Russia and Japan: Industrialization Outside the West


Theme 3

It was clear that there was major changes in political structures in Japan and Russia during this time period. As both of these nations slowly became more Westernized, they were affected both economically and socially. There was a major revolt in Russia called the Revolution of 1905 which was caused by urban workers all around Russia after their defeat by Japan. There was also the rise of the Bolsheviks, that was led by the minority of the population. Significant social change was seen by the Duma and Stolypin reforms. The economy increased however with the Kulaks. More people bought more land and increased production. Revolts stopped momentarily and was considered a success.

In Japan, economy and society was also altered after being influenced by Western ideals. The Terakoya were schools for commoners that taught reading, writing, and Confucian rudiments. It had the highest literacy rate of the world at that time. Interestingly, the Japanese were very interested in the Dutch. They were fascinated and later implemented their medicinal practices. Increasing Westernization was seen through the opening of ports to other Western cultures: as evidenced by Matthew Perry. Internally, Japan changed with the Meiji restoration, bringing power back to the emperor. 


Holy Alliance: Alliance among Russia, Prussia, and Austria in defense of the established order;

formed by the most conservative monarchies of Europe during the Congress of Vienna.

- The monarchs of the three countries involved used this to band together in order to prevent revolutionary influence (especially from the French Revolution) from entering these nations.

- against democracy, revolution, and secularism. 

- the alliance itself accomplished little

Decembrist uprising: Unsuccessful 1825 political revolt in Russia by mid-level army officers advocating reforms

- They inspired Nicholas I to suppress conservatism

- Repression or political opponents increased as well as the number of secret police

Newspapers and schools tightly supervised

- Because these events occurred in December, the rebels happened in December it's called decembrist 


Crimean War (1854 -1856): 
conflict between the Russian Empire and an alliance of the French Empire, the British Empire, the Ottoman Empire, and the Kingdom of Sardinia.

-Began with a Russian attack on the Ottoman Empire

-France and Britain joined on the Ottoman side which resulted in a Russian defeat because of Western industrial might

- led to Russian reforms under Alexander II. 

Emancipation of the serfs: Alexander II in 1861 ended serfdom in Russia; serfs did not obtain political rights and had to pay the aristocracy for lands gained.

- the first and most important of liberal reforms effected during the reign of Alexander II of Russia

- the liquidation of serf dependence previously suffered by peasants of the Russian Empire 

Zemstvoes: Local political councils created as part of Alexander II’s reforms; gave the middle class professional experience in government but did not influence national policy.

- The idea of the zemstvo was elaborated by Nikolay Milyutin, and the first zemstvo laws were put into effect in 1864.

- The system of local self-government in the Russian Empire was presented at the lowest level by mir and volosts and was continued, so far as the 34 Guberniyas of old Russia are concerned, in the elective district and provincial assemblies (zemstvos).

-consisted of a representative council (zemskoye sobranye) and of an executive board (zemskaya uprava) nominated by the former. The board consists of five classes of members:

§  landed proprietors (nobles owning 590 acres (2.4 km2) and over), who sit in person;

§  delegates of the wealthier townsmen;

§  delegates of the less wealthy urban classes;

§  delegates of the peasants, elected by the volosts.

§  delegates of the small landowners, including the clergy in their capacity of landed proprietors;


Trans-Siberian railroad: Constructed during the 1870s and 1880s to connect European Russia with the Pacific; increased the Russian role in Asia.

- longest railway in the world 

- one of the reasons why Russia lost the war; the track was a single track and as such could only allow train travel in one direction, which caused strategic and supply nightmares for the Russians, as they could not move resources to and from the front as quickly as would be necessary, as a goods train carrying supplies, men and ammunition coming from west to east would have to wait in the sidings whilst troops and injured personnel in a troop train travelling from east to west went along the line.  

Count Sergei Witte: Russian minister of finance (1892-1903); economic modernizer responsible for high tariffs, improved banking system; encouraged Western investment in industry. 

-  highly influential policy-maker who presided over extensive industrialization within the Russian Empire.

served under the last two emperors of Russia.

- a precursor to Russia's first constitution, and Chairman of the Council of Ministers (Prime Minister) of the Russian Empire. 

Intelligentsia: Russian term for articulate intellectuals as a class; desired radical change in the Russian political and economic systems; wished to maintain a Russian culture distinct from that of the West.

-  a social class of people engaged in complex, mental and creative labor directed to the development and dissemination of culture, encompassing intellectuals and social groups close to them (e.g., artists and school teachers) 

Anarchists: Political groups that thought the abolition of formal government was a first step to creating a better society;

- participated alongside the Bolsheviks in both February and October revolutions, and were initially enthusiastic about the Bolshevik revolution.

- became important in Russia and was the modern world’s first large terrorist movement. 

Lenin: Russian Marxist leader; insisted on the importance of disciplined revolutionary cells.

-  leader of the Bolsheviks

- headed the Soviet state during its initial years (1917–1924), as it fought to establish control of Russia in the Russian Civil War and worked to create a socialist economic system.

-As a politician, persuasive orator, as a political scientist his extensive theoretic and philosophical developments of Marxism produced Marxism–Leninism, the pragmatic Russian application of Marxism.

  • Literally the "majority" party
  • Political group backed by the minority
  • Most radical branch of the Russian Marxist movement
  • Led by Lenin

 Russian Revolution of 1905

  • Defeat by Japan led to strikes from urban workers to obtain political power
  • Insurrections among the peasantry
  • Temporary reforms were established


  • Russian national assembly created as one of the reforms after the Revolution of 1905
  • Slowly lost power during the reign of Nicholas II
  • Tsarist regime had to find a way to keep peasants calm, police repression only made the angrier

 Stolypin reforms

  • Russian minister who introduced reforms to placate the peasantry after the Revolution of 1905
  • Involved reduction of land redemption payments 
  • Attempted to create a market-oriented peasantry
  • Peasants gained greater freedom from redemption payments and village controls (Were able to buy and sell land more freely)
  • Purpose was to create a stratified, market-oriented peasantry where farmers would move away from the peasant masses
  • Successful in that the peasant unrest died down


  • Agricultural entrepeneurs who used the reforms to buy more land and increase production
  • However, reform quickly fell apart as tsar took away rights, took away authority of Duma, and police repression continued


  • Commonor schools founded during Tokugawa shogunate. Taught reading, writing, and Confucian rudiments.
  • By mid 19th century, resulted in highest literacy rate outside of the West
  • This was the school for the commoners

Dutch studies 

  • Studies of Western science and technology in Japan that began in Japan during the 18th century.
  • Based on texts available at the Dutch Nagasaki trading center
  • Second minority group
  • Several Japanese that could speak Dutch. The translators worked and dealt with traders at Nagasaki
  • After 1720, Japanese scholars showed increasing interest in Dutch medicine.

Matthew Perry

  • American naval officer who opened up ports to American trade by threats of bombardment
  • Arrived with a squadron in Edo Bay.
  • 1854, won right to station an American consul in Japan

Meiji restoration

  • In 1853, the power of the emperor restored with Emperor Mutsuhito 
  • He took the name of Meiji, or Enlightened One
  • Ended shogunate and began a period of reform


  • Japanese parliament established as part of the constitution of 1889
  • Only able to advise government but not control it
  • The Diet could pass laws, approve budgets, but as mention before not control government
  • Germany influenced. Emperor commanded the military directly and also directly named his ministers


  • Huge industrial combines created in Japan during the 1890s
  • Showed that Japanese was fully engaged in the industrial revolution

Sino-Japanese War 

  • Fought in Korea between Japan and China
  • Japanese victory demonstrated arrival as new industrial power

Yellow Peril 

  • Western term for perceived threat from Japanese imperialism

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