How did the war with Japan contribute to the revolution of 1905 in Russia?

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kipling2448 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Russia was humiliated by Japan during the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-1905. In terms of disputed territory, Russia was compelled under the terms of the Treaty of Portsmouth, negotiated under the tutelage of then-President Theodore Roosevelt, to cede large amounts of land, including Port Arthur, which represented a major defeat for Russia given its historic search for precisely the kind of warm-water naval and commercial installation that particular site had provided. The territorial concessions made by Czar Nicholas II, an autocratic ruler already loathed by an increasing percentage of his nation's population, served to further undermine the monarchy's legitimacy. Russia's defeat at the hands of the Japanese represented for many Russians a further example of their country's inability to compete with the more technologically-advanced nations of the West and of Japan. In short, Russia's loss was not only Japan's gain, but it served to facilitate the growth of opposition inside Russia to the czar's unpopular rule, which obviously played to the advantage of the revolutionary movements that had been gradually but consistently growing since the 1825 Decembrist revolt. Nicholas II's rule was so reviled that his failures with respect to Russo-Japanese relations were viewed within his own country as emblematic of his incompetency and basic venality.