The Russo-Japanese War causes and consequences

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  • The Russo-Japanese War (1904)
    • Causes
      • Russia and Japan saw chance for expansion
        • Russia claims were strengthened by the building of the Trans Siberian
      • Quarrels over Korea and Manchuria
        • Territorial disputes between Japan and Russia over Korea and Manchuria
      • 1903 agreed to withdraw troops from Manchuria but reneged on the agreement, Feb 1904 Japan retaliated attacking Port Arthur
      • Russian reasons to go to war
        • Russia wanted to pursue an expansionist policy in the East
          • Russia aimed to expand in the Far East negotiated a 25yr lease of strategically placed Port Arthur from the Chinese
        • To distract attention from Russia's domestic troubles and rally the nation in patriotic struggle
        • Nicholas felt he had to prove himself to Russia after living in fathers shadow as a "weakling"
        • Russia needed all-year ports as theirs froze over in the winter
        • European powers feared Japan taking over China would threaten peace in the Far East
        • Did not believe an Asian power could beat them
      • Japanese reasons to go to war
        • Increased threat to Japan with the construction of the Chinese Eastern Railway and occupation of Manchuria
        • Japanese population was increasing rapidly so needed more lamd
        • Gain lots of prestige if could win as would be first time Asian country had defeated European power
          • Did not like European countries being imperial powers in Asia
          • Concerned over Russian influence in Far East
        • Had very little natural resources, needed more
        • Japan had been excluded from Port Arthur whereas Russia was expanding her influence through the construction of banks, provision of credits and exports
        • Japan had been excluded from Manchuria which she had wanted to acquire as destination for her surplus population
          • She also wanted to sell coal and cotton in return for wheat rice and beans from Manchuria
    • Consquences
      • Led to concerns about the Tsar's ability to rule and autocracy in general
        • The Tsar and the government were blamed which led to a loss of faith in autocracy
          • Highlighted lack of equipment, communication and transport
            • Further investment in transport infrastructure, e.g. Trans-Siberian railway
          • Sparked the 1905 Revolution
          • Discontent in Russia mounted
            • Plehve, Minister of the Interior was assassinated in July 1904
              • This was greeted by mass celebration
        • Tsarist Russia was still weak, inefficient and economically backwards
      • Influenced Nicholas' October manifesto promising an elected Duma and civil rights
        • Appeared to the public as revolutionary until the Fundamental Laws 1906 retained Tsars autocratic control
        • October Manifesto 1905, outlined plan for more representative form of government
        • Duma was introduced to appease increasing number of opponents
      • Restrictions imposed on Zemstva activity by A III lifeted by N II
        • but led to more open criticism of Tsar and demands for reform
      • The defeat was humiliating for Russiaas it was the first time that a Western power had been defeated by an Eastern power
        • Russia forced to sign a humiliating peace treaty with Japan (Treaty of Portsmouth)
          • It forced Russia to abandon her expansionist policies in the East
      • Japan gained the Korean Peninsula and signalled the emergence of Japan as a world power
        • Korea was recognised as being within Japan's sphere of iinfluence
      • The Liberals pressed for a national assembly after the war but Nicholas II dismissed them
        • The social unrest and disrupted economy was exactly what N II was hoping to prevent when he went to war with Japan
      • Japan’s victory made them the first Asian power to defeat a European power in war
        • This led to widespread nationalism and a more active role in Asian affairs
      • With the lack of Russian competition, the Japanese military started to attempt to dominate China and the rest of Asia
        • leading to the second Sino-Japanese war
      • The public wanted reparations to help families recover from the loss of fathers and sons as well as large taxes
  • The occupation of Russian territory by Japanese troops damaged the morale of the Russian people
    • This is a combination with food shortages in the cities
      • led to strike action
        • Sparked the 1905 Revolution
      • led to political assassinations
        • Plehve, Minister of the Interior was assassinated in July 1904
          • This was greeted by mass celebration


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