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The 1905 Revolution

January, 1905

The 1905 Revolution was an uprising of the people of Russia calling for a change in their government.  It was started by anxious troops opening fire on peaceful marchers in St. Petersburg on January 9, 1905, a date which has since been called "Bloody Sunday."  Tsar Nicholas II, after struggling to regain control of the nation for almost a year, found peace by creating the October Manifesto, a document which granted basic civil liberties and rights to the Russian people and gave citizens a voice in the government through the election of the Duma.  The 1905 Revolution caused significant reform in Russia.

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After suffering a harsh defeat in the Russo-Japanese War in 1904, Russia's tsar, Nicholas II, found himself facing a nation that was pleading for fundamental government reforms and basic rights.  Unwilling to give up his power, but knowing that action had to be taken, Nicholas issued a constitution that granted citizens the most basic civil liberties.  It had, however, no effect on the government and Nicholas continued his autocratic reign. [1]   Dissatisfied with the constitution's results, the working class of Russia followed the leadership of Father Georgii Gapon, an Orthodox priest and policeman, and marched to St. Petersburg to petition the tsar.  Upon arrival in St. Petersburg on January 9, 1905, nervous troops saw the approaching crowd and fired upon them, killing at least 200 people.   "Bloody Sunday" marked the start of the 1905 Revolution. [2]

After "Bloody Sunday," Russia was in turmoil.  The massacre caused revolt throughout the nation.  Worker strikes, agricultural struggles, terrorism, and army mutiny were among the problems now facing the tsar.  Political groups such as the Soviet, a workers council, and the Constitutional Democratic Party, commonly referred to as the Kadets, were formed.  Riots and general confusion broke out everywhere. [3]   The tsar left the country and headed to America, where he spent the next few months at a peace conference working to put a complete end to the recent Russo-Japanese War.

A massive strike, beginning on October 7, 1905 and lasting through October 17, 1905, along with increased action and threats from the Bolsheviks in St. Petersburg, brought the tsar back to Russia from the peace conference in Portsmouth, USA, to deal with his nations struggles.  Once back in Russia, the Tsar issued the October Manifest.  The manifesto, like the previous constitution, granted basic civil rights and liberties to Russian citizens.  A ministerial government was to be put in place, and the Duma was elected.  The Duma served as a second governing body to aid the tsar, but it had little power, and suffered difficulties later.  The Manifesto did, however, end the bitter 1905 Revolution, and there weren't many revolts in the next few years. [4]

The 1905 Russian Revolution centered on the desire of the people to have an interactive government that sought the best for all of Russia.  Tired of the autocratic rule of the tsar, the people of the working class marched to St. Petersburg to petition the tsar for more civil liberties and rights.  This march on St. Petersburg sparked the start of the 1905 Revolution.  The next year was filled with revolts and rioting in opposition the government.  After a particularly violent strike in October, tsar Nicholas issued the October Manifesto, a document which gave basic rights and liberties to the people, and brought an end to the 1905 Russian Revolution.


Notes:

[1] Ed. by Zickel, Raymond E. Soviet Union, A Country Study 2nd Edition (Washington D.C., Library of Congress: 1991) pp. 45.

[2] Shukman, Dr. H. The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Russia and the Soviet Union (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press: 1982) pp. 103.

[3] Ed. by Zickel, Raymond E. Soviet Union, A Country Study 2nd Edition (Washington D.C., Library of Congress: 1991) pp. 45-46

[4] Hodnett, Grey. Soviet Leaders (London, Thomas Y. Crowell Co.: 1967) pp. 41


Bibliography:

Hodnett, Grey. Soviet Leaders. London; Thomas Y. Crowell Co., 1967.

Shukman, Dr. H. The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Russia and the Soviet Union. Cambridge; Cambridge University Press, 1982.

Ed. by Zickel, Raymond E. Soviet Union, A Country Study. 2nd Edition. Washington,D.C.; Library of Congress, 1991.

 

 

Researched and Written
by:
Corianne Bowman
HIST 2260: Modern World
September 12, 2003

Text © 2003 by ThenAgain. All rights reserved.

 

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