The key difference between the pre-revolutionary conditions in France and Russia can be found, I would argue, in World War One. Before the French Revolution, it is true, the French monarchy had engaged the kingdom in repeated wars against England (most notably, from an American perspective, the American Revolutionary War.) These conflicts contributed to a crushing debt that destabilized the regime, helping create the conditions for war. But the Russian Revolution occurred in the midst of World War One. The war had been an utter disaster for the Russians, who were repeatedly decimated by German and Austrian armies, and matters only became worse when Tsar Nicholas II himself assumed command of the imperial armies. By 1917, economic conditions in the country, especially the city of Petrograd, had become untenable, and the people took to the streets in protest. When the Tsar's forces joined the protests, the Tsar stepped down. By contributing to an economic crisis, by causing the people to lose faith in the competence of their tsar, and by exacerbating longstanding economic woes in the country, World War I thus contributed to the outbreak of the Russian Revolution in a way that had no parallel in France more than a century earlier.