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The High Road To The First World War? Europe And The Outcomes Of The Russo-Japanese War, 1904–14

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Chapter Summary

This chapter considers the repercussions of the Russo-Japanese War on six major European powers during the decade starting in 1904 and analyses their significance in a continental perspective. The Rashomon-like narratives of the powers focus on the road each of them, and the continent as a whole, took towards the First World War. The contention of the chapter is that the Russo-Japanese War shook the long stability in Europe and caused the 'rigidification' of the two alliance blocks, an armaments race and mutual suspicion, which contributed to, if not shaped, the European road to the Great War. The chapter further argues that much of the road to the Great War was associated with the changing perceptions of the German leadership regarding the military balance in Europe during and soon after the Russo-Japanese War. The Russo-Japanese War provided inspiration for the armies that were to clash in the First World War.

Keywords: Europe; first world war; Russia's military; Russo-Japanese War



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