February 21, 2012
Essay on the Russian Revolution
The Russo-Japanese War lasted from 1904 to 1905, and arose from both Japan and Russia’s desire for expansion and dominance in Korea and Manchuria. Russia suffered many great defeats in this war, against a nation that was considered inferior and was not one of the Great Powers. This humiliated the people of Russia, and caused them to lose confidence in Tsar Nicholas II, as well as causing great military, economic, and political problems for Russia. When the Russo-Japanese War erupted in 1904, Russia was not fully prepared to involve itself in a war. The Trans-Siberian Railway was not completed and would not be until 1905, so Russia's army was not fully mobile. Russia’s inability efficiently mobilize caused them to lose battles to the Japanese and to eventually lose the war itself. The Russians were optimistic; as they were sure their vast superiority of numbers would easily defeat the tiny Japan, but this was not to be. Japan, with their advanced technology destroyed the Russian Army, armed with their "primitive" weapons as compared to the Asians. Huge military defeats were caused by the Russo-Japanese War, which highlighted the weakness of the military and caused national humiliation. Russia, all along had prided themselves on military excellence. An example of such a defeat was in January 1905 when the army had to surrender their Port Arthur naval base in Northern China, which they had possessed before the start of the war. Another example of a great failure of the military was at the Battle of Tsushima in May 1905. The Russian Baltic fleet consisting of the 35 warships had sailed from northern Europe to the Far East, only to lose 25 warships in a defeat by the Japanese navy. The crushing of Russian’s military added impetus to the 1905 Revolution, as it made the people of Russia aware of the weakness of their military and ashamed to be Russian. They were losing to a nation very few had heard of and it was humiliating, this caused the opposition to autocratic rule by the Tsar Nicholas II. The Russo-Japanese War brought about economic problems for Russia, and this therefore meant there was a significant lack of money to solve any other problems present Russia. The war, as all wars do, cost an extreme amount of money. As it resulted in failure no money could be gained from the invaded territories. Russia had already had economic problems, and its economy was still far behind that of other Great Powers. Russia needed more money to invest in the economy to enlarge it, to make it more comparable to other Great Powers. The backwardness of Russia compared to these other Great Powers was another source of national humiliation for the people of Russia. Furthermore, the lack of money meant that the government could do nothing about the living and working conditions in towns and cities, or the problems in the rural areas of Russia. Consequently, the economic problems brought about a dent in national pride and Russia’s being unable to solve any of its other problems due to financial constraints. Both the peasants and the landowners were suffering. People were starving Agriculture was very behind that of other countries, as under the Witte system nothing had been done to improve it. Therefore the land was not cultivated properly, and famines occurred quite regularly such as the one in 1902 as well as the one in 1905, even with all this the peasants were still required to provide food for the Russian Army at war. There were also political implications of the Russo-Japanese War. The war was fought in the very far eastern reaches of the country, far away from where the majority of the population lived, and hence they must have felt removed from it, especially as news was still slow to travel. There was therefore little public enthusiasm for the war. Many people felt there was little justification...
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