Causes of the 1905 Russian Revolution Oral

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Introduction (less than 1 minute)
• Introduction to the audience:
• Discussion of your chosen topic (why it important in Russian history)

Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen. My name is _________ and I am here to speak to you about the effect the Russo Japanese War had on the 1917 Russian Revolution. The Russo Japanese war was a significant moment in Russia’s history due to the consequences caused by the defeat of the Russian Empire by the Japanese Empire. The events of the Russo Japanese war did not directly cause the 1917 Revolution but it did change the mindset of the Russian society as Historian Roten Kowner says, ‘the main impact on the colonial world was psychological rather than territorial[1]’. The Russo Japanese war had more of an effect on the 1905 Revolution, which forced a changed in Russian society.

Background to your chosen topic
• Do you discuss the chosen issue in context (ie,?)
• Do you examine the Who, What, When, Where, Why and How? • Do you include references to the dates, years, individuals and relevant groups?

The Russo Japanese war occurred between February 8th, 1904 to September 1905[2]. Historian Anthony Siciliano suggests the Russo Japanese war was caused by ‘Russia’s aggressive expansion into Manchuria and Korea, and Japan’s need to retain these areas within its sphere of influence[3]’of North China and Korea. The importance of Manchuria is that it had Port Arthur, which had been leased to the Russians from China in 1898[4]. Port Arthur had the importance of being a warm water port in the Yellow Sea to use all year round for Russia’s navy. Russia’s other Naval port, Nikiolaevsk was covered in ice for 6 months of the year. Sergei Witte was the main political influence behind the Russo Japanese War. Being the ex finance minister from 1892 to 1903[5], Witte saw the expansion of Russia’s Trans-Siberain Railroad as the main impetus for Russia’s expansionist policies in East Asia[6]. Japan had been in political conflicts with Russia for 6 six years from 1898-1904[7], with Russia being the aggressor. Japan offered Russia a document of negotiation in 1903 to pull Russia’s troops out of Manchuria and Russia declined[8]. Nicholas did have a previous resentment to Japan because in 1890 Alexander sent Nicholas on a grand tour of Siberia, Japan, Indo-China, Egypt and Greece. The tour ended badly with Nicholas developing an ingrained hatred of Japan after he narrowly avoided an assassination attempt in Otsu by a deranged terrorist[9]. War out broke on Febuary 8th 1904 without a signed war agreement and ended on the 5th September 1905. The battles were mainly fought at Port Arthur and there was an estimated casualty loss of around 115’000 Russian men[10] with an estimated total size of army and naval fleet of 2000000 men. The Japanese entered with around 400000 men and only had 85000 casualties[11]. With the war being mainly fought in the Yellow sea there was estimated 222 warships destroyed by the Asama(Japanese Navy)[12]. Historian Orlando Figes blames the defeat of Russia by Japan because of ‘the Russian soldier went to war worst trained, worst equipped and more poorly serviced than his enemy[13]’. This links to Michael Lynch’s detailing of Japans success in the Russo Japanese War, ‘The Japanese army and Navy (under Emperor Meiji) were far better prepared and equipped than the Russians[14]’. Figes also faults the loss on the lack of knowledge about warfare from the commander in chief Admiral E. I. Alexeev[15]. Context

• The link between your chosen topic and the February 1917 Revolution

The demoralization of Russia’s defeat to Japan had long-term effects on the causes of the 1917 revolution. Lynch supports this by saying, ‘Russia’s defeat by Japan 12 years earlier had shown. But the cumulative effect of a prolonged struggle proved overwhelming’. The short cause of war lead to the 1905 revolution. Witte knew their was to be opposition due to the defeat in the War as he...
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