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1905 Revolution Bloody Sunday

By su1811 Apr 22, 2015 744 Words
The 1905 Revolution was caused primarily because of the events of the Bloody Sunday. How far do you agree with this statement? (10)

Although the Bloody Sunday was the immediate cause that kick-started the 1905 Revolution, there were many long-term and short-term causes that led up to it. The long-term causes include the weak rule of the Tsar, the large empire, and inequalities in the Russian society. The economic depression of 1900-1904 and the Russo-Japanese War were some of the short-term causes. On 22nd January 1905, the Cossacks fired upon about 200,000 unarmed workers when they were petitioning outside the Tsar’s winter palace in St. Petersburg. This incident, which went on to be called Bloody Sunday, undermined the Tsar’s authority and increased support for the revolutionaries. It sparked a wave of riots and strikes by the peasants and workers against the landowners. 400,000 workers went on strike by the end of January. In June, sailors of the battleship Potemkin held a naval mutiny. The workers set up Soviets in towns, which were a huge threat to the Tsar’s power. From the powerful Tsar and the nobility to the deprived peasants, Russia’s was a hierarchal and highly unequal society. The majority of its population was the landless peasants and workers. Serfdom had been abolished in the late 19th Century, but the peasants still had no rights to speak of. They worked under horrible conditions in fields that were not their own, with insufficient wages. The nobility or the landowners, a mere 1% of the population, were affluent and owned most of the land of the country. They had a lot of influence on how the country was ruled. The workers and peasants, quite understandably, found this very unfair and wanted change. Nicholas II became the Tsar of Russia after his father was assassinated. He never wanted to, nor was he capable of, ruling an empire as large and diverse as Russia. There were many difficulties in ruling Russia, such as the huge amount of land the country had, with about 90% of it not arable and only one ice-free port (Vladivostok). The great size also meant that the Tsar had to rely on other people to look after his territory. The means of transport for going around the country were non-existent, making it even harder to rule. Also, the workers and peasants were unhappy with how unjust the society was and were unhappy with the Tsar for not bringing about any change. Tsar Nicholas was a weak ruler and could not handle all of these problems very well and this led to a lot of people opposing and criticizing him. The economic depression in Russia from 1900-1904 was a short-term cause for the 1905 Revolution. Russia's industry had been growing at an enormous rate when in 1900, Russia was hit with a huge depression that led to widespread unemployment and dissatisfaction. There were widespread mass strikes throughout the major cities in the country. The Tsar failed at solving this problem and instead started a war with Japan to distract people from Russia’s internal problems. The Russo-Japanese War of 1904-1905 was started in the hopes that if Russia won the war, it will improve the Tsar’s reputation as well as divert people’s attention from Russia’s troubles. The Tsar was very sure that he will win the war against Japan, as he had a vast army unlike Japan. What he did not take into account was that Russia’s army was inefficient and barely modernized, while Japan had a modernized, proficient army. Russia ended up losing the war, which decreased the Tsar’s reputation even more. Russia was humiliated as she lost to a tiny Asian country like Japan. The government was exposed to be incompetent. The war also meant that the conditions of the workers worsened even further. Prices and taxes were increased to pay for resources for the war. There were food shortages, factory closures, and unemployment. The social unrest in the country was heightened. It is not true that the Bloody Sunday was the primary cause of the 1905 Revolution. The weak Tsar Nicholas II, the difficulties of ruling Russia, the poor conditions of the workers and peasants along with the economic depression and the Russo-Japanese War were all instrumental in starting the Revolution. The Bloody Sunday triggered the 1905 Revolution, but many other factors also helped in causing it.

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