10 Germany and Russia in the Belle Epoque: -- Part 5
Nicholas's incompetence in leading the war with Japan was revealed in his response to internal developments.
He didn't believe that his own loyal subjects were associated with the discontent that was spreading by the first years of the twentieth century; he thought it was the work of foreigners.
He was particularly interested in the reports that Jewish financiers were trying to prevent the Russians from getting loans from the Japanese.
Large numbers of Jews were noted by his advisers.
In January 1905, there was a wave of workers' strikes in St. Petersburg that led to a plan to petition the tsar for both economic and political reform.
On January 22, a crowd numbering close to a quarter-million marched on the tsar's Winter Palace, singing patriotic songs and led by an Orthodox priest, Father Gapon, who had previously been active, with the support of the tsarist police, in organizing the workers Women and children are usually seen as sign of peaceful intent in the crowd.
The security forces around the palace panicked and opened fire on the crowd, killing or wounding hundreds.
This tragedy was similar to the Peterloo massacre in Britain in 1819.
The news of Sunday's killings spread throughout Russia.
The myth says that the tsar who cared for his people now appeared to be evil.
There was a wave of protest strikes that rolled over the land.
Social democrats, Socialist Revolutionaries, and Kadets scurried to give leadership to this groundswell of popular outrage.
Russia needed a constitutional government that reflected the principle of popular sovereignty and western-style civil liberties, according to an initial consensus.
Nicholas II and his advisers became aware that the country's military could no longer be relied on to maintain order, as they were facing more powerful forces than in the past.
The tsar made concessions after the success of the general strike in Saint Petersburg.
He promised to grant civil liberties to the Russian people, with universal male suffrage and the establishment of a national parliament.
Many of the revolutionaries didn't believe in Nicholas's promises and so the October Manifesto failed to satisfy them.
Nicholas and his advisers played upon the divisions between the moderates and radicals, and in December he ordered the leaders of the St. Petersburg soviet arrested and put on trial for armed rebellion.
Leon Trotsky was a leading figure of the 1917 revolution and the Bolshevik regime.
He gained a lot of attention for his speeches.
His Jewish background did not go unrecognized.
After World War I, the image of Jews as threatening and destructive revolutionaries became a staple of Russia's right-wing organizations.
It was a sign of the times that right-wing political organizations formed and began to take up the tsarist cause, but it was also a sign that the autocratic tsarist regime had previously been unreceptive to popular political initiatives.
In 1903, mob actions against Jews took place in the bustling port city of Kishinev, on the Black Sea, with a large and rapidly growing Jewish population.
Forty-five people were killed and 500 were injured when mobs destroyed Jewish homes and businesses.
The mobs were inciting the Black Hundreds.
The disgrace and humiliation felt by Jews, "with trembling knees, concealed and cowering," was captured by the Jewish poet Bialik.
The issue of Jews fighting back, no longer accepting misfortune as the will of God, became a major concern for a younger generation.
For Jews of many other persuasions, Trotsky became a hero, not only for budding Marxists, but also for Jews of many other persuasions.
Between 1903 and 1906, there were as many as 600 pogroms in Russia.
By this point, some conservatives thought that antisemitism could be used to combat the forces of the left in Russia than in western Europe.
In the early twentieth century, the Russian form of Jew-hatred was more violent than in western Europe.
The events in France in the early twentieth century gave the issue of antisemitism in western Europe a visibility and intensity it had so far lacked.
The deputies of the newly elected duma lived a precarious existence between 1906 and 1914.
Under the direction of the tsar's able prime minister, Peter Stolypin, the government introduced legislation that allowed peasants to acquire private plots.
Property-owning peasants in France were transformed into a conservative force in the 19th century.
It was a promising start, in what seemed a far-seeing policy rather than one of blind oppression.
Millions of peasants took advantage of the new legislation.
The demise of the narodnik vision may have been caused by the transformation of the Russian peasantry intobourgeois holders of private property.
He was killed in a theater in 1911.
He was one of a number of high officials to be killed by revolutionaries.
A number of Russian high officials were killed by Jewish assassins.