Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Dr. Paul Beck


On January 22, 1905 in St. Petersburg, Russia a crowd of workingmen gathered at the Nevsky Prospect, in the Palace Square, and on the other avenues of St. Petersburg. This crowd, led by Father George Gapon, was on a mission to talk to the Czar — their "Little Father” — because their factory employers had refused to take any action respecting their grievances. They were greatly agitated because four workmen had been dismissed at the great Putiloff factory and because their requests for an eight hour day, higher pay, better sanitary conditions, and the right to elect arbitration committees, had been refused. They had struck; but their employers did not take action. Father Gapon, the founder of the Assembly of Russian Factory Workers of St. Petersburg, had convinced them that they might plead their case before the All-Highest, the Czar. They had a petition addressed to their sovereign; they were asking for protection from being treated like slaves. They had reached a point where "death'was to be preferred to a continuation of (theirj intolerable sufferings." These workmen, their wives and children bore no arms — only this plea to their ruler. What did they receive in return? Bullets, swords, and death. Ironically, the Czar was not even in the Winter Palace. A shot fired accidentally from one of the saluting guns near him while he was blessing the waters of the Neva on January 19th, was interpreted by the Czar as an attempt on his life. Consequently, he had fled St. Petersburg. In the Czar's absence, Grand DukeVlaaimer took it upon himself to order the strikers shot down.Hundreds or thousands of persons were reportedly killed.Why did this riot take place? There were complicated reasons.How did the United States and Americans react to this massacre? They reacted in different ways. The purpose of this paper is to give a brief account of what stimulated the demonstration, explain the role of Father Gapon, discuss the lack of official reaction on the part of the United States government, and finally, analyze the reaction of the American public to this "Bloody Sunday" as seen through selected newspaper and periodical accounts of the time.


A Paper Presented to the Department of History University of Nebraska at Omaha In Partial Fulfillment for a Masters of Arts Degree in History. Copyright 1973 Judy M. Westrate

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