1905 Russo-Japanese War
Rival ambitions between Russia and Japan lead to a surprise attack on the Russian fleet by the Japanese in February 1904. Despite continuing to suffer defeats over the following 18 months, Russia refused to surrender and the war was eventually ended with the conclusive naval battle of Tsushima in August 1905, and a subsequent peace treaty. This complete victory by the Japanese military surprised international observers and transformed the balance of power in both East Asia and Europe, resulting in Japan's emergence as a great power and a decline in the Russian Empire's prestige and influence in Europe. Russia's incurrence of substantial casualties and losses for a cause that resulted in humiliating defeat contributed to a growing domestic unrest which culminated in the 1905 Russian Revolution, and severely damaged the prestige of the Russian autocracy.