After 17 years of exile in Europe, Communist revolutionary Vladimir Lenin staged a triumphant return to his home country on April 16, 1917, with aims to seize power from the Russian government and install a “dictatorship of the proletariat.” His return journey would change the course of world history in ways that are still being reckoned with.

Arriving at the Finland Station in Russia’s former capital of Petrograd (modern-day St. Petersburg), Lenin climbed atop an armored train car to address the thousands of his followers who had gathered. In a now-historic speech, Lenin argued that the Bolshevik Party must use armed force to seize control from the provisional government that had been formed after Tsar Nicholas II’s abdication.