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>  News Releases >   2005 >   August

Dartmouth to host conference celebrating Portsmouth Treaty centennial

Dartmouth College Office of Public Affairs • Press Release
Posted 08/16/05 • Contact Susan Knapp (603) 646-3661

One hundred years ago, a treaty was signed in Portsmouth, N.H., that ended the 18-month war between Japan and Russia. On September 8-10, Dartmouth will host a conference celebrating this centennial, called "Portsmouth and Its Legacies." The conference will bring together scholars, diplomats and honored guests from Japan, Russia and the United States to discuss the background and making of the Portsmouth Treaty and its long-term implications for international relations.

The opening keynote address on September 8 at 7:30 p.m. by Pulitzer-Prize winning historian John Dower is free and open to the public. It will be held in Filene Auditorium in Moore Hall at Dartmouth.

"The Portsmouth Treaty signing was a turning point in international relations, for the U.S. and for other countries around the world," says conference co-organizer Steven Ericson, Associate Professor of History. "It positioned the U.S. as a major diplomatic presence, and the consequences of the peace treaty still resonate today."

Steven Ericson, Barry Scherr and Kenneth Yalowitz
From left to right, Steven Ericson, Barry Scherr and Kenneth Yalowitz are sitting in President Wright's office at a mahogany table that was at the 1905 Treaty gathering. Although not used for the signing itself, the table was used at meetings where negotiations took place. Dartmouth acquired the table in 1906, a gift from John H. Bartlett, Class of 1894. (photo by Joseph Mehling '69)

The Portsmouth Treaty, signed on September 5, 1905, brought to a peaceful close the greatest international conflict prior to World War I, in which Japan and Russia fought over control of Manchuria and Korea. U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt acted as intermediary in the 1905 peace negotiations, a service for which he received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1906. This war is sometimes referred to as World War 0, because of its global impact.

Co-organizer Allen Hockley, Associate Professor of Art History, sees the war and treaty negotiations as among the first events in history covered extensively by the world's media. "Photos of the war and of the treaty signing appeared in major newspapers and magazines from New York to London to Madrid to Moscow," he says. "Traditional and new media jostled for preeminence, dramatically changing the way news was reported. The effects rippled through news coverage of World War I and World War II."

"Portsmouth and its Legacies" will include four sessions on September 9-10 where participants will present and discuss eight papers commissioned for the conference (location: Class of 1902 Room, Baker Library). At 7:30 p.m. on September 10, a public panel of diplomats will address the significance of the Portsmouth Treaty for stability and cooperation in that region of Asia and Russia today. Also at this event, leaders of the U.S., Japanese and Russian medical communities will sign an agreement of cooperation in the health sector in Northeast Asia and the Russian Far East (location: Filene Auditorium, Moore Hall).

Ericson and Hockley worked with co-conveners Ambassador Kenneth Yalowitz, the Norman E. McCulloch, Jr. Director of the Dickey Center, and Barry Scherr, the Dartmouth Provost and the Mandel Family Professor of Russian, to organize the conference. They also collaborated with the Portsmouth Peace Treaty Anniversary Committee. Additionally, Hockley worked with the Northeast Cultural Cooperative to develop curriculum materials for New Hampshire public schools and with several Dartmouth students to create Portsmouth Treaty displays that will be shown in Dartmouth's Baker Library.

The group also worked with the International House of Japan and the Kennan Institute of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. The conference sponsors include the Japan-United States Friendship Commission, the Japan Foundation's Center for Global Partnership, and, at Dartmouth College, the John Sloan Dickey Center for International Understanding, the Office of the Provost, and the Office of the Dean of the Faculty.

For more details about the conference, visit the conference website (link no longer available) or call 603-646-3429.

Dartmouth has television (satellite uplink) and radio (ISDN) studios available for domestic and international live and taped interviews. For more information, call 603-646-3661 or see our Radio, Television capability webpage.

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