The war between Russia and Japan, which occurred due to a clash of interests between the two states in the Far East, ended in defeat for Russia. An incorrect assessment of the enemy's forces led to the death of 100 thousand Russian soldiers and sailors, to the loss of the entire Pacific Fleet.
The winners established the Japanese medal "Russian-Japanese War of 1904-1905" to reward their participants in the battles, Nicholas II encouraged his army with similar awards.
Causes of war
The rapid growth of capitalism in Russia during this period, the industrial revolution that took place required the expansion of the country's zone of influence in the world space. However, the colonial influence of large imperialist states on weak countries has already ended, almost all territories have been divided. Then the emperor's gaze turned to the east towards China, Korea,Mongolia.
Since 1900, Russia's colonial invasion of this zone began: part of China (Manchuria) and Mongolia was occupied, the Chinese Eastern Railway was built, Russians began to move to Harbin, Port Arthur, a large Russian military base, was built. The introduction of joint-stock companies into the Korean economy and active influence on it led to the annexation of its territory to the Russian state.
Japan, also a recent capitalist development, had similar interests in the region. She perceived the strengthening of Russia's influence sharply negatively. The government of Nicholas II, having convinced the emperor of the weakness and backwardness of the enemy, continued the planned activities, ignoring the ultimatum of the Japanese government.
January 27, 1904 (old style) Japan attacked the Russian ships "Varyag" and "Koreets", stationed in the Korean port of Chemulpo. Captains V. F. Rudnev and G. P. Belyaev, who did not receive information from the government in a timely manner, but having sensed outgoing aggression from the Japanese, decided to break through to Port Arthur.
"Korean", who went on reconnaissance, was attacked by the Japanese squadron and forced to return to the parking lot, where there were many foreign ships, the captains of which already knew about the beginning of the war. From the "Varyag" and "Korean" the Japanese demanded an ultimatum to leave the port under the threat of being shot on the spot. Russian ships went into battle along foreign ships escorting colleagues to certain death. The forces were too unequal.
The battle at Chemulpo, which lasted about an hour, demonstrated the heroism and high professionalism of Russian sailors. Having withstood heavy enemy fire, both captains reduced the distance between the ships as much as possible and responded with a blow. In less than an hour, the Varyag used up more than a thousand shells, which was a record rate of fire, and received two large holes. Damage and loss of personnel forced Captain Rudnev to return to the Korean port. The boat "Koreets", which fought along with the "Varyag" against nine Japanese ships, suffered less, since the main enemy fire fell on a new and powerful cruiser. The Japanese squadron lost several ships.
In order not to get to the enemy, both ships were sunk in the waters of the Korean port by the decision of the captains. The crews taken on board by foreign vessels later returned to Russia, where the country honored its heroes.
Main battles of the Russo-Japanese War
In the early summer of 1904, having defeated the Russian fleet in the Pacific, the Japanese moved the battle to land. A battle took place at Vafagou (China), as a result of which the Russian army was divided into two parts, and Port Arthur was surrounded.
The siege of the Russian military base lasted half a year. After several fierce assaults, taking into account the huge losses among the defenders (20 thousand people), Port Arthur in December 1904, without an order from the command, was surrendered by the commandant of the fortress. 32 thousand soldiers were captured, Japanese losses amounted to 50 thousand.
"Mukden meat grinder" (China) in February 1905 lasted 19 days. The Russian army wasbroken, the losses were huge.
The final and unsuccessful battle for Russia was the Battle of Tsushima at sea. During the transfer of 30 Russian ships of the B altic Fleet to the Pacific Ocean, the caravan was surrounded by 120 Japanese warships. Only three Russian ships were able to survive and escape from the encirclement.
Russian colonial movement to the east stopped, the Portsmouth Treaty, which was difficult for the country, was signed.
Japanese Medal "Russo-Japanese War 1904 - 1905"
The war that made Japan the world's largest imperialist power was over. It's award time.
The Japanese government during the fighting encouraged its army with previously established state awards. The edict on the creation of a special Japanese medal "Russian-Japanese War of 1904-1905" was signed by the Emperor of Japan at the end of March 1906.
Description of the Japanese medal
The disc with a diameter of 30 millimeters made of gilded bronze has on the obverse two crossed flags of the land and sea forces of the state, there is also a coat of arms. The reverse side is decorated in a somewhat unusual style for this country, which did not previously use laurel and palm branches, familiar in Europe, for honoring. On this medal, a shield with an inscription about the military campaign is decorated with these symbols of victory.
Japanese medal "Russian-Japanese war 1904 - 1905" was awarded to all soldiers and officers of the imperial army who participated in the hostilities.
Awards of the Russian state
Despite the defeat in the war, several awards dedicated to this event were established in Russia. During the hostilities, they were received by distinguished participants in the battles.
The first medals were awarded to members of the crew of the warships Varyag and Koreets who returned to St. Petersburg. At a reception in the imperial palace, they were presented with silver awards 30 mm in diameter on a special ribbon of the St. Andrew's Flag. The obverse depicts the cross of St. George the Victorious and the following information is placed around the circle: “For the battle between the Varyag and the Korean on January 27. 1904 CHEMULPO. A fragment of a naval battle is minted on the reverse side.
At the end of hostilities, despite the loss, the emperor approved another award in gratitude to the participants in the battles. In January 1906, a medal appeared. Its front side is decorated with a drawing depicting an eye, the years of the war are also indicated here. The reverse side contains a quote from the New Testament. Medals were made of three denominations: silver, bronze and copper. Only the first ones were considered valuable. Still others received all the ranks that did not take part in the battles.
In addition to the combined arms awards of the Russo-Japanese War, a Red Cross medal was also created, issued to persons of both sexes.