THE RUSSO-JAPANESE WAR 1904-190.5 Belligerents : Russia. Japan.
Cause : When Port Arthui which Japan had been forced to surrender in 1895, was seized by Russia there was deep indignation in Japan. In 1902 a treaty of alliance was concluded between Great Britain and Japan. Russia undertook to evacuate Manchuria, and although the withdiawal of troops began in 19o3, instead of continuing the evacuation Russia demanded new concessions. In Korea Russian speculators ob tained concessions, and influential members of the Russian Court were interested in the enterpnse. Japan protested.
Occasion : A treaty regulating the position in Manchuria and Korea was suggested by Japan, but Russia refused to recognize Japan's paramount influence in Korea, and after several months of fruitless negotiation Japan issued an Ultimatum in February 19o4.
Course of the War : After successful initial encounters on the part of Japan, Port Arthur was surrendered on January r, 1905. After a Japanese victory at Mukden, the Russians retreated. In October 19o4 the Russian fleet, coming round from the Baltic, opened fire on a group of Hull fishing smacks in crossing the Dogger Bank, mistaking them for torpedo boats. The in cident roused considerable indignation in Britain, but the Czar expressed his regrets. The matter was referred to a commission of admirals in Paris, and compensation was awarded for the damage done. On
May 27, 1905 the Russian fleet was annihilated by Admiral Togo at Tsushima. The Japanese landed a force in Sakhalin, but, both sides being exhausted and anxious for peace, negotiations were opened in August 1905.
Political Result : By the Treaty of Portsmouth, August 1905, the claims of Japan in Korea were recognized ; Russia agreed to evacuate Manchuria and ceded the Liao Tung peninsula (including Port Arthur) and the southern half of Sakhalin to Japan. The payment of an indemnity, which had been the chief obstacle to the conclusion of peace, was waived by Japan. The moderation of the Japanese demands made a good impression in the world, but was resented in Japan itself.
Remarks : This was a war of pure aggression, backed by high financial speculation on the part of Russia. The easy triumph of Japan was a surprise. But she was fighting for definite national objects, while the Russian people knew nothing of the cause and aims of the war. Russia spent much money in subsequent years in restoring her lost armaments. From this time on the reform movements and revolutionary spirit in Russia grew rapidly.