Port Arthur, Siege of
PORT ARTHUR, SIEGE OF
Originally constructed by the Chinese as a fortress in 1892, Port Arthur (modern Lushun) protected an important naval base and roadstead at the foot of the Liaotung Peninsula. In the great-power race for Chinese bases and influence that followed the Sino-Japanese War of 1894 to 1895, Russia in 1898 obtained a twenty-five-year lease on Port Arthur's naval facilities and the surrounding territory. In an age of coal-burning vessels, Port Arthur was an important fueling station that would enable the growing Russian Pacific Squadron to interdict Japanese naval communications in the Yellow Sea and beyond.
Short of resources, the Russians only began seriously improving Port Arthur in 1901. The Japanese surprise attack that opened the Russo-Japanese War on the night of February 8–9, 1904, caught Russian naval units and Port Arthur unprepared. Admiral Heihachiro Togo's fleet soon bottled up the Russian squadron, while a Japanese army advanced overland from Dairen (Ta-lien) to lay siege to the Russian ground defenses. Although poorly led, the Russian defenders withstood four major assaults before the Japanese seizure of 203 Meter Hill enabled artillery observers to subject the warships in the port to accurate siege mortar fire. They were soon pounded to pieces. The garrison capitulated on January 2, 1905, thus freeing the besieging army to reinforce the four Japanese field armies already operating against Adjutant General Alexei N. Kuropatkin's army group near Mukden.
Port Arthur was both a symbol of heroic Russian resistance and a distraction that goaded Kuropatkin to decisive field action earlier and farther south than he had originally planned. On the Russian home front, the fall of Port Arthur added fuel to the fire of popular disturbances that culminated in the Revolution of 1905.
See also: china, relations with; japan, relations with; kuropatkin, alexei nikolayevich; russo-japanese war
Menning, Bruce W. (2000). Bayonets before Bullets: The Imperial Russian Army, 1861–1914. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.
Bruce W. Menning
"Port Arthur, Siege of." Encyclopedia of Russian History. . Encyclopedia.com. (December 16, 2018). https://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/port-arthur-siege
"Port Arthur, Siege of." Encyclopedia of Russian History. . Retrieved December 16, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/port-arthur-siege
Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).
Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.
Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:
Modern Language Association
The Chicago Manual of Style
American Psychological Association
- Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
- In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.