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|Russian Empire||Empire of Japan|
|Commanders and leaders|
| Tsar Nicholas II|
Stepan Makarov †
| Emperor Meiji
|Casualties and losses|
|34,000 – 52,623 killed and died of wounds |
9,300 – 18,830 died of disease
overall 43,300 – 71,453
|47,400 – 47,152 killed
11,424 – 11,500 died of wounds
21,802 – 27,200 died of disease
overall 80,378 – 86,100
The war happened because the Russian Empire and Japanese Empire disagreed over who should get which parts of Manchuria and Korea. It was fought mostly on the Liaodong Peninsula and Mukden, the seas around Korea, Japan, and the Yellow Sea. The politics of the two countries in the war were very complicated, but both wanted to gain land and economic benefits.
The Chinese Empire of the Qing, was large but weak, and it was Qing land and possessions they fought over. For example Korea was under Qing rule, but was seized by Japan. The Russians wanted a 'warm-water port' on the Pacific Ocean for their navy and trade. The harbour at Vladivostok freezes over in the winter, but Port Arthur (now called the Liaodong Peninsula in China) can be used all the time. Russia had already rented the port from the Qing and had got their permission to build a railway from St Peterbursg to Port Arthur.
Reasons for war
Russia wanted a warm-water Pacific Ocean port for trade and her navy. Japan wanted to expand her empire into Korea and China. Japan thought that when Russia completed her railway in 1906 she would be able to beat Japan in a war because she could supply large numbers of troops there. If Japan didn't want a war then she would have to compromise with Russia, but Russia would get the better deal. Japan wanted a bigger share of Korea and China than she thought Russia would offer and decided to attack before the railway was complete and she still had a chance of doing well in a war with Russia.
Peace treaty and aftermath
United States President Theodore Roosevelt helped Russia and Japan make peace after the war. He won a Nobel Prize for this. Russia had to give up all influence in the Far East. The Russian people were very angry at the government and at Tzar Nicholas II for not continuing the war because everyone was sure that Russia could have won. This is true because Japan was completely broke and she would have suffered an economic crisis after just a few more months of fighting. Russia's army was also much stronger than Japan's and had very large reserves to replace the soldiers she lost, but Japan had no more men with military training to replace her losses and no money to give new men training.
Japan would take over Korea five years later in 1910. The Japanese got Port Arthur and the Russian railway in China. Japan would continue to grow its empire in Asia until World War II. The Russian defeat was one of the reasons for the Russian army's great improvement after 1904 and this improvement helped start the European arms-race that was a cause of World War I. The war also contributed to the Russian Revolution and Civil War in 1917.
- Samuel Dumas, Losses of Life Caused By War (1923)
- Erols.com, Twentieth Century Atlas – Death Tolls and Casualty Statistics for Wars, Dictatorships and Genocides.
- Asakawa, Kanichi. (1905). The Russo-Japanese Conflict: Its Causes and Issues. Boston: Houghton-Mifflin. OCLC 2418247; reprinted by Kennikat Press, Port Washington, New York, 1970.
- Koda, Yoji. "The Russo-Japanese War: Primary Causes of Japanese Success," Naval War College Review (Spring 2005)
- Mutsu, Munemitsu. (1982). Kenkenroku (trans. Gordon Mark Berger). Tokyo: University of Toyko Press. ISBN 9780860083061; OCLC 252084846
- Nish, Ian, ed. The Russo-Japanese War, 1904-5 Folkestone, Kent : Global Oriental. ISBN 978-1-901-90306-5; OCLC 56955351