The movie Sand Pebbles focus was on the flag. The flag was not only a symbol of a nation, but of nationalism, militarism and imperialism. During the 1800’s and early 1900’s there was a severe foreign influence in China. During this time period the European nations wanted to trade with the Chinese, but the Chinese had no interest in the European products for at the time China was self sufficient. The European nations in order to keep from losing all of the money to the Chinese decide that they would start an Opium trade them. Against the wishes of the China, the European nations continued to sell the Opium to the Chinese. Finally war erupted because of this. The European nations were victorious in a series of Opium Wars against China. From these Opium Wars many treaties in the favor of the west were signed which gave those European nations greater access to China.
After the European nations, got their peace of China so did the United States. Soon after the United States defeated the Spanish in the Spanish American War, the United States received the Philippines from the Spanish. With that the United States declared the Open Door Policy, which all of the European nations accepted. Now in China it was not only the European nations, but also the Untied States.
The Chinese flags were a symbol of nationalism, of their nationalism. That they were their own nation. It was a reassurance of their own nationalism. It proved to the Chinese that even though there were many countries slowly taken over China, that they were still their own nation, and they weren’t going to let anymore foreign influence into China.
The flags also symbolized militarism, because where ever there were two different flags in the same area conflicts arose. When these conflicts arose they often resulted in the militaries getting involved. These militaries were the foreign militaries in China and the Chinese nationalist military.
All of these stemmed back the imperialism that was brought to China. The flags also symbolized the imperialism of the foreign nations in China. Every non Chinese flag was a symbol of the imperialism in China. This imperialism stemmed back to the Opium Wars were when the treaties were made countries like Britain able to setup colonies in China.
All of the flags in the movie symbolized either nationalism, militarism or imperialism in China, which was all caused by China loss of all of the Opium Wars against the European nations.