The First World War and the February Revolution
The First World War had two main effects on Russia: firstly a huge number of men lost their lives, and secondly it caused economic chaos. On 8 March 1917 women in St Petersburg went on a strike for 'bread and peace', starting the February Revolution.
The First World War proved the last straw for the tsar's government.
Russian troops were slaughtered in their millions.
Nicholas made things worse by going to the front to lead the army. This made him responsible for the defeats in most people's eyes. It also left the government in the hands of the tsar's wife, the tsarina, and the monk, Rasputin.
The war effort caused economic chaos.
By February 1917, people in the towns were starving and freezing.
The revolution was started by the women - on 8 March 1917 they went on a march demanding bread, which turned into rioting.
The tsarina called in the troops. However, on 12 March they mutinied and started to help the rioters.
Workers and soldiers set up the Petrograd Soviet to coordinate the revolution.
The tsar went to pieces and was unable to make any decisions.
When the Duma realised the government was collapsing, it set up a provisional government, and on 15 March forced the tsar to abdicate [Abdicate: To give up a claim (often a claim to a monarchy). ].
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