“The Russo-Japanese War (8th February 1904 – 5th September 1905) was “the first great war of the 20th century.” It grew out of rival imperial ambitions of the Russian Empire and the Empire of Japan over Manchuria and Korea.
“Russia sought a warm water port on the Pacific Ocean, for their navy as well as for maritime trade. Vladivostok was only operational during the summer season, but Port Arthur would be operational all year. Japan offered to recognize Russian dominance in Manchuria in exchange for recognition of Korea as a Japanese sphere of influence. Russia refused this, so Japan chose war to counter the Russian aggression in Asia. After discussions broke down in 1904, the Japanese Navy attacked the Russian eastern fleet at Port Arthur, a naval base in the Liaotung province leased to Russia by China, which led to war. The Japanese defeated the Russians in a series of battles on land and at sea.
“The resulting campaigns, in which the Japanese military attained victory over the Russian forces arrayed against them, were unexpected by world observers. Over time, the consequences of these battles would transform the balance of power in East Asia, resulting in a reassessment of Japan’s recent entry onto the world stage.”