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Why Did Tsar Nicholas Abdicate Following the 1917 Revolution but not the 1905 Revolution?

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Introduction

Why Did Tsar Nicholas Abdicate Following the 1917 Revolution but not the 1905 Revolution? The Tsar became ruler of Russia in 1894. Russia was a huge country and needed a good ruler. The Tsar didn't really have the qualities needed to be able to rule Russia and so his leadership was questioned and this caused two major revolutions, the first in 1905. This was mainly caused by people not being happy with living conditions. Every class had something to moan about and in the end the people rose and caused a revolution. However in 1905 people just wanted things to change and so they weren't attacking the Tsar and this is partly why he survived. In 1917 another revolution happened and this was far more serious for the Tsar as more people wanted him to not just change things but for him to abdicate. This essay aims to show what factors meant the abdication of the Tsar following 1917, but not the 1905 revolution. As already said in 1905 people had the revolution because they wanted their living conditions to change and improve. There were three classes involved; middle class, peasants and factory workers. The middle classes mainly landowners dominated local councils, called Zemstvos, pressed the Tsar for reforms. They wanted an elected government or Duma to be set up so the people would have some say in the decisions the Tsar was making. They didn't want the Tsar to be the only ruler and the making the decisions for them. They thought Russia needed to be modernised with people making decisions. This however does not mean getting rid of the Tsar at all. They just wanted some say in the decisions made. Peasants thought they had a terrible working and living conditions. They worked off the land and were basically slaves as the landowners whose land they lived on totally controlled their lives. ...read more.

Middle

They wanted confiscation of all large estates, so the land could be distributed between the peasants. They also wanted government ministers responsible to the Duma and the abolition of the Tsar's emergency powers. The Tsar simply dissolved the Duma as he thought the concessions were ridiculous. He gave very little power to the Duma and he could dissolve it as he pleased and did not really listen to their views. Further Dumas met, but were dissolved in the same way. By the time a third Duma had met the government had changed the rules so that more of its supporters, such as rich landowners, were elected. This meant a Duma which supported the Tsar also and this was more to the Tsars liking. However this gave less power to the people and the middle class did not like this. The Tsar also lost support from the workers because he crushed the soviets. He arrested its leaders and then anyone who challenged him. This meant that working and living conditions did not really change for them and they were very annoyed at this, as this was the sole reason they had joined the revolution in the first place. Going back on his promises meant he could not be trusted when it came to the 1917 revolution. This meant any promises he did make were ignored and so were any deals. Also because nothing had changed after the 1905 revolution they now wanted to get rid of the Tsar instead of demanding changes as in the end these would happen. This meant his abdication in 1917, but not in 1905. The two wars before both revolutions contributed greatly to the start of both revolutions and the outcomes. This paragraph explains how war affected the home front and in turn how this affected the revolutions. In 1904-1905 the Russo-Japanese war took place. They were fighting over Manchuria, an area of northern China. ...read more.

Conclusion

However in the First World War Russia lost most of its army and so ordinary men had to be conscripted. When the 1917 revolution happened the Tsar's original army was either dead or still fighting at war. So the Tsar had to use the conscripted soldiers to try and crush opposition. However these were not very well trained and were not that loyal. They felt sorry for the rebelling people as they were previously probably peasants or workers themselves, and so when told to open fire on rioting mobs some didn't. They also deeply resented the harsh discipline of military life and many mutinied. Government buildings were attacked as the troops swapped sides and joined in with the riots. This meant the Tsar could not physically crush the opposition and this was one of the main reasons for his abdication as he knew the situation was hopeless and without armed forces he could never control the situation. In 1905 he had armed forces and so could quite easily deal with any opposition and repress them. I think the most important reason for his abdication in 1917, but not 1905 were the two wars. In 1905 the war didn't affect that many people and was only a short-term effect which only angered people as they had lost. It also didn't create any other factors which may have affected the people further. However in 1917 the First World War meant lots of people lost their lives and this affected many as did the other reasons and so nearly all of Russia was affected and the impact was much greater. This angered people more and undermined the Tsar the most. The war also affected and created other factors which caused the revolution. For instance if the war hadn't have happened then Rasputin would never have been a factor as the Tsar would have ruled. Also inflation, job loss, food shortages and therefore strikes may not have happened. So I conclude that war was the most important reason for his abdication as it affected the most things and the most people. Robbie Maddison 10zc History Coursework ...read more.

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