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11-08-2015, 17:04

War and the Collapse of the Old Order: Russia and Austria-Hungary

On March 8, 1917, a demonstration in the Russian capital, Petrograd, marking International Women's Day soon grew into full-fledged urban insurrection. The police failed to restore order, and army troops mutinied instead of firing on the crowd. Vasily Shulgin, a Nationalist deputy in Russia's Duma (parliament), recoiled from the spectacle of revolutionary masses in the streets of the capital: "Only hot lead could drive this terrible beast, that had somehow burst free, back into its den."' Instead, the unrest spread, and the monarchy collapsed within a matter of days. Tsar Nicholas II abdicated, and no ranking member of his family was willing to succeed him. After celebrating its three hundredth anniversary only a year before the outbreak of the war, the Romanov dynasty abruptly left the seat of power.