Portsmouth Commemorates Treaty and Theodore Roosevelt's Nobel Peace Prize
Portsmouth, New Hampshire (June 11, 2007) -- Portsmouth, New Hampshire has established a tradition of commemorating the 1905 Portsmouth Peace Treaty that ended the Russo-Japanese War and the Nobel Peace Prize that President Theodore Roosevelt won in 1906 for the diplomacy that made the Treaty possible. Though popularized as the President who carried a ‘big stick,' TR was actually a consummate diplomat. In 1905 he worked for three months to convince the Russians and Japanese to come to the negotiating table to end the war which had been raging since January 1904, a conflict now called "World War Zero" -- the first modern and brutally mechanized war that threatened to bring the nations of Europe in on either side.
President Roosevelt had convinced the Russians and Japanese to convene in a neutral US location to negotiate a peace settlement face to face. When he sent the diplomats to Portsmouth they were the guests of the State Department, Portsmouth Navy Yard and Governor and people of New Hampshire. The Portsmouth Peace Treaty, signed on September 5, 1905, not only ended the hostilities; but demonstrated a process by which local people aided formal diplomacy by creating a supportive atmosphere for peace negotiations. Thanks to TR's back-channel diplomacy, the sincere efforts of the two plenipotentiaries and a calendar of local social events designed to put the delegates at ease and in a frame of mind for reconciliation, the negotiations succeeded – the first time a major land war between two foreign powers was settled on American soil. Roosevelt earned the Nobel Peace Prize in 1906 for his efforts, and Portsmouth has commemorated the historic Treaty ever since, particularly during the 100th anniversary year of 2005.
Through 2007, the Portsmouth Peace Treaty Anniversary Committee continues to recognize the important role local people played in 1905 and the commemorative events of 1905-07. Their efforts include:
· "An Uncommon Commitment to Peace: Portsmouth Peace Treaty" exhibit at the Portsmouth Historical Society museum, corner of State & Middle St. Portsmouth. Adults $8; children under 12 free. www.portsmouthhistory.org, Open daily 11 am - 5pm through 27-Oct 31
· Portsmouth Peace Treaty Trail guided (fee) and self-guided (free map provided) --tours of key sites important to the 1905 Peace Treaty summer. Guided tour by appointment with the Greater Portsmouth Chamber of Commerce. Adults $8, seniors, $7. www.portsmouthchamber.org
· June 24. Seacoast Wind Ensemble presents the first annual Portsmouth Peace Treaty Concert, “Serenade for World Peace: Best of the Band Concerts 1905-07” 3 pm, at The Music Hall, an historic American Treasure. Tickets $15 ($8 senior, children, students) at www.themusichall.org and by phone 603-436-2400.
· August 26. "The Peace of Portsmouth" an original play based on local newspaper accounts of the negotiations. Pontine Theatre, 959 Islington St., Portsmouth Performance 2 pm. Tickets $20. www.pontine.org
· September 2. Annual Peace Flag raising ceremony and Sarah Farmer Exhibit. 2 pm. Green Acre Baha'i School, Eliot Maine. www.greenacre.org,
· September 5. Portsmouth Peace Treaty Commemoration. Portsmouth Naval Shipyard salute and downtown bellringing. Free.
· September 23. First Annual Portsmouth Peace Treaty/Labor Day parade through downtown Portsmouth.
· December 10. Theodore Roosevelt Nobel Peace Prize Centennial Commemoration dinner. www.portsmouthpeacetreaty.com Wentworth By the Sea Hotel.