After nearly superhuman effort and an unprecedented voyage of 18,000 miles around the world from the Baltic, the now Vice Admiral Zinovi Petrovitch Rozhdestvenski, by May 1905 was steaming through the South China Sea. The Third Pacific Squadron, under the command of Rear Admiral Nikolai Nebogatov, had joined Rozhdestvenski’s fleet that month. With Port Arthur now in Japanese hands the only remaining Russian port in the region was Vladivostok.
Admiral Rozhestvensky was wounded, and the control of the squadron was disorganized. The commanders of the battleships Emperor Alexander III and Borodino, The Alexander, Borodino and then the other battleships came under the lateral fire of the Japanese. However, by 16:00 hours Admiral Togo had lost sight of the Russian ships in the mist and smoke.
Admiral Togo ceased firing and ordered his destroyers to rush in and attack the Russian ships at close range. The battleship Sysoy Veliky along with the cruisers Admiral Nakhimov and Vladimir Monomakh, exploded. Three other ships tried to head for Tsushima but were so badly damaged that they were scuttled by their crews on the morning of May 28th. The Navarin (shown to the left) was blown up by floating mines and sank as well.
In the battle with two Japanese des-troyers, the destroyer Gronky, under Commander Georgy Kern, sank with her colours flying. The last ship to break off the fight the Navy-the cruiser Dmitry Donskoy. On the evening of May 27th, her crew withstood a fierce battle against six Japanese cruisers. On the morning of May 28th the badly damaged ship was scuttled, following the orders of the senior officer, Commander Konstantin Blokhin, who had replaced the mortally wounded Captain Ivan Lebedev.
In the image above right, the wounded captain Lebedev of the Dmitiri Donskoi surrenders to the Japanese on Ulleungdo Island. His crew scuttled the ship earlier rather than have the ship taken away and used again under the Japanese flag as some other vessels were.
Togo steamed all night till he was about 30 miles southeast of Ulleungdo at daybreak. Almost at once, he received a wireless report from the Sixth Division that a group of Russian vessels had been discovered almost sixty miles further to the south, going north.
Rear Admiral Nebogatov realized that his sluggish hulks could not have escaped from Togo’s rapidly approaching forces. So he did not even try. He then estimated almost all of his 2000 men would drown were he to scuttle his ships. Nebogatov could not order such a meaningless sacrifice of the lives of his men.
Following the Tsushima calamity, Russia tallied its heavy losses: 5,045 Russian sailors were killed and 6,106 taken prisoner. Victory cost the Japanese three destroyers as well as 699 officers and sailors. After the battle of May 27-28, the government of Nicholas II agreed to peace negotiations. According to the Portsmouth Treaty of 23 August 1905, Japan was given the Kwantung Peninsula along with Port Arthur and the southern part of Sakhalin Island up to the 50th parallel.
The Japanese victory inflamed Asian nationalism and contributed to the struggle against colonialism throughout the region. The military debacle exposed the weakness of the tsarist regime and is usually considered the prime cause of the Revolution of 1905.
After the complete defeat of Russia’s land and naval forces, the tsar sued for peace. U.S. president Theodore Roosevelt brokered the Treaty of Portsmouth (August 23, 1905), but the Japanese believed that they had lost the peace and did not trust Western diplomacy again until after World War Two.
This work was started at the end of October 1905, and a link from Ullungdo to Matsue via Dokdo was completed on November 9 of the same year. Japan Naval General Staff. Consequently in 1905, a network of military communication lines were completed from the Korean mainland-Chukpyeon to Ullungdo, Dokdo, and Matsue.
The map on the left illustrates another stage of Japan’s militarization of the East Sea (Sea of Japan) The Dokdo ~ Matsue submarine line ensured that Japan could maintain control and monitor all acitivities in the region. The green line represents the first stage of Japanese Naval telegraph lines and the blue line illustrates the Dokdo~Matsue line which design was hastily planned immediately after the Battle of Tsushima.
In short, for the Japanese government, Takeshima/Dokdo was nothing more than an object of military value, and it was closely related to and inseparable from military occupation of various parts of Korea at that time.
Here we again see proof of the militarization of Dokdo Island. The underwater telegraph lines extend from Matsue, Japan~Dokdo~Ulleungdo and to Wonsan and Northward. These lines were used to link the Japanese Army stationed in the northern provinces of what is now North Korea. (click for highly detailed images)
|February 8, 1904||Japan Declares War against Russia and launches attack in Incheon, Korea and Port Arthur sinking Russian ships. Japanese troops advance into Seoul.|
|February 16, 1904||The Japanese begin occupying Korea in force, the Japanese 12th Division lands at Incheon, Japanese troops begin advancing north toward the Yalu – the First Japanese Army is organized.|
|February 23, 1904||Japan coerces Korea into signing the Japan~Korea protocol allowing Japan to “legally” appropriate Korean land for military purposes.|
|Late March 1904||Reporting from Korea, Japanese envoy Hayashi recommends that Japan install a minister with broad powers and urges the imposition of fiscal reform, economic concessions, and permanent military bases.|
|April 26, 1904||After the Russian Navy sinks a Japanese troop transport, every single Japanese soldier goes down with the ship rather than surrender.|
|May 19, 1904||Korea finally breaks relations and abrogates its treaties with Russia.|
|May 31, 1904||The Japanese cabinet adopts plans to control Korean foreign policy, military, police, finances, communications, and transportation – vague plans are formulated for Japanese migration to Korea and for exploitation of its resources.|
|June 15, 1904||Russian warships sink two Japanese transports off Japan – over 2000 men and several batteries of siege guns are lost|
|Early August 1904||The Korean court agrees to appoint pro-Japanese advisors on financial and foreign affairs. The Korean currency is reformed, securing Japanese financial hegemony.|
|August 14, 1904||The Japanese Navy defeats the Russians off the Korean coast in the battle of Ulsan.|
|September 25, 1904||The Japanese Navy completes the Ulleungdo Island~Sasebo Naval Base, Japan submarine telegraph line.|
|November 20, 1904||The Japanese Warship Tsushima inspects Dokdo Island and confirms the topography of Dokdo Island is suitable for a military watchtower with submarine telegraph cables to be built on the East Islet.|
|January 5, 1905||The Survey Report of Liancourt Rocks by the Warship Tsushima is submitted to the Japanese Navy’s Hydrographic Department Director, Admiral Kimotsuki.|
|January 28, 1905||In a closed cabinet meeting, Shimane Prefecture decides to “incorporate” Dokdo and name the island Takeshima.|
|February 20, 1905||The Battle of Mukden (Shenyang) begins, it is the largest land battle fought to the date with over 500,000 Russian and Japanese troops involved and over 150,000 killed or wounded.|
|February 22, 1905||Shimane Prefecture annexes Dokdo Island as part of Japanese territory.|
|April 1905||The Japanese cabinet decides to impose a protectorate on Korea in the near future.|
|May 27~29, 1905||The Battle of Tsushima is fought in the East Sea (Sea of Japan) It is the largest naval battle ever fought to date. Over 5,000 Russians are killed and 6,000 Russians taken prisioner. Japan loses three destoyers and about 600 officers and sailors. The Russian Navy is destroyed and Japan clearly becomes a world power.|
|May 30, 1905||The Japanese Navy drafts final plans for new watchtowers and submarine cables to be built and installed on Ulleungdo and Dokdo Islands.|
|June 8, 1905||America officially offers to host peace talks between Japan and Russia and by June 12, both countries formally accept negotiations.|
|June 24, 1905||The Japanese warship Hashitade inspects Dokdo Island.|
|July 14, 1905||Japanese Navy begins contruction of Ulleungdo and Dokdo watchtowers and telegraph lines.|
|July 29, 1905||The secret Taft-Katsura Agreement America recognizes Japanese predominance in Korea in return for a Japanese pledge not to interfere in the Philippines.|
|August 12, 1905||The Anglo-Japanese alliance is renewed and expanded to provide mutual support if either is attacked by a single power instead of two and is extended to India – Britain recognizes the Japanese dominance of Korea in return for a Japanese pledge not to threaten British interest in India and Burma.|
|September 5, 1905||The Treaty of Porstmouth Ends the Russo~Japanese War: Russia recognizes Japanese control of Korea, the Liaotung Peninsula, southern Sakhalin Island, and the southern Manchurian rail system.|
|November 9, 1905||Japanese Navy completes Ulleungdo and Dokdo Islands’ watchtowers and submarine telegraph cable lines.|
|November 17, 1905||Japan imposes a protectorate on Korea via the coerced Japan~Korea Protectorate Treaty.|
The Japanese incorporated Dokdo only two days after the start of the largest land battle in world history to the day called the Battle of Mukden (Shenyang, China). The Japanese Imperial Navy was posturing for Russia’s advancing Baltic Naval Fleet rapidly approaching the East Sea (Sea of Japan) that was around Madagascar in February 1905. The confrontation between the Baltic Fleet and the Japanese Navy would result in the largest naval battle in history up to that day and would take place in the waters near both Ulleungdo and Dokdo. The Japanese Foreign Ministry is making a grave error when glossing over the circumstances surrounding their involvement in Korea at this time.