Japan was closed to the world until 1854 and its technology then was literally medieval. Great Britain, France and Russia divided the globe in the nineteenth century, but Japan was catching up. Its army and navy were retrained by Western powers and equipped with the latest weapons and ships. Japan wanted to further emulate its European mentors and establish a protectorate over Korea, yet Japanese efforts were blocked by Imperial Russia who had their own designs on the peninsula.
The Russo-Japanese War started with a surprise Japanese naval attack against an anchored enemy fleet still believing itself at peace. It ended with the Battle of Tsushima, the most decisive surface naval battle of the 20th century. This gripping study describes this pivotal battle, and shows how the Japanese victory over Russia led to the development of the dreadnought battleship, and gave rise to an almost mythical belief in Japanese naval invincibility.