The Russo-Japanese War

Essay by soanxious2touchCollege, UndergraduateA+, March 2006

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The Russo-Japanese War of 1904 was a military conflict in which a victorious Japan forced Russia to abandon its expansionist policy in the Far East, becoming the first Asian power in modern times to defeat a European power. The Russo-Japanese War developed out of the rivalry between Russia and Japan for dominance in Korea and Manchuria. In 1898, Russia had pressured China into granting it a lease for the strategically important port of Port Arthur in southern Manchuria. Russia thereby entered into occupation of the peninsula, even though, in concert with other European powers, it had forced Japan to relinquish just such a right after the latter's decisive victory over China. Moreover, in 1896, Russia had won rights to extend the Trans-Siberian Railroad across Chinese-held Manchuria to the Russian seaport of Vladivostok, thus gaining control of an important strip of Manchurian territory. (Kort, 53 & 73)

However, though Russia had built the Trans-Siberian Railroad, it still lacked the transportation facilities necessary to reinforce its limited armed forces in Manchuria with sufficient men and supplies.

(Kort, 51-52) Japan, by contrast, had steadily expanded its army since its war with China in 1894 and by 1904 had gained a marked superiority over Russia in the number of ground troops in the Far East. After Russia reneged in 1903 on an agreement to withdraw its troops from Manchuria, Japan decided it was time to attack. The war began on Feb. 8, 1904, when the main Japanese fleet launched a surprise attack and siege on the Russian naval squadron at Port Arthur. The Japanese landed an army in Korea that quickly overran that country; another Japanese army landed on the Liaodong Peninsula, and cut off the DaLione garrison from the main body of Russian forces in Manchuria. The Japanese then pushed northward, and the...