|Japanese assault on the entrenched Russian forces, 1904|
Sunday, September 18, 2016
Hisotry Documentary: The Russo-Japanese War (1904-1905). The Russian-Japanese Conflict (1904-1905), Documentary
The Russo-Japanese War (8 February 1904 – 5 September 1905) was fought between the Russian Empire and the Empire of Japan over rival imperial ambitions in Manchuria and Korea. The major theatres of operations were the Liaodong Peninsula and Mukden in Southern Manchuria and the seas around Korea, Japan and the Yellow Sea.
Russia sought a warm-water port on the Pacific Ocean for their navy and for maritime trade. Vladivostok was operational only during the summer, whereas Port Arthur, a naval base in Liaodong Province leased to Russia by China, was operational all year. Since the end of the First Sino-Japanese War in 1895, negotiations between Russia and Japan proved impractical. Russia had demonstrated an expansionist policy in the Siberian Far East from the reign of Ivan the Terrible in the 16th century. Through threat of Russian expansion, Japan offered to recognize Russian dominance in Manchuria in exchange for recognition of Korea as being within the Japanese sphere of influence. Russia refused and demanded Korea north of the 39th parallel to be a neutral buffer zone between Russia and Japan. The Japanese government perceived a Russian threat to its strategic interests and chose to go to war. After negotiations broke down in 1904, the Japanese Navy opened hostilities by attacking the Russian Eastern Fleet at Port Arthur in a surprise attack.
Russia suffered numerous defeats by Japan, but Tsar Nicholas II was convinced that Russia would win and chose to remain engaged in the war; at first, to await the outcomes of certain naval battles, and later to preserve the dignity of Russia by averting a "humiliating peace". The war concluded with the Treaty of Portsmouth, mediated by US President Theodore Roosevelt. The complete victory of the Japanese military surprised world observers. The consequences transformed the balance of power in East Asia, resulting in a reassessment of Japan's recent entry onto the world stage.