The Russo-Japanese War and the Revolution, 1904-1905
TO UNDERSTAND how accumulated domestic grievances came to a head in widespread violence we must, strangely enough, begin with some external developments. Continuous expansion eastward, it may be recalled, had brought Russia to the shores of the Pacific by the middle of the nineteenth century. In 1860 Vladivostok, 'the Sovereign of the East', was founded; unfortunately, the city's excellent harbor was ice-bound through several months of the year. With the beginning of the construction of the Trans-Siberian Railway and the search for warm-water harbors, some statesmen understandably began to show a keen interest in Manchuria and Korea and to look upon those two areas as zones of Russian influence. When, therefore, after a brief war Japan wrested the Liaotung Peninsula from China in 1895, Tokyo had to bow to the pressure of Russia backed by France and Germany and return it to China, and be contented with a financial indemnity alone. China, grateful for the diplomatic assistance, signed a treaty of friendship with Russia in 1896, and the document was accompanied by China's consent for Russia to build her Trans-Siberian Railway across Manchuria instead of following the much longer and topographically more difficult route along the border and the Amur River. The negotiations between Witte and Li Hung-chang and the bribery of the latter constitute one of the most interesting episodes in nineteenth- century imperialism.1 The concession was more than an economic one: in essence it was also an alliance against Japan. In this manner the socalled Chinese-Eastern Railway was born, backed by the Russo-Chinese Bank in which French shareholders predominated. The railroad was incorporated nominally as a commercial company, but behind it was the Russian government with its plans for future economic and political expansion.
Within a short time the territory which the Japanese restored to China became the battleground for 'leases'. Germany wrested Kiaochow from China in March 1898; three weeks later Russia took over the Liaotung Peninsula; the parceling continued, with Britain receiving Weihaiwei, and France being given Kwangchowan. Japan watched with dismay and____________________