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Russo-Japanese War

RUSSO-JAPANESE WAR

After brokering the end of the Sino-Japanese War (18941895) with the Treaty of Shimonoseki, Russia placed itself on a collision course with Japan over the issue of spheres of influence in Manchuria. Relations between the two countries further deteriorated in 1898, when Russia occupied the Chinese fortress of Port Arthur (now Lu-shun), and again in 1903, when Russian economic interest focused on Korea. Japan's response to Russia's aggressive eastern policy became apparent on February 8, 1904 when Admiral Heihachiro Togo launched a surprise attack on Port Arthur. Having won control of the sea, the Japanese began landing land troops at Chemulpo (now Inchon), as far north as possible on the Korean Peninsula to avoid the bad roads. Nonetheless, the weather did not cooperate, and it was six weeks before General Tamemoto Kuroki's First Army was ready to march around the northern tip of the Bay of Korea and invade the Liao Tung Peninsula.

Russia, meanwhile, had entered the war unprepared for conflict in Asia. Its military planners had given priority to the empire's European frontiers and had not dedicated sufficient resources to the defense of its Asian interests. While the Japanese considered mainland northeastern Asia vital to their national security, the Russians viewed the region merely as a colonial interest for potential economic development and wealth. No one understood Russia's predicament as clearly as War Minister Alexei N. Kuropatkin, who, upon the outbreak of war, resigned his ministerial portfolio, assumed command of the Russian army, and proceeded to Manchuria, where he arrived in March 1904. Since his forces were being transferred from one end of the empire to the other on the single-track and still incomplete Trans-Siberian Railroad, Kuropatkin set up defenses that he hoped would give Russia at least three months to build up its military presence in the Far East.

Kuropatkin began concentrating troops between Harbin and Liao Yang, but the Japanese thwarted his plan by beginning operations in the middle of March. The Japanese movements unnerved the commander of Port Arthur, General A.M. Stoessel, who immediately appealed to Nicholas II's personally appointed viceroy for the Far East, Admiral E. I. Alexiev, for help. Alexiev ordered Kuropatkin to attack the Japanese, but the commander-in-chief, holding that he was answerable only to the tsar, refused. Thinking that Port Arthur had supplies enough to withstand a long siege, Kuropatkin had no intention of deviating from his plan. Before this dispute could be resolved, the Japanese forced Kuropatkin's hand by defeating the Russians in the hotly contested Battle of Nanshan in April.

With Port Arthur's supply lines cut after Nanshan, Kuropatkin no longer had the luxury of waiting until an overwhelming force was assembled. The major battles of the war followed: Va Fan Gou (May), Liao Yang (August), and the river Sha Ho (October), effectively concluding with Mukden in February 1905. The Russians were soundly defeated in each of these battles by an enemy that first out-thought and then outmaneuvered them. Having concentrated three armies under the overall command of Marshal Iwao Oyama, the Japanese were able to fight the war on their own terms. Ironically, by the Battle of Mukden, Kuropatkin had finally achieved numerical superiority just as the Japanese reached the end of their material and human resources, but he, his staff, and the Russian intelligence services never became aware of this advantage and were intimidated by the Japanese army's maneuverability. Further aggravating the Russian predicament was the inexplicable capitulation of Port Arthur on January 2, 1905. The situation was best described by the numerous military observers representing most of the world's nations, who noted how unmotivated Russia's army seemed in comparison to the patriotic Japanese soldiers with their strong sense of national mission.

A final event that captured the attention of the world was the saga of Russia's Baltic Fleet. By the autumn of 1904, Russia's Pacific Fleet lay in ruins, and to regain control of the sea, Nicholas II ordered the Baltic fleet to the Far East. Under the command of Admiral Z. P. Rozhestvensky, the Baltic Fleet sortied on October 15, 1904. Its round-the-world

voyage attracted the interest of the international press, which reported its attack on British fishing vessels on the Dogger Bank (the Russians mistakenly imagined that they were Japanese warships), its search to find places to refuel and refit ships that had not been designed for such an arduous journey; and its rendezvous with reinforcements at Madagascar. By the time the fleet arrived in Asia, Togo was lying in wait and had little difficulty defeating it in the Battle of the Tsushima Straits on May 27, 1905, which dashed Russia's last hopes.

The Russo-Japanese War was the first global conflict of the modern era and the first war in which an emerging Asian nation defeated a European great power. The Japanese victory inflamed Asian nationalism and contributed to the struggle against colonialism throughout the region. The military debacle exposed the weakness of the tsarist regime and is usually considered the prime cause of the Revolution of 1905. After the complete defeat of Russia's land and naval forces, the tsar sued for peace. U.S. president Theodore Roosevelt brokered the Treaty of Portsmouth (August 23, 1905), but the Japanese believed that they had lost the peace and did not trust Western diplomacy again until after World War II. Finally, from the technical standpoint, the Russo-Japanese War was a precursor to World War I. Both sides mobilized mass armies and used trenches, machine guns, and rapid-fire artilleryweapons that help define the early twentieth century battlefield.

See also: baltic fleet; japan, relations with; korea, relations with; kuropatkin, alexei nikolayevich; military, imperial era; port arthur, seige of; portsmouth, treaty of; revolution of 1905; tsushima, battle of

bibliography

Committee of Imperial Defence, Historical Section. (19101920). Official History, Naval and Military, of the Russo Japanese War. 3 vols. London: Committee of Imperial Defence.

Connaughton, Richard M. (1988). The War of the Rising Sun and Tumbling Bear: A Military History of the Russo-Japanese War, 190405. London: Routledge.

Corbett, Julian S. (1994). Maritime Operations in the Russo-Japanese War, 190405. 2 vols. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press.

German General Staff, Historical Section (1909). The Russo-Japanese War, tr. Karl von Donat. 9 vols. London: H. Rees.

Kinai, M., ed. (1907). The Russo-Japanese War: Official Reports. 2 vols. Tokyo: Shimashido.

United States, War Department, General Staff. (1907). Reports of Military Observers Attached to the Armies in Manchuria during the Russo-Japanese War. 5 parts. Washington, DC, Government Printing Office.

Walder, David. (1973). The Short Victorious War: The Russo-Japanese Conflict, 19041905. New York: Harper & Row.

Westwood, J. N. (1986). Russia against Japan, 190405: A New Look at the Russo-Japanese War. Albany: State University of New York Press.

John W. Steinberg

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"Russo-Japanese War." Encyclopedia of Russian History. . Encyclopedia.com. 25 Sep. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Russo-Japanese War." Encyclopedia of Russian History. . Encyclopedia.com. (September 25, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/russo-japanese-war

"Russo-Japanese War." Encyclopedia of Russian History. . Retrieved September 25, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/russo-japanese-war

Russo-Japanese War

Russo-Japanese War, 1904–5, imperialistic conflict that grew out of the rival designs of Russia and Japan on Manchuria and Korea. Russian failure to withdraw from Manchuria and Russian penetration into N Korea were countered by Japanese attempts to negotiate a division of the area into spheres of influence. The Russian government, however, was inflexible, and it was willing to risk an armed conflict in the belief that Japan was bound to be defeated and that a Russian victory would head off the growing threat of internal revolution in Russia. Japan broke off negotiations and severed (Feb. 6, 1904) diplomatic relations with Russia. Two days later, without a declaration of war, Japan attacked Port Arthur and bottled up the Russian fleet. A series of quick Japanese victories, which astounded the world, culminated in the fall of Port Arthur (Jan., 1905), the victory of troops under General Oyama at Shenyang (Feb.–Mar., 1905), and the destruction of the Russian fleet under Rozhdestvenski at Tsushima by Admiral Togo's fleet (May, 1905). Through the mediation of U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt, peace was made in September at Portsmouth, N.H. (see Portsmouth, Treaty of). The disastrous outcome of the war for Russia was one of the immediate causes of the Russian Revolution of 1905. Japan gained the position of a world power, becoming the first non-European and non-American imperialist modern state.

See I. Nish, The Origins of the Russo-Japanese War (1985); J. N. Westwood, Russia against Japan (1986).

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"Russo-Japanese War." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 25 Sep. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Russo-Japanese War." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. (September 25, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/russo-japanese-war

"Russo-Japanese War." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved September 25, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/russo-japanese-war

Russo-Japanese War

Russo-Japanese War (1904–05) Conflict arising from the rivalry of Russia and Japan for control of Manchuria and Korea. The war opened with a Japanese attack on Port Arthur (Lüshun), Manchuria. Russian forces suffered a series of defeats on land and at sea, culminating in the Battle of Mukden (February–March 1905) and the annihilation of the Baltic fleet at Tsushima (May). Russia was forced to surrender Korea, the Liaotung Peninsula, and s Sakhalin to Japan.

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"Russo-Japanese War." World Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. 25 Sep. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Russo-Japanese War." World Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. (September 25, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/russo-japanese-war

"Russo-Japanese War." World Encyclopedia. . Retrieved September 25, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/russo-japanese-war