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Assess The Short Term Significance Of The Russo Japanese War For Russian Government And Politics

2260 words - 10 pages

The Russo-Japanese war undoubtedly had a large significance and effect on Russian government and politics in the early 20th century. A report by Stalin on the war in 1905 states that the “Unbearable conditions” of the war are causing “unrest and discontent among the troops” - further suggesting that the soldiers blamed their superiors, and therefore the government for their treatment during the war through the soldiers “no longer blindly obeying the orders of their superiors”. Through this, it could be suggested that the soldiers were becoming dissatisfied with a regime that they saw did not help them at all (as shown through the poor organization of the war effort - lack of food, proper ...view middle of the document...

However, this judgement is also based on Stalin's account of the situation - which could be interpreted as heavily biased. Stalin was, quite noticeably, a bolshevik supporter - he had eagerly joined them when they were formed by Lenin, and was active in creating and distributing propaganda, organizing strikes and raising funds. Through this, it can be suggested that his account of the situations within the camps was heavily exaggerated, as he would have wanted to make it appear as though all Russians shared the same views as him, perhaps in order to bolster support for the Bolsheviks. However, each of the sources corroborate on the view that war angered the Russian people - soldiers and commoners alike, and therefore I believe it is very likely that war had some of the most short-term significance within Russian government and politics, primarily influencing the outbreak of Revolution in 1905.

Economic factors had a large short term significance in causing the 1905 Revolution. Tsar Nicholas writes about “The troubles that have broken out” in the villages, showing that there was discontent, and continues to write about the “violence and crime” among the peasant population - suggesting that the Tsar agreed to change the economic policy because of how unhappy the peasantry were with the large amounts of money they were paying to the crown in taxation.This change (reducing the peasants land tax and offering better terms for peasant loans) shows how unpopular the previous policies were and how they may have caused the revolution, as this source was written in November - months after the revolution started, suggesting that upon seeing the severity of the revolution the Tsar gave into demands for change in a hope to quell it. As this was written by the Tsar after the start of the revolution, it may be biased - calling an uprising or revolution a “trouble” could be an attempt to downplay its severity and confirm his absolute power over Russia. It does, however, still admit there were troubles and suggests that they were caused by the Russian people being unhappy with the unfair and heavy taxation, causing them to turn to demand reforms. The discontent with tax and, subsequently pay, can be supported through the petition set up by Father Gapon, that outlined the people's want of “a normal working wage” and a “eight hour work day and limit of overtime”, further suggesting that the revolution was influenced heavily by economic factors - as Bloody Sunday was the prelude to Revolution, and the workers petition heavily referenced their economic grievances. This source is further supported by Yaizhul’s account of the situation of factory workers, in that it’s stated that many factories “still regard workers as serfs” in terms of how they are paid, further suggesting that the Russian were treated poorly, supporting the tone of discontent in Father Gapons petition. However, Yaizhul was an advocate for fair working conditions - having set up the Russian state...

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