To what extent was the Russian Revolution of 1905 to blame for Tsar Nicholas II's abdication in 1917? Be sure to incorporate a historian's opinion in your answer.

The Russian Revolution of 1905 was to blame for Tsar Nicholas II's abdication in 1917 to the extent that the issues raised in the 1905 conflicts were not resolved. The government did not follow through on its promises after Bloody Sunday, and this ultimately resulted in the Bolshevik Revolution and the overthrow of the tsarist regime in 1917.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In many historical studies of the Russian Revolution, there is a strong connection between Bloody Sunday in 1905 and Tsar Nicholas II’s forced abdication in 1917. In 1905, workers protesting peacefully in the streets were shot down by government soldiers. Any changes promised to the people after Bloody Sunday were...

See
This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Get 48 Hours Free Access

In many historical studies of the Russian Revolution, there is a strong connection between Bloody Sunday in 1905 and Tsar Nicholas II’s forced abdication in 1917. In 1905, workers protesting peacefully in the streets were shot down by government soldiers. Any changes promised to the people after Bloody Sunday were not followed through on, and the frustrations that had led the people to protest in the first place were made even worse. Eventually, the tsarist regime was overthrown during the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917.

An article published by McGill University in Canada, entitled “Russian Revolution of 1917,” includes Bloody Sunday as a clear part of the chronology of the Russian Revolution. In its explanation of political causes of the Revolution, the article states,

Politically, most areas of Russian society had reason to be dissatisfied with the existing autocratic system. They had no representation in government, and the Tsar remained out of touch with the people's problems.

Dissatisfaction with Russian autocracy culminated in the Bloody Sunday massacre, in which Russian workers saw their pleas for justice rejected as thousands of unarmed protestors were shot by the Tsar's troops. The response to the massacre crippled the nation with strikes, and Nicholas released his October Manifesto, promising a democratic parliament (the State Duma) to appease the people. However, the Tsar effectively nullified his promises of Democracy with Article 87 of the 1906 Fundamental State Laws, and then subsequently dismissed the first two Dumas when they proved uncooperative. These unfulfilled hopes of democracy fuelled revolutionary ideas and violence targeted at the Tsarist regime.

In regards to specific historians, Peter Holquist’s overview of Anglophone scholarship on the Russian Revolution, republished on OpenEdition, might be helpful. Holquist lists a number of different historians who define the Revolution according to different eras. You might find support for your essay by looking up the names of scholars listed in this paragraph:

As regards “continuum,” there remains a vibrant debate over how “the Russian Revolution” should be understood. Is it a dynamic which is best limited to the year 1917, February to October? Or is it best placed in a broader arc: 1891–1924 (Orlando Figes), 1899–1924 (Richard Pipes), 1905–1921 (Peter Holquist), 1914–1922 (Aaron Retish), 1890–1928 (Steven Smith)?

Another article I found that might be applicable to your assignment is “Chronicle of a Russian Revolutionary: Leon Trotsky and the Bolshevik Revolution” by Sharla Burchfield of the University of the Cumberlands. In her opening paragraph, Burchfield writes,

The desire for change, for revolution, was a growing, living thing, difficult to control and impossible to predict. This desire had first come to the surface in 1905 on “bloody Sunday” when troops fired on a group of peaceful demonstrators. The ensuing civil disorders were eventually quelled, and Tsar Nicholas II maintained a tenuous hold upon his country.

Hope this helps!

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team