A strike by female textile workers celebrating International Women's Day begins the revolution. The Women's Day observance had been created in 1909 by the Socialist Party of America to commemorate a strike by the Ladies Garment Workers the previous year.
The want of bread continued to be an issue. Though the Bolsheviks had not called for strikes, the women asked the metal workers of the Vyborg district to support theirs. Soon, with the Bolshevik, Menshevik, and Social Revolutionary party machineries behind them, 90,000 workers were in the streets. The demonstrations began on the mainly industrial Vyborg side of the frozen Neva River. Later they poured over to the Petersburg side, which held the imperial palace and the seats of government.
Meanwhile, the tsar Nicholas II is at the front with his marshals. He is not sent word of the strikes until the third day.
At this time, Lenin was an e'migre' in Berne, Switzerland, Trotsky in New York. Stalin, having flunked the physical for induction into the Russian army, was held a political prisoner in Krasnoyarsk on the Trans-Siberian Railway.