February Revolution

The Great War and the Revolution

Russia 1917.0308

February Revolution

World War I in eastern Europe and the Russian Revolution (8 March 1917)

Historical Map of Russia & the former Soviet Union

By February 1917 (according to the old style Julian calendar still in use in Russia), the Tsarist system was on the brink of collapse. Russia's troops were demoralized, its economy was crumbling, and discontent was everywhere. On 8 March (23 February old style), riots broke out in Petrograd, the capital, and within two days the city had been almost completely closed down. Tsar Nicholas II's attempts to end the disorder simply resulted in troop mutinies and the disintegration of the police force. On the 15th, the Tsar abdicated and the Provisional Government of Prince George Lvov, Paul Milivkov and Alexander Kerensky took over.

Main Events

British entry into World War I

In response to the German invasion of Belgium - whose neutrality was safeguarded by the 1839 Treaty of London - on 2 August, the United Kingdom declares war on Germany, bringing the British Empire into World War I.

Ottoman entry into World War I

In a surprise attack, Turkish warships bombard the Russian ports of Odessa and Sevastopol, initiating war with the Russian Empire and bringing the Ottoman Empire into the Great War on the side of the Central Powers.

Gorlice-Tarnow Offensive

Germany overruns Poland and Lithuania

Central Powers occupy Bucharest

February Revolution

Mass demonstrations break out in Petrograd, capital of the Russian Empire, in March (late February in the Julian calendar) in response to economic and social problems, compounded by the strain of World War I. After a few days, the mutinous Russian Army sides with the revolutionaries, forcing Tsar Nicholas II to abdicate in favor of a Provisional Government under Prince Georgy Lvov.

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