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

1062 words 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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Perhaps the foremost reason for war was initiated by Plehve who was the minister of the Interior when he suggested that a “short victorious war” would unite the people and dampen revolutionary feelings. Furthermore, Russia and Japan were in dispute over territory and trade in Korea and were seeking to resolve this through war. The Tsar believed Russia could defeat an Asian nation like Japan, as would most people. This imperialist war showed the backwardness, inefficiency and corruption of Russia compared to Japan and utterly humiliated Russia, and therefore the Tsar. It was the immediate context to the Revolution and was perhaps due to Nicholas II and his advisors’ disillusion that Russia was a great power that could bully a smaller Asian nation such as Japan.

Nicholas II was mainly to blame for the 1905 Revolution as he was the supreme ruler and so most of the wrong decisions Russia made were down to him. Although his advisors such as Pobedonostev and Plehve had a great influence on him, he had the final decision to make. However some events such as Bloody Sunday were out of his control, it could be said he should have been there or made an effort to get there as he knew it was happening or had the soldiers been better trained in the first place it may not have happened. However, the opposition had been growing since his Grandfather’s reign and Nicholas was therefore at a disadvantage as soon as he became Tsar. The War with Japan can


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