The political prerogatives of the autocracy increasingly came into conflict with the modernising impulse of the Russian state and economic and social developments. There was a fundamental incompatibility between imperial ambitions and the existing structure of power in a world undergoing a technological transformation. Russian defeats in the Russo-Japanese war of 1904–5 confirmed the lessons of the Crimean War (1854–6) a half-century earlier: substantial reforms were required for the Russian state to meet the heavy demands of modern warfare. The Japanese were themselves a good example of how this grafting could be achieved. Military reform in Russia would have been completed by 1916, and this in part set the German timetable for war in 1914. The revolution of 1905 resulted in due course in the establishment of a constitutional monarchy (although skewed towards the monarchy), but Russia ultimately failed to assimilate technological modernisation and economic change to a conservative social and political framework, and the whole edifice collapsed under the strain of war in February 1917.
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