Defeat in the war with Japan was the main cause of the 1905 revolution in Russia



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  • Essay 2 - 1905 Revolution
  • Potential Questions
  • “Defeat in the war with Japan was the main cause of the 1905 revolution in Russia.” How valid is this view?
  • To what extent was Bloody Sunday responsible for the 1905 Revolution in Russia?
  • How important was working-class discontent in causing the 1905 revolution in Russia?
  • Background
  • Pre-1905 - Tsar believed his power was secure - Pillars of Autocracy - Launched a war with Japan to boost popularity.
  • By the end of 1905 - peasant land seizures, workers went on strike, army mutinied, national minorities rebelled - Tsar forced to make concessions.
  • Task 1 - Summarise the events of the 1905 revolution.
  • p46
  • Workers
  • Peasants
  • Army
  • Politics
  • National Minorities
  • Factors
  • Short-term
  • Long-term
  • War with Japan
  • Bloody Sunday
  • Discontent among workers
  • Repressive nature of Tsarism
  • Factor 1 - Bloody Sunday
  • 1) Describe the events.
  • 2) Analyse why Bloody Sunday would have been important in causing the Tsar's authority to be weakened and revolution to break out.
  • 3) However....In what ways can it be argued that Bloody Sunday was a reflection of longer-term problems within Russia?
  • 4) Evaluation - Find a quote which would summarise the impact of Bloody Sunday.
  • p215
  • History Bloody Sunday.mp4
  • “There were wide-spread manifestations of popular grief, indignation and anger against the guilty tsar. Not just the industrial workers but the middle classes, intellectuals, professional organisations and the whole of Russian society were roused to fury.” Alan Wood
  • “There is no God any longer. There is no tsar!” Father Gapon
  • "On that day he had killed something even greater, he had killed superstition, and the workers' faith that they could ever achieve justice from him. From then on everything was different and new." Alexandra Kollontai
  • “In a few seconds the popular myth of a Good Tsar was suddenly destroyed” Orlando Figes
  • “...it did perhaps more than anything else during the whole of the reign to undermine the allegiance of the common people to the throne and to shatter the image of Nicholas as father of his people.” Richard Charques
  • “Bloody Sunday was an overwhelming display of tsarist incompetence” Richard Pipes.
  • Factor 2 - War with Japan
  • 1) Describe the events. Include examples of battles. Describe the economic impact of the war.
  • 2) Analyse why the war would have been important in causing the Tsar's authority to be weakened and revolution to break out.
  • 3) However....In what ways can it be argued that the war was a reflection of longer-term problems within Russia.
  • Land of the Tsars 1905.mp4
  • p214-15
  • p45
  • p30-32
  • What does this show us about Russia's pre-war attitude?
  • What does this French political cartoon imply about the impact of the Russo-Japanese war?
  • “Russia's military humiliation...turned a broad section of the public against him” Orlando Figes
  • "...the Liberals turned against the government, using its bungled military campaign as a patriotic argument for political reform" Orlando Figes
  • “The myth of the regime's invincibility was dissipated and the illegal political parties emerged from clandestinity.” Robert Service
  • “A short, victorious war that will stem the tide of revolution” Plehve, Minister of the Interior
  • Factor 3 - Discontent among the workers
  • 1) Describe the reasons that workers were unhappy. Living conditions, working conditions, lack of political rights.
  • 2) Analyse why discontent among workers would have been important in causing the revolution to break out. Link to Bloody Sunday, growth of political parties, strikes.
  • 3) However....does it explain all the events of 1905 (peasant land seizures, mutinies)? What percentage of Russians lived in the countryside?
  • p36-38
  • p210
  • “The working and living conditions of the workers created a situation that was conducive to the spread of mass discontent.” Alan Wood
  • “Russian workers felt excluded from the rest of society” Robert Service
  • "The Russian political situation naturally pushed the workers towards extremes" Orlando Figes
  • Industrial workers in Tsarist Russia were discontented for a number of reasons. Four sentences of knowledge. Workers' discontent was clearly significant in causing the 1905 revolution because...2 sentences of analysis. However, it could in fact be suggested that...2 sentences of counter-analysis.
  • In evaluation, workers' discontent was pivotal. As ... states '...'. This illustrates that ...
  • Industrial workers in Tsarist Russia were discontented for a number of reasons. Living conditions in growing cities such as St Petersburg were overcrowded and extremely insanitary. Coupled with this, wages were low and working hours long. These issues were made worse by the lack of rights enjoyed by workers. For example, strikes were illegal. Furthermore, workers were unable to legally join trade unions or political parties. Workers' discontent was clearly significant in causing the 1905 revolution because it contributed to the wave of strikes that occurred during the revolution and the growth of revolutionary parties such as the Bolsheviks. It was also the catalyst for the workers' march which led to Bloody Sunday. However, it could in fact be suggested that industrial discontent was not key as many of the events of the revolution, such as land seizures, were based on grievances in the countryside. In addition, the workers on Bloody Sunday had initially been peaceful, suggesting that they were key to avoid revolution. In evaluation, workers' discontent was pivotal. As Service states 'Russian workers felt excluded from the rest of society'. This illustrates that workers felt that their interests were not being protected by the Tsar's government, and therefore felt no hesitation in joining in the revolution once it started.
  • Factor 4 - Discontent among the peasants
  • 1) Describe the reasons that peasants were unhappy. Describe how opposition from peasants was shown.
  • 2) Analyse why discontent among peasants would have been important in causing the revolution to break out. Link to land seizures, discontent in the army.
  • 3) However....does it explain all the events of 1905? Look at where many of the key events were. e.g. Strikes, Bloody Sunday. Were all peasants unhappy?
  • 4) Evaluation -Quote
  • p211-212
  • p34-35
  • Example Analysis
  • It can be argued that peasant discontent was a key cause of the 1905 revolution, because throughout the revolution land seizures and attacks on landlords were common across Russia, showing a clear link to long-standing issues in rural areas.
  • not
  • It can be argued that peasant discontent was a key cause of the 1905 revolution, because peasants didn't have enough land and were unhappy at having to pay redemption payments.
  • “It needed only some outward sign of weakening of state authority for the village to explode.” Richard Pipes
  • “The growth of rural schooling...was giving rise to a new generation of 'conscious' peasant men and women.” Orlando Figes
  • “The peasantry had not been much slower to move against the authorities than the workers.” Robert Service
  • Peasants in Tsarist Russia were unhappy for a number of reasons. Four sentences of knowledge. Peasants' discontent was clearly significant in causing the 1905 revolution because...2 sentences of analysis. However, it could in fact be suggested that...2 sentences of counter-analysis.
  • In evaluation, peasants' discontent was pivotal. As ... states '...'. This illustrates that ...
  • Model Paragraph
  • Factor 5 - Repressive Nature of the Tsarist system
  • 1) Describe Nicholas' incompetency and repression. e.g. Russification, decision not to listen to zemstvos, Trade Unions
  • 2) Analyse why the Tsar's poor handling of affairs led to the 1905 revolution. Alienating ethnic groups, lack of political representation.
  • 3) Evaluation -Quote or Link to Other Factors - Can the Tsar's political inflexibility be linked to the other causes of the 1905 Revolution?
  • p213-214
  • p39, 42
  • “Had they been able to develop their own Trade Unions, the workers might have gone down the path of moderate reform.” Orlando Figes
  • “If there is a single, repetitive theme in the history of Russia...it is that of the need for reform and the failure of successive governments to achieve it.” Orlando Figes
  • "'In short, the whole of the Tsarist Empire was ripe for collapse...Its peoples wanted to escape' Orlando Figes
  • It is possible to put forward an argument that the very nature of Nicholas II's rule was a key cause of the 1905 revolution. The Tsar fully supported autocracy, whereby he held full political power and did not believe in political representation of any kind. This was shown by the suspension of the Zubatov Unions. This was extremely significant as it alienated groups such as middle-class liberals who wanted a parliament and industrial workers who wanted a channel to express concerns. The Tsar also followed a policy of control and repression, as shown by russification, whereby ethnic minorities such as the Poles were forced to speak Russian in school, to use Russian in courts and non-Christian groups such as the Jews were persecuted. This was crucial as it built up huge resentment to the Tsarist regime from all over the vast Empire, as seen by events in 1905 such as the Georgian uprising. In evaluation it would be fair to support Figes view that 'if there is a single, repetitive theme in the history of Russia...it is that of the need for reform and the failure of successive governments to achieve it', showing that the Tsar's rigid rule was pivotal in causing the 1905 revolution.
  • Attachments
  • History Bloody Sunday.mp4
  • Land of the Tsars 1905.mp4


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