Per title. I'm aware "great power" & "major concession" aren't well defined, so as long as some reputable historian calls them so that suffices for me.

There are plenty of examples where great powers make such concessions to other great powers (e.g. Treaty of Nerchinsk), but I can't think of examples where the country is significantly weaker than the great power. The closest is the Treaty of Addis Ababa that ended the first Italian-Ethiopian war, but the Italians were beaten in that war, so they weren't in a position of strength.

Something that would work would be if the British Empire had, just prior to the Second Boer War, agreed to the Boer ultimatums; or if the British Empire had decided not to prosecute what later turned into the First Opium War.

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    The definition of "major concession" is the problem. There are many cases throughout history where a great power did something nice to a smaller nation. The US has given land to other countries including to Mexico (generally where the Rio Grande shifted course) and Panama (the Panama Canal Zone), although there were reasons why both made sense for the US.
    – Stuart F
    Aug 26, 2022 at 16:01
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    I would alrready consider the treaty of Nerchinsk as a valid example since by that time, Russia was far superior to China Aug 26, 2022 at 16:16
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    Finland retaining its independence in 1944? Stalin could have been much harsher. Aug 27, 2022 at 14:10

1 Answer 1


I agree with the comments to the original question, so I'll answer it in more of a "popular history" manner. The first one that comes to mind is the US's surrender terms for Japan in 1945. The Emperor was allowed to continue his reign, which was less than "unconditional surrender" and somewhat of a surprising concession given the US public's thirst for vengeance. The US probably saw that the Emperor would be a stabilizing and unifying force for Japan.

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    Dropping an A-Bomb on Kyoto was ruled out during the war for this same reason.
    – T.E.D.
    Aug 27, 2022 at 15:57
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    Hm. I don't really agree with this. Having the Emperor continue his reign was a major concession in Japanese eyes, but not much of a concession by the USA.
    – DevSolar
    Aug 30, 2022 at 15:50

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