Industrial Revolution in Different Countries Industrial Revolution in Different Countries After the first appearance of industrialization in Britain, many other nations joined in the industrial revolution. In the 19th century the Industrial Revolution spread to the United States, Germany, France, Belgium, and much of the rest of western Europe. Sometimes, British workers and entrepreneurs moved to other countries and taught the manufacturing techniques they had learned in Britain. Change happened somewhat differently in each setting because of varying resources, political conditions, and social and economic status. In France, industrial development was delayed by political turmoil and a lack of coal, but the central government played a more active role in development than Britain’s had.
Craft production, in which people make decorative objects by hand, also remained a more significant element in the French economy than it did in Britain. In Germany the central government’s role was also greater than it had been in Great Britain. This was partly because the German government wanted to hasten the process and catch up with British industrialization. Germany used its rich iron and coal resources to develop heavy industry, such as iron and steel manufacture. It also proved to be an environment that encouraged big businesses and cooperation among large firms. The German banking sector, for example, was dominated by a few large banks that coordinated efforts to increase industry.
In Russia, the government made repeated efforts to enable industrialization, sometimes hiring foreigners to build and operate whole factories. On the whole, however, industrialization spread more slowly there, and the Russian economy remained overwhelmingly agricultural for a long time. Even in largely industrialized areas, such as western Europe and the United States, some areas lagged behind in industrial development. Southern Italy, Spain, and the American South remained largely agrarian until much later than their neighbors. In Asia, industrialization varied, although as a whole it came much later than Western European development.
In Japan, the first industrial Asian nation, the central government made industrialization a national goal during the late 19th century. Industrialization in some areas of China began in the early 20th century and increased near the end of the century. Other Asian and Pacific Rim countries, such as South Korea and Taiwan, began to industrialize after the 1960s. In Southeast Asia, India, and much of Latin Americaareas that were colonies of Western nations for long periodsindustrialization was much more delayed than in many other areas. The legacies of colonialism made widespread change difficult because the society and economy of colonies were heavily controlled by and dependent on the parent country.
Although different cultures produced distinctive variations of an industrial revolution, the similarities are striking. Mechanization and urbanization were central to each area in which the Industrial Revolution succeeded, as were accompanying tensions and disruptions. In most societies, the truly revolutionary changes came during the first 75 to 100 years after the process of industrialization began. After that, factory production dominated manufacturing, and most people moved to cities.