Chronicle Covers: Going all in on the Russo-Japanese War
By Tim O’Rourke
Never let it be said that The Chronicle shied away from Russo-Japanese War coverage.
The front page from Feb. 27, 1904, covers the Battle of Port Arthur a few weeks after a surprise attack by a Japanese fleet on Russian ships. It was the beginning of a war that would last 18 months and end with a victory for Japan that drastically changed the country’s standing on the global stage.
“The most important news, if it is reliable, is that a large fleet of transports is off Port Arthur preparing to disembark an army to besiege that place,” a dispatch to The Chronicle read. “Unofficial telegrams from St. Petersburg indicate that such a development is fully expected here.”
Tensions were high along the Liaodong Peninsula in China when this page was published. It would take more than a month, but the Siege of Port Arthur would begin in April 1904. By the end of the year, all of Russia’s Pacific fleet battleships would be sunk. Six months later, Japan would have victory.
All-out war coverage: This front page features 12 stories devoted to the conflict, in addition to a striking map and a handful of other headlines on the page. Now that’s comprehensive coverage.
Among the headlines from 112 years ago, a surprise: “Prevents Russian invasion of Corea.” That was the accepted spelling of the country we now call “Korea.”
Chronicle Covers is a yearlong project that will highlight one classic Chronicle newspaper page from our archive every day for 366 days. Library director Bill Van Niekerken, art director Danielle Mollette-Parks, producer Michelle Devera and editorial assistant Jillian Sullivan contributed to the project. Tim O’Rourke is the executive producer and editor of SFChronicle.com. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @TimothyORourke