’s talk and contacting with Japan.
In order to realize his purpose, Duan Qirui adopted many tactics. When contacting with Japan, he showed his good faith of cooperating with Japan only to get Japan’s trust. When he established the troop under his direct control and suppressed the South-west warlords, he met Japan’s many requests only to gain Japanese support. Zhang Xun’s restoration and Duan Qirui-Feng Guozhang’s contention showed his tactics of utilizing great power’s scramble in China to force Japan “help” him. His thoughts of unifying the country by force and his contradiction with Japan proved that he dealt with domestic affairs without Japanese interference.
In the World War-Ⅰ, Duan Qirui wanted to ally with Japan to get independence. At that time, Japan was enlarging its aggression to China, so allying with Japan was a good but serious will. At the same time, in order to realize his domestic goal, Duan Qirui unscrupulously sell out much of country’s profit, this hasten the collapse of Anhui’s warlords ’ regime. To a certain extent, the thoughts of “first unify the country, then get international standing ” is reasonable, which should be adopted a correct attitude in studying Duan Qirui’s diplomatic thoughts on Japan.