"The Essential Difference Between The Outcome Of T

1328 words - 5 pages

" The essential difference between the outcome of the Russian revolutions of 1905 and 1917 was the extent of military defeat." (Discuss) There were many serious causes and extremely important results of the 1905 "revolution". However I believe that the essential difference between the outcomes of the two revolutions lay not with the extent of military defeat, but with the fact that the convulsions of 1905 never posed any real threat to the Russian autocracy. They did not bring about any real devolution of power, which still rested in the hands of a pusillanimous emperor and his personally chosen ministers: there was no redistribution of wealth or property; society was not restructured; and the powers of the bureaucracy, military and police remained unaltered. The nature of the relationship between Russia's involvement in the First World War and the 1917 revolution is a topic that has been mulled over by historians ever since the events took place. Put very simply, the question boils down to this: did the military situation generate the domestic crisis that brought about the disintegration of the tsarist regime; or were the pressures and contradictions within the social and political system already of such a refractory nature as to make revolution in any case inevitable? In my opinion the First World War acted as a catalyst, merely accelerating the revolution. The domestic situation before August 1914 was already reaching crisis point. The widespread industrial unrest following the Lena Goldfield shootings, the deteriorating relations between the government and the Duma, the political disaffection of the middle classes, the repercussions of the Rasputin affair, and the unresolved agrarian problems - all suggested that state and society were once more lurching towards some kind of dramatic confrontation.The defeats suffered by the Russians prior to 1905 in the Russo-Japanese war were relatively trivial in terms of stimulating the revolution. After initial bouts of patriotic enthusiasm the war became unpopular and gave rise to a generalised anti-government feeling. Other events were considerably more significant. After four decades of relative calm the Russian countryside erupted in response to the injustices of the emancipation settlement. Throughout the countryside the sight of burning Manor-houses was all too common as the resentful and newly aroused peasants took their revenge. In the factories the workers grievances were fuelled by the economic depression and strikes were rife. The trigger that was to ignite this explosive situation was provided by the workers of St. Petersburg. On Sunday 9 January 1905 a protest march of striking factory workers and their families ended in bloody massacre. The peaceful demonstrators along with their priest, who was leading them, were marching to present a petition listing their complaints to the tsar. On arriving they were met by mounted Cossacks and a hail of bullets. The world was shocked by the savage...

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