there we went to the large palace infirmary. Mama, Olga, and Tatiana
went to do the bandaging. Alexei and I went through all the wards
and talked to almost every soldier."
Duchess Maria to her father, Emperor Nicholas, 21 September 1914
Alexandra and her daughters participated actively in war work. In
1914 eighty- five hospitals and ten medical trains were established
under the empress' patronage. Imperial palaces, including the Winter
Palace in St. Petersburg and the Catherine Palace in Tsarskoe Selo,
were transformed into military hospitals.
empress herself, as well as the Grand Duchesses Olga and Tatiana,
received medical training and certification as qualified nurses.
They performed a variety of nursing tasks, including assisting during
Duchesses Olga and Tatiana alongside their Mother, Empress Alexandra.
All served as nurses in World War I
Duke Mikhail Alexandrovich
Russian Pictorial Collection, Hoover Institution Archives
War I exacerbated the unresolved problems of the imperial system,
which eventually led to the demise of the Romanoff dynasty. With
demonstrators filling the streets of Petrograd and mutiny in the
armed forces, Nicholas' advisers recommended abdication as the
way to save Russia.
2 March 1917 Emperor Nicholas II abdicated in favor of his brother
Mikhail, saying, "We bequeath Our inheritance
to Our brother the Grand Duke Mikhail Alexandrovich and give him
Our Blessing on his accession to the throne."
day later Mikhail signed a manifesto which stated in part: I
am firmly resolved to assume supreme power only if such is the will
of our great people, who must now by universal suffrage and through
their representatives in the Constituent Assembly establish a form
of government and new fundamental laws of the Russian State.
one day Mikhail entertained the futile hope of being elected by
the people as ruler. This was not to be.