In the year of the 110 anniversary of the start of the Russo-Japanese War, the editors of KM.RU decided to publish a series of articles on this topic. In the previous materials we examined the course of the defense of Port Arthur, the tragedy of Tsushima and the causes of the war. And now we come to the main question: why did the most powerful Russian Empire lose to Japan.
It is not a secret for anybody that the description of the Russian-Japanese war in Russian historiography is extremely ideological in nature, and the inertia of the Soviet attitudes is still being felt. Every schoolchild "knows" that the defeats at the front of the Russian-Japanese war undermined the already "rotten tsarism", respectively, accelerating the process of "popular indignation" that had gained momentum in the 1905 revolution. However, the revolution began four months before the Tsushima battle and seven months before the signing of the peace treaty. That is, until the end of the war was still very far away, its outcome is unclear, there is no talk of any defeat yet, but, nevertheless, strikes start throughout the country and then a real terrorist war unfolds.
Militants pursue mayors, officers, large manufacturers, even policemen. Under the blow are people known throughout Russia. So, 4 February 1905, the son of Alexander II - Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich was killed by a terrorist, and a prominent statesman Earl Shuvalov was shot on June 28. Shortly before this, the sailors of the battleship Potemkin rebelled, a rebellion broke out a little earlier in the Polish city of Lodz. In this regard, it is interesting to see where the revolutionaries came from. weapon.
So, I'll start with the famous stories about the steamer "John Grafton". In London, a steamship was bought to deliver weapons to revolutionaries (estimate the scale!). Several thousand small arms (in particular, Swiss Vetterli rifles), ammunition and explosives were loaded onto it. The ship arrived first in Copenhagen, then in Stockholm (the Japanese embassy moved there from Russia at the beginning of the war), and then sailed to the shores of Finland, where it ran aground. The team unloaded the weapons on the neighboring islands, but most of them did not reach the addressee. Nevertheless, during one of the key episodes of the 1905 revolution, the December uprising in Moscow, the police recorded that some of its members were armed with Vetterli rifles.
Who was the organizer and direct participant of this operation? The headquarters was in London. And here is a list of people involved in the case.
Wilson is chairman of the British Mariners' Union, member of the British Parliament. Akashi is a Japanese military attache in Stockholm. Strautman - the captain of the steamer, a member of the London group of the Latvian Social Democratic Party. Wagner - worked in a glass factory in Woolwich. Mink - lived for many years among immigrants in London on Commercial Road. Strauss - in the spring of 1906, he left for Libau with weapons for the Baltic region, was arrested and hanged. Kristap - subsequently served in the intelligence service of the Red Army. Zilliakus is one of the leaders of the Finnish Active Resistance Party. Lehtinen - subsequently a member of the CPSU (b). The Socialist-Revolutionaries Tchaikovsky, Teplov, Volkhovsky, Cherkezishvili, Rutenberg, the Bolsheviks Litvinov and Burenin ... As we see, the struggle against the Russian statehood was joined by completely different forces.
Here is the second, no less famous story about the supply of weapons to revolutionaries. Another ship, the Sirius, is bought, it is also loaded with weapons - 8500 Vetterli rifles and a large batch of cartridges (data spread from 1,2 to 2 million pieces). The ship sailed from Amsterdam to the shores near the city of Poti. "Sirius" arrived at the place where its contents were loaded onto four longboats, and they spread like cockroaches. Something that our border guards intercepted, but a significant part of the weapons to the revolutionaries still came.
It is clear that war is first and foremost a struggle between systems, economies, industry and resources in general. So, the entire war in Japan went coal supplies from Britain, there were purchased warships; US arms exports, which began before the war, increased dramatically in 1905. The question arises: how much money did the Japanese make a militarized dash? Mainly on the US and British: it was the United States and Britain that provided the relevant loans to Japan. In general, Japan covered 40% of its military spending with foreign loans.
This is only a tiny fraction of the vast array of facts that clearly indicate that Russia was fighting, in fact, not with Japan, but with a coalition that included the largest, richest and most powerful countries in the world - the British Empire and the United States. Japan, by and large, only provided manpower for the war, but weapons, money, energy resources - that is, everything that plays a decisive role in the wars of the industrial age - were provided by truly developed and strong powers.
It is noteworthy that 30 January 1902 was signed the Anglo-Japanese treaty, according to which England could come to the aid of Japan only if Japan wages a war with two or more countries at the same time. But after all, the war seems to be Russian-Japanese, that is, Japan fought only with Russia. So? Not this way. Montenegro declared war on the Japanese. Perhaps this decision lobbied London through its diplomatic channels. After all, Russia received no more or less serious support from the Balkan country.
When it comes to the Russo-Japanese War, a cliché about “technical backwardness of Russia” always pops up. True, it usually does not indicate from whom Russia lagged behind. Since Japan is constantly mentioned and the war itself is called Russian-Japanese, it is logical to conclude that it means lagging behind a real rival. When the conviction arises that Russia lagged behind the Land of the Rising Sun, more global conclusions about the “rottenness” of the Russian Empire are already automatically made.
What is the objective side of the question? The fact is that Japan was largely armed with Western weapons, and, as mentioned above, it received money for militarization in the same place in the West. So if you can talk about the backwardness of Russia, it’s not from Japan, but from the most developed countries of the West. On the contrary, Russia was much more powerful than Japan, including in the industrial and — more broadly — economically, overtaking the enemy and in terms of the development of the military-industrial complex.
By the way, Russia also bought weapons in the West, which makes the thesis about lagging behind Japan even more ridiculous. Both countries acquired weapons from the most developed countries of the world. However, for more than a hundred years, our country has been in the grip of black PR, according to which “backward and rotten Russia” could not even cope with Japan. The Russian-Japanese war is considered to be the beginning of all the misfortunes that befell Russia in the 20th century.
The answer is simple. It was adopted by anti-state journalism even before the 1917 revolution of the year. After this, the stamps of Bolshevik and revolutionary propaganda became part of the official state ideology, and people have been brainwashed for decades. Relevant textbooks, books, articles, “historical” works, and so on were written. Over the years, stamps have become perceived as a self-evident truth.
But the mythology of the Russo-Japanese War is by no means limited to inventions about Russia's technical backwardness. During negotiations with Russia, a meeting of representatives of the highest authorities of Japan was held. Present were the emperor, genro, cabinet representatives and senior military officials. War Minister Terauti then declared that the war could not continue any longer, since there were not enough officers. Finance Minister Sone said that it was impossible to continue the war because there was no money for that, he was supported by other participants in the meeting. The head of the army headquarters, Yamagata, said that the only way out was to make peace. The general conclusion of the meeting: Japan needs peace.
A prominent historian, professor Syumpei Okamoto, appreciated the martial law of Japan as follows: “It is obvious that the military prospects of Japan were dismal. At that time, the Russian army was three times stronger than the Japanese. While the Japanese army was controlled mainly by reserve officers, since most of the regular officers were killed or wounded, the Russian army was mainly composed of first-class military personnel who had recently arrived from Europe. ”
By the way, for those who believe in screaming about the “shamefully and foolishly” lost Mukden battle, I will again quote Syumpei Okamoto: “The battle was fierce, it ended on March 10 with the victory of Japan. But it was a very uncertain victory, since the losses of Japan reached the 72 008 people. Russian troops retreated to the north, "maintaining order," and began to prepare for the offensive, while reinforcements were all arriving. At the imperial headquarters, it became clear that Russia's military might was greatly underestimated and that up to a million Russian soldiers could be in northern Manchuria. Russia's financial capabilities also far exceeded those of Japan ... After the “calculated retreat,” Russian forces replenished their military might on the Manchurian border. ”
Do not forget that the population of Japan was three times less than the Russian; accordingly, its mobilization potential was significantly lower than the capabilities of our country. Japan had no illusions about its forces. Pre-war calculations showed that resources would be enough for a year of hostilities, which, in fact, was confirmed, since in reality Japan barely lasted a year and a half, and that was largely due to the revolution that broke out in Russia. Thus, from the very beginning, all of Japan’s hope was for a blitzkrieg, for a quick victory, until Russia pulled the main forces towards Manchuria. But to break the Russian army failed. The balance of forces changed in favor of Russia, that is, as a result of the “infinite shameful defeats” of Tsushima, Mukden, the surrender of Port Arthur, our army was much stronger than the Japanese by the time of the peace negotiations, and the Japanese did not have enough funds or soldiers to continue the war.
The first offer to make peace was followed by the Japanese back in 1904. And only the revolutionary events unfolding in the country forced Emperor Nicholas II to go to the world war, which in no way was the result of a military defeat. Our victory was thwarted by people who launched a terrorist war in Russia called the “1905 revolution of the year”, those who had already dreamed of changing the state system in Russia and made all possible efforts to that end.