By the morning of March 17th, 1917 the Russian Social-Democratic Party had finally forced the hand of the Tsar. After staying the night in Pskov, away from the riots that had overtaken many cities in Russia, Nicholas II came to decision that only his abdication could save Russia and keep the troops on the front in the war. Up to and beyond this period and time, Nicholas was adamant that continuing the war was the only choice for Russia. The following quote from Nicholas Decree of Abdication states that point clearly:
“Internal popular disturbances threaten to have a disastrous effect on the future conduct of this persistent war. The destiny of Russia the honour of our heroic army, the welfare of the people and the whole future of our dear fatherland demand that the war should be brought to a victorious conclusion whatever the cost.”
It appears this attachment to the military severely cost Nicholas when it came to maintaining his popularity among the Russian people. On March 19th, Nicholas wrote in his diary of how saying his final farewell to all the military personal he had become attached to “nearly broke my heart.”
The fall of the Tsar came as little surprise to most people. The month of February may have been the start of the final blow. Nationwide economic strikes, culminating in the strike of women textile workers on International Women’s Day. Nicholas got nervous, leading to him to send an order to dismiss the Duma, feeling it no longer had the power or will to protect the Tsar and old Russian Empire. This simply led to the reconvening of the Duma, the creation of Soviets across the nation, and the closing to Nicholas rule, which ended for good on March 17th, two days after the Ides of March.
Following the abdication, things moved quickly in the capitol. The rule of the Romanovs over, a new provisional government was formed, made of the non-Marxist groups: liberal and conservatives headed by Prince Giorgii Svov. The biggest take away from the events following Nicholas abdicating the thrown was how it set up the opportunity for Lenin to move in come October. Different levels of society had incompatible goals during the months following the formation of the new government. High society wished to continue the war until victory and the peasants had grown tired of war. This distrust and disagreement between the classes would allow the Bolsheviks to use their early slogan of “Peace, Bread, and Land” to appeal to the larger lower class, helping them gain and maintain control of the government after their leader had not even been in the country as recently as September.
While the Tsar by this point was losing influence quickly, his abdication along with the abdication by his son and brother officially ushered in a new era of Revolution in Russia, ending in the eventual formation of the Soviet Union.