Bombardment of Port Arthur, 1904


Russo-Japanese War== During the 1890s, the Russians had focused on increasing their economic activity and industrial output. A part of the 20-Year Plan was the development of the Siberian wastes. Vladivostok was now the sixth-largest port in Russia, and the colony at Port Arthur in China was almost as large (as an ice-free backup for harsh winters). This had meant that the Russian influence in Manchuria was now almost enough to worry the other Great Powers--especially Japan. From 1901 to 1904, Tokyo made repeated requests for negotiations regarding "the worrisome conflict of interest between our nations' repective interests in North-East China, and how this situation may best be resolved through diplomacy as opposed to the taking up of arms." However, while Alexander II had taken a conciliatory attitude to the imperial sun rising in the east, he had died in 1894, and been succeeded by his first son Nicholas, who'd missed a brush with death in the 1860s. Nicholas was not in favour of negotiated settlement, saying "The little yellow men know where we are: they also doubtless know of our fortifications and our armed strength."

On October 4, 1904, Imperial Japanese Navy ships blockaded Vladivostok, Port Arthur, and bombarded Magadan. Troops swarmed from Korea to attack the rail links to the great ports, and Russia, confident of no intervention by anyone else, declared war on Japan.

The war went poorly for Russia at first, as no reinforcements could be shipped any sooner than within two months, and winter was approaching. However, the garrisons at the ports were well-stocked, and the Siege of Port Arthur was broken by April 1905, at a cost of 125,000 Russian to 93,000 Japanese casualties. With the problems in trade starting to hit US markets, Theodore Roosevelt intervened. The Treaty of Portsmouth was signed between Russia and Japan on August 22, 1905, with Russia ceding joint authority of Port Arthur, and Japan guaranteeing to keep clear of any actions threatening to Russia.

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