Effects of the Russo-Japanese War in Russia

“Illustration of a Fierce Russo-Japanese War Battle” by Kyōkatsu, May 1904 [2000.458] Sharf Collection, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
“Illustration of a Fierce Russo-Japanese War Battle” by Kyōkatsu, May 1904
[2000.458] Sharf Collection, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
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.



Permanent Link (Illustration): http://ocw.mit.edu/ans7870/21f/21f.027/throwing_off_asia_01/2000_458_l.html


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


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4 Responses to Effects of the Russo-Japanese War in Russia

  1. Kelsey Shober says:

    Great topic for this week’s post! I think that the events going on abroad were just as disastrous for Russia as the events going on domestically. It was both types of events that lead to the 1905 Revolution. In my research on the war I found out just how embarrassing this was for Russia. They were so incredibly cocky that they thought that there was no way that they could lose. In addition, England sent major help over to the Japanese side to be sure that Russia lost the war and would not be imperialistic in East Asia. I have always found that interesting as the King was a cousin and supposed friend of Nicholas II. What was considered to be great diplomacy in China (for the rail addition and Port Arthur aquisition) turned out to be as much of a disaster as the Crimean War. Devastating blows like this one are important domestically because of the reality check that the leaders and citizens receive. I liked your endin paragraph about the effects aside from the morale standpoint. Great job!

  2. hgiannoni says:

    Ever since Nicholas II came to power, it seemed as though he couldnt do anything right, and the Russo-Japanese war is one such example. This post outlines some of the devastating effects that the war had on Russian military, infrastructure, and economy. Perhaps the most severe effect however may have been the changing tide of public opinion towards the terrible handling of domestic and international affairs by the Tsar and his regime. With so many casualties in this particular conflict, it is likely that many in the military were upset with the Tsar and his commanders, the big wigs who were in charge. It is entirely possible that the revolutionaries would have used the Russo-Japanese war as an example of the Imperial government having little care for the lives of its citizens evidenced by the many casualties who were killed in the terrible handling of the war. Great post.

  3. mwill17 says:

    Both the loss during this war and the Crimean War showed the lack of Russian military power which certainly played a role in creating discontent towards the Tsar and government. Not only were these defeats embarrassing considering the size of Russia but so many soldiers were needlessly killed as a result. One thing that I have also found interesting about the Russians when it comes to war is this trend for them to take such heavy losses, especially during the World Wars. Good post.

  4. Schnaitman says:

    Great post and your thoughts highlight what seems to be a huge influence on the direction that Russia went following 1905. I wonder what would have been had the great Russian navy not been defeated by the Japanese. I researched Count Witte for this week’s blog and he was one of the pioneers of growth in the railroad system. From what I understand, even though I agree the Trans-Siberian railway may have bottlenecked the effort, it is also what made the war possible at all.

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