How far was Russo-Japanese war of 1904-1905 responsible for the 1905 revolution?
The Russo-Japanese war was partly responsible for the outbreak of the 1905 revolution as a short term cause. However, there were long term causes which also contributed to the outbreak of the revolution.
To begin with, some of the long term causes were the social and economic problems. 80% of Russia’s population was made up of peasants and most of them lived in poverty. As the population grew rapidly, 98 million in 1885 to 125 in 1905, an attempt to provide land for each peasant family made the size of peasant landholdings fall. As if this wasn’t enough there were several harvest failures which resulted in severe famine. This greatly angered peasants, who in jacqueries, attacked government officials and encouraged the start of the revolution. Also, compared to other European countries, Russian agriculture was still backward. This is because the Great Spurt under Witte focused on industrial growth and neglected agriculture. This then brought rapid growth in population in cities as peasants moved in to work in factories. As a result, working and living conditions became extremely poor, giving people more reasons to rebel and start a revolution.
Furthermore, there were also political causes for the outbreak of the 1905 revolution. Russia lacked an elected national parliament, unlike the rest of European countries. Because of this and the other factors which angered the Russians, demand for political change began to grow, as well as opposition did. The opposition (liberals, Social Democrats and Social Revolutionaries) had little in common except for their willingness to overthrow the Tsar and the Tsarist system. This growth in opposition and lack of political reforms also contributed to the outbreak of the revolution.
Moreover, Bloody Sunday was a very significant event as it was the spark which lit revolution across the rest of the country. The workers who demonstrated, peacefully,...