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Did the 1905 Revolution Seriously Threaten the Tsar?


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Did the 1905 Revolution seriously threaten the position of the Tsar? It could be argued that the "supposed" 1905 Russian Revolution seriously threatened the position of the Tsar as the outrage that was shown towards the Tsar and the government came from a wide range of classes from the society. The 1905 revolution was a result of huge public discontent by 3 main classes; the peasants, workers and the liberals. These groups were especially angry at the Tsar due to three main reasons; heavy taxation, poor living conditions for the workers and the humiliation the liberals felt from the defeat of the Russo-Japanese war which caused the public to riot and demand the Tsar to make changes. This is what makes us question whether the 1905 revolution ever really threatened the position of the Tsar as the Tsar still had the militaries loyalty which led to him being able to easily control the undivided oppositions which also helped the Tsar a lot as he was able to sort out the small opposition groups separately rather than one massive one. However, we can then question the amount of impact done to the Tsar which then proves how much the Tsar was threatened by the 1905 revolution. From this, we can clearly see how the Tsar was affected in the short term and the long term. As previously mentioned, the Tsar still maintained the loyalty of the army and the police which is an important factor as to why the 1905 revolution did not threaten the position of the Tsar. As the Tsar still had control and the loyalty of the military, he was able to easily suppress the opposition and their riots with minimal loss to his power. Two main riots in the 1905 revolution, the Bloody Sunday and the Potemkin Mutiny, helped to corroborate the fact the as long as the Tsar still had the loyalty of the military, he will still be able to control the acts of oppression that could've potentially affected his position as the Tsar with ease and with pretty much minimal loss to his power. The Bloody Sunday was a march of workers led by Father Gapon in hopes to present a loyal petition to the Tsar, begging him to relieve desperate conditions. This then caused the soldiers to panic with the outnumbered amount of people which caused them to fire on the protestors and even killed 200 of them - hence the name. Although the event wasn't handled in a very civil and friendly way, which was what made the Tsar lose his image as the 'Little Father', it can be agreed that this did the trick to handle the massive riot. This riot was handled only due to the fact that the Tsar still had power over the military as the Tsar was able to survive the Bloody Sunday with only a damage on his image and not his actual position as the people still feared that he would repossess home from those who hadn't repaid mortgages from post-emancipation years, proving that the position of the Tsar was never really threatened in the first place. The Potemkin Mutiny was very similar to the Bloody Sunday in the sense that it wasn't handled in a very civil way. This event was the act of some soldiers who returned home from the Russo-Japanese war decided to mutiny. In response to this, the loyal troops marched on the protestors, trampled on those who feel and pushed many into the sea causing a civilian death toll in the thousands proving that the number of loyal soldiers the Tsar had outnumbered the amount who chose to rebel. The similarity of the way the army reacted towards the riot was the same way the military controlled the Bloody Sunday in the sense that although the events were not controlled in a very civil and friendly way that affected the Tsar's image greatly, it still did not seriously threaten the position of the Tsar. The outcome of both of these events prove that as long as the Tsar still had the control and loyalty of the military, his position will never be seriously threatened as the army and the police will be there to do the dirty work for him so that he is able to come out reasonably unscathed. Proof from the outcome of the Potemkin Mutiny also showed that he had a reasonably large amount of military who were still loyal to him, meaning that the attacks would have to get through a lot of people before actually being able to harm him and threaten his position. This suggests that if the Tsar did not have the loyalty of the military, his position and himself would've been seriously threatened and although the public were not aiming to get rid of him, but for him to make changes, the lack of power he had would've definitely destroyed his position to fought against the protestors. The view that the 1905 revolution was not a serious threat towards the Tsar's position is also corroborated by the fact that, despite the uprising coming from three different classes, they were not one united body and all had different aims. This division allowed the Tsar and the military, who were still loyal to the Tsar, to deal with each class separately, and so with minimal loss to his power and damage to his position as the Tsar. This lack of unity was down to the lack of organisation as many protestors had different views and aims which affected the revolution greatly. The most significant flaw is that it was not planned and organised properly, in fact it was simply a reaction to a foolish act the government made, in which the acts were not thoroughly planned beforehand meaning that the amount of tactics and the success rate they had were limited as this lack of unity is no match against the military who were still very much loyal to the Tsar and therefore not being able to seriously threaten the position of the Tsar and force him to make changes. However, as the Tsar had full responsibility of the country, some concessions had to be made which resulted in the October Manifesto. As the opposition were divided in small groups, the Tsar was able to appease each group one-by-one and thus reducing the threat towards his position. In response to the peasants, the Tsar progressively reduced the land repayments and then abolished them and in response to the liberals, the creation of the legislative Duma was made this satisfied both groups as there was an immediate drop in land seizure and general lawlessness, decreasing the amount of opposition towards the Tsar and the potential to seriously threaten his position. However, the Tsar did not make any changes that the workers pleaded for, instead they were crushed and suppressed. Although this did not appease the group , any potential plans they had against the Tsar was immediately suppressed proving the power the Tsar had with the loyalty of the military and therefore preventing any serious threat towards his position. It was due to this lack of unity in the divided oppositions that the Tsar was able to control and appease the groups with minimal loss to his power as instead of dealing with one massive riot with protestors after the same thing, he had to deal with smaller groups of protestors which allowed him and his military to rest between riots and still be able to perform effectively when a group decides to riot. The fact that the main revolutionary groups were not part of the revolution greatly prove that the revolution was simply not a threat towards the Tsar. This is because the main revolutionary groups, such as the Bolsheviks and the Mensheviks, have much more power, strong relations to powerful and wealthy people and were generally overall more prepared and organised as they all have the same aim in mind. If these groups did take part in the protest then there would've been a greater risk of the position of the Tsar being seriously threatened, however instead of dealing with these major groups, the Tsar had to deal with much smaller oppositional groups who did not even have a leader or a governing body, which may be due to the lack of unity, making it seem like this uprising was not a serious threat at all to the Tsar. After many acts of rebellion from the opposition in the 1905 revolution, the Tsar was only affected a slight bit which only lasted in the short term but did not affect him much in the long term. The position of the Tsar was only slightly threatened by the outcome of the Bloody Sunday event which in turned gravely damaged his title as the 'Little Father' causing a lot of public discontent and trust towards the Tsar and a widespread of disorder was spreading, fuelled by the social revolutionaries. This did slightly threaten the position of the Tsar as the lack of trust and respect he had from the public, which consisted of 82% peasants, in turn affected the amount of power he had as most of Russia's population consists of the peasants and although the Tsar may still have the loyalty of the military, if the entire peasant population decided to rebel against the Tsar, the possibility of the position of the Tsar being seriously threatened is increased greatly. However, as mentioned previously, this only lasted in the short term effects as after the October Manifesto, many were satisfied with the concession the Tsar had made. This did greatly in making the image of the Tsar look much better than before as the public has started to respect him more since they were asking for changes in the first place which in turn decreases the temporary potential threat towards the position of the Tsar. Many, mostly the peasants, still feared that the Tsar would repossess homes from those who hadn't repaid mortgages from post-emancipation years On the whole, we can conclude that although the position of the Tsar was slightly threatened for a short period of time, the 1905 revolution never seriously threatened the Tsar in the long term. Due to the Tsars previous achievements, i.e. Russification and Censorship, the large amount of power he contained was evidently clear and was also a very good reason for the public to fear him which continued throughout the revolution. This was especially the case for the Bloody Sunday event where the peasants feared that he would repossess homes from those who hadn't repaid mortgages from post-emancipation years and it was also this event where the Tsar's position was slightly threatened as the respect and trust he normally received from the public was suddenly decreased. However this risk of losing his position as the Tsar only lasted for a small amount of time as the amount of protestors and revolutionary groups immediately decreased after he made some concessions which resulted in the October Manifesto. Undoubtedly, the Tsar would not have been able to come out of the revolution relatively unscathed if it wasn't for the amount of loyalty he still had from the military who were able to protect him through the short period where his position as the Tsar was being seriously threatened. It was also a great advantage to the Tsar that protestors were split into divided groups as this allowed him to separately sort out the groups one-by-one and to begin slowly securing his position again with the help of the military as they were able to suppress the groups whilst the Tsar appeased the groups separately with minimal loss to his power. As the population of Russia is so big and full of different classes, the divided oppositions were inevitably divided as everyone had different aims which may have been what saved his positon form being seirously threatened in the long run. Although some of the concessions he made would not have been approved of by his elders and especially his advisor, Pobedonostsev, the Tsar was able to ensure that these new changes would not affect or harm his position as the Tsar in the future. An example of this would be the legislative government he created, the Duma, although the public were pleased that they finally had the freedom of speech, the Duma's actions were limited by the fundamental laws that ensured that no law can be created unless approved by the Tsar which is the main factor in preventing his position being seriously threatened in the future. The readiness of liberals and peasants were to accept the concessions he made indicated that they were not ready for a "real" revolution proving that the 1905 revolution can be argued that it was never an actual revolution and therefore never really seriously threatened the position of the Tsar. From this, we can conclude that 1905 Revolution never seriously threatened the Tsar, but it also helped him ensure his position in the future from anymore public discontent and the intention of the revolution was to not get rid of the Tsar, but to please him to make changes so his actual position was never really the target of the revolution and so never seriously threatened. However this revolution did evidently shape the future of Russia as there was a very clear absence of revolutionary parties who could've potentially harmed the Tsar in the future especially if they were to join with the main revolutionary groups.

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