German Naval Officers Pose Behind a Chinese Cannon in Kiaochow (November 1897)
On November 4, 1897, two German missionaries were murdered in the southern part of the Chinese province of Shantung. Senior German government officials had already considered the area as a potentially desirable German colonial acquisition, but had been held back by the German Foreign Office’s fears of alienating Russia, which harbored similar ambitions. The murder of the missionaries, however, sent the Kaiser into a righteous (and rather convenient) rage, and he demanded that the area be seized immediately. In the photograph below, taken soon after the occupation of Kiaochow, German naval officers pose behind a Chinese cannon.