Russo Japanese War
Fought between 1945 and 1905, the Russo Japanese War was a military conflict between Japan and Russia. The war saw the Japanese crash Russian forces into defeat, making the latter abandon their policy of expanding their rule into the Far East. The war saw Japan cut all ties it had maintained with Russia. This conflict was quite historical since it saw the first defeat of European imperialists by Asian powers in the modern times.
The Origin of Russo Japanese War
Although there are several actions and developments that caused the outbreak of the Russo Japanese War, there is the main that has been sighted to have sparked the war. According to most historians, rivalry between the two powers over Korea and Manchuria caused the conflict. Before the conflict, Russia had tried to court China into granting it Port Arthur, located at the Liaotung Peninsula, towards the south of Manchuria. After China’s defeat in the Sino-Japanese War, it relinquished the port to Russia, who then moved in to occupy it. Coupled with other privileges, this gave Russia control over a greater part of Manchuria.
At the time of Russia’s occupation, parts of Manchuria and Korea were still under the control of Japanese. In order to avoid conflicts, Japan proposed negotiations to divide Manchuria and Korea into areas. However, Russia did not accept the offering and instead, continued their penetration into the Far East. This did not go down well with the Japanese, who in turn decided to launch a military action against Russia.
Overview of the Armed Conflict
Japan launched a surprise attack on the Russians on Feb 8th, 1904, where they surrounded the Russian naval fleet at Port Arthur. The two forces engaged in military battles and on March, the Japanese unleashed another army in Korea. Owing to their past victories in the area, the army quickly overran Korea.
In the following month, the advance of the Japanese continued and they landed on the Liaotung Peninsula. They acted by first cutting off the Port Arthur garrison from the mainland Manchuria, which was occupied by Russian forces. They then moved north, pushing the Russians back towards Mukden in a grueling battle. With very few men left, the Russian could not hold the Japanese for long and fell back south of Mukden.
In October, the Russians got reinforcement through the Trans-Siberian Railroad and decided to attack the Japanese. However, their poor military leadership put them at a greater disadvantage against Japanese fighters. Despite all these conflicts, Japanese forces had created a strong footing on Port Arthur. Sensing defeat, the Russian military leadership started tearing apart and on Jan, 2nd, 1905, their commander in charge of Port Arthur surrendered to the Japanese.
The surrender of the Russian commander however, did not force the entire Russian force to also hang their boots. They went ahead to engage Japan in another offensive at Mukden towards the end of February and early March, 1905. Although Russia had a huge number of fighters than the Japanese, the former started withdrawing from Mukden, leaving the Japanese in control of the area. Heavy casualties were reported on both sides but that did not end the conflict.
The last phase of the war was marked by the Battle of Tsushima, which saw the Japanese give Russians the final blow of defeat. From May, 27th to 29th, 1905, the Japanese fleet launched an offensive destroying Russian fleets. This convinced the Russians to withdraw from the war and settle for a peace deal.
The End of Russo Japanese War
To mark the end of the Russo Japanese War, the Russian government and Japan agreed on a peace deal, mediated by U.S President, Theodore Roosevelt. Held at Portsmouth, N.H, the deal saw the two countries sign the Treaty of Portsmouth. In the agreement Russia accepted to leave southern Manchuria, which was then given to China. Japan on the other hand, was accorded control over the Liaotung Peninsula, including Port Arthur and the South Manchurian railroad. The treaty also recognized the control of Korea by Japan. The achievement by Roosevelt in mediating a peace deal between the two powers saw him awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. The defeat of Russia in this conflict was one of the immediate causes of the revolution in Russia which occurred in the same year.
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