Free Weaknesses Of Social Revolutions Essay Example
The Russian Revolution in 1905 largely failed because of the nature of the war it had spawned from as well as the degree of defeat (Skocpol 94). This revolution began during the Russo-Japanese war in 1904, which Russia had lost in a humiliating fashion. For generations, problems festered in Russia as a result of the state’s failure to adjust to the demands of a newly industrializing nation. As a result, labor pushed for unionism despite the fact that unions were illegal (Campling). This social revolution involved various classes within Russian society, and it gained much traction during and after the war. Eventually, the tsar was forced to grant civil liberties as well as paved the way for a constitutional monarchy that was far more liberal than the present government. A legislative Duma, or the demands for the constitutional monarchy, was conceded by the tsar in October 1905. Because of a litany of violent uprisings, the tzar made concessions such as the legalization of unions, granting greater legal status to minorities, and a restructuring of the land tenure system. Unfortunately, by 1907, all of the gains that the revolution had garnered were lost because the war with Japan had ended. The tsar thus had the returning troops at his disposal to counteract the social revolution that had taken been taking place. Thus, the tsar rolled back on all of the constitutional concessions he had previously granted the masses (Skopcol 95). The most significant gains, however, were either scaled back or evaporated completely. Indeed, the military organization of the Russian state accounted largely for the failure of this initial social revolution in Russia despite the fact that both the peasants and the elites backed the cause. In addition,
Both the English and German Revolutions failed as social revolutions because they lacked effective peasant revolts against the elite classes. Peasant insurrections have historically played a significant role in the success of social revolutions. Although both emerged as “urban-popular revolutionary” movements, they clearly lacked peasant participation vis-à-vis insurrection (Skocpol 113). In both cases, landlords retained the majority of the political clout, as peasants possessed hardly within the agrarian structure. Landlords thus were rarely challenged by peasants even if a political revolution was taking place (140). The German Revolution of 1848 failed as a social revolution because German landlords were not challenged from below. Rather, the social revolution involved a series of revolts that took place in the capitals of cities of the various principalities. Germany during this time period was confederation of various principalities. Although the popular revolts led to the creation of a Parliament and a constitution, the king of Prussia was able to dismantle the revolution after only a year because the army was still intact, largely comprised of peasants. Thus, the lack of support from below as well as from the army accounted for the failure of the German Revolution during the nineteenth century.
Campling, Elizabeth. The Russian Revolution. London: Batsford Academic and Educational, 1985. Print.
"German Revolution of 1848." German Revolution of 1848. Web. 18 Jan. 2015. <http://www.ohio.edu/chastain/dh/germrev.ht
Skocpol, Theda. States and Social Revolutions: A Comparative Analysis of France, Russia, and China. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1979.
Stadelmann, Rudolf. Social and Political History of the German 1848 Revolution. Athens, Ohio: Ohio UP, 1975. Print.