The Russian-Japanese war did not start at the behest of the Russian tsar. He did not want her and tried to resolve the contradictions in a peaceful way, but without prejudice to the interests of Russia.
1 February 1904 of the year before the court ball came to the emperor the wife of the Russian ambassador in London, Count Alexander Konstantinovich Benkendorf, Countess Sofya Petrovna Benkendorf (née Countess Shuvalov), whose son, lieutenant of the fleet Count Konstantin Benkendorf, served on one of the ships of the squadron in Port-Arth, in Ar-Port in Arth, approached the Emperor. She asked the Sovereign about the possibility of starting hostilities against Japan, to which he replied:
"I do not want war, and it will not be"
Grand Duchess Elizabeth Fyodorovna (St. prmts. Elisaveta) wrote on August 6 on August 1915 to Hegumen Seraphim (Kuznetsova):
"The sovereign of war did not want to, the war broke out against his will, like a fire breaks out against [the will of] the host."
Japan was looking for a reason to start a war at a convenient time. The object of the controversy was Korea, which Japan wanted to capture and which Russia wanted to have in its sphere of influence. The clash was inevitable, Nicholas II understood this and was preparing to repel the attack, but first of all he tried to postpone this war, making some concessions. However, he did not want to leave Korea and Manchuria, because there was a question about access to non-freezing seas.
How did the events develop?
The decision to start a war with Russia was made at a joint meeting of the members of the Privy Council and all the ministers of 4 February 1904, and on the night of February 5 an order was issued about landing troops in Korea and attacking the Russian squadron in Port Arthur. 5 February Japanese Foreign Minister Dzutaro Komura telegraphed to the ambassador in St. Petersburg about the termination of negotiations and severance of diplomatic relations with Russia, which was officially announced the next day. On February 8, the landing of 1 units of the Japanese army in Korea began, and on the night of February 9, before the official declaration of war, the Japanese destroyers launched a torpedo attack on Russian ships in the outer port of Port Arthur. On February 9, a Japanese squadron in the Korean port of Chemulpo attacked the Russian ships cruiser Varyag and the gunner Koreyets. Thus, we see that Japan committed an act of aggression and attacked Russia first.
It is worth noting that the British Empire and the United States supported Japan and its aggression against Russia. In London, cynically they called the war “The Fight of Japan for Freedom” (from whom? What?); Theodore Roosevelt pressed France, saying that if she entered the war on Russia’s side, the United States would join her on Japan’s side. The American press, all the more fed by the Jewish lobby, was actively hostile to Russia.
“There is no doubt that without the provision of America and Britain, Japan would not have sunk into war with us,” noted Russian publicist Mikhail Menshikov.
France and Germany condemned the Japanese aggression, but occupied neutrality.
In our concern for the preservation of the world dear to Our heart, We have made every effort to consolidate calm in the Far East. For these peace-loving purposes, we have agreed to the revision proposed by the Japanese Government regarding the agreements on Korean affairs existing between the two empires. The negotiations, which were excited on this subject, however, were not brought to an end, and Japan, without even waiting for the latest response proposals from our Government, announced that negotiations had been stopped and diplomatic relations with Russia were severed.
Not foreseeing that the break in such intercourse marks the opening of hostilities, the Japanese Government ordered its destroyers to suddenly attack Our squadron, which was on the outer raid of Port Arthur fortress.
Upon receipt of this report by Our Steward in the Far East, We immediately commanded armed force to respond to the challenge of Japan. Announcing such a decision by Ours, We, with unshakable faith in helping the Almighty and in firm hope of the unanimous readiness of all faithful Our citizens to stand with Us to defend the Fatherland, call upon the blessing of God for the valiant Our troops of the army and navy.
It is worth noting that, despite the defeats, in general, Russia could still fight long enough, while Japan was exhausted by the war. It was from Japan that there were proposals for negotiations. Finally, after active pressure from the United States and Germany, Nicholas II agreed to the negotiations. They passed in American Portsmouth. The Russian delegation was headed by Sergei Witte, who was personally ordered by the emperor not to agree to a contribution by any means and not to give a single inch of Russian land. The Russian delegation categorically rejected the proposals of Japan, which they called unacceptable, and stood their ground. Frightened by the prospect of continuing the war, Japan faltered and made concessions. There was pressure from Russia on the American side to force it to accept the conditions of Japan, but Witte was firm in defending the Russian position.
As a result, a peace treaty was concluded on 5 on September 1905 of the year. The terms of the contract were much closer to the Russian, rather than the Japanese peace program. The Japanese public perceived the treaty as humiliation and this caused riots in Tokyo, during which 17 people died and about a thousand were injured, and the government of Katsura Taro was forced to resign. These riots opened up the 13-year period of widespread popular discontent and speeches in Japan. Russia lost the south of Sakhalin, gave Japan rental rights to the Liaodong Peninsula, part of the South Manchurian Railway and recognized Korea as a sphere of Japanese influence (in 1910, Japan occupied it).
For Portsmouth peace negotiations, Theodore Roosevelt received the Nobel Peace Prize, which at one time did not give Nicholas II (Roosevelt hated and even hung a portrait of the king in his dash). And Witte was awarded the title of count by the Sovereign.