How far did the Russo-Japanese war cause the 1905 Revolution?
The Russo-Japanese war is seen as a short term factor that was responsible for the 1905 revolution. However there are many other short term and long term factors which also contribute to being responsible for the 1905 revolution. Although the Russo-Japanese War wasn’t the only cause of the 1905 revolution, it was certainly one of the dominant factors because Russia’s humiliating defeat only accelerated the breakdown of her society. The factors responsible were both short-term and long-term including, the opposition of the political parties, economic troubles, industrialisation problems and most importantly the Bloody Sunday.
The war, itself did not prompt the revolution- it was the fact that Russia lost to a much smaller and almost inferior country. Russia’s huge military defeats were caused by the Russo-Japanese war. An example of such a defeat was in January 1905 when the army had to surrender their Port Arthur naval base in Northern China, which they had possessed before the start of the war. This highlighted the weakness of the military and caused national humiliation, thus contributing to the outbreak of the 1905 Revolution. Another example of a great failure of the military was at the Battle of Tsushima in May 1905. The Russian Baltic fleet consisting of the 35 warships had sailed from northern Europe to the Far East, only to lose 25 warships in a defeat by the Japanese navy. This as it made the people of Russia aware of the weakness of their military and ashamed to be Russian.
Moreover, the military was very ill-equipped for the war. Certainly they were not prepared for the surprise attack that Japan made on Port Arthur in 1904. The war was fought in the very far eastern reaches of the country, far away from where the majority of the population lived, and hence they must have felt removed from it, especially as news was still slow to travel and the communication between the government and the...