Bloody Sunday

January 9, 1905, now known by most as ‘Bloody Sunday,’ was a significant moment in Russia that amplified the unrest of the people in the empire. On this day in history, a petition for Tsar Nicholas was marched to his Winter Palace by a mass from St. Petersburg (Freeze, 251). The petition was asking for higher wages, shorter hours, a constitution and free elections (Freeze, 251). With the march unarmed and including women and children, the Tsar’s response was to have his military open fire on the masses, killing over a hundred people (Freeze, 251).

A still from the Soviet movie "9th of January" showing armed soldiers facing the march approaching the Winter Palace.

A still from the Soviet movie “9th of January” showing armed soldiers facing the march approaching the Winter Palace.

The Chicago Daily Tribune described this event as making “the deepest impression here upon all the classes.” It included Germany’s foreign office’s opinion that considering the lack of leadership and the difficulty of communication due to the empire’s large geographic area, the chances of this event evolving to a full fledged revolution was unlikely. But to give the opposite opinion, a Russian refugee in a cable to the Tribune warned that this initial bloodshed is just the beginning of what will happen to take this Tsar from the throne. This shows how strongly the revolutionists feel about getting what they want, and that maybe Germany and others are wrong to assume that communication troubles would be enough to stop a revolution. If the masses have enough determination, the revolution could spread throughout the empire.

Just like the refugee had warned, strikes broke out in more places around the empire, with Moscow being one of them. In Moscow, a march was carried out that closed down plants, factories, and mills along their travel, with each stop gaining more workers in joining. More and more workmen were feeling motivated to join the uprising. Bloody Sunday acted as a model for other cities with masses on the verge of uprise, igniting uprisings around the empire, creating the Revolution of 1905.

Works Cited:

“Flame of Revolt Sweeping Empire.” 1905. Chicago Daily Tribune (1872-1922), Jan 24, 1.

“Revolution, Says Vienna.” 1905. Chicago Daily Tribune (1872-1922), Jan 24, 2.

Freeze, Gregory L. Russia: A History. New York: Oxford University Press, 2009.

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3 thoughts on “Bloody Sunday

  1. Bloody Sunday was a spark for the revolution movement. Much like the massacres that happened before the american revolution. Its sort of strange how a governments demonstration of how strong they are and how weak the people are make the people more confident in their movements.

  2. I think in a way this article shows how weak the Russian government under the leadership of Tsar Nicholas was at this time. By protesting and marching against the ruler of their country, I believe this showed how strong the people actually were, and I also believe that the revolutionary movements gained strength after Bloody Sunday because Tsar Nicholas’s actions proved to the people that he was a weak leader able to be overthrown.

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