How stable was the Tsaristregime by 1914?An in-depth look at the RussoJapanese War, 1905 Revolution, theOctober Manifesto and Petyr Stolypin
So far… So Russia1. Russia – an introduction2. The Crimean War3. Alexander II – Reform4. Opponents of Alex II and Alex III5. Alexander III & Industrialisation6. Russo-Japanese war 19057. Revolution of 19058. Nicholas II, Stolypin and Russia on the eve of war9. World War 110. Revolutions of 191711. The Russian Civil War / Lenin12. Rise of Stalin13. Five Year Plans, Collectivisation and the Great Terror14. World War Two15. Last Years of StalinQuestionTo what extent did warprovide a catalyst forchange in Russia between1853-1953?
Russo-Japanese War• Why did Russia go to war with Japan in1905?• What impact did the loss of the war have onthe government?
Reasons for war with Japan• Expansion in the East would compensate fordeclining influence in Europe• Japan seen as an easy target• Long-standing territorial disputes in region• Ice-free port• Distraction from Russia’s domestic problems: ‘Weneed a small, victorious war to avert arevolution’ (Interior Minister, Viacheslav Plehve)• Economic: need to expand Russia’s markets intoFar East• Japanese attack on Port Arthur
Impact of war• Russian military exposed as poorly prepared:Japanese army & navy better prepared thanexpected; Japanese secured strategic positions, e.g.Port Arthur• Russian navy suffered embarrassing defeat:destroyed by Japanese navy at Tsushima, May, 1905• Army was overstretched: Trans-Siberian railwayproved of little value• Failure in foreign policy provoked domestic unrest
Revolution of 1905 - Causes• Russian peasants had their horizons broadened bymilitary life, increased levels of literacy, theexpanding rail network and some education.• Workers were calling for rights and wererepresented by SR’s and SD’s in local government.• Economic changes under Sergei Witte weretaking place causing Russia to slowly industrialise.• Growing pressure on land due to growing ruralpopulation.• Defeat in Russo-Japanese War highlightedweakness of the state.
Events in brief• Father Gapon led a peaceful protest. He went to the Tsar to ask forcivil freedoms and political participation.• He also wanted increased worker representation, a constituentassembly and the rule of law.• Not a traditional revolution/coup – protestors were loyal to the Tsar.• Bloody Sunday – Sunday 9 January Tsarist troops fired on theprotestors outside the Winter Palace in St Petersburg. 200 killed, 800wounded.• Belief amongst the Tsars advisers that workers strikes, army mutiniesand the creation of workers soviets had threatened the regime.• Various social and ethnic groups were angry at massacre.• The prestige of the royal family and the mystique of the Tsar as ‘TheFather of the Nation’ was smashed and gone forever.• Unrest spread amongst workers and peasants – the Tsar’s uncle, GrandDuke Sergei was assassinated.• The Socialist parties helped to organise protests and give politicaldirection. Peasants called for a transfer of all ‘non-peasant land.’
• Overall – a completion of the 1860s reforms wasdesired. Workers had specific demands to pay, hours,conditions and political reforms.• Peasants acted in collectives, seizing land from land-owners.• Workers called Soviets together, agreeing on policy as awhole. The largest Soviet in St Petersburg put greatpressure on Tsar to make concessions. Soviets werehowever, large and chaotic compared to peasant villageassemblies.• The Battleship Potemkin mutiny was against poorservice conditions but had no real political aims. Causedfurther alarm to the regime.• There were also some ethnic groups against the processof Russification.• Revolution was not a conventional revolution - not co-ordinated by a specific group.• Nicholas II, the autocrat, opposed to reforms but moregroups emerged continued to emerge seeking change.
Task• Use the PowerPoint notes to organise a listof grievances amongst the Russian people.• Categorise them into groups and attachgrievances to each.
17 October 1905. Russians celebrating the granting ofthe October Manifesto by Nicholas II, which led tothe granting of the 1906 Constitution.
Read Oxley p.62Source 191. How well doyou think theOctoberManifesto willappeaseoppositiongroups?2. Does theOctoberManifestoshow TsarNicholas II tobe an autocrat?
Read p. 62Source 20What is Trotsky’sattitude to theManifesto?
• Tsar survived by mixing repression and reform.He survived by releasing October Manifesto.• The October Manifesto promised reform andsplit opposition into two camps - moderateliberals seeking constitutional reform and die-hard revolutionaries who wanted radicalchange.• Tsar Nicholas II consented to a State Dumawhich gave vote to most adult males. Not a law-making parliament in the western sense, Tsarcould dismiss it at will and ministers were notaccountable to it. Only a weak constitutionalcheck.• The Tsar issued the Fundamental Laws (23April 1906) before the State Duma met. P. 66October Manifesto
Read p. 66Source 4What does this source tell us about Nicholas II’sattitude to the reforms?
The State Duma – Constitutionalmonarchy or autocracy?• Half the upper house was appointed by Tsar and half was the nobility.Lower house voted by majority of adult male population. This made itfeel like autocracy to many.• New political parties rose up around this time;• Kadets (for professional people) – not satisfied with concessions,United Nobility – protect interests of aristocracy, Octobrists – wantedconstitutional monarchy, SD’s – excluded or boycotted Duma. Othergroups had little voice. Bolsheviks won some seats and organisedworkers groups.• Turnout was high in elections of 1906• The new Duma wanted radical land reform, dissolved in three monthsby Tsar.• Second Duma saw same results, conflict between it and theautocratic regime.• Petyr Stolypin, the Prime Minister, persisted with Duma. He pushedfor a reduced franchise (people who could vote) with landowners andmiddle classes enjoying increased representation
State opening of 1st Duma,1906. Do these images giveany clues over the powers ofthe Duma or its relationshipwith the Tsar?
Petyr Stolypin, Prime Minister• Stolypin was the new Prime Minister. He wantedDuma to be dominated by landed elite, Russians andurban elite and thus strengthen monarchy.• Stolypin maintained loyalty of the army.• He aimed to give the peasantry full citizenship toinspire loyalty and promote commercial farming inorder to build up a prosperous peasant class.• He wanted to release peasants from the constraints ofthe communes (mir and land captains) but manypeasants were resistant to change. Crop yields werepoor and rising population put pressure on land.• Workers rights were also suppressed. Powers given totrade unions were decreased and wages/conditionsforced back to pre-1905 levels.• Stolypin murdered in 1911, suspicious circumstances.Laid the foundations for more repressive, reactionaryregime.• Lena Goldfields Massarce 1912 – miners killed forpetitioning for improved conditions.• Stolypin was repressive against the 1905revolutionaries but restored order in the countryside.
Stolypin’s ReformsSuccesses• ‘Wager on the strong’ –creation of newprosperous class ofpeasants• Fostered good workingrelationship withduma – lastopportunity forpeaceful reform underTsarsFailures• Land reforms took time –Stolypin spoke of needing20 years, but was killedafter 5• Conservatism of Russianpeasants – by 1914 only10% of land taken out ofmirs• Ministry of Agriculturelost confidence in reforms
Eve of War• Despite Stolypin’s successes, Russia was still behind thewestern powers in coal, iron and steel production onthe eve of war.• Nicholas II was an inherently weak individual – unableto distinguish between good and bad advice.• Tsar was determined to uphold tradition of autocracyand privileges of landed nobility.• Organised opposition still in infancy. Industrial unrestonly in St Petersburg, public mood less volatile than1905.• By 1914 Lenin was marginalised and pessimisticabout chances of revolution. In exile in mainland Europe.• Tsar confident of military support.• Many Russians dissatisfied with the evident stresses andstrains in society but as yet no catalyst to force the issue.
HistoriographySoviet View• The post-1917 version of history is that theregime lacked any basis for long-term survivalin 1914.• Marxists believed Russia was slowly changingfrom a feudal to a capitalist society• WW1 did create additional social and economicpressures but not enough to account for thecollapse of Tsarism.• Bolsheviks were making good progress amongthe working classes even before the war.
HistoriographyAnti-Soviet View• Tsarist regime had many factors in its favourin 1914• Disastrous involvement in WW1.• Tsarism could have survived if it hadadapted to changing circumstances• Russia was making considerable social andeconomic progress by 1914 – war shatteredthis progress.
HistoriographyMiddle-ground Views• There were some significant developments in Russiapre-1914.• Difficult to assess how stable the regime was in1914.• Was essentially the disastrous war experience thatbrought down the Tsar in 1917.• Did not automatically dictate that Communistswould take over and establish first socialist state.• Before 1914 there was little evidence of the regimebeing willing to adapt.