1905 - A Failed Revolution?

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LONG TERM CAUSES:

Social & Economic causes:

  •  80% population = peasants, most living in poverty - rapid population growth led to land hunger
  •  harvest failures 1892, 1898 & 1901 led to widespread famine - peasant reacted w/ violence
  •  agriculture remained backwards, economy grew rapidly
  •  towns & cities population grew rapidly - led to poor living & working conditions
  •  poor conditions meant demands for change had a willing audience

Political causes: 

  •  autocratic state - Tsar had complete political power
    • no elected national parliament, only elected bodies = zemstva (were only at local level)
  • demand for political reform grew, but reformers = mixed group w/ little in common
    • most moderates = liberals, wanted Tsar to share political power w/ elected parliament
    • SRs = more extreme, wanted to give peasants political power, willing to use violence
    • SDP = most extreme, wanted to give power to peasants & workers, willing to use violence

IMMEDIATE CAUSES:

Russo-Japanese War, 1904-05:

  • undermined support for Tsar’s regime & gave encouragement to revolutionaries
  • Russia saw selves as superior in military power - suffered humiliating defeat
  • national humiliation helped cause unrest against govt
  • helped prolong revolution - many of the events took place during the revolution

Bloody Sunday:

  • disaster for govt & Tsar - widespread outrage - damaged ‘Little Father’ popularity
  • spread of news sparked sympathy strikes in other parts of Russia

HOW DID REVOLUTION DEVELOP DURING 1905?

Strikes:

  • wave of strikes developed into general strike - organised by discontented workers, not rvltnaries
  • set up soviets (workers’ councils) to direct strikes in industrial centres
  • railway workers strike = bad

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