No GNW (or “Peter goes South”)

Im not and I didnt :p
It is good that you are not serious because if you were I’d start having serious doubts about your good taste (well, of course, you have it liking my posts but wishing “Lucifer” to leave….) . It is bad that you did not watch because (a) you missed a lot (except for the last season) and (b) you are talking about things you don’t know. 😜
It is good that you are not serious because if you were I’d start having serious doubts about your good taste (well, of course, you have it liking my posts but wishing “Lucifer” to leave….) . It is bad that you did not watch because (a) you missed a lot (except for the last season) and (b) you are talking about things you don’t know. 😜
That last season was so bad, it was a waste of good actors.
`So looks like peace will come, I admit this is going to be a hard pill for Japan to swallow but very much expected, every other power wants the Qing shaken not to their empire crumble and that's very much what the Japanese desires would cause.

Though they did get Korea and in a way just like with Russia it's better to just get a ''small'' piece of land than a zone larger than western Europe to police and colonize, better to focus those efforts on one place than dilute it.
That last season was so bad, it was a waste of good actors.
Yah. As I understand they wanted to end the whole thing more than once but the ratings were too high and viewers were asking for more so they put into the last season all “fashionable” crap they could come with killing the ratings and the series.
`So looks like peace will come, I admit this is going to be a hard pill for Japan to swallow but very much expected, every other power wants the Qing shaken not to their empire crumble and that's very much what the Japanese desires would cause.

Yes, in OTL Japan was quite instrumental in triggering the process.

Though they did get Korea and in a way just like with Russia it's better to just get a ''small'' piece of land than a zone larger than western Europe to police and colonize, better to focus those efforts on one place than dilute it.
They became too successful and ambitious for their own good and simply could not contain themselves until it was too late.
Lasting peace?
316. Lasting peace?
The easiest time for eating someone is when this man is sick or away on the vacations. As a result, he does not know who ate him and you can maintain the good relations.” [1]
E. Schwarz, ‘The shadow’
“Energy and persistence conquer all things.” [2]
Benjamin Franklin
“…supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy's resistance without fighting.”
Sun Tzu
“I would point out that Japan's proposal at the Versailles Peace Conference on the principle of racial equality was rejected by delegates such as those from Britain and the United States.”
Hideki Tojo
“If it were necessary to give the briefest possible definition of imperialism, we should have to say that imperialism is the monopoly stage of capitalism.” [3] Vladimir Lenin
Smart I like, smart aleck - I don’t”
‘Raw deal’
You can’t herd people into Paradise with a stick”
A.K. Tolstoy, ‘Don Juan’​

Last moment maneuvers. Initially, Ito was proposing to start negotiations without an armistice but this was viewed by the “Powers” as an attempt to be too smart for his own good. It was agreed upon that the peace negotiations will start in Shimonoseki on April 1, 1895 with cease fire being in effect from the late January. Of course, with the grandiose plan being only partially fulfilled, Ito (PM) and company had been planning to cheat the “powers”. A surprise attack on Weihaiwei did not have too much sense anymore and there was a strong foreign naval presence making such an attack after ceasefire was declared rather suicidal.

However, there was a serious chance that attention of the “powers” can be distracted by the ongoing negotiations and they’ll overlook such a trifle as invasion of the Pescadores Islands which would lead to occupation of Taiwan. An assumption had been based upon the same deep settled feeling of superiority comparing to the “western barbarians” from which China already suffered dearly: while both Chinese and Japanese considered these barbarians mentally and otherwise inferior, attitude on the opposite side of the equation was reciprocal and if some nasty things could be tolerated or even lauded when took place between the European powers, they were unacceptable when an Asiatic state was trying to do them to a concert of the European Great Powers. Even more or less neutral Russia was obliged to join other powers on that.

Actually, the first stage of the plan worked out just fine: on the March of 23 the Japanese force arrived at the Pescadores and on March 26, all the islands of the archipelago were under Japanese control, and Rear Admiral Tanaka Tsunatsune was appointed governor. During the campaign the Japanese lost 28 killed and wounded, while the Chinese losses were almost 350 killed or wounded and nearly 1,000 taken prisoner. This was a good part. The bad part was that this became known during the negotiations, the “powers” demanded immediate evacuation of the islands and release of all prisoners. The ceasefire had been brokered by the Great Powers and is not to be violated without very serious repercussions. Of course if this was done without government’s order, then the ceasefire was not violated but all participants are going to be treated as the pirates and dealt with accordingly: the allied squadron is going to sail to the Pescadores, and all captured perpetrators are going to be tried and hanged. Taking into an account that the “mediators’” naval force had been now augmented by the Russian squadron which included a modern battleship, perspective of a confrontation did not look promising and Ito ordered withdrawal from the Pescadores.

The Treaty. To reciprocate, Ito demanded indemnity of 500,000,000 silver kuping taels and delivery of the Beiyang Fleet to Japan. Both these requirements were considered excessive.

Before the treaty was signed, Li Hongzhang was attacked by a right-wing Japanese extremist on April 5. He was fired upon and wounded on his way back to his lodgings at Injoji temple. The public outcry aroused by the assassination attempt caused the Japanese to temper their demands. The conference was temporarily adjourned and resumed on April 10. The treaty was drafted with John W. Foster, former American Secretary of State, advising the Qing Dynasty. It was signed by Count Ito Hirobumi and Viscount Mutsu Munemitsu for the Emperor of Japan and Li Hongzhang and Li Jingfang on behalf of the Emperor of China.

  • According to the terms of the treaty, China had to pay an indemnity of 100 million silver kuping taels to Japan [4], over a period of seven years. One kuping (treasury) tael is about 37.3 grams (1.32 oz) in weight. The 100 million kuping taels is about 3,725 tons of silver, approximately two Japan’s annual revenues.
  • “China recognises definitively the full and complete independence and autonomy of Korea, and, in consequence, the payment of tribute and the performance of ceremonies and formalities by Korea to China, in derogation of such independence and autonomy, shall wholly cease for the future.” Which formally made Korea an independent state with no clear obligations toward any foreign country including Japan. It was assumed by default that Japan is going to have strong influence there but it was not explicitly stated that it will have any exclusive rights there. Strictly speaking, Ito’s government was caught into its own demagoguery regarding Korean independence and reforms.
  • China ceded to Japan Liaodong peninsula. “ The line of demarcation begins at the mouth of the River Yalu and ascends that stream to the mouth of the River An-ping, from thence the line runs to Fêng-huang, from thence to Hai-cheng, from thence to Ying-kow, forming a line which describes the southern portion of the territory. The places above named are included in the ceded territory. When the line reaches the River Liao at Ying-kow, it follows the course of the stream to its mouth, where it terminates. The mid-channel of the River Liao shall be taken as the line of demarcation.”
  • “The inhabitants of the territories ceded to Japan who wish to take up their residence outside the ceded districts shall be at liberty to sell their real property and retire. For this purpose a period of two years from the date of the exchange of ratifications of the present Act shall be granted. At the expiration of that period those of the inhabitants who shall not have left such territories shall, at the option of Japan, be deemed to be Japanese subjects.”
  • “All Treaties between Japan and China having come to an end as a consequence of war, China engages, immediately upon the exchange of the ratifications of this Act, to appoint Plenipotentiaries to conclude with the Japanese Plenipotentiaries, a Treaty of Commerce and Navigation and a Convention to regulate Frontier Intercourse and Trade. The Treaties, Conventions, and Regulations now subsisting between China and the European Powers shall serve as a basis for the said Treaty and Convention between Japan and China.” Also China agreed to open 4 additional ports with Japan having its consuls in each of them and the ships under Japanese flag got the right to navigate onthe Upper Yangtze River, from Ichang to Chungking and on the Woosung River and the Canal, from Shanghai to Suchow and Hangchow.
  • Japanese traders in the inner China were permitted to rent the warehouses tax free, “Japanese subjects shall be free to engage in all kinds of manufacturing industries in all the open cities, towns, and ports of China, and shall be at liberty to import into China all kinds of machinery, paying only the stipulated import duties thereon.”, etc.
In other words, a typical one-sided treaty similar to those China already had with the Western states.

Wilhelm II. And just after the treaty was signed, there almost was a crisis. Kaiser Wilhelm II wanted a naval base in China and came with an idea that for an extra payment Japan must return Liaodong to China for an additional payment after which China will “lease” it to Germany for some token payment [5]. On this issue Japan did get Russian diplomatic support and Wilhelm had to back off.

To change his mind, Wilhelm was secretly given some of the Russian research materials regarding Lüshunkou: prior to the Sino-Japanese war, for a while, the port was a subject of Russian naval interest and more than once visited by the Russian “researchers” of all types after which the idea was recognized as impractical. Wilhelm was, of course, a colonial enthusiast but a detailed map and assessments of the expenses and amount of work needed to make it suitable for the modern battleships and defensible from the land assault made him impressed: excavation of most of a harbor, hundreds guns, long defensive perimeter and a need to permanently keep garrison of at least 40,000 had been discouraging and he decided to look for something more affordable. Anyway, an idea that Japan is going to be on hook for all these expenses also was heartwarming.

Japan. Of course, Japan did not have an option but to be at least somewhat grateful for the effort made by Russia on its behalf: for Ito, ceding a territory won by the heroic effort of Marshal Oyama and his troops would be a big loss of the face and Lüshunkou’s limitations as a naval base were not immediately clear because Japan simply did not have a single battleship. Pretty much the same was attitude regarding the land fortifications: against whom? Anyway, even if not fully up to the expected scope, the peace was glorious and kept Ito government in power. However, there was a considerable resentment in the army, navy and in the “patriotic” circles of Japanese society. What looked as an uninterrupted line of the successes (at least according to the Japanese propaganda machine), was stopped by the foreign powers which did not have any right to interfere and who clearly treated Empire of Japan as something inferior. Well, of course behavior of the Northern neighbor was more descent and worthy of maintaining the existing friendly relations. Within the reasonable limits, of course. But these attitudes created a serious dilemma. For a domestic consumption, the general public had to consider the Western powers (except Russia) as hostile to Japan while for all practical reasons Japan was needing imports of the increasing amounts of a raw cotton, metals and machinery and the markets for its exports of silk. “Opening” China and Korea added markets for exporting the Japan-made machinery and reasonably cheap imports of food but the growing trade with the West was a necessity and you have to be nice to the trade partners whom you need but who don’t necessarily need you.

On the other side of the equation, situation with Japan, also was anything but clear to the “West”. It was clearly much more advanced than Qing China and performance of its army and navy was quite impressive but, to put things into a proper perspective, did the victories against Chinese indicate that Japan became a military factor comparable to the European powers? After all, who was not beating the Chinese? The Shimoneski Treaty was putting Japan on an equal footing with the European powers in China so how strong is it going to be as a competitor? It started looking as a serious competitor to the British textiles and will it now try to squeeze concessions in China at the expense of western powers?

What about the European trade with Japan itself? So far policy of all its governments was to limit imports to a narrow nomenclature of the manufactured items (instead of importing the big volumes of low quality junk) and the main potentially promising sectors were importing raw cotton and machinery and building the ships for IJN. The manufacturing development within Japan and its banking were strictly kept within government and the local companies. With the fluctuating cost of a silver it was difficult to tell for sure but it looked like the initially positive Japan’s trade balance had been steadily changing to the negative one with the growing imports of the consumer goods but, more important, the raw materials, iron and steel to be used by its growing industries.

So how Japan is going to pay in a long run? Getting few thousands tons of silver from China was fine but can’t be a base for secure long term trade? On a positive side, this indemnity allowed to tie the yen to a gold standard, which made trade easier. With all of the above and the clear expansionistic policies, will it make sense to provide, if being asked, the loans? How are there going to be repaid? The only obvious sources for the positive trade balance are going to be Korea and China and in the case of China this positive balance will be obtained at the expense of the western competitors. How to balance the opposite interests of your country’s winners and losers in this situation?

China. Li Hongzhang, restored in all his positions, was highly regarded in Europe and declared to be “Chinese Bismarck”. He embarked upon the world-wide trip visiting a number of the European countries, the US and Canada. Queen Victoria made him a Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order.



But all these nice receptions and public speeches, while making Li Hongzhang personally popular, could not hide the now obvious fact: China is extremely weak and as such is an easy target for the, to put it politely, “civilizing activities” also known as “imperialism”.

Of course, logically, founding manufactures, building railroads and telegraph lines in China, while obviously benefitting the “civilizers”, also was benefitting the Chinese by making them familiar with the new technologies and providing certain conveniences. After all, those who did not want them were not forced to trade with the foreigners or work on their enterprises. But this type of a “civilizing” logic did not quite work because in a country that was surviving for thousands years by sticking to the traditions, all the recent problems had been blamed upon the “foreign barbarians”. Well, of course, on the Qing government as well but mostly because it was accommodating these “barbarians” and trying to use their evil ways instead of sticking to the principles formulated couple thousands years ago [6]. To add insult to the injury, many of these white (and now yellow as well) newcomers did tend to behave, intentionally or not, arrogantly. From the Chinese nationalist position situation looked like it was depicted on painting below.

To make the long story short, the post-war inept attempts of the government to modernize China had been made even more inept by resistance of the population and those associated with the new ways were not liked, especially when they were government officials or prosperous.

Well, to be fair, not everything was rejected out of hands, the Mauser pistol immediately became very popular. [7]

Unlike the general population, the statesmen like Prince Gong and Li Hongzhang understood that traditions are not an equal substitute to the modern armies.

Prince Gong: “With a comprehensive study of the self-strengthening policy, it becomes obvious that the main thing in it is the training of troops, and the training of troops should begin with the production of weapons.”
Li Hongzhang: “Today, the main way to defend against enemies and the basis of self-strengthening is the production of machines.”

However, the policy of self-strengthening caused hatred and fear among the traditionalist mass of the population. "The mastery of overseas affairs" was usually supported by those officials, members of the “educated class” and large landowners, who received direct benefits and income from contacts with the West and partial reforms. Those who did not have such benefits and suffered direct losses after the "discovery" of China
(including officials, members of the “educated class” and landowners) became the backbone of the counter-reform movement. The positions of tradition supporters were particularly strong in Central China, where Hunan province suffered the greatest damage from the movement of trade routes and foreign trade center from Guangzhou to Shanghai.

Opposing the construction of railways, telegraph and modern schools, they demanded an end to diplomatic relations with "Overseas barbarians" and the maximum permissible return to the "pre-opim" traditional state of China. The "pure opinion" was also highly listened to by the ruling elite, including the reactionary Manchu aristocracy. Supporters of the movement believed that "Western science" was only a borrowing and subsequent development of discoveries made in China at one time. They opposed "barbaric crafts", against the teaching of exact sciences, against the invitation of teachers from Europe to China and against sending Chinese students to study in "barbarian countries". Any changes in the bureaucratic system of the empire were also rejected. Conclusion from the defeat was not that the country was not modernized enough but that it was at least somewhat modernized. [8]
[1] Personage who is saying this is a cannibal.
[2] Really? Does this mean that a philosophic stone and perpetuum mobile are already around?
[3] As in many of his other pronouncements, the form is better than substance, which tended to be a gibberish. As was correctly remarked by A. Ostrovsky, “ideas are nothing: everyone has them; only the words are all-important.” But he was never shy of uttering them even in the areas of which he had absolutely no clue. “Electron is just as complicated as an atom” was probably his top “discovery” in physics and that stuff about imperialism can be excused by sharing a general ignorance (or “classic education” if you prefer) of the world’s history with Marx and Engels. However, in the practical issues he was able to formulate his political platform in a single short sentence “The Bolsheviks can, which means they must.” 😉
[4] In OTL 200 millions but I’m feeling stingy today. 😉
[5] In OTL in November 1897 German naval squadron captured Kiautschou Bay and on March 6 1898 Germany signed with China a lease of the area for 99 years. Presumably, in response, NII ordered in December 1897 to take possession of Port-Arthur and Dalian and also signed a lease treaty with China disregarding Witte’s protests. ITTL, Willy may still get his base but the peninsula remains in Japan’s possession.
[6] AFAIK, he was considering pants as a barbarian clothes but somehow this fundamental part of his teaching was abandoned, which probably was a deep root of the XIX century disasters. Surely, the Chinese troops would gain by not being burdened by this part of an attire: its absence would allow to run much faster thus cutting the losses. 😉
[7] In OTL its production started in 1896 and it became most common and popular pistol in China only since the beginning of the Republic in 1912 but I’m trying to accelerate progress wherever is possible. 😉
[8] Boils down to what to what was formulated by Ostrovsky: “danger of the reforms in general”.
sick or away on the vacations. As a result, he does not know who ate him and you can maintain the good relations.” [1]
E. Schwarz, ‘The shadow
Maori ethics, eh?
“I would point out that Japan's proposal at the Versailles Peace Conference on the principle of racial equality was rejected by delegates such as those from Britain and the United States.”
Hideki Tojo
Its almost like those governments were racist 🤔

I wonder how OTL would have went if instead of focusing on "must conquer China" Japan was solely focused on bidding its time to destroy the western powers

Like their nuclear project IOTL was a joke but hey if they were more dedicated they surely could have made things more... interesting
Smart I like, smart aleck - I don’t”
‘Raw deal’
Why not like me :(
You can’t herd people into Paradise with a stick”
A.K. Tolstoy, ‘Don Juan’
But I sure can try!
Wilhelm II. And just after the treaty was signed, there almost was a crisis. Kaiser Wilhelm II wanted a naval base in China and came with an idea that for an extra payment Japan must return Liaodong to China for an additional payment after which China will “lease” it to Germany for some token payment
And as always he's batshit crazy and almost ruins everything
How to spend money #1
317. How to spend money #1
Где деньги, Зин?” [1]
V.Vysotsky, ‘ Dialog while watching TV’
“- Your Equality, we have no money.
- And what our Finance Ministry is busy with?
- They are counting the state debt: this is a full-time occupation.

V. Bakhnov, ‘History of Ohohondia’
«Достойно, право, смеху! Свои же люди своему владыке Да денег не дают!» [2]
A.K. Tolstoy, ‘Death of Ivan the Terrible’​

The Sino-Japanese War was over but there was a domino effect, which proved to be quite expensive for most of the major non-participants. This was the first truly modern naval war and most of the existing wisdom dated to the battle of Lissa went down the tubes:
  • It was demonstrated that the main idea of Jeune École, fast unprotected ships with a powerful artillery is not effective: unarmored cruisers on both sides proved to be quite vulnerable and the huge guns on the Japanese cruisers were simply unusable in a battle.
  • It was demonstrated that, while the properly armored battleships are almost invulnerable to the medium caliber artillery, their own main caliber artillery is effective only if the guns are having a long range and proper shells.
  • It was demonstrated that the ships with the numerous exposed wooden parts are extremely vulnerable: two Chinese cruisers with this problem burned and there was a serious fire on the Japanese flagship, while the battleships, on which most of the wooden things had been removed, there were no fires.
  • It was demonstrated that while formation “line ahead” (Japanese order of battle at Yalu) is tactically superior to the “line ahead”, putting unarmored or protected cruisers against the battleships is a bad idea.
  • It was demonstrated that while the small mine boats can be useful, it is preferable to have bigger, “destroyer” class ships with at least 3” artillery.
  • It was demonstrated that casemate placement of the medium- and small-caliber artillery is not very efficient and that general tendency to put on a ship as many of these guns as physically possible does not result in the obvious advantages, especially on the battleships.
  • It became clear that a speed, as one of the important factors, can’t be neglected on the battleships.
Which meant that the countries with a big reliance upon a naval power have to reassess their naval doctrines and start building the brand new fleets: the cruisers lacking armor will be useful mostly for the “colonial” assignments where confrontation with the modern opponent is very unlikely. And because, with the growing number of the potential “contention” points over the globe, probability of the confrontation (with or without shooting) between the modern powers becomes quite significant, availability of the armored cruisers even in the remote colonial posts becomes important geopolitical factor. Even the countries with the modest naval & colonial ambitions will have to make serious changes because, as was just demonstrated, the obsolete navies can’t even guarantee a descent coastal defense.

So the brand new naval programs had been started all over the world, which meant that besides figuring out how these programs will look like, one had to figure out how to pay for them and where, when and how to implement them.

Britain. Out of the major European players, at least for a moment, Britain with its huge ship-building industry and a very big budget seemingly was in the best position but a proposal to spend annually £8,460,000 on the naval buildup caused cries of alarm and The First Lord of Admiralty had to assure the alarmists that a shortage of the available materials and labor makes it impossible to built at a faster rate than present operations and, anyway, it is unnecessary because “Europe knows our strength.” [3]

To address the main caliber guns issue, the Armstrong Whitworth developed 12-inch naval gun of 40 calibres with the effective firing range of 14 km. Due to the budgetary considerations, the first guns of that type had been purchased by Japanese navy. On the Majestic class battleships the RN had BL 12-inch Mark VIII naval guns of 35.43 calibers with the effective range 9.1 km.

The Royal Navy built a series of the battleships, which were characterised by a main battery of four heavy guns—typically 12-inch (305 mm) guns—in two twin mounts, a secondary armament that usually comprised 4.7-to-6-inch (120 to 150 mm) guns, and a high freeboard allowing to operate on the high seas. One of the significant features was switch from the barbettes to the modern rotating turrets. The downsize was that, at least for a while the British Navy was using Harvey armor instead of a harder Krupp armor.


In Germany Kapitän zur See (captain at sea) Tirpitz became chief of the naval staff in 1892 and was made a Konteradmiral (rear admiral) in 1895 and then was placed in charge of the German East Asia Squadron in the Far East with a promise of appointment as naval secretary at a suitable moment. The cruiser squadron operated from British facilities in Hong Kong which were far from satisfactory as the German ships always took second place for available docks. He favored bay at Kiautschou/Tsingtao and in 1896 murder of two German missionaries in China had been used as an excuse for getting into the bay, landing a force of 717 and occupying the fortification with no resistance from the Chinese garrison.

Immediately after this had been done and telegraph line restored, the German commanding officer, rear admiral Diederichs, was stunned to learn that his orders had been canceled, and that he was to suspend operations at Kiautschou pending negotiations with the Chinese government. If he had already occupied the village of Tsingtau, he was to consider his presence temporary. He responded, thinking the politicians in Berlin had lost their nerve to political or diplomatic complications: "Proclamation already published. ... Revocation not possible." After considerable time and uncertainty, the admiralty finally cabled congratulations and the proclamation to remain in effect; Wilhelm II promoted him to vice admiral. After negotiation with the Chinese government the German Empire retreated from outright cession of the area and accepted a leasehold of the bay for 99 years.

Wilhelm’s colonial dreams were coming true causing certain uneasiness in Britain. Tirpitz, who already became Naval Secretary, started preparing a series of the Naval Laws which were intended to strengthen the German Navy to such a degree that Britain could not destroy without imperiling itself and will be forced to negotiate on the equal terms.

Both Wilhelm and Tirpitz had been heavily influenced by Mahan’s ideas regarding controlling of the seas and neither of them bothered to question applicability of these ideas to the land-based countries. Well, if a land-based country considers colonial empire as its priority, then of course the whole theory may make some sense. But how to combine ideology of the cruisers controlling the trade lines with ideology of the mighty fleets of the battleships deciding fate of the nations by confronting each other in a major battle? And how example of the Anglo-Dutch wars was applicable for Germany? Well, everybody, was saying that the theory is cool so one just have to follow to be a Great Power. 😉 So, following “The Teaching”, Tirpitz was dismissing commerce raiding and coastal defense, and arguing that Germany must prepare for offensive sea battle to ensure its place in the world. The aim was to build a fleet that would be two thirds the size of the British navy: taking into an account that the British Navy was stretched all over the world, this would provide Germany with a relative parity in the Northern Sea and, if Russia and France are added to the equation (on German side), then the allies may have a numeric advantage.

However, there was a tiny problem: Reichstag funded four of the thirty-six cruisers that Wilhelm requested in 1895, and none at all the following two years. Only in 1898, after three years of an extensive lobbying and public relations campaign Reichstag funded the building of 19 battleships, 8 armoured cruisers, 12 large and 30 light cruisers to be completed by 1904.. This did not worry Britain too much because implementation of the plan still will keep Germany well behind. But this was only the first part of a plan: the idea was to have forty-five battleships and armored cruisers but for this Wilhelm and Tirpitz will have to wait for the proper political situation.

France. Battleship development programs of other countries and experience of the last war finally brought defeat of the Jeune École: France obviously needed something more formidable that the protected cruisers. The traditionalists won and pushed through the Statut Naval (Naval Law) of 1890 that projected a total force of twenty-eight battleships. Choosing, as usual, their own approach to addressing a problem. Instead of building a series, they were building unique experimental ships, all characterized by pronounced tumblehome and a lozenge arrangement of a mixed-caliber main battery. All of them ended up being extremely tall, thanks to the tumblehome, and as a result not too stable.

Similarity to the medieval castles was not lost. 😉

Add to this a permanent bitching about the funds in the National Assembly, naval bureaucracy which (presumably as a matter of principle) makes everything as complicated as possible, and the unions which have both “attitude” and political clout and you got a picture. French Empire was slowly building a collection of the ships. On a positive side, the artillery was second to none and the Cane guns had been extremely popular.

Japan. After what was considered a humiliation by the foreign powers, Japan began to build up its military strength in preparation for future confrontations. Yamamoto Gonbe was assigned to compose a study of Japan's future naval needs. He believed that Japan should have sufficient naval strength to not only to deal with a single hypothetical enemy separately, but to also confront any fleet from two combined powers that might be dispatched against Japan from overseas waters. Most probably this would be one major power and one “secondary” power. Which ones, did not really matter (why to complicate the clear idea with the secondary details).

He therefore calculated that four battleships would be the main battle force that a major power could divert from their other naval commitments to use against Japan and he also added two more battleships that might be contributed to such a naval expedition by a lesser hostile power. In order to achieve victory Japan should have a force of six of the largest battleships supplemented by four armored cruisers of at least 7,000 tons. The centerpiece of this expansion was to be the acquisition of four new battleships in addition to the two which were already being completed in Britain being part of an earlier construction program. Battleships would be supplemented by lesser warships of various types, including cruisers that could seek out and pursue the enemy and a sufficient number of destroyers and torpedo boats capable of striking the enemy in home ports. As a result, the program also included the construction of twenty-three destroyers, sixty-three torpedo boats, and an expansion of Japanese shipyards and repair and training facilities.

In 1897 it was decided that expansion is needed but budgetary considerations would not allow to purchase more battleships and it was decided that purchasing of the armored cruisers with the new Harvey and KC armor, which could resist all but the largest AP shells, and new fast-firing guns will allow to put them into a battle line. Subsequently, the revisions to the ten-year plan led to the four protected cruisers were replaced by additional two armored cruisers. As a consequence the "Six-Six Fleet" was born, with six battleships and six armored cruisers.

The program with the total cost being ¥280 million, was approved by the cabinet in late 1895 and funded by the Diet in early 1896. The funding would be partially covered by the war indemnity but most of the money were coming from public loans and existing government revenue. Most of the ships were to be built in British shipyards.

But, as often happens with the great plans, something important had been forgotten, namely the main prize of the last war, Port Arthur. The naval program was designed in anticipation of a war with at least one major power including a possibility that such a power can be Russia. Of course, so far Russia was the only friendly western power but if one is trying to cover all possibility, confrontation can’t be excluded. And if it is brought into the picture, a need to defend Port Arthur from a land attack will become a top priority. Which meant that the existing fortifications are to be examined and, if necessary, upgraded. It was easily found (surprise, surprise) that while the coastal fortifications are in a reasonably good shape (except that their artillery was mostly outdated), the land side forts were either turned to rabble during the siege or were absolutely inadequate by their construction and placement leaving plenty of the dead zones and bringing the port within range of a modern heavy artillery. There was a need to build a new system of the forward-placed forts defending the peninsula.

The 1st proposal was placing the forts within 4.5 km from the town’s outskirts. This would protect town from the bombardment but perimeter of the land defenses was going to be 70 km requiring up to 70,000 garrison and over 500 guns on the land side only. Understandably, this plan was not approved and more modest one was designed. Now the length of the perimeter was only 19 km. In addition to the main defensive line, consisting of forts and intermediate fortifications, batteries and redoubts, the project also provided for the encirclement of the old city and the eastern basin with a continuous central fence of temporary strongholds at the command posts and the broken lines linking them - cremallera, bastion and polygonal curtains. This project was required something like 11,000 troops to defend and it was approved. However, it was actually inadequate for defense because now some of the forts were within 2.5 and even 1.5km from the outskirts making town and the port vulnerable to the bombardment. Even worse, due to the fact that most of the inner harbor was too shallow for anything bigger than destroyer, the battleships and cruisers would have to be crowded in the eastern part of the harbor within range of a siege artillery.

The reduction in the length of the defensive line of the fortress led to the fact that the mountain range and the Lyaoteshan Peninsula were not included in it on the seaside front, which would allow the enemy to sail to the western coast of this peninsula and bombard the port from a distance of 12 - 13 km. Besides these expenses, money have to be spend on infrastructures of Port-Arthur and Dalian and probably Dalian has to be (re-)fortified as well. Even this reduced project was going to require a lot of work and money and resources had been already stretched by the attempts to implement the naval program.

All these considerations should be bringing the obvious question: why to consider war with Russia? After all, it demonstrated a friendly attitude backing up Japan on Liaodong issue. But when the military planning is trusted to the professionals, the question “why does it make sense to condider?” rarely comes to a mind dedicated to a purely professional aspect of the issue, which looked a little bit bizarre: in a theoretically possible conflict JIN was going to be pretty much irrelevant unless a considered opponent decides to stick out his neck for no obvious reason (unless the odds are too favorable to miss an opportunity). Breaking through Vladivostok’s coastal defenses is going to be a very expensive task for JIN and nothing would prevent the Russian Pacific squadron to sail North to its base on Alaska or Petropavlovsk while the cruisers will be operating on the Japanese supply lines having secure ports in too few locations to catch them. The main conflict is going to be on land, which means that priority of the expenses must be Liaodong fortifications or general army expenses not to allow the enemy to get to Liaodong.

OTOH, if this specific conflict is off the table, then the whole idea of the program ceases to make sense. The warships are going to be ordered in Britain …. to fight the RN? Germany and France have a relatively token presence in the region an so does the US. So Japan is building navy to fight against whom? Better not to ask yourself that type of the questions and hope that nobody else to ask them either. The honest answer would be: Japan needs a powerful navy by a single important reason: to be taken seriously by the outside world.

[1] “Where I’m going to get money?” (husband to his wife)
[2] “It’s truly laughable: the subjects are not giving money to their sovereign!”
[3] In OTL - in 1900.