Comparing Japan and Russia's Response to industrialization before 1914.

1519 Words Jan 8th, 2004 7 Pages
In the early 19th century Russian rulers did anything in their power to keep the "French plague" from infiltrating Russia. The "French Plague" was a gradual move towards freedom and a more influential say in government. Russia avoided the "French Plague" by a period of isolation and oppression of their people. Japan also had a long period of isolation. The Japanese believed in the Mandate of Heaven or that there culture was the best. Because of their ethnocentric culture, only one Japanese port, Nagasaki, was open to traders once a year. During the late 19th century, both Russia and Japan were forced to make reforms and modernize by industrialization. They both had to do so rapidly because of Western interference and the West's increasing …show more content…
In both nations the political power was centralized. The tsar appointed zemstvoes, or local political councils that regulated roads, schools and other regional policies. The zemstvoes undertook important inquiries into local problems. They owed the tsars complete and utter loyalty. In Japan in 1871 when the new Meiji government took over they abolished feudalism, replacing the daimyos with a system of nationally appointed prefects. Prefects are district administrators who are picked from different regions. The prefects like the Russian zemstvoes owed complete loyalty to the emperor. The Meiji rulers began to widen the power of the state to effect social and economic change.

Another similarity was that both Russia and Japan improved their military. Russia's officer corps was reformed by promotion by merit and newly organized essential services. Peasants were able to be recruited and they learned new skills from their military service. In Japan a stronger military unit replaced the samurai with weapons, advanced technology, and a high sense of organization.

Industrialization was part of the greater process of change. The trans-Siberian railroad connected European Russia with the Pacific Ocean. The railroad directly expanded Russia's coal and iron sectors. The Railroad also fueled the export of grain to the West, which became necessary to earn foreign currency for advanced Western
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