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How Far Was The Russo Japanese War Responsible For The Outbreak Of The 1905 Revolution?

1310 words - 6 pages

How far was the Russo-Japanese War responsible for the outbreak of the 1905 Revolution?

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.

Huge military defeats were caused by the ...view middle of the document...

The war was fought in the very far eastern reaches of the country, far away from where the majority of the population lived, and hence they must have felt removed from it, especially as news was still slow to travel. There was therefore little public enthusiasm for the war. Many people felt there was little justification for it: public opinion was not on the side of the war. Moreover, the military was very ill-equipped for the war. This showed to the people of Russia the government’s failings, and caused people to turn away from the Tsar as a leader, and look elsewhere, such as to political groups who were prepared to take radical action to achieve their aims. The political implications of the Russo-Japanese War helped cause the 1905 Revolution because it was not supported by the public and people therefore lost faith in the Tsar and looked in other places to groups that could possibly rule instead of the Tsar.

Another reason for the outbreak of the 1905 Revolution was the growth of opposition groups to the Tsar. These groups were gradually becoming more and more organised. The three main groups were the Social Democrats, the Social Revolutionaries and the Liberals. These groups were slowly providing more opposition, in particular the Social Revolutionaries. Between 1901 and 1905 this group was responsible for a wave of political assassinations, including Plehve, the Minister of the Interior, in 1904, and Grand Duke Sergei. These opposition groups were becoming more widely known and provided a visible alternative to rule by the Tsar, cause by their dissatisfactions with the Tsar’s methods of ruling.

The economic troubles in rural areas were another main reason for the outbreak of the 1905 Revolution. Both the peasants and the landowners were suffering. Agriculture was very behind that of other countries, as under the Witte system nothing had been done to improve it. Therefore the land was not cultivated properly, and famines occurred quite regularly such as the one in 1902 as well as the one in 1905. The peasants were free after the Emancipation of Serfs Act in 1861, but they were tied to mirs, or village communities, and could not leave them without permission. They also had to make redemption payments for the land which they held as deeply unfair, and this also, like the Russo-Japanese War, caused them to resent Nicholas II. The landowners were also suffering: they had lost free labour, and with the selling of the land to the government, many of them were in deep debt. They too were dissatisfied with the Tsar. Nicholas II was unable to help neither the peasants nor the landowners: after the Russo-Japanese War money was an issue. The discontent, resulting from these economic issues, in rural areas partly contributed to the event of the 1905 Revolution.

An additional cause of the 1905 Revolution was industrialisation, resulting from the Great...

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