In his classic work, The Prince, Machiavelli wrote that men are more apt to forgive the killing of their parents than the theft of their patrimony. At the end of the Opium War (1859-1860) British soldiers looted the Summer Palace and stole tens of thousands of valuable Chinese artifacts that eventually found their way into Western museums. These acts of theft and wanton destruction thoroughly embittered the sixteen-year-old girl who would later become the Empress Dowager. It also clouded her judgment in ways that worked against the British and other foreigners. To this day, the museums refuse to return the Summer Palace artifacts to China, claiming that they had bought the stolen items from Chinese antique dealers.
Around the middle of the nineteenth century, Chinese rulers decided to make a giant leap forward in economic reforms. Agrarianism would make way for industrialization. Just as it is today in China, the needs of the people were ignored.
[When I first posted this article, there seemed to be so little interest in it that, for some months, I didn't bother to write part 2. I eventually included information about Prince Fu and Hudson Taylor in a later article. Since then, I've learned that this article, "Leo Tolstoy and the Three Little Wars," has become the third most popular article I've ever written, and that readers have recently shown unexpected interest in the later article. Please read article "When Americans were Foreigners, and Christians were Marked for Extermination."]