World History


















































Should this man adopt Western ideas and values? He seems a bit unsure.

In the 1800s, nations of the non-Western world had to figure out how to deal with a harsh reality: the Western powers were industrialized, wealthy, powerful, and aggressive. Isolation wasn’t effective as the Chinese and Japanese discovered. Fighting back didn’t work either as Native Americans and Zulus learned. Many believed the only way to deal with the West was to become more like the West, in other words, to modernize and industrialize. We saw this occur in Russia, Japan, Latin America, and elsewhere.

Education was one route to Westernization. Bright young people from the colonies studied at European schools and often adopted Western ideas and values. But when non-Western nations tried to industrialize, they faced huge obstacles. Because the Western countries were first to industrialize, they already knew how to produce quality goods efficiently; they already had large urban work forces, and they already controlled world markets. It was difficult for late industrializers to break into the international economic system.

Westernization = refers to attempts by various countries to imitate and learn from the countries of Western Europe (and the United States).