President Roosevelt acted as the mediator in peace talks between the Russians and the Japanese to conclude their war (which Japan had won). President Roosevelt was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts. US mediation was another sign of emerging US power in the world.
The Japanese and the Russians were both imperialist powers who were trying to extend their power. The Japanese were willing to compromise with the Russians, by recognizing the Russian influence over Manchuria, in return the Japanese wanted the Russians to acknowledge their influence over Korea. The Russians refused to want Korea as a buffer zone.
The Japanese declared war on the Russians of February 8th. Before the Russians received word of the declaration, the Japanese attacked the Russian fleet in Port Arthurs, damaging Russia’s largest ships there. However, they were not able to follow-up on their attack.
The Japanese then lay siege to Port Arthur, eventually capturing the high ground around and sinking all of the Russian ships in the harbor using artillery. After a Russian rescue effort failed the commander of Port Arthur surrendered to the Japanese on January 2, 1905.
The war went downhill from there for the Russians lost a series of ground battles to the Japanese. In the meantime, they dispatched their main fleet- the Baltic fleet. It had to travel literally around the world to get to the Pacific. After a nine-month journey, it arrived in the Japan Seas, and almost all of its ships were promptly sunk in one of the most lopsided naval battles in history.
The Russians had no choice but to negotiate a peace agreement. The Japanese too needed an agreement, for although they had been victorious, the war was bankrupting them.
President Roosevelt offered to mediate a peace agreement between the sides in the United States. The location Portsmouth New Hampshire. The Russians sent Sergei With to lead their delegation, and the Japanese called on Baron Komura a Harvard graduate to negotiate for them.
Roosevelt's goal was to balance both the Japanese and the Russians, neither of which did he want to become dominant in the Pacific, which he felt was not in the interests of the US. The war had shocked the world, for the first time an Asian country had defeated a European power. The victory on the battlefield had been total. Roosevelt however, managed to balance both sides. The Japanese had demanded reparation. Roosevelt sided with Russians on this issue, However the Russians were forced to cede their base in Port Arthur and half of Sakhalin Island. Korea was also recognized as a Japanese domain.
The two sides signed the Peace Treaty of Portsmouth, which ended the war. Roosevelt received the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts. It was another sign that America was now an important player on the world scene.