Why was there a revolution in Russia in 1905? The 1905 revolution happened for many reasons and so a combination of factors will best explain this question. However the most important reason was the tsar and his ignorant beliefs and attitudes towards Russia. The Russo-Japanese war was a major factor in starting the revolution in 1905, the whole purpose of the war was to try and stop the thoughts of rebellion by getting the Russian people to rally for their country, however when Russia lost the Russian people lost faith in their country and their tsar because he embarrassed their country and put them in a huge national crisis.
Russia’s defeat displayed the government’s incompetence which excited the social unrest that the war was supposed to stop. It also showed people incompetence of the Tsar who’s most important and essential job was to show his command of his army. Enthusiasm was the first reaction to this war, giving the country something to take its mind off, stop the rioting and focus on the winning. However, as soon as it became clear that Russia was losing for the first time to an Asian power, the people declared unrest and resumed, stronger than ever the strikes and demand for reform.
Russia’s ignorance on world issues was showed and clearly laid for the people of Russia to see. The loss of the war, representing the only hope allowed the revolution of 1905 to take place, forming a large number of strikes, constant pressure on the government and the demand for reform. Russia in the 19th and 20th century faced economic collapses along with inflation which would test the nation’s and the people’s patience towards coming sufferings. The increasing population of Russia outlined a new milestone for the empire.
A population increase demanded more from the economy and required a higher order of thought to please the entire nation. However, Russia and the Tsar were not ready for such expansion in population and backward views on society only provided another reason to further damage the rising dissatisfaction. Village population had grown from 61 to 78 million between 1877 and 1905 but the land owned by peasants only grew 24. 2 percent. Clearly, there was a shortage of land, and a shortage of determination to improve the land and shortened patience to hope for better times.
The emancipation of the Serfs by Alexander II in 1861 did little to solve the discontent and agitation of the working people. The view of the freed serfs was the final ownership of land in return for powering the nation’s economy and later the empire. However, the disappointment appeared when the Tsar approved freedom for the peasants, yet taxed them for living on land which they had believed to rightfully own from years of slavery. The view on autocracy was being undermined, even though there was trust in the Tsar and his connection with god.
The Tsar’s ignorance on issues such as the poor living conditions for the peasants in the country outlined a path of public dismay and questioning. While the peasants resisted questioning due to their simplicity, influence from other parts of Europe and the slow industrialisation saw them thinking about the nature of their misfortune and famine. Whilst ‘freeing the Serfs’ and granting them their ironic independence, rising prices along with tremendous taxes influenced the peasants to revolt, playing a part in the Russian revolution.
Illegal political parties were uprising to share their discontent with Russia and their Tsar and create an outline for ideas of revolution, demands and strikes. The social revolutionaries and democrats had existed from 1901, yet public support was achieved in 1905 when living was hard, and the belief of god and the Tsar had been slowly lost. These parties were illegal, yet the Tsar could not satisfy the people in order to prove these parties unnecessary.
All these political opponents were a figure of showing the attention needed to Russia, how strong actions needed to be taken and the hunger of the people needed to be satisfied at any scale possible. The participation of these parties resulted in strikes and a build-up of the Russia changing general strike. Decisively, the build of political parties and the failure to stop their need allowed the citizens of Russia to demand and express themselves more, therefore leading to the activity of revolution and strength. Bloody Sunday’ intensified the revolutionary movement and finally ended the people’s view of the Tsar as their protector and carer. On 9thJanuary 1905, concerned workers came peacefully to address a petition, and expected the Tsar to ease their problems. However, the peaceful workers were shot at by the tsar’s soldiers before they could even reach the tsar. After ‘Bloody Sunday’, the tip of revolution was over and certainly now it stood in every person’s right to take political concern and begin strikes that would swell to form a halt in the nation. By September there were massive strikes by factory workers and railway men.
Soon the country was virtually stopped by a general strike, which stopped everything Russia relied on. Overall the revolution in 1905 was started by many factors however the Tsar’s beliefs and attitudes were one of the main factors because he was so naive and ignorant. He could have stopped bloody Sunday, which was the breaking point for revolution, but instead he let his soldiers shoot his people losing any trust the Russian people had in him. He also involved the country in a pointless war to try and rally Russia together only to embarrassingly lose and display his incompetence.
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