Treaty of Portsmouth (Russo-Japanese War)
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Treaty of Portsmouth (Russo-Japanese War)

November 30, 2019


Hi, and welcome to this video lesson on American
Imperialism and the Treaty of Portsmouth. First, I’ll address the treaty, then go
into how it fits into American Imperialism. The Treaty of Portsmouth was intended to bring
a peaceful end to the Russo-Japanese War. Here’s a breakdown of the war: By 1904, Russia and Japan had been arguing for several years over a section of Manchuria
(an area of Northeast China). The Russians had entered the region and, along
with Germany and France, forced Japan to give up its demands for ports in South Manchuria. So, Japan attacked the Russian fleet prior
to any declaration of war, surprising the Russian navy and earning an early victory. Over the following year, the two forces fought
in Korea and the Sea of Japan. War casualties were high on both sides. By 1905, the combination of these losses and
the economic cost of financing the war led both countries to seek an end to it. The Japanese asked U.S. President Roosevelt
to negotiate a peace agreement, and representatives of the two nations met in Portsmouth, New
Hampshire in 1905. For the sake of maintaining the balance of
power and equal economic opportunity in the region, Teddy Roosevelt preferred that the war end
on terms that left both Russia and Japan a role to play in northeast China. Though excited by the Japanese military victories,
Roosevelt worried about the consequences to American interests if Japan managed to drive
Russia out entirely. The Treaty ultimately gave Japan control of
Korea and much of South Manchuria, including Port Arthur and the railway that connected
it with the rest of the region, along with the southern half of Sakhalin Island; Russian
power was curtailed in the region, but it was not required to pay Japan’s war costs. Because neither nation was in a strong financial
position to continue the war easily, both were forced to compromise in the terms of
the peace. So, what does this all have to do with American
Imperialism? To answer that, let’s step even further back
into history, to the early 1800s. During this period the American idea of Manifest
Destiny was rising to new heights. President Thomas Jefferson advocated for an
America that stretched from Atlantic to Pacific. Fast forward 90 years, and America does stretch
from one coast to the other… which led some to wonder, “why not keep going”. That’s the idea of Imperialism in a nutshell, a notion of a national mission to spread American culture, power, and ideology throughout the
world. The Treaty of Portsmouth elevated America
to international mediator. And, although Roosevelt’s main mission was
peace between Russia and Japan, he also desired to create a precedent for America’s involvement
in Asian political affairs. From the 1850s leading into the Treaty of
Portsmouth, the United States had expanded its influence across the Pacific: Jarvis Island,
Midway, Hawaii, Guam, and Samoa, just to name a few examples. The Treaty of Portsmouth, therefore, was just
one more step toward making America a relevant power in Asia, quickly followed by the commission
of the Great White Fleet, but that’s for another time. I hope that helps, thanks so much for watching, be sure to subscribe to our channel and check out our website. Until next time, happy studying.

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  1. Japan was cheated in the treaty of portsmouth! If japan gains all sakhalin island, japan would never become a militarist and never start 2nd sino japanese war.

    According to wikipedia https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russo-Japanese_War#Effects_on_Japan

    "Although the war had ended in a victory for Japan, Japanese public opinion was shocked by the very restrained peace terms which were negotiated at the war's end.[82]Widespread discontent spread through the populace upon the announcement of the treaty terms. Riots erupted in major cities in Japan. Two specific requirements, expected after such a costly victory, were especially lacking: territorial gains and monetary reparations to Japan. The peace accord led to feelings of distrust, as the Japanese had intended to retain all of Sakhalin Island, but were forced to settle for half of it after being pressured by the United States, with President Roosevelt opting to support Nicholas II's stance on not ceding territory or paying reparations. The Japanese had wanted reparations to help families recover from lost fathers and sons as well as heavy taxation from the government.[83][clarification needed]Without them, they were at a loss.

    The U.S held strength in the Asian region from aggravating European imperialist encroachment. To Japan, this represented a developing threat to the autonomy of the region. U.S.-Japanese relations would recover a bit in the early 20th century, but by the early 1920s, few in Japan believed that the United States meant anything positive for the future of Asia.[77] By the 1930s, the U.S. presence in Asian affairs, along with the instability in China and the collapse of the Western economic order, Japan would act aggressively with respect to China, setting the precedent that would ultimately culminate in the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere. *Some scholars suggest that Japan's road to World War II had begun not upon winning the Russo–Japanese War, but when it lost the peace.*"

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