Under The Sun

Tuesday, May 27, 2003

Tsushima. On the morning of May 27, 1904, the Russian Baltic Fleet, headed by four new battleships, having traveled halfway around the world from its home port, steamed into the Straight of Tsushima off southern Japan. In their path stood the main strength of the Imperial Japanese Navy, fewer ships and smaller, under Admiral Togo. But the Japanese were better trained, their ships faster and more maneuverable, and, especially, their admiral more daring. Only three Russian ships escaped sinking or capture, and only one of those made port at Vladivostok. The Baltic Fleet, the heart of the Russian navy, had ceased to exist.

After Tsushima, the Russian government sued for peace, and surrendered Manchuria, rich with natural resources, to the Japanese. Suddenly, the Land of the Rising Sun was a world power, and its navy the proudest in the world. And the possibility of winning victory by a single, decisive stroke, accomplished at sea by training and daring, was planted firmly in the minds of every aspiring solider and politican in Japan....

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