Was Tsar Nicholas II mainly to blame for the 1905 Revolution?

1036 Words May 3rd, 2014 5 Pages
Was Tsar Nicholas II mainly to blame for the 1905 Revolution?

In 1905, the social and economic tensions building up within Russia boiled over into Revolution. It was described by Lenin as the “Great Dress Rehearsal” for the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 and may give us clues as to why the 1917 revolution started. The suggestion that Tsar Nicholas II and his actions were to blame for this revolution is debatable and there are many factors such as the repressive Tsarist system, the growth of opposition from the time of Alexander II and the defeat in the war with Japan to consider. These events can be separated into short and long term effects on the revolution. Bloody Sunday and defeat to Japan would be short term effects whereas the
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Bad harvests in 1902 and 1903 brought an increase in the number of violent attacks on the landlords but Nicholas was disinclined to make any changes to the lives of the peasants.

The strikes in the 1890s were becoming more organised as 97,000 went on strike in 1897 but Nicholas refused to do anything about the situation. He wanted Russia to modernise as an industrial company admirably but was less concerned what impact it would have on the workers. Both the strikes and the growth of opposition were long terms effects on the revolution.

However, Bloody Sunday which saw soldiers shooting as many as a thousand protesters in a panic, was a short term effect. It was just after a strike involving 111,000 workers and was responded by large numbers of troops to guard public works. Although Nicholas was at the Alexander Palace in Tsarskoye Selo, he was still heavily blamed for the deaths, perhaps unfairly as he of course did not directly order the soldiers to fire upon the protesters. It was most likely due to the soldiers’ inexperience when handling protests so they handled it as if it were a riot. Nicholas in fairness expressed his sorrow and grievances for those that died and was persuaded to appease the workers but failed to realise the seriousness of the situation as it led to the revolution.

The other short term cause of the revolution was the Russo-Japanese War. It was made to seem to the public that the motive for war was because Japan attacked Port Arthur, a
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