Japan’s prestige peaked after a series of spectacular Japanese military victories over humiliated Russian naval forces at its great base at Port Arthur (January 1905); over smashed Russian armies at the inland city of Mukden, 220 miles northeast of Port Arthur (February-March); and in the Tsushima Island Port, 50 miles south of Pusan, Korea, in the Tsushima Strait (May 27, 1905) where virtually the entire Russian Baltic fleet of thirty-seven ships was destroyed and nearly 5,000 men drowned. This was the first time a major European power had been defeated in a major battle by a nonwhite nation. Western mystique took a hit. Though the Japanese had lost only three small boats and suffered a mere 110 men killed, she was reaching the limit of her strength. On May 31, only four days after their spectacular naval victory over the Russian fleet, Japan asked U.S. President and Harvard educated Theodore Roosevelt to mediate a formal end to the war. Both England and the U.S., the only two countries powerful enough to block Japan’s advances in Korea, favored Japanese colonization of Korea in order to selfishly protect their own respective regional imperialistic designs from threatened Japanese competition.


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