Outbreak of the Russo-Japanese War

Late Tsarist Russia

Russia 1904.0207

Outbreak of the Russo-Japanese War

Late Tsarist Russia (7 February 1904)

Historical Map of Russia & the former Soviet Union

Russia's tightening influence in Manchuria and Korea led to tensions with Japan. With the Russians also building the Trans-Siberian Railway to connect their European heartland to the Far East, the Japanese decided they had to act quickly to prevent total Russian domination of the region. On February 8, the Japanese launched a surprise torpedo attack on the Russian Pacific Fleet at Port Arthur, triggering war.

Main Events

Anglo-Japanese Alliance

The United Kingdom and the Empire of Japan signed the Anglo-Japanese Alliance in London, promising that they will support each other if either country became involved in a war with more than one Great Power. The Alliance was announced on 12 February 1902 and marked the end of Britain's Splendid Isolation.

Battle of Port Arthur

The Empire of Japan launched a squadron of destroyers on a surprise night attack against the Russian fleet anchored at Port Arthur, Manchuria. Engagements continued over the following morning, ending at midday when the Japanese withdrew. Although neither side had lost any major ships in the battle, the Russians were ill-equipped to repair their damages. The next day, on 10 February, the Japanese declared war, formally beginning the Russo-Japanese War.

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