There was one notable exception, however, Japan. Never relaxing her grip on a complicated problem, watchful and active, where others were indifferent and slothful, Japan bided her time. Knowing that the hour had almost arrived when it would be possible to strike, Japan was vastly active behind the scenes in China long before the outbreak of the European war gave her the longed for opportunity; and largely because of her the pear, which seemed already almost ripe, finally withered on the tree.
 It is significant that Dr. Goodnow carried out all his Constitutional studies in Germany, specializing in that department known as Administrative Law which has no place, fortunately, in Anglo-Saxon conceptions of the State.
THE FACTOR OF JAPAN
(FROM THE OUTBREAK OF THE WORLD-WAR, 1ST AUGUST, 1914, TO THE FILING OF THE TWENTY-ONE DEMANDS, 18TH JANUARY, 1915)
The thunderclap of the European war shattered the uneasy calm in China, not because the Chinese knew anything of the mighty issues which were to be fought out with such desperation and valour, but because the presence of the German colony of Kiaochow on Chinese soil and the activity of German cruisers in the Yellow Sea brought the war to China’s very doors. Vaguely conscious that this might spell disaster to his own ambitious plans, Yuan Shih-kai was actually in the midst of tentative negotiations with the German Legation regarding the retrocession of the Kiaochow territory when the news reached him that Japan, after some rapid negotiations with her British Ally, had filed an ultimatum on Germany, peremptorily demanding the handing-over of all those interests that had been forcibly acquired in Shantung province in the great leasing-year of 1898.
At once Yuan Shih-kai realized that the Nemesis which had dogged his footsteps all his life was again close behind him. In the Japanese attack on Kiaochow he foresaw a web of complications which even his unrivalled diplomacy might be unable to unravel; for he knew well from bitter experience that wherever the Japanese sets his foot there he remains. It is consequently round this single factor of Japan that the history of the two succeeding years revolves. From being indisputably the central figure on the Chinese canvas, Yuan Shih-kai suddenly becomes subordinate to the terror of Japanese intervention which hangs over him constantly like a black cloud, and governs every move he made from the 15th August, 1914, to the day of his dramatic death on the 6th June, 1916. We shall attempt to write down the true explanation of why this should have been so.