Which country was more powerful militarily in 1910: China or Germany?

More powerful military power overall in 1910?

  • Qing Empire

    Votes: 2 3.6%
  • German Empire

    Votes: 54 96.4%

  • Total voters
Oct 2014
Between these 2 major powers in the start of the 20th century (Qing Empire and German Empire) who had a more powerful military (army, navy)?
Feb 2017
Latin America
This isn't even a question. Germany by far. China wasn't even a stable country. It was just a year away from a state of perpetual civil war, if it already wasn't. It permanently lost Mongolia just after the 1911 revolution, a territory the size of Mexico, and just 6 years earlier it had lost Tibet to the British, Tibet having been one of its biggest provinces. The Germans even had an enclave in China. If they went to China unopposed by other powers, they could have deposed the court of Puyi and install a puppet state without any problem, if not downright conquer China.

A far better comparison is Japan, although I think Germany was still superior to it.

Edit: Expanding a bit on Germany compared to Japan, the Japanese were able to take the German enclave of Qingdao in 1914 during WWI, but did so with British assistance and while the Germans were also fighting the French and the British in Europe.


Ad Honorem
Jul 2011
Not close. Germany was militarily the strongest country in the world, as shown in WWI, when it held its own against the 3 greatest empires. China was very weak and wouldn't compare well to any major power.
Nov 2019
United States
Even within the local Asian area, Japan was a much more powerful force.
Thinking even more about this, the indigenous military of the Indian Colony were a much more powerful force than China, and of course sitting on China's border was Russia who could take whatever they wanted from China, only stopped by Japan or other European occupying forces and diplomacy.
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Ad Honorem
Nov 2010
Bit of a silly question really. Only Hollywood I know, but a quick glance at Flora Robson, David Niven, Charlton Heston and all in '55 days at Peking' gives at least an insight into the crisis of the dynasty and the disunity of China.

Germany had immense imperial designs at the time, whilst the Chinese Resident was thrown out of Tibet over Chinese impotence during the Younghusband Expedition invasion from British India a few years earlier.


Ad Honoris
Jul 2009
Austria-Hungary was possibly stronger than China. Austria-Hungary. In fact, the Austrians had a colonial enclave in China. It's the only colony they ever had.
Austria-Hungary was building warships (destroyers IIRC) for the Chinese navy in the years before WW I. I recall reading that the Chinese navy were requesting that Chinese cadets be trained at the K.u.K. Marine-Akademie. A-H did not have a colonial presence in China, but rather a commercial outlet - a trade concession zone - that could access specific Chinese market(s).

[A-H isn't in the OP, however that country was self sufficient in industry by 1910, as reflected above in naval construction. All steel, armor plate, naval guns, torpedoes, machinery and electrical equipment were produced domestically, with - evidently - surplus for export. Asia provided several important markets for Austrian exports of various manufactured products by 1910.]

No question that Germany was by far the stronger militarily. China had virtually no modern industrial capacity in 1910.
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May 2018
Germany. They had a navy comparable (in the same tier, at least) as the Royal Navy. Their army was modern, as was their country.

I don't know a whole lot about China of the era, but I doubt they were even stronger than Japan, which had just defeated a great power a few years ago. Japan was new to the modernization game, and they were behind Germany, and probably far ahead of China.
Nov 2019
United States
What is interesting in this conversation to this point is that no one has mentioned the Boxer Rebellion. (Except the passing mention of the movie) The result of which was that a mixed international army of 20,000 conquered Beijing and the heart of the modern China, and destroyed what was the Chinese Army.

China was required to pay an indemnity of $330 million dollars to those nations for the various attacks of the Boxers and the Chinese Armies on the various nations missions. The Qing dynasty, established in 1644, was weakened by the Boxer Rebellion. Following an uprising in 1911, the dynasty came to an end and China became a republic in 1912.

Unfortunately that republic was torn apart by various warlords, and seldom held unified control of the country.
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