History Ia (Ib) on Russo-Japanese War and Its Effect on the 1905 Revolution

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Topic: Russo-Japanese War of 1904-1905

Research Question- The Russo-Japanese war of 1904 is the main contributor of the Revolution of 1905 in Russia. To what extent do you agree with this view? Justify your answer with a 1000 words as a minimum.

Russia during the 19th century was considered to be the mystical land of the Great Tsars and Tsarina’s. It long held the imagination of visitors and storytellers alike from its grand courts and palaces to its superb Caviar, Vodka and Faberge eggs. Russia was also the land of magic and superstition due to the powerful presence of the Russian Orthodox Church. But life for the most of Russia was not as starry and glamorous as described above. In fact the oppressive autocratic system was still living in the medieval age with poor peasant and serfs slaving for whatever little their rich masters would allow them. Most Russians lived in abject poverty and oppression and had little chance to advance. Russia was also the last to start its rise as an industrial power and relied mainly on the agrarian industry. Russia previously famed military now laid idle and ill trained to fight modern battles. Unknown to the Tsar and Russia the world has long left Russia in the rotten medieval age and had moved on. During the first half of the 20th century witnessed some repercussion in the mindset of the Russian bourgeois towards the oppressive Tsardom. The first strike came in 1905 through a revolution. Several factors contributed towards this revolution among them special mention is to be given for the Russo Japanese war. Through this essay I am attempting to dig out the possible connection between the war and the Revolution of 1905.

The Russo-Japanese War was from 1904-1905, it was caused due to Japans and Russia’s desire for expansion and dominance in Korea and Manchuria. Russia suffered many 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 who were a proud group of people who always believed to fight to the last man and never give up. This loss caused them to lose confidence in Tsar Nicholas II and created great military, economic, and political problems for Russia. This caused the Russo-Japanese War to be partly responsible for the outbreak of the Revolution of 1905. Huge military defeats in the Russo-Japanese War, which outlined the weakness of the military once famed for its excellent discipline and technologically weapons such as the moisan nagant resulted in national humiliation, thus contributing to the outbreak of the 1905 Revolution. An example of such a defeat was in January 1905 when the Army surrendered Port Arthur even though they had enough food and ammunition for 3 more months, this is was a great dishonor for Russia as surrender is against Russia military doctrine till date. This is believed to be because of the divide in the commanders of Port Arthur. They had taken Port Arthur at start of the war due to a treaty made with China. Another example of the failure of the military was at the Battle of Tsushima. The Russian Baltic fleet had sailed from Northern Europe to the Far East to help the Defenders of Port Arthur only to be defeated by the Japanese navy. The brutal destruction of Russian’s military added to the Revolution of 1905, as it made the people of Russia aware of the weakness of their military and made them ashamed to be Russian as Russia was the first European nation to lose a battle to any Asian country. They were losing to a nation very few had heard of and though to be inferior. However, many of the defeats to the Russian military occurred after the Revolution had started, not causing its outbreak, but added to the opposition to autocratic rule by the Tsar. The Russo-Japanese War also brought about significant economic problems to Russia, and this therefore meant there was a significant lack of funds to solve any other problems, which were present Russia, hence partly...
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