Bloody Sunday

The Bloody Sunday Massacre in January 1905 was a key point in the change of public opinion for the Tsar. No longer was the Tsar seen as ‘Little Father’ but instead became Bloody Nicholas. The falling wages and rising cost of living created widespread discontent amongst the industrial working class who lived in the cities. Due to workers dismissal from the Putilov Steel Works in 1904, other workers began to strike in support and by January 1905, the number of striking workers reached 120000.  Father Gapon planned to approach the Tsar with a petition. Within this petition there were desires to reduce the working day to eight hours, to increase wages of unskilled workers and provide medical care. On the morning of Bloody Sunday 150 000 peaceful people, carrying crucifixes and portraits of the Tsar began to march to the Winter Palace. The crowd was composed of workers and their families. The police were panicked by the large crowd and they fired and charged at the crowd, with forty people being killed. Although the Tsar did not give the orders he was still held responsible. The event had a crippling effect on the Tsarist government with widespread contempt for the regime being held for the first time. After the massacre, 400000 workers went on strike in January. There was a widespread belief, encapsulated by Father Gapon that: “There is no God any longer. There is no Tsar.”