Russian czar abdicates - HISTORY
Year
1917

Russian czar abdicates

During the February Revolution, Czar Nicholas II, ruler of Russia since 1894, is forced to abdicate the throne on this day in 1917, after strikes and general revolts break out in Petrograd (now St. Petersburg).

Crowned on May 26, 1894, Nicholas was a relatively weak and ineffectual leader, which did not help the autocracy he sought to preserve over a people desperate for change. Russia’s disastrous loss to the Japanese in the Russo-Japanese War exacerbated discontent among the Russian population and led to the Russian Revolution of 1905, which the czar calmed only after signing a manifesto promising reform, representative government—in the form of Dumas, or assemblies—and basic civil liberties in Russia. Nicholas soon retracted most of these concessions, however, repeatedly dissolving the Dumas when they opposed him, and radical forces within Russia, most notably the Bolsheviks, a revolutionary-minded socialist group founded by Vladimir Lenin, begin to gain widespread support. In 1914, Nicholas led his country into another costly war—World War I—and discontent in Russia grew as food became scarce, ill-equipped soldiers became war-weary and devastating defeats on the Eastern Front demonstrated the czar’s incompetent leadership.

After the outbreak of the so-called February Revolution in early March 1917 (Russia used the Julian calendar at the time), the army garrison at Petrograd joined striking workers in demanding socialist reforms, and Czar Nicholas II was forced to abdicate. Nicholas and his family were first held at the Czarskoye Selo Palace, then in the Yekaterinburg Palace near Tobolsk, where they remained during the rise to power of Lenin’s Bolsheviks and Russia’s exit from World War I. In July 1918, the advance of counterrevolutionary forces during the Russian Civil War caused the soviet, or Bolshevik council, in power in Yekaterinburg to fear that Nicholas might be rescued. After a secret meeting, the soviet passed a death sentence on the imperial family, and, on July 16, 1918, Nicholas, his wife Alexandra, their children and their remaining servants were shot to death.

ALSO ON THIS DAY

Frankie Avalon’s “Venus” hits #1

The business minds behind American Idol are not the first to try their hand at manufacturing pop stars. In fact, the process of corporate idol-making is nearly as old as rock and roll itself. The first man-made idols were launched in the late 1950s from Philadelphia, where a ...read more

The Ides of March

Gaius Julius Caesar, dictator of Rome, is stabbed to death in the Roman Senate house by 60 conspirators led by Marcus Junius Brutus and Gaius Cassius Longinus.Caesar, born into the Julii, an ancient but not particularly distinguished Roman aristocratic family, began his political ...read more

Maine enters the Union

As part of the Missouri Compromise between the North and the South, Maine is admitted into the Union as the 23rd state. Administered as a province of Massachusetts since 1647, the entrance of Maine as a free state was agreed to by Southern senators in exchange for the entrance of ...read more

Czar Nicholas II abdicates

During the February Revolution, Czar Nicholas II, ruler of Russia since 1894, is forced to abdicate the throne by the Petrograd insurgents, and a provincial government is installed in his place.Crowned on May 26, 1894, Nicholas was neither trained nor inclined to rule, which did ...read more

Johnson calls for equal voting rights

On this day in 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson addressed a joint session of Congress to urge the passage of legislation guaranteeing voting rights for all.Using the phrase “we shall overcome,” borrowed from African-American leaders struggling for equal rights, Johnson declared ...read more

President Nixon hints at reintervention

President Nixon hints that the United States might intervene again in Vietnam to prevent communist violations of the truce. A cease-fire under the provisions of the Paris Peace Accords had gone into effect on January 27, 1973, but was quickly and repeatedly violated by both sides ...read more

Bobby Orr scores 100 points in one season

On March 15, 1970, Boston Bruin Bobby Orr becomes the first defenseman in NHL history to score 100 points in a season, after scoring four goals in one game against the Detroit Red Wings. Orr would finish the 1969-70 season with 120 points, a record for a defensive player that ...read more

Andrew Jackson is born

Future President Andrew Jackson is born in a backwoods region between North and South Carolina to Irish immigrant parents on this day in 1767. Jackson was essentially an orphan—all but one member of his family were killed during the Revolutionary War–who rose from humble ...read more

Andrew Jackson born

Andrew Jackson is born in the Garden of the Waxhaws, South Carolina.The son of Irish immigrants, Jackson spent much of his early life in the rough-and-tumble frontier regions of South Carolina and Tennessee. His father died from injuries sustained while lifting a heavy log, and ...read more

Julius Caesar is stabbed

“Beware the Ides of March,” the soothsayer urges Julius Caesar in Shakespeare’s Tragedy of Julius Caesar (act I, scene ii). Despite the forewarning, Caesar is stabbed in the back by his friend Marcus Brutus. Caesar falls and utters his famous last words, “Et tu, Brute?” (And you, ...read more

Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather opens

On this day in 1972, The Godfather–a three-hour epic chronicling the lives of the Corleones, an Italian-American crime family led by the powerful Vito Corleone (Marlon Brando)–is released in theaters.The Godfather was adapted from the best-selling book of the same name by Mario ...read more

The ides of March: Julius Caesar is murdered

Julius Caesar, the”dictator for life”of the Roman Empire, is murdered by his own senators at a meeting in a hall next to Pompey’s Theatre. The conspiracy against Caesar encompassed as many as sixty noblemen, including Caesar’s own protege, Marcus Brutus.Caesar was scheduled to ...read more

Edward A. Perry born

On this day in 1831, Confederate General Edward Aylesworth Perry is born in Richmond, Massachusetts. The transplanted Yankee led a Florida brigade during the Civil War, and served as governor of the state after the war.Perry received his education at Lee Academy in Massachusetts ...read more