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Russia: The Revolution of 1905

1. The 1905 Revolution

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In this module, we provide a broad view of the events surrounding the 1905 Revolution, focusing in particular on figure of Tsar Nicholas II, the increasing tensions in the early twentieth century, the Russians' humiliating defeat in the Russo-Japanese War, the constitutional changes outlined in the October Manifesto, and the creation of the First State Duma in 1906.


In this course, Dr Jonathan Smele (Queen Mary, University of London) explores the (so-called) Revolution of 1905. We begin in the first module by considering whether this was a revolution at all and – if so – whether we should see events as being confined to 1905. After that, we consider the immediate background to the events of 1905, focusing in particular on the Russian defeat in the Russo-Japanese War, as well as its immediate consequences. In the second module, we consider the extent to which dissatisfaction among the peasantry contributed to the events of the period, before turning in the third module to the impact of Russia's rapid industrialisation – especially in the last decade of the nineteenth century In the fourth module, we think about the political opposition to the regime – especially that of the liberals and the socialists (and the various 'parties' within each of these groups), before turning in the fifth and final module to the longer-term consequences of the events of 1905. Were the reforms made in the aftermath of the 1905 Revolution doomed to failure, or was there potential for Russia's development into a modern, industrial, democratic state?


Dr Jonathan Smele is Senior Lecturer in Modern European History at Queen Mary University of London. He is a specialist in the history of Russian revolutions and civil wars. His recent publications include (as editor) The Russian Revolution of 1905: Centenary Perspectives (2005) and The Russian Civil Wars, 1916-26: Ten Years that Shook the World (2016).

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Smele, J. (2019, January 16). Russia: The Revolution of 1905 - The 1905 Revolution [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Smele, J. "Russia: The Revolution of 1905 – The 1905 Revolution." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 16 Jan 2019,

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