Financing the War
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Jacob Schiff committed to the first loan to Japan in spring 1904, at a time that negotiations between Japan’s financial commissioner, Takahashi Korekiyo, and the English banking syndicate had reached a stalemate. Japan had won only one battle in its war against Russia, a land engagement on 1 May known as the Battle of the Yalu River. This occurred just three days before Schiff agreed to participate in the loans. Schiff’s intent to commit came before any other bank acted in recognition of this early display of Japan’s military prowess. Yet Schiff’s decision enabled all principals’ interests to coalesce.