Russia and Japan Industrialization Outside the West summary




Russia and Japan Industrialization Outside the West summary


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Russia and Japan Industrialization Outside the West summary

Chapter 33  Russia and Japan: Industrialization Outside the West

  1. Introduction

Russia and Japan managed to avoid Western dominance and industrialize to achieve economic autonomy. Japan proved to be the most flexible politically, whereas the strain of industrialization produced a series of revolutions in Russia. As late industrializers, however, the were substantial similarities between Russia and Japan. Both nations had prior experience with cultural imitation: Japan from China, Russia from Byzantium and the West. Both had achieved more effective central governments during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. As both countries industrialized, they came into conflict over territorial ambitions in Asia.

  1. Russia's Reforms and Industrial Advance
    1. Introduction

Russia moved into active reform after 1861 and provided the foundation for industrialization.

    1. Russia Before Reform

Russian leaders in the eighteenth century sought to isolate Russia from the waves of western European revolution. The Napoleonic invasions of 1812 completed the shift toward conservatism.
There was some liberal rhetoric, but tsars favored conservatism. Tsar Alexander I sponsored the Holy Alliance, which linked conservative monarchies together in defense of the status quo. Russian intellectuals remained connected to western European trends, a connection that worried the elite. After the Decembrist uprising, in which Western-oriented military officers attempted a coup, Tsar Nicholas I turned to more repressive conservatism. Conservatism, plus the lack of substantial middle or artisan classes, helped Russia avoid the wave of mid-nineteenth century revolutions. The tsar suppressed Polish nationalism in 1831 and pressed southward against the Ottoman Empire. Russia supported nationalist movements in the Balkans as a means of weakening the Turks.

    1. Economic and Social Problems: The Peasant Question

Russia's economy remained primarily agrarian and fell behind the West in terms of production and trade. To maintain the profitability of grain exports, tighter labor obligations were imposed on the peasantry. The Crimean War, 1854-1856, demonstrated how far Russia had fallen behind the West. British and French forces drove the Russians from the Crimea. The loss convinced Tsar Alexander II that reform was badly needed. In order to establish a more vigorous economy, some attempt had to be made to resolve the peasant crisis. A freer labor force, it was believed, could increase profitability. Western criticism of Russian social injustice also stung Russian sensibilities. A series of minor peasant rebellions in the 1850s also stimulated the movement for reform.

    1. The Reform Era and Early Industrialization

Tsar Alexander II emancipated the serfs in 1861. The freed serfs got most of the land, but the aristocracy retained essential political and economic power. Serfs remained tied to their villages until they could pay for the land they received. High redemption payments and state taxation kept most peasants in an abject state of poverty. The emancipation did produce a larger urban labor force, but failed to stimulate agricultural production. The slow pace of change engendered social dissatisfaction and regional peasant uprisings.
In addition to freeing the serfs, Alexander II carried out other reforms. The tsar issued new law codes, established regional councils, or zemstvos, for input on local decision making, and began military reforms. Literacy spread more widely in Russian society with the development of a mass market in popular literary forms. Women gained slightly through greater access to education and somewhat loosened patriarchal authority.
Industrialization was part of the pattern of change in reformed Russia. Lacking a substantial middle class, the state played a critical role in capital formation and investment. Russia created a substantial railroad network in the 1870s. Better transportation permitted more efficient use of Russia's abundant natural resources. The railroad also facilitated shipment of grain to the West, which in turn helped finance industrialization. By the 1880s, modern factories had begun to develop in major Russian cities. Count Witte, the Russian minister of finance from 1892 to 1903, enacted high tariffs to protect the new industries. Witte also encouraged Western investment in Russian industrialization. As a result, nearly one half of Russia's industrial businesses were foreign-owned.
By 1900, Russia ranked fourth in steel production and second in petroleum production. Russian factories were typically enormous, but technologically inferior. Agriculture also lagged behind Western standards of productivity. The masses of Russian citizens were only slightly affected by industrialization. Military reforms did not substantially alter the concept of peasant conscripts serving aristocratic landlords. Nor did Russian industrialization produce a substantial middle class.

  1. Protest and Revolution in Russia
    1. Introduction

During and after the 1880s, Russia became politically and socially unstable.

    1. The Road to Revolution

Ethnic minorities in Russia began agitation for national recognition after the 1860s. Recurrent famines produced peasant unrest. At the same time two strands of intellectual protest began.
Business and professional people sought further liberal reforms, while a more radical intelligentsia demanded revolution. Intellectual radicalism shaded off into terrorism and anarchism as a means of fundamentally restructuring Russian society. Initially Russian radicals sought to spread their message among the peasants, but found the masses unreceptive. Given lack of popular support, anarchists fell back on political assassination as a tool to unseat the government. Terrorism convinced the tsarist government to pull back from reform. When Alexander II was assassinated in 1881, his successors imposed repressive policies to dampen unrest.
In the 1890s, intellectuals picked up Marxism from the West as a means of organizing the revolution. Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov, known as Lenin, introduced innovations in Marxist theory to accommodate the social theory to the Russian situation. Lenin's organization called for small, disciplined cells of Marxists to organize the revolution. Lenin's approach was accepted by the Bolshevik faction of the Russian Marxists. Radicalism spread rapidly among urban workers, who formed unions and engaged in strikes. Marxism was one of several doctrines that spread among the labor force. An intransigent government faced with mass protests in the cities and the countryside produced a situation that could not be adjusted by reform.

    1. The Revolution of 1905

Russian military expansion came to an end in the first decade of the twentieth century. Japan and Russia came into conflict over both nation's plans for expansion in northern China. To the surprise of almost all observers, the Japanese quickly defeated Russian forces in the Russo-Japanese War of 1904. Military defeat unleashed all of the dissenting force in Russia.
In the Russian Revolution of 1905, urban workers produced widespread strikes while peasants erupted across Russia. After repression failed, the tsar's government offered reforms. The duma, or national parliament was created. The Stolypin reforms offered lighter redemption burdens to the peasantry and a place in village councils. In response, peasant rebellions did die out, and some peasants began to accumulate substantial parcels of land. The reforms were rapidly undone. Tsar Nicholas II withdrew concessions to workers, setting off new rounds of strikes. The duma rapidly became a political nonentity. Forced to seek new arenas for military expansion after the door to Asia was closed, Russia fomented rebellion among the Slavic kingdoms of the Balkans.

    1. Russia and Eastern Europe

Many of the new nations emerging in the Balkans replicated Russian patterns of political autocracy, although many did establish parliaments. Most eastern European nations abolished serfdom in 1848 or shortly thereafter. Industrialization was less thorough in the nations of eastern Europe, and landlords continued to wield the majority of economic and political power. The Slavic nations did enjoy an era of great cultural productivity during the nineteenth century. By 1900, principles of political autocracy confronted growing opposition in Russia and elsewhere in eastern Europe.

  1. Japan: Transformation Without Revolution
    1. Introduction

Faced with European and American demands for more open trade, Japan underwent industrialization. Transformation in Japan was in some ways less difficult, but industrialization produced strains.

    1. The Final Decades of the Shogunate

In the first half of the nineteenth century, the Tokugawa shogunate continued to combine a central bureaucracy with alliances with feudal magnates in the countryside. The government was chronically short of funds due to limited income from taxes on the agrarian economy and payments made to feudal lords for their loyalty. Shortages of income led to reform movements, which weakened the shogunate and made it vulnerable to external threats. Despite the ongoing deterioration of strength, the political alliance between bureaucracy and the samurai worked well. The growth of neo- Confucianism made Japanese life more secular and precluded a religious opposition to change.
Literacy rates in Japan were much higher than in the West. Several strains of intellectual pursuit developed. The national school emphasized essentially Japanese culture, while the Dutch Studies school represented Japanese attempts to keep abreast of Western science and technology.
The Japanese economy expanded on the basis of commercial growth. Manufacturing began to extend into the countryside, just as proto-industrialization had occurred in the West. Economic growth slowed by the middle of the nineteenth century, producing some rural protests and further weakening the shogunate.

    1. The Challenge to Isolation

In 1853, the American commodore Matthew Perry arrived and demanded that Japan be opened to trade. By 1856, Japan was forced to receive Western consuls and to open ports to foreign trade.
Bowing to military pressure, the shogunate faced immediate opposition from the daimyos, who insisted on maintaining isolation. The shogun and the daimyos both made appeals to the emperor, who began to emerge as a more powerful figure. Some among the samurai saw an opportunity to unseat the shogunate. Little changed until the 1860s, when samurai armed themselves with Western weapons and defeated the shogun's army. In 1868, certain samurai managed to restore imperial rule under Meiji.

    1. Industrial and Political Change in the Meiji State

The Meiji government abolished feudalism and replaced the daimyo states with regional prefectures. The government sent samurai abroad to study political institutions and economic organization. Foreign observations were used to restructure the state. In order to improve their fiscal situation, the new government abolished payments to the samurai in return for grants of government bonds. Conscription provided a new army. Some samurai fell into poverty, others found avenues of employment in the government and business. In 1884, the government created a new nobility to staff a House of Peers. Civil service examinations were utilized to open the bureaucracy to men of talent. The new constitution, issued in 1889, recognized the supremacy of the emperor, but gave limited powers to an elected lower house of representatives within the Diet.
The new constitution was based on German models. Voting rights were determined by property qualifications, which allowed only five percent of the population to cast ballots. The form of government gave great authority to wealthy businessmen and nobles who could influence the emperor and the Diet. Political parties developed, but a small oligarchy continued to dominate the government into the twentieth century. The inclusion of businessmen among the political elite was a major difference from the Russian model of reform.

    1. Japan's Industrial Revolution

The new government imposed military reforms to modernize Japan's army and established the foundation for industrialization. An internal infrastructure was created, guilds and internal tariffs were abolished, and clear title to land was granted to individuals. Lack of capital dictated direct government involvement in the stages of industrialization. Japan established the Ministry of Industry in 1870 to oversee economic development. The government built model factories to provide experience with new technology. Education was extended as a means of developing a work force. Private enterprise soon joined government initiatives, particularly in textiles. By the 1890s, industrial combines, or zaibatsus, served to accumulate capital for major investment.
Japan's careful management of industrialization limited foreign involvement. Japan continued to depend on importation of equipment and raw materials from the West. Rapid growth depended on the existence of a cheap supply of labor, often drawn from poorly paid women. More than Russia, Japan's industrialization depended on selling manufactured goods abroad.

    1. Social and Cultural Effects of Industrialization

Social change led to rapid population growth that strained Japanese resources but sustained a ready supply of cheap labor. The education system stressed science and loyalty to the emperor. Western culture arrived in Japan along with models of constitutional structure and industrialization. As industrialization progressed, population growth dropped off. Patriarchal households remained the norm, but divorce rates indicated increasing instability within family life. Shintoism, as an expression of indigenous culture, gained new popularity.
In foreign policy, the Japanese entered the race for colonial domination. Need to employ the new army, the search for raw materials, and efforts to prevent Western encroachment all contributed to Japanese imperialism after 1890. Japan won easy victories over China in 1895 and over Russia in 1904. The victories yielded Japan some territories in northern China. In 1910, Japan annexed Korea.

    1. The Strain of Modernization

Industrialization and successful imperialism had costs for the Japanese. Conservatives were appalled at the trend to imitate the West. The carefully contrived political balance began to become unwieldy. Ministries were forced to call more frequent elections to achieve working majorities in the Diet. Some intellectuals bemoaned the loss of an authentic Japanese identity and the creation of a Japan that was neither traditional nor Western. To combat the malaise, leaders urged loyalty to the emperor and the nation. Nationalism became a strong force in Japanese politics.

  1. Conclusion: Growing International Rivalries

The addition of Russia, Japan, and the United States to the world diplomatic picture increased competition. Some nations in the West feared the "yellow peril" represented by Japan's emergence as an international power. The need to direct attention away from internal stresses led to colonial acquisitions by the new powers and heightened the competitive atmosphere, particularly in the Far East.


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Russia and Japan Industrialization Outside the West summary


             Pages 646 – 667



Russia’s Reforms and Industrial Advances


After half a century of conservatism, in which the official national ideology was represented by the phrase “autocracy (tsar’s absolute authority), orthodoxy (conservatism and Orthodox Christianity) and nationality (Great Russian nationalism and a Pan Slavist foreign policy) and the humiliating loss in the Crimean War, Russia moved into an active reform period in 1861. Social and political changes beginning with the emancipation of the serfs set the basis for industrialization by the 1890s. But social strain persisted as Russian leaders tried to defend the tsarist autocracy.

Protest and Revolution in Russia

A rising tide of unrest and assassinations accompanied Russia’s period of transformation. The autocratic government refused to make any changes, which would have threatened the rule of the tsars and aristocrats. By the 1880s nationalist agitation gave way to outright revolution. Russia remained a profoundly unstable society in which any national catastrophe could endanger the entire system.

Japan: Transformation without Revolution


Like Russia, Japan faced new pressure from the West during the 1850s, although this pressure took the form of a demand for more open trade rather than outright military conflict. Japan’s response was more direct than Russia’s and more immediately successful. Despite Japan’s long history of isolation, its society was better adapted than Russia’s to the challenge of industrial change. Market forms were more extensive, reaching into peasant agriculture, and literacy levels were higher. Nevertheless, Japan had to rework many of its institutions during the final decades of the 19th century, and the process produced significant strain.

Conclusion: Growing International Rivalries


The beginning of serious industrialization in Russia and Japan, and the unprecedented entry of Japan into world affairs, contributed important new ingredients to the world diplomatic picture by the early 20th century. These developments, along with the rise of the United States, added to the growing sense of competition between the established powers. Outright colonial acquisitions by the new powers added directly to the competitive atmosphere, particularly in the Far East.


Describe Russian society between 1815 – 1860.


What constituted the “peasant problem” in Russia?

Why did the Russians emancipate their serfs and with what results?


What reforms did Alexander II attempt and with what results?

How did Russian industrialize and how did it have on society?


What radical groups arose in Russia and what did they advocate?

What caused the 1905 Russian Revolution and what results did it achieve?


What effects did Russian nationalism have on Eastern Europe?

Describe Japanese society during the late Tokugawa Shogunate.


How was Japan opened to foreign influences and with what results?

Why was Japan better able to modernize than China?


How did Japan change politically after the Meiji Restoration?

Describe the industrialization of Japan.


What social and cultural effects and conflicts did modernization cause in Japan?

 How did Japan create an empire between 1895 and 1910?




Russo-Japanese War

Holy Alliance


Decembrist Uprising

Crimean War


Emancipation of the Serfs


Trans-Siberian Railroad





Lenin and the Bolsheviks

1905 Russian Revolution





Dutch Studies

1853 and Matthew Perry


Meiji Restoration




Sino-Japanese War


Yellow Peril


VISUALIZING THE PAST: Two Faces of Western Influence (Page 662)

What values do the two images convey?

Of Commodore Perry?


Of Parliament?

Why would the artists want to depict each scene in the way that they did?


PHOTO ESSAY: Russia in Turmoil (Pages 650, 652, and 653)


What aspects and problems about Russian society do these photos reflect?

If these photos are typical of 19th century Russian history, what could you predict about future Russian history? (Consider the Document on page 654)



Map 27.1: Russian Expansion 1815 – 1914 (Page 651, map at the back of book)

What modern states did the Russians rule in 1914 but not 1999?

In Europe

In the Caucasus area

In Central Asia


Geo-Politics and Geo-Economics

How far is it from St. Petersburg to Vladivostok in East Asia?

How would the size and distances in Russia make government difficult?


What relationship is there between Russian ports and access to seas?

Why would ports on the Barents Sea and Arctic Ocean not be practical?


Map 27.2: Japanese Colonial Expansion (Page 665)

Geography and Japan

What lands block Japanese expansion?

If Japan were to expand abroad, what would she need?


Why would Japan covet Korea?

Geography and War (Use map on page 651, also)

If Japan expanded into Korea, what countries would contest the move?


What two wars did Japan fight?

What geographic problems plagued Russia but helped Japan?


DOCUMENT ANALYSIS: Russia’s Industrialization (Page 654)


Document Analysis

Who wrote the document? (Attribution includes biographical references)

What is the author’s point of view?


How reliable is the document? Why?


  1. What were the intents or purposes behind the document?

Who was the intended audience?


  1. What is the document’s tone?
  2. Drawing Conclusions
  3. Describe working conditions in the Russian factory?


  1. Why would Russian workers be drawn to Bolshevism and radical ideas?
  1. Why would a conservative Russian government support this critical report?




  1. 19th century ruling elites in Russia embraced which philosophy and ideas?
  2. Autocratic government, Orthodox religion, and extreme nationalism
  3. Liberalism, including the emancipation of serfs and British style democracy
  4. Socialism with land reform for the peasants and protections for workers
  5. Bolshevism or a worker led revolution and abolition of private property
  6. Constitutional monarchy with an elected parliament and limitations on the ruler’s powers
  1. In Russia, the supporters of westernization and radical ideas were often
  2. nobles.
  3. the Russian Orthodox clergy.
  4. peasants.
  5. intellectuals and university-educated students.
  6. ethnic minorities especially the Jews, Catholics, and Muslims.


  1. In the 19th century and into the early 20th century, Russia
  2. developed a large middle class of businessmen and entrepreneurs.
  3. industrialized and urbanized at a rapid pace.
  4. remained a largely peasant society with an agrarian economy.
  5. kept pace with much of West European developments.
  6. developed no industries and relied largely on imports of manufactured goods.
  1. Russia’s 19th century underdevelopment was most dramatically revealed by
  2. the French Revolution’s impact on Russia.
  3. Napoleon’s invasion of Russia, which nearly succeeded.
  4. the 1825 Decembrist Revolution.
  5. the Crimean War.
  6. the Russo-Japanese War.


  1. Despite the emancipation of the serfs in Russia,
  2. serfdom persisted in many parts of Russia.
  3. russian aristocrats opposed the emancipation.
  4. few new numbers of workers joined the factories or industrial workforce.
  5. slavery persisted in Russia.
  6. Russia was careful to preserve imperial and aristocratic power and influence.
  7. Industrially and socially, Russia was most transformed by
  8. the emancipation of the serfs, which furnished millions of workers.
  9. the construction of railroads, which opened markets, jobs, and movement.
  10. compulsory education for women and the peasants.
  11. the state’s support of free enterprise, free trade, and entrepreneurship.
  12. the government’s land reform policy giving the peasants land and money.
  1. Russia was assisted in its modernization and industrialization by
  2. the creation of an armaments industry to build up its armed forces.
  3. giving aristocracy, church, and imperial lands to landless peasants.
  4. huge influxes of foreign investments and capital, especially from France.
  5. frequent wars against weaker neighbors.
  6. a massive immigration of highly trained technicians to Russia.


  1. All of these influences led to the 1905 Revolutions EXCEPT:
  2. businessmen and professionals pressuring the government for political rights.
  3. students agitating amongst the peasants.
  4. anarchist assassinations and agitations amongst peasants and workers.
  5. Count Witte’s social and economic policies.
  6. the spread of Marxism and socialism amongst workers and intellectuals.
  1. Prior to the arrival of the American fleet and Commodore Perry, Japan
  2. was dominated by a Buddhist and Shinto religious hierarchy.
  3. had not developed a literate and educated population.
  4. was in self-imposed isolation.
  5. lacked a centralized, effective government.
  6. knew little of western developments or western ideas.


  1. Westernization and modernization in Japan was most opposed by the
  2. Japanese intellectuals.
  3. shogun’s bureaucrats.
  4. samurai class.
  5. merchants and commercial class.
  6. landed aristocrats.
  1. Which of these statements is a FACT about the policies of the Meiji restoration?
  2. Political power was centralized and the Emperor’s authority was restored.
  3. Feudalism was retained although it was limited.
  4. The samurai retained some of its rights and privileges.
  5. The samurai and educated Confucian elite staffed the state bureaucracy.
  6. The Diet obtained rights and powers similar to British parliament.



  1. Japan avoided the fates of Qing China and the Ottoman Empire by
  2. closing its country to foreign influences.
  3. accepting the United States as a protector to balance European influences.
  4. defeating American, British, and other European expeditions to Japan.
  5. reforming, modernization, westernization, and industrialization.
  6. relying on its samurai, bushido, and Shinto traditions.


  1. Industrialization in Japan
  2. had begun before the arrival of the Americans and opening of Japan.
  3. relied heavily on foreign investments in Japanese factories.
  4. relied heavily on government-supported and financed plans.
  5. was begun and led by Japanese combines called zaibatsu.
  6. relied little on imports of raw materials.
  1. All of these social and cultural changes were the results of the Japanese Industrial Revolution EXCEPT:
  2. the secularization of Japanese society.
  3. massive population growth due to better nutrition and medical provisions.
  4. a universal educational system.
  5. the explosive growth of towns as rural populations migrated to cities.
  6. an increased emphasis on technological and scientific education.


  1. Japanese imperialism
  2. was unpopular amongst the Japanese masses.
  3. sought natural resources for industry and gave ex-samurai jobs in the military.
  4. was restricted to Korea.
  5. avoided conflicts with China and Russia.
  6. was discouraged by the Japanese emperors and his bureaucracy.


  1. As a way to smooth over strains within Japanese society caused by the Industrial Revolution
  2. granted extensive rights and benefits to workers, women, and peasants.
  3. the government established a social welfare and retirement system.
  4. tolerated unions and radical groups if they worked with the government.
  5. giving the Japanese Parliament (Diet) powers over ministers and government.
  6. the government supported Japanese nationalism and foreign expansion.


  1. The nation which threatened Japanese colonial aspirations most in the late 19th and early 20th century was
  2. Great Britain.
  3. Russia.
  4. China.
  5. Korea.
  6. The United States.


Compare and contrast Japanese and Russian paths to modernization.


Compare and contrast Japanese and Chinese responses to the western threat.

How did Japan change socially, politically, and economically from 1500 – 1900?


Compare and contrast Russia’s reaction to westernization or modernization with the reaction of any one of these: Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Egypt, Ottoman Empire, or China.

How did Russia change socially, politically, and economically from 1400 – 1900?


Compare and contrast Russian society and its changes with any one West European nation.

Compare and contrast the emancipation of the Russian serfs, American slaves, and end to slavery in the Americas.


Compare and contrast the Industrial Revolution in Russia with the British Industrial Revolution.

Compare and contrast Russian imperialism with the expansion of Great Britain in the 19th century.


Compare and contrast the demographic shift in Japan with similar changes in one of these: China, Russia, Western Europe, or any Latin American nation.


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