Russia’s imperial interests in East Asia led it into direct confrontation with a rising Japanese empire. The following war not only had disastrous consequences for Russian imperial ambitions in the region, but it destabilized the Russian regime at home.
The war began on February 8, 1904 with a Japanese attack on the Russian fleet anchored at Port Arthur, China. The attack was a sign of the war to come. The Russian fleet was completely decimated, and it was unable to recover during the course of the war. The Trans-Siberian railroad also proved a to be a bottleneck on the Russian war effort. A contemporary reporter questioned Russia’s ability to move troops and supplies to the front as quickly as Japan. Japan proved too much for Russia to handle at sea and on land.
Russian losses in the war were high. An estimated 90,000 Russians lost their lives in the war. In Russia, support for the war and the tsar was low from the beginning. Defeat only lowered popular support for the status quo. Leftist political thinkers were gaining more support and influence in Russia. The lack of soldiers available to the Tsar also helped give the peasants and workers more freedom to establish themselves in the political structure of Russia. It was through a combination of events and circumstances that the Russo-Japanese war precipitated the following social instability in 1905 Russia.
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Freeze, Gregory L.. Russia: A History. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997.
THE CRISIS OF THE RUSSO-JAPANESE WAR. (1904, Dec 24). Scientific American (1845-1908), XCI., 458. Retrieved from http://ezproxy.lib.vt.edu:8080/login?url=http://search.proquest.com/docview/126869246?accountid=14826