Russian-Japanese War

The Russian-Japanese war of 1904 was a European
conflict that was

fought because one country was becoming too strong.
The conflict was mainly

fought because two separate countries had their
own special interests in far east

countries like Korea, China, and Manchuria.

Britain
and Japan recognized the independance of China and Korea, but at

the same
time authorized each other to intervene in either territory if their own


"special interests" were threatened by another power or by internal disorder.


That power was now Russia. There was already a rivalry going on between


Britain and Russia because of the Trans-Siberian railway but now there was


another dimension. Russia now had access to the pacific. Her presence in
Asia

threatened already established Britain interests. China leased the
ice-free Port

Arthur to Russia and allowed them to store their war ships
there. The two

empires were set on a collision course.

Britain was
very reluctant to commit herself to a distant threat of war so she

took
a step to allying herself with the growing industrial power of Japan. In


doing so, Britain found her soldiers in the east.

At this time Russia failed
to realize how powerful Britain and Japan had

made themselves. Russia
was unable to take Japan seriously even though they

had many reports on
how large the Japanese naval and military forces were.

Unfortunately,
Russia\'s constant penetration into Korea and Manchuria

continued unabated
despite the presence of numbers of Japanese immagrants

and traders.

Russia
had succeeded in replacing the now defunct Chinese influence with

her own.
Russia now began taking over the administrative departments and had

their
officers train the Korean army to fight on their side.

In April, May, and
June of 1903, Russian\'s had told the Japanese that they

would move out
of China. They did not and continued to occupy the land. In

July of the
that same year, the Japanese Ambassador proposed that Russia and

Japan
were to recognize the independance of China and Korea. Both nations

were
to rcognize preponderance, the Japanese in Korea balanced by russians in


Manchuria. They were to recall their troops from their respective area as
soon as

possible. In return, the Russians would protect the railways in
Manchuria and

the Japanese would do the same in Korea.

It came to the
attention of the Japanese that the Russians were building up

their naval
and military forces in the far east. They were also moving troops not


only into Manchuria, but also into North Korea. It now became obvious to the


Japnese that the Russians had no intention of releasing their hold on Manchuria


and Korea. Nevertheless, the negotiations went on. On February 10th, 1904,


both nations produced formal declarations of war.

On February 8th, a large
part of the Russian Pacific squadron lat anchor in

the roadstead of Port
Arthur. The ships were arranged in three lines running east

and west.
The innermost consisting of five battleships: the flagship, the

petroulouk,
the sebastopol, peresuept, pobieda, and pollada. The middle line

was headed
by two more battleships which were the tsarevich and the retvizan.

They
were followed by three crusiers and the outline of three more. Meanwhile,


off Round Island about 60 miles east of Port Arthur, the Japanese fleet was


making its disposition under Admiral Togo. He was in command of the

combined
fleet which had left Japan two days before they had broken off

negotiations.

Around
11:00pm the Shiralaimo, the leading Japanese destroyer, came

within sight
of the two patrolling Russian destroyers, the Pastoropin and the

Bezstrashini.
To the surprise of the Japanese, the two ships turned around and

headed
back to Port Arthur so the captains could report to the Russian Admiral


Stark. At this time there was no fighting going on at all. However, as the
ships

turned to go and make their report, the Japanese began to fire at
the same time

that the two Russian destroyers were making their report.

The
Pollada was the first Russian ship to go down, they were hit mid ship

and
one of the coal tankers caught on fire. The Retvizan was the next with a 200


square foot hole in her port side. The Tsarevich was hit on her stern.


Unfortunately, her bulkheads shattered and the steering compartment flooded.


All three ships tried to make it to shallow water. The Pollada grounded near
a

light house on the west side of the harbor, and the Retvizan and the
Tsarevich

came to grief in the narrow gullet of the harbor, almost blocking
it. Admiral

Togo of Japan, saw this and sent five merchant ships around
with bombs to

blow up