From Russia With Blood, Beauty, and Beasts

From Slate Magazine:

“Russian soil/ Loves, loves blood.”—Anna Akhmatova

All respect to the late Archduke Ferdinand, but the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-05 was arguably the most significant conflict of the 20th century.

Looking for a quick war to distract attention from his corrupt government, Czar Nicolas II thought he had an easy mark in the Japanese and then proceeded to get his royal ass handed to him. If he had won, the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 fails, Stalin dies in obscurity, and Hitler has no early eastern ally. If Japan loses, its arrogant imperial militarism is discredited, China isn’t invaded, Chairman Mao dies in obscurity, Pearl Harbor never happens, and Hitler has no Pacific ally.

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