How accurate is it to say that the growth of reformist groups in the years from 1881 was the main cause for the 1905 revolution?
It is to a certain extent accurate to say that the growth of the reformist groups in the years 1881 was the main cause for the 1905 revolution, however it is not completely accurate. Many factors caused the 1905 revolution.
The reformist groups did contribute to the outbreak of the 1905 revolution but other factors such as the distraught anger of the people and Bloody Sunday and the Russo-Japanese war also caused the outbreak of the 1905 revolution. Significantly i strongly believe ‘Bloody Sunday’ was an extremely large contributor to the 1905 revolution; it can be described as the ‘tip of the ice burg’ for many of the Russian people. In particular after the big strikes in 1902-03, the Russo- Japanese war, and the crisis created by the war led to ferment across the Russian People. Bloody Sunday was a disaster for the government and the Tsar himself.
Significantly, Tsar did not give the order himself however the people made him accountable for the massacre, they were no longer on the same side. The Tsar was the enemy. The people of Russia had previously referred to him as the ‘little father’. However, due to the catastrophic decision the respect and loyalty for the Tsar had been destroyed in one day. This is a crucial part of the cause of the 1905 Revolution; wide spread outrage across the Russians and the apparent hatred for the Tsar. In particular the majority of the outrage built up from the peaceful protest ending in a mass killing. Significantly the leader of the protest was Father Georgi Gappon, whom organised a march to deliver a workers petition to the Tsar.
The petition showed the incredible anger that existed among the workers, reading ‘ the limit of our patience has been reached, the terrible moment has come for us when it is better to die than to continue suffering intolerable torment'(http://artsci.shu.edu/reesp/documents/bloodysunday.htm) The protest was peaceful and even included icons and church banners; however father Gapon was met by soldiers firing from short distance into crowd. Above all father Gapon was attacked in the bid to assert the tsar’s authority after loosing a war with japan which undermined his authority. The atrocity led to strikes and riots- sailors on the battleship ‘potemkin’ mutinied; workers and soldiers got together and set up committees called soviets to represent them.
It is significantly obvious that Bloody Sunday was a major contributor to the 1905 revolution, being largely above the growth of the revolutionary groups because of the in humane nature of Bloody Sunday and the wide spread angry it left the vast majority of the Russian people feeling. The reformist groups were a long term cause for the 1905 revolution. Russia was still an autocratic state (the Tsar held completed political power). The reformist groups wanted to amend this so the Tsar had less power. The reformist groups also known as the radical parties all had various different ideas as to how they were going to go about reforming the country. They grew in numbers from 1881 and gained a lot of support from various different social groups. The Socialist Revolutionary Party wanted to completely abolish the Tsar’s power and give the peasants power to advance Russia. They were quite radical as they had terrorist wing who were responsi9ble for a few political assassinations. Another reformist group was the Social Democrat Party. They believed the industrial workers should be given power in order to revolutionise as removes Tsar’s power over the country. The Social Democrats were split into two groups: the Bolsheviks and the Mensheviks. The Bolshevik’s was more radical and was led by Lenin. The Menshevik’s agreed to wait for the workers to gain power overtime.
Lastly the Liberals believed that to develop Russia you had to work with the middle-class. The growth of the reformists groups led to the 1905 revolution as they all wanted change; they wanted the Tsar to agree with them. The Tsar didn’t agree to any of the reformist groups terms therefore they were forced to retaliate in the form of the 1905 revolution. The reformist groups provided the people with a lot of ideas which challenged the tsar and his ideals. In recent years there had been an uncontrolled increase in the populations of the working class. This led to overcrowded towns and cities resulting in poor working and living conditions. The workers had poor wages with long hours and forced overtime. They grew increasingly dissatisfied with the Tsarist regime, in which the nobility all lived a life of grandeur, and did nothing to share their wealth with the common people. The social unrest led the workers to seek alternatives; in order to find a body that was willing to share the power with the populace. These populist beliefs brought about two major revolutionary groups: the socialist revolutionaries and the social democrats. They were able to provide an alternative solution to the Tsarist regime; their aims included abolishing the tsar, and replaced it with independent peasant communes. Therefore the power would be shared amongst the people, which were much more appealing to the masses that had little control, as most of them were still confined to their communes. Another large contributor to the 1905 revolution was the Russo- Japanese war. The Russo-Japanese War lasted from 1904 to 1905, and arose from both Japan and Russia’s desire for expansion and dominance in Korea and Manchuria. Russia suffered many great defeats in this war, against a nation that was considered inferior and was not one of the Great Powers. This humiliated the people of Russia, and caused them to lose confidence in Tsar Nicholas II, as well as causing great military, economic, and political problems for Russia. This therefore caused the Russo-Japanese War to be partly responsible for the outbreak of the 1905 Revolution. The crushing of Russian’s military added impetus to the 1905 Revolution, as it made the people of Russia aware of the weakness of their military and ashamed to be Russian.
They were losing to a nation very few had heard of and it was humiliating. Significantly, the war was a massive contributor to Bloody Sunday as Tsar Nicholas lost the war, which undermined his authority. Father Gapon was attacked in the attempt to assert the tsar authority after his embarrassment. In conclusion, I strongly believe that the Russo Japanese war had one of the biggest impacts in the build up to the 1905 revolution and I am confident that this war can be considered the main cause for the revolution as the war lead the Russian people to begin to loose faith in the tsar, they were beginning to see through the cracks. In particular the war being the main contributor to Bloody Sunday, making it inaccurate to suggest the reformist groups were the main cause. However, there were many long term causes that contributed to the 1905 revolution, the majority of the long term causes revolved around the peasants and the poverty they were leaving in, but most importantly the over all view that they were being ignored by the Tsar himself because he had other ‘pressing issues’ to be dealt with rather than his Russian people living in poverty due to population.
Over all, the peasants were faced with a number of constant problems. Starting with, the population, land, taxes and the harvests. Poor harvests lead to the peasants starving and not collecting any form of money to live with. Significantly bad years were 1892, 1898 and 1901. Key to the build up of the revolution were the peasants requests being ignored and their struggles were not trying to be improved; peasants in both cities and the country side were ready for change, mini uprisings from the peasants were a concern to the Tsar, however not a main concern. In conclusion, although the peasants had an impact on the revolution it was not one of which that made a large one. Without ‘bloody Sunday’ the mini strikes would not have been enough to attract and keep the tsar attention. There were also short term causes that contributed to the 1905 revolution including the Russo Japanese war. Other short term causes included attempts to expand empire in late 19th century. 1904-5 Russia vs Japan over control of n. China and Korea. Jan 1905 surrender port Arthur naval base n china 1905 defeated in Manchuria. Significantly the biggest embarrassment being the national humiliation on the 27th of May 1905 in the Battle of Tsushima. During the Russo-Japanese War, the Russian Baltic Fleet is nearly destroyed at the Battle of Tsushima Strait. The decisive defeat, in which only 10 of 45 Russian warships escaped to safety, convinced Russian leaders that further resistance against Japan’s imperial designs for East Asia was hopeless. Significantly, although the battle of Tsushima was a complete wash out for the Russians it was not a large contributor to the 1905 revolution.
Over all, the short term causes as a whole were not a large contributor to the revolution. However, the Russo- Japanese war was a large contributor to the revolution. Over all, I personally feel that Alexenander the III himself was the main cause for the 1905 revolution. Significantly, Alexander III was hopelessly out of touch with the emerging realities of a modern Russia. For instance, them agriculture was exploited as a source of export earnings; this helped cause a series of famines, especially in 1891. This made him hugely unpopular as he took grain from the people in an attempt to make money and improve the economy. Due to his slow intelligence and lack of experience, Alexander forgot the fundamental rule of keeping his people happy and instead chose to suppress. Alexander did not realise that, following Alexander II’s emancipation of the serfs in 1861, he could not return to a state of rigid autocracy when the serfs had already had some freedom. The reformist groups formed as a result of his errors, he fuelled the creation of them. He aggravated them by taking away many of their rights for example fees quadrupled to restrict entry to secondary and higher education and their previous ability to vote was made more difficult.
The fact that they had been given a taste of liberalism by Alexander II was what made the Russian people more aware of the inconveniences of the Tsarist Regime; they began to lose their respect for him and one of the main problems he had on his name was the famine of 1891 did not realise that, following Alexander aggravated them by taking away many of their rights for example fees quadrupled to restrict entry to secondary and higher education and their previous ability to vote was made more difficult. The fact that they had been given a taste of liberalism by Alexander II was what made the Russian people more aware of the inconveniences of the Tsarist Regime; they began to lose their respect for him and one of the main problems he had on his name was the famine of 1891.
Cite this Growth of the Reformist A Level
Growth of the Reformist A Level. (2016, Oct 28). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/growth-of-the-reformist-a-level/