japan shocked russia and europe -- 1/02/18
Today's selection -- from The 1929 Sino-Soviet War by Michael M. Walker. By the 1800s, the dominance of Asia by European countries was complete, with Britain, France, the Netherlands and other European countries having established colonies in Asia and with the British military's subjugation of China. This was compounded by the humiliation of China after the European powers defeated the country in the Boxer Rebellion of 1900 and then extracted heavy reparations. Russia in particular gained complete military dominance of that part of China adjacent to Korea, which was then a colony of Japan. Japan, anxious regarding Russia's buildup in the region and unable to bring a change through negotiation, stunned the world by attacking Russia in February of 1904 and handily defeating the tsar's army. With over a half million casualties, this war also gave evidence of the emerging brutality of mechanized war:
"When ... [Tsar Nicholas II] adopted an unyielding negotiations stance, Japan came to see war as the only solution. ... The Japanese were as alarmed as the Chinese at the failure of the Russian army to leave the Northeast. They concluded that because the Chinese military was impotent in the years after the Boxer Uprising, the substantial Russian army and naval forces in the Northeast had to be directed at Japan. Where St. Petersburg sought to delay negotiations over the Korea question as an effective tactic while expanding Russian military might in response to perceived unreadiness, the Japanese increasingly saw them as examples of Russian duplicity and even deceit.
|Battlefields in the Russo-Japanese War
"To the Meiji leaders in Tokyo, that Russia appeared bent on dominating East Asia through force proved the wisdom of a war policy. ... By 1904, the Imperial Japanese Army (IJA) had been increased by six divisions to a total of thirteen, while the navy had grown from a combined fleet built around four dated capital ships to one possessing ten, with six modern, first-rate battleships, all of which had entered service in the last seven years. When the tsar failed to make meaningful concessions over Korea during close of 1903, Japan prepared for war. ... The Russians opted to delay negotiations with Japan once again, convinced that time was on their side, while the Japanese mobilized. When Tokyo's final offer, issued on 13 January, met with an unfavorable response, war broke out in February 1904.
"[From the beginning] until the war's end after the Japanese victory at Mukden in March 1905, the Japanese never lost the initiative on the battlefield. ...
"On 1 January 1905, Port Arthur fell to [Japanese General] Nogi's badly bloodied 3rd Army, while the decisive land battle of the war at Mukden ended in defeat for Russia in March. [Russian General] Kuropatkin was relived of command shortly afterward, and when the Russian Baltic fleet was destroyed in the battle of the Tsushima Straits in late May, any hope of Russian victory disappeared. By mid-June, St. Petersburg requested an armistice, but Tokyo declined to accept until peace negotiations began on 1 August under the good offices of the United States [led by the Nobel Prize-winning efforts of President Theodore Roosevelt] at the Portsmouth naval yard. The war was over, but at a terrible cost for both sides: the Japanese saw approximately 60,000 killed in action with another 20,000 dying from disease and close to a quarter million wounded, while the Russian casualties easily exceeded those totals."
|The 1929 Sino-Soviet War: The War Nobody Knew
|University Press of Kansas
|Copyright 2017 by Michael Walker
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