The yellow menace

“The Japanese are beating us with machine-guns, but never mind: we’ll beat them with icons” reacted General Mikhail Ivanovich Dragomirov, military adviser of the tsar when he learned that his ruler Nicholas II of Russia would send icons to boost the low combat morale of his troops beaten in the Russo-Japanese War. However, the monarch’s unique method did not work as Russians suffered a severe defeat against Japan – whom they had previously held in disdain. The Japanese victory gained historic significance as it was the first armed conflict of the modern age in which an Asian country beat a European great power. The Russo-Japanese War ended on September 5, 1905, with the Treaty of Portsmouth.

With that triumph, Japan could enter the league of great powers. The fact so shocked the Western world that the European press became almost hysterical heralding the age of “Yellow Peril”.

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