POLS 150-russo_jap war report

POLS 150-russo_jap war report - When one looks at the...

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When one looks at the Russo-Japanese War in 1904, the reasons for engagement are pretty clear cut. In a nutshell, both countries had designs on parts, if not eventually all, of a deteriorating China. Most of the world seemed to think Russia would win the war with ease, or at least come out with a notable victory. However, no one expected Japan to actually win the war and increase it's standing in the world. So this begs the question of how did the Japanese empire topple one of Europe's superpowers? Many reasons can be attributed to this outcome, such as Japan's surprise attack, better trained soldiers, offensive aggression, and the heart or morale of the Japanese soldiers. Realistically though, we have to start with the conditions that led up to the war and then the war itself, to get a full understanding of how the results came to fruition. Furthermore, comprehension of the reasons for war are just as important, and outside of just realist power politics, there were diplomatic breakdowns, idealist driven propaganda, and a handful of individuals that played crucial roles throughout the developments of the war. After the Sino-Japanese War of 1894-5, Japan was sure it had just been awarded a strategic foothold in mainland China, along with an indemnity to pay for all of it's war efforts. With a freehand in Korea, and newly acquired Formosa and Liaotung Peninsula in Southern Manchuria, Japan was ready to fulfill it's imperialist ambitions. A triple intervention between Russia, France, and Germany, forced Japan to give back the Liaotung Peninsula to China. This is important to note because Port Arthur was at the southern end of this peninsula, and was a very strategic hub for trade and military means. Russia was able to take full advantage by posing as a friend of China, especially against Japan who was overly aggressive in and after the Sino-Japanese War. Russia indirectly paid for China's war indemnity to Japan, while China allowed Russia to lay 400 miles of railway through Manchuria. Along with the railway came small towns, and even a city at Harbin, that would allow Russia to quietly gain significant influence in China. From a simple point of view it was plain old power politics that were being played here. Japan went to war with China in order to gain real estate on the mainland, and Russia countered with the help
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of other European countries in making Japan relinquish most of the lands back to China. Russia then took the initiative of playing friends with China, and was able to out smart Japan in the long run, and create commerce and a presence within Chinese borders. However, it is quite possible that none of this could have been done without Russia's finance minister Segei Witte. This was a man who had ambitions of a Western style of commerce, and plans to create huge economic gains in the east with the construction of the Trans-Siberian railway starting in 1891. Townships and new consumption along the railway in Siberia were only part of these plans, as he also founded the Russo-Chinese Bank, and the Chinese Eastern Railway Co. Russia acquired Chinese territory in the pacific around 1860, which led to
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