This week, we’re going to discuss the Russo-Japanese War from a different angle; we’re going to talk about the effect it had in generating nationalist movements around Asia and in breaking the spell of European invincibility. From Sun Yat-sen to Mohandas Gandhi, the Japanese victory resonated around the world, and helped shape the 20th century as we know it.
Listen to the episode
From The Ruins of Empire: The Revolt Against the West and the Remaking of Asia.
Pyle, Kenneth B.
Images (Courtesy of the Wikimedia Foundation)
British foot soldiers storming Chinese positions during the First Opium War, (1839-1842), which would demonstrate the weakness of the once mighty Chinese Empire.
The officers of the Satsuma cruiser Haruhi, taken in 1869. Togo Heihachiro is in the upper right corner wearing white.
Togo Heihachiro on his flagship the IJN Mikasa, giving the order to engage the Russians.
The Japanese Combined Fleet, shot from the flagship Mikasa as it moved to engage the Russians.
Dr. Sun Yat-sen, the father of the Chinese Republic. He spent a great deal of time in Japan and was inspired by Japan’s victory at Tsushima.
Mao Zedong’s class photo from 1913. Eight years earlier he had been in school when the Japanese victory at Tsushima was announced, inspiring him to look for the origins of Western power. That search would eventually take him to Marx.
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. This picture is from 1909.
Sultan Abdul Hamid II of the Ottoman Empire. Abdul Hamid was a devout admirer of the Japanese, though he did not embrace the idea of constitutional political reform on the Japanese model.
The Young Turks, a pro-reform group who used the victory at Tsushima to force the Sultan Abdul Hamid II to accede to their demands for reform.
The IJN Mikasa, Togo’s flagship. It is today preserved at Yokosuka south of Tokyo as a museum, thanks in part to the efforts of Admiral Chester Nimitz of the United States Navy, a great admirer of Togo’s.