Rotem KownerJul 7, 2023
Great Battles Series
Oxford University Press 2022
Today I talked to Rotem Kowner about Tsushima (Oxford UP, 2022), which is part of the great battle series in Oxford University press. The Battle of Tsushima, in which the Japanese Imperial Navy defeated the Russian Imperial Navy, was unprecedented in many ways. It marks the first naval victory of an Asian power over a major European power; the most devastating defeat suffered by the Imperial Russian Navy in its entire history; and the only truly decisive engagement between two battleship fleets in modern times. In addition, the Battle of Tsushima was also the most decisive naval engagement of the Russo-Japanese War and one that exerted a major impact on the course of that war. Its impact was so dramatic, in fact, that the two belligerents concluded a peace agreement within three months of the battle's conclusion. Beyond the military and diplomatic realms, being the first great defeat of a “Western” “power” by a non-Western modern military the battle had profound implications across Asia and the colonial world.
Ran Zwigenberg is an associate professor at Pennsylvania State University.