German torpedo boats in Paldiski

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November 1916

By 1916, more than one million men had perished in the fronts, soldiers were becoming weary.

In the summer of 1916, two Russian ships bombed German positions near Riga and Courland. In answer, 11 German torpedo boats broke through Russian minefields and reached the military port in Paldiski. As there were no Russian war ships present, the boats destroyed only naval facilities. On their way back, 7 boats were sank by mines.

Meanwhile, Estonians fate was influenced by the events happening in the capital, Petrograd. In February 1917, crowd's discontent with war, dreadful economic situation and czar's government turned into a revolution.
Czar Nikolai II gave up his throne, and Provisional Government, elected by State Duma, came to power. On March 30, 1917, by the decision of the Provisional Government, Estonia and Northern part of Livonia, inhabited by Estonians, were joined together and granted autonomy. In the summer of 1917, first people elected representative body gathered in Tallinn: the Provincial Assembly of the Governorate of Estonia, which began to work on the legal presentation of Estonia's autonomy right away.

Sources: Eesti ajalugu. VI, Vabadussõjast taasiseseisvumiseni. Tartu: Ilmamaa, 2005
Õie Elango, Ants Ruusmann ja Karl Siilivask. Eesti maast ja rahvast: Maailmasõjast maailmasõjani. Tallinn: Olion, 1998
Eesti ajalugu: kronoloogia. Tallinn: Olion, 2007
Eesti ajaloo atlas. Tallinn: Avita, 2006.                                                                                                  
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