"The two-headed eagle is defeated ..." On the 110 Anniversary of Portsmouth Peace
The double-headed eagle is defeated,
And yellow children for fun
Given the shreds of your banners.
Poet S. M. Solovyov.
23 August (5 September) 1905 of the year in the American city of Portsmouth was signed an agreement between the Russian Empire and Japan, which ended the Russian-Japanese war of 1904 — 1905. Russia acknowledged defeat and ceded lease rights to Japan on the Liaodong Peninsula with Port Arthur and Dalny, part of the South Manchurian Railway (UMZH) and South Sakhalin. Russia recognized Korea as a sphere of Japanese influence, withdrew troops from Manchuria, which went beyond the sphere of Russia's interests. The Japanese were free to fish along the Russian shores of the Sea of Japan, the Sea of Okhotsk and the Bering Sea. All Russian ships surrendered, as well as raised in Port Arthur and other places, remained with the Japanese and strengthened their fleet.
For the defeat of Russia in the war, China had to pay. The Qing government was forced to recognize all the provisions of the Portsmouth Treaty, including the transfer to Japan of leasing the Liaodong Peninsula with the Port Arthur and South Manchurian Railway. The Chinese agreed to build a railway from Japan from the mouth of the Yalu River to Mukden. They pledged to open 16 cities in Manchuria for international (i.e., Japanese) trade, including Jilin, Harbin, Hailar and Ainun.
Russia could continue the war
As has already been noted more than once in articles of the Military Review on the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-1905, Russia was militarily and economically stronger than Japan and could continue the war further. The loss of Port Arthur, positional defeats and the retreat of the Russian Manchurian army, a terrible catastrophe of the Russian fleet in the Tsushima Strait inflicted huge damage on the prestige of the Russian Empire. However, even these defeats, largely caused by the pre-war mistakes of the Russian military-political leadership, which paid little attention to the general and military development of the Far East, did not put Russia on the brink of defeat.
Russia only entered into force. Troops came from Europe and weapon, and the Manchurian army was getting stronger every month, despite the retreat and indecision of the Russian command, in which the Rumyantsevs, Suvorovs and Skobelevs were not found, in order to inspire the troops and with a decisive onslaught to crush the enemy and throw him into the sea. But in this situation, the Japanese were doomed. Japanese commander Oyyama understood that he needed several more victories to weaken sharply, if not undermine Russia's military strength in the Far East. And if Russia moves to a "total" war and completely translates the best military units from the European part, including the guard, from the European part of Russia?
The Japanese army had exhausted all its offensive capabilities, and it was never able to crush the Russian army in a decisive battle, as the Japanese generals had hoped. The Japanese could no longer advance. The human reserves of Japan were depleted, as were the financial ones. There were almost no reserves, Japan could form another division with a half of the available scattered parts. 53% of the Japanese budget went to military needs, which ravaged and weakened the country. Victory at Mukden went to the Japanese side at an extremely expensive price. The Japanese army suffered heavy losses, especially the officer corps suffered. Japanese communications were greatly stretched, there was a shortage of ammunition. In the next battle, the Japanese army could be defeated and lose all their conquests in Manchuria and Korea. She could only run to Japan. And for Russia, even new defeats were not critical. Russia had every chance to win on the mainland and return Port Arthur.
Thus, if we compare the military and financial capabilities of Russia and Japan, then it is obvious that if the war continued, the Japanese would have been defeated. The Japanese command realized that the army was on a dangerous line, a new clash could lead to a decisive defeat. Therefore, the Japanese generals pressed on the government demanding to make peace while the situation was still favorable for Japan.
Not surprisingly, just three days after the victory in the Tsushima Strait, Japanese Foreign Minister Yutaro Komura instructed the Japanese ambassador in Washington to find out whether American President Roosevelt would not take on the mission of a mediator. Roosevelt 23 May (5 June) instructed US Ambassador to Russia George Meyer to get an audience with Nicholas II and "try to convince him that the continuation of the war is absolutely hopeless and could lead to the loss of all Russia's Far Eastern possessions."
The international situation was also favorable for the Russian Empire. England and the United States initially stood behind Japan, setting it first on China and then on Russia. The masters of the Anglo-Saxon world considered Russian civilization to be the main adversary in the Big Game, whose goal is to control humanity (the planet). However, the Anglo-Saxons did not like direct fights with a strong opponent, preferring to rake in the heat of others. So, England used to push Russia with Sweden, Turkey and France. In 1904, Japan was attacked by Russia, and then they were able to push Germany and Russia, the two most powerful opponents of the Anglo-Saxons in Europe, between themselves.
The Japanese empire would not have been able to wage a war without relying on the financial support of English and American capital. The British financed Japan and its military training before the war; in fact, they created a first-class navy. After the start of the war, in April 1904, the banker Schiff and the large banking house Kun, Loeb and Company, together with a syndicate of British banks, including Hong Kong-Shanghai, provided Tokyo a loan in the amount of 50 million dollars with a high percentage to support Japan (6% per annum); half of the loan was placed in England, half - in the United States. In November, 1904 in England and the USA was placed a new Japanese loan - at 60 million dollars (also 6% per annum). In March, 1905 was followed by the third Anglo-American loan, already at 150 million dollars (4,5%). In July, 1905, Japan received a fourth loan - 150 million dollars (4,5%). This allowed Japan to cover more than 40% of all the country's military spending, which reached 1730 million yen and continued to grow.
Thus, Britain and the United States actually stood behind Japan and poured their money into it, so that the Japanese would fight the Russians. The Japanese in this war acted as the "cannon fodder" of the Anglo-Saxons. Without British and American money, the outcome of the war would have been different.
Japan was exhausted by the war and could no longer fight. Japan spent about 2 billion yen on war needs and increased its national debt from 600 million yen to 2400 million, and the interest paid on loans annually was 110 million yen. The Russian Empire, on the other hand, almost did not experience economic and financial difficulties due to the war. The 1904 vintage was good. In 1904, industrial growth continued. Taxes came in peacetime, and the gold reserves of the State Bank continued to grow, and over 1904 it grew by 150 million rubles. Russia's military expenditures, which in the first year of the war amounted to about 600 million rubles, were partly covered by the free cash of the treasury (budgetary balances from previous years), partly by external loans. The subscription for two loans exceeded the issue amount several times. In May, 1904 was followed by a loan in France for 300 million rubles, and at the very end of 1904, in Germany for 232 million rubles. That is, in continental Europe, Russia had a solid rear — France and Germany were friendly toward Russia, and she could calmly continue the struggle in the Far East.
The political situation in Europe was favorable for Russia. After the Hull incident (1904 in October), the British government threatened Russia. Berlin immediately supported Petersburg. On October 27, German Kaiser Wilhelm II personally telegraphed the Russian Emperor Nicholas II, reporting that Britain intended to prevent Germany from supplying coal to the Russian navy. Wilhelm proposed to jointly put an end to this impudence. Create a "powerful combination" against England and together force France to join Russia and Germany to jointly repel the British. Russian Foreign Minister Lamzdorf, who adhered to Francopile attitudes, spoke out against this move. However, Emperor Nicholas II answered him: “I am now in agreement with Germany and with France. It is necessary to save Europe from the audacity of England ", - and October 16 telegraphed Kaiser Wilhelm:" Germany, Russia and France must unite. Would you draft a contract like this? As soon as we accept him, France should join her ally. This combination often crossed my mind. ” This alliance could save Europe from the great war the Anglo-Saxons were preparing.
In Berlin, immediately drafted a union agreement. It said: “In the event that one of the two empires is attacked by one of the European powers,” said the project, “an ally of her would come to her aid with all her land and sea forces. If necessary, the two allies will also act together to remind France of the obligations it has undertaken, according to the terms of the Franco-Russian treaty. ” The implementation of this idea led to the emergence in Europe of an anti-British continental bloc under the leadership of Germany and Russia, with the participation of France, or to the break of the Franco-Russian alliance, which was already harmful to Russia, as it made Russians "cannon fodder" in the hands of England and France. Unfortunately, Petersburg was not able to slip out of this trap. Agents of influence of England and France in Russia were able to persuade Nicholas II to abandon the alliance with Germany.
Then came the Moroccan crisis (from March 1905 to May 1906), which arose because of a dispute between France and Germany regarding control over Morocco. The case almost did not reach the war between Germany and France. It is clear that in such a situation, Russia had a calm rear in Europe, so both France and Germany were interested in its location. Russia could calmly continue the struggle in the Far East.
Russia could continue the war and win, but this scenario did not suit the Anglo-Saxons. England, spoiling relations with Russia, could not claim the role of mediator in peace negotiations. Then the Americans jumped. The first successes of the Japanese in the war were welcomed by the American government and the press. However, further events did not suit Washington. The Americans did not want to completely defeat Russia, which led to an excessive strengthening of the positions of Japan in the Pacific and in China, where Washington had its own interests, or a possible defeat of Japan.
So, in March 1904, when the war was just beginning, American President Theodore Roosevelt frankly said in a conversation with the German ambassador that The US is interested in Russia and Japan “possibly patting each other as much as possible and so that after the conclusion of peace such geographical areas do not disappear in which there is friction between them, so that they confront each other about the boundaries of the spheres of their interests as before the war. This will keep them in a state of military readiness and will moderate their appetites in other areas. In this case, Japan will not threaten Germany in Jiaozhou, and America in the Philippines. ”
The Russian leadership lacked a tough determination to continue the war. In connection with the defeat at Tsushima and the development of the revolutionary events in Russia, many felt that peace was necessary. 24 May (6 June) 1905 of the year in Tsarskoe Selo, a military meeting was held under the chairmanship of Nicholas II on the need for peace. Opinions are divided. The Minister of War, General V. Sakharov, said: “Under current conditions, ending the war is impossible. With our complete defeat, not having a single victory or even a successful business, it is a shame. This will drop the prestige of Russia and withdraw it from the great powers for a long time. We must continue the war not because of material benefits, but to wash away this stain, which will remain if we do not have the slightest success, as it has been up to now. ” The Minister of War was supported by State Comptroller Pavel Lobko, who noted that in the event of peace, “returning to Russia an army that was oppressed and not winning a single victory would worsen, rather than improve, the internal situation of the country”. Grand Duke Vladimir Alexandrovich spoke in favor of negotiations.
Already on 25 in May 1905, the American Ambassador Meyer arrived at the Great Palace of Tsarskoye Selo and immediately requested an audience with the king. Meyer made a whole speech about the need for the early conclusion of peace. The king was silent as usual. As a result, Nicholas agreed to negotiations. 29 Jun. S. Yu. Witte was appointed Chief Commissioner for Peace Talks with Japan. Nikolai, to Witte, emphasized that he wanted peace, but not at any price, without territorial concessions and paying indemnities to Japan.
July 29 (August 9) in the resort town of Portsmouth on the Atlantic coast of the United States opened a peace conference. The Japanese delegation was led by Baron Yutaro Komura. His right hand in the negotiations was the Japanese envoy to the US, Kogoro Takahira. July 30 (August 10) after exchanging powers and short introductory statements, the head of the Japanese delegation Komura handed Witte a note with 12 points of requirements. The Japanese insisted on annexing Sakhalin with the adjacent islands, reimbursing military expenditures (contributions), restricting Russian naval forces in the Far East and giving out Japan as a prize to all Russian ships interned in neutral ports. Japan demanded free hand in Korea, the complete evacuation of Russian troops from Manchuria, the transfer of rental rights on the Liaodong Peninsula with Port Arthur and Dalny, and the assignment of the entire railway between Port Arthur and Harbin with coal mines. Tokyo agreed to keep the Chinese Eastern Railway behind Russia, but with a limited right to use the road only for economic purposes. The Japanese demanded unlimited fishing rights along the Russian coast of the Sea of Japan, the Sea of Okhotsk, and the Bering Sea, including rivers, bays, and bays.
The most difficult were questions about the contribution and ownership of Sakhalin. If Tsar Nicholas II was not prepared for territorial concessions and did not want to pay, then Witte was a more flexible politician and found out the options - only money or only territory. The Japanese wanted everything and demanded a huge amount of 1,2 billion yen.
The negotiations dragged on, which was nervously perceived by the military leadership of Japan. The Japanese military simply feared resumption of hostilities. The Japanese army could suffer a crushing defeat. The Japanese researcher Syumpay Okamoto noted that “Commander Manchurian army commander, irritated by the slow negotiations, urgently telegraphed his government so that it would soon make peace. Naval Minister Yamatoto was desperately pushing for concessions in the name of concluding peace ... ". The military understood that the Japanese armed forces could no longer confront Russia. August 28 held a joint meeting of Genro (informal council under the emperor), the government and senior military officials in the presence of Emperor Mutsuhito. Finance Minister Sone said that it was impossible to continue the war, since the Japanese Empire could not find additional sources to finance it. The outcome of the meeting was an indication of Komura “to reach an early agreement in the negotiations, even if it is necessary to abandon the demands of monetary compensation and territories”.
At the moment when the Japanese leadership was ready to abandon its main demands for territorial concessions, the Americans intervened again. Roosevelt sent a telegram to the Russian Tsar, where he put pressure on him. The American president expressed confidence in the insuperability of the claims of the Japanese empire and threatened that the continuation of the war could lead to the loss of all Russian territory east of Lake Baikal, that is, to stop the existence of Russia as a Pacific power. At the same time, the American ambassador to Russia, Meyer, began to persuade Nicholas II to make concessions, promising the United States to mediate in "persuading" Japan to abandon the indemnity. Not experienced in diplomatic art, Nicholas II as a whole remained silent, but then “in passing” noted that Russia could consider the possibility of concession to Southern Sakhalin. This information was immediately transferred to Washington and from there to Tokyo. As a result, the Japanese continued to demand territorial concessions.
Russia was inferior to Japan in the southern part of Sakhalin along the 50 parallel. Witte could only reject the transfer of all Russian ships interned in the ports of China, Indonesia and the Philippines. And the question of indemnity is not completely closed. The Russian government paid 46 million rubles in gold for the maintenance of Russian prisoners in Japan. 23 August (5 September) The Portsmouth Peace Treaty was signed on 1905.
Russian delegation in Portsmouth. Sit S. Yu. Witte and Baron R. R. Rosen
Summary of the war
Russia suffered a major strategic defeat, having lost a significant part of its positions in the Far East. Moreover, Russia's weakness in the Far Eastern direction allowed Japan to develop success, which predetermined Japanese expansion in the following decades, until in August 1945 Russia took historical revenge. The plans of the Anglo-Saxons to bleed Russia and Japan and weaken Russia were implemented. At the same time, both Russia and Japan were dissatisfied with the outcome of the war and maintained enmity, to the delight of England and the United States. The “rehearsal” of World War I was successful, revealing Russia's weaknesses.
Most Russian people perceived the outcome of the war and the Portsmouth world as an insult to Russia. No wonder the leader of the Soviet civilization Joseph Stalin remembered this. He perfectly understood the need to restore positions in the Far East (South Sakhalin, Kuriles and Port Arthur).
The Japanese Empire lost about 135 thousand people in this war killed and died from wounds and diseases. About 554 thousand people passed through the treatment facilities of the wounded and sick. Russia's total losses in people amounted to about 400 thousand people, including those killed, wounded, missing and evacuated due to illness. Russia spent 2347 million rubles on the war and about 500 million rubles that are used to calculate the value of the railways, ports and the flooded fleet of both military and commercial fleets that went to Japan.
Among the main prerequisites that led Russia to defeat are: 1) Petersburg’s indifference to the cause of military and economic development of the Far East; 2) the lack of iron will of the military-political leadership of Russia in the conduct of war; 3) the degradation of the military elite of the Russian Empire, the supreme posts were occupied by mediocre careerists, people with connections, outspoken marauders (in plundering the country), generals and peacetime admirals unable to lead troops and fleets into battle; 4) financial, military-technical and political support for England and the United States, which were behind Japan; 5) the remoteness of the Manchurian theater from the European part of Russia, where the main military and economic resources of the empire were located.
Virtually no one answered for the "headlessness" of our generals and admirals. Witte, actually an agent of influence of the West, who played a huge role in the cause of Russia's involvement in the conflict with Japan, was elevated by Nicholas II to the count's dignity. For this he was maliciously nicknamed “the Count of Polusakhalinsky”. The chief of the fleet and the Navy Department, General-Admiral, Grand Duke Alexey Alexandrovich, who was responsible for the "excellent" training of our armed forces in the Far East, resigned while maintaining the rank of General-Admiral and departed for Paris. Favorite place of the then Russian elite. His rival in fleet management and at the same time an accomplice in the Manchurian financial adventures, Grand Duke Alexander Mikhailovich also went to the Cote d'Azur for several years.
The head of the Kvantunsky fortified area, Lieutenant-General Stoessel, the commandant of Port Arthur, Lieutenant-General Smirnov, the head of the land defense, Lieutenant-General Fock and the Chief of Staff of the Kwantung fortified area, Major-General Reis, Vice-Admiral Stark, supervisor Admirals Loschinsky, Grigorovich, Viren. The Supreme Military Criminal Court issued a verdict: Lieutenant General Stoessel should be put to death “through execution”, and Lieutenant General Fok was to be reprimanded. The court acquitted Smirnov and Reis, and the rest of the charges were rejected even earlier. Tsar Nicholas II softened the punishment to Stossel up to ten years in prison in a fortress. But Stoessel stayed in the Peter and Paul Fortress for only about a year and was released.
A similar situation was with the "heroes" of the Tsushima battle. Admiral Rozhestvensky was acquitted by a naval court, as he was seriously wounded in battle. The court found guilty of the criminal surrender of ships to the enemy and sentenced to death "through execution" of the commander of the detachment, Rear Admiral Nebogatov and three ship commanders. With all those sentenced to death, the king replaced the execution with ten years of imprisonment in a fortress. They served only a few months, and then released into the wild.
Negotiations in Portsmouth. From left to right: from the Russian side - G. A. Plсонsson, K. D. Nabokov, S. Yu. Vitte, R. R. Rosen, I. Ya. Korostovets; from the Japanese side - Adati, Komura, Takahira, Sato
Subscribe and stay up to date with the latest news and the most important events of the day.