SDHF Newsletter No. 375 The Road to the Greater East Asian War Part 10, Chapter 3 The Russo-Japanese War -3-
THE ROAD TO THE GREATER EAST ASIAN WAR
Nakamura Akira, Dokkyo University Professor Emeritus
(English Translation: Society for the Dissemination of Historical Fact)
Part 10, Chapter 3: The Russo-Japanese War-3
February 9, 2023
In 1899 the Boxers, a secret religious society, launched a xenophobic campaign in Shangdong province. Toward the end of April 1900, the Boxers entered Beijing, and in June they murdered both Sugiyama Akira, a clerk at the Japanese Legation, and Clemens von Ketteler, a German diplomat. When they surrounded Beijing’s Legation Quarter, Emperor Guangxu issued a declaration of war against the foreign powers.
Acceding to a strong request from the UK and othe nations, Japan joined the Alliance’s troops, and played the major role in the rescue of the Legation Quarter. The Boxer Rebellion provided the first opportunity for the Japanese military to fight alongside soldiers of foreign nations. Their bravery and strict discipline on that occasion earned them praise from all over the world. According to the Boxer Protocol, each of the foreign signatories was permitted to station troops in 12 locations. Later, on July 7, 1937, Japanese troops stationed near Marco Polo Bridge in accordance with the protocol were attacked by Chinese troops.
When the Boxer Rebellion spread to Manchuria, the Russians mobilized a great many soldiers from Siberia and Port Arthur, maintaining that they were needed to protect the Chinese Eastern Railway, then under construction. By October 1900, they had occupied all of Manchuria. Russian troops committed unspeakable atrocities in Manchuria. It was during this period that the Russians massacred inhabitants of 64 villages east of the Amur River in one of the bloodiest incidents in the history of the Far East.
The Agreement Between Russia and China with Regard to Manchuria was signed in April 1902. According to the agreement, the Russians were to withdraw their troops from Manchurian territory they had occupied, in three stages. The Russians did complete the first stage of the withdrawal. But as far as the second stage was concerned, not only did they not withdraw their troops, they also increased troop strength in the area between Fengtian and the Manchuria-Korea border.
The Russians openly expressed their intention to invade Korea. First they occupied Yongampo, located at the mouth of the Yalu River, saying that they wanted to protect the forests there. Then, in July 1903 they sent troops into Korea and forced the Koreans to sign an agreement giving Russia a concession in Yongampo.
After the Triple Intervention, there were arguments within the Japanese government in favor of two courses of action with respect to countering Russian encroachment on the Far East. The first was to mitigate Russian aggression via a compromise. The second was to enter into an agreement with the UK, with which Japan shared the goal of putting a stop to Russia’s southward advances. After some twists and turns, the Anglo-Japanese Alliance was signed on January 30, 1002. The treaty went on to afford significant strength to Japan’s stance.
MOTEKI Hiromichi, Chairman
Society for the Dissemination of Historical Fact