History: The Russo-Japanese War

The Russo-Japanese war was a fight between the Russian empire and the Empire of Japan that lasted from 1904 to 1905. It started as a rivalry for dominance in Korea and Manchuria. The Russians wanted to extend the Trans-Siberian Railroad into a warmer area for strategic purposes and pressured China into letting them lease a port on the Liaodong Peninsula. However, when the Trans-Siberian Railroad was built it lacked proper transportation facilities and had limited how many troops and supplies were in Manchuria(it was unsecured). The Japanese were worried about the growing Russian influence in the region. Since the Russian army had a history of military aggression the Japanese originally wanted to make a deal with Russia. The Japanese offered to cease control of Manchuria to Russia as long as they could still maintained control over Korea. The Russians didn’t agree, wanting Korea North to be a neutral area. When negotiating failed the Japanese launch a surprise attack on Russia at the newly made navy port, Port Arthur, starting the war with the Battle of Port Arthur(February 8, 1904). The Russians were reluctant to leave the harbor because of the recent death of Admiral Stepan Osipovich Makarov who died on the Petropavlovsk in an attempt to break pass a blockade. The Japanese then attempted to launch another attack against Russia but it only resulted in many Japanese casualties. At the Battle of Liaoyang, the Japanese were able to push the Russian army back to Port Arthur from the sea, causing the Russians to send more troops to defend the area. Over the next year there were many battles and casualties, but by 1904 the Japanese navy had nearly sunk all the ships in the Russian’s navy fleet. In early 1905 a Russian commander of the Port Arthur’s garrison had surrendered, believing the port was no longer worth defending since they faced so many losses. Then the remaining Russian fleet were defeated at the Battle of Yellow Sea causing the Russian Empire to mobilize the Baltic Fleet. On May 27, 1905, the Battle of Tsushima Strait began when a Russian fleet attempted to sneak past a Japanese barracked at night, but were spotted. The war ended with the Treaty of Portsmouth, were Russia agreed to recognize Korea as part of the Japanese sphere of influence and withdrew their troops from Fort Arthur and Manchuria. The war however left a negative impact on both countries; leaving Japan nearly bankrupt and becoming one of the causes of the Russian Revolution. (Article) (Learn more)

History: WW2

World War two started in 1939 and ended in 1945. WW2 was a global war involving around 57 countries. It was a fight between two major opposing alliances; The Allied Forces and the Axis Powers. The Axis powers were made up of three main powers, Italy(Benito Mussolini), Germany(Adolf Hitler) and Japan(Hirohito). The main Allies were the U.S.A(Franklin D. Roosevelt), UK(Winston Churchill), Soviet Union(Joseph Stalin) and China(Chiang Kai-shek). At first Nazi Germany started to expand it’s borders by invading nearby countries and formed a pact with the Soviet Union. Hitler and Stalin had originally planned on dividing the territories of Romania, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, and Finland between themselves. At first, the UK and France tried resolving these growing problems peacefully by low-key saying “please stop”; however, when Poland was invaded they declared war on Germany. In 1940, Germany invaded Denmark and Norway to stop the Allies from cutting off their iron ore shipments from Sweden. Due to the losses in Norway, Winston Churchill was assigned to be Prime Minister in 1940; this was the same day Germany launched an attack on France. As soon as France fell, Germany tried to use the same tactic against the UK, attempting to take over quickly. However, the resistance the UK was showing stalled Hitler’s original plan. Hitler came to the conclusion that they were waiting/hoping for the U.S.A. and Soviet Union to join the war against the Axis. Although the Soviet Union worked with Germany, they weren’t officially part of the Axis, despite Germany’s attempts to convince them. Hitler then decided to invade the Soviet Union in 1941, but it was unsuccessful. This caused the Soviet Union to join the Allies against Germany. The Japanese had also launched a surprise attack on the U.S.A.(attack on Pearl Harbor), causing them to join the war as part of the Allies. Now, Germany had a major fight on two fronts and this is where Germany is said to have started to lose the war. The Axis endured many defeats after, and in 1943, Italy surrendered. Benito Mussolini was then kicked out of his dictatorship role and Gen. Pietro Badoglio, seeking peace, took his place. Only a month later, Italy joined the Allies by declaring war on Germany. On June 6, 1944(D-day), after years of Soviet pressure, the Allies launched an attack to take back northern France from the Germans. In Italy, there were several Allied units sent to attack the southern part of France, putting stress on the German army. Eventually, the Germans stationed in France were all defeated and the Allies set their sights on Germany. While the events of D-day were happening, the Soviets planned a strategic attack on Belarus, Ukraine and Poland in order to drive the German troops out. Then they went to cut off and later defeat a considerably large amount of German troops in Romania and Bulgaria. The Allies were closing in on Germany and they made a last attempt to take back ground, but it was in vain. On May 7, 1945, Germany surrendered, but the war wasn’t over. Japan was still fighting and showing no interest in surrendering to the Allies. Japanese pilots started to purposely crash their planes into Allied ships in order to do some kind of damage. This action caused a lot of deaths on both sides. Japan knew they wouldn’t be able to win, and was hoping to hold out until a cease fire was called. The Allies repeatedly tried to get them to surrender, but Japan kept refusing. In order to end the fighting, Roosevelt agreed to send two atomic bombs to two civilian populated cities. After the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan surrendered, fearing another cities destruction. In September 2, 1945 Japan signed the Surrender documents and the war officially ended. WW2 was a very violent and bloody war that cost nearly 70-85 million people their lives(civilian and soldiers alike). As a result, the war prompted people to rise for independence and revolutions. There is a lot more to WW2 than what was mentioned here. There are also many WW2 memorial sites around the world dedicated to honoring/remembering those lost in the war.

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