The TREATY OF BREST-LITOVSK was a peace treaty signed on 3 March 1918 between the new Bolshevik government of Soviet Russia and the Central Powers (Germany , Austria-Hungary , Bulgaria , and the Ottoman Empire ), that ended Russia's participation in World War I . The treaty was signed at Brest-Litovsk (Polish : _Brześć Litewski_; since 1945 Brest ), after two months of negotiations. The treaty was agreed upon by the Bolshevik government under threat of further advances by German and Austrian forces. According to the treaty, Soviet Russia defaulted on all of Imperial Russia 's commitments to the Triple Entente alliance.
In the treaty,
Bolshevik Russia ceded the
Baltic States to Germany;
they were meant to become German vassal states under German
princelings. Russia also ceded its province of
Kars Oblast in the
South Caucasus to the
The treaty was effectively terminated in November 1918, when Germany
surrendered to the Allies. However, in the meantime, it did provide
some relief to the
Bolsheviks , already fighting the Russian Civil War
, by the renouncement of Russia's claims on
* 1 Background * 2 Peace negotiations * 3 Resumed hostilities
* 4 Terms
* 4.1 Signing
* 4.2 Territorial cessions in eastern Europe
* 4.3 Transfer of territory to
* 5 Lasting effects * 6 Other information * 7 See also * 8 References * 9 Further reading * 10 External links
By 1917, Germany and
Imperial Russia were stuck in a stalemate on the
Eastern Front of
World War I . At the time, the Russian economy nearly
collapsed under the strain of the war effort. The large numbers of war
casualties and persistent food shortages in the major urban centers
brought about civil unrest, known as the
February Revolution , that
The pro-war Provisional Government was opposed by the self-proclaimed Petrograd Soviet of Workers\' and Soldiers\' Deputies , dominated by leftist parties. Its Order No. 1 called for an overriding mandate to soldier committees rather than army officers. The Soviet started to form its own paramilitary power, the Red Guards , in March 1917.
The position of the Provisional Government led the Germans to offer support to the Russian opposition, the Communist Party ( Bolsheviks ) in particular, who were proponents of Russia's withdrawal from the war. In April 1917, Germany allowed Bolshevik leader Vladimir Lenin to return to Russia from his exile in Switzerland and offered him financial help. Upon his arrival in Petrograd, Lenin proclaimed his April Theses , which included a call for turning all political power over to workers\' and soldiers\' soviets (councils) and an immediate withdrawal of Russia from the war. Throughout 1917, Bolsheviks called for the overthrow of the Provisional Government and an end to the war. Following the disastrous failure of the Kerensky Offensive , discipline in the Russian army deteriorated completely. Soldiers would disobey orders, often under the influence of Bolshevik agitation, and allowed soldiers' committees to take control of their units after deposing the officers. Russian and German soldiers occasionally left their positions and fraternized .
The defeat and ongoing hardships of war led to anti-government riots in Petrograd, the " July Days " of 1917. Several months later, on 7 November (25 October old style ), Red Guards seized the Winter Palace and arrested the Provisional Government in what is known as the October Revolution .
The newly established Soviet government decided to end Russia's participation in the war with Germany and its allies. On 26 October 1917, Vladimir Lenin signed the Decree on Peace , which was approved by the Second Congress of the Soviet of Workers\', Soldiers\', and Peasants\' Deputies . The Decree called "upon all the belligerent nations and their governments to start immediate negotiations for peace" and proposed an immediate withdrawal of Russia from World War I. Leon Trotsky was appointed Commissar of Foreign Affairs in the new Bolshevik government. In preparation for peace talks with the representatives of the German government and the representatives of the other Central Powers, Leon Trotsky appointed his good friend, Adolph Joffe , to represent the Bolsheviks at the peace conference.
On 15 December 1917, an armistice between Soviet Russia and the Central Powers was concluded and fighting stopped. On 22 December, peace negotiations began at Brest-Litovsk.
Germany was represented officially by Foreign Secretary Richard von Kühlmann , but the most important German figure was General Max Hoffmann , Chief of Staff of the German armies on the Eastern Front (_Oberkommando-Ostfront_). Austria was represented by Foreign Minister Count Ottokar Czernin , and the Ottomans by Talat Pasha . The German representatives had effective control of the Central Power side.
The Russian representatives were all radicals and supporters of world revolution. They were led by Adolph Joffe , a veteran Red agitator, and included Anastasia Bizenko, who had assassinated a high Imperial official.
At the start of the negotiations, the two sides were far apart.
German plans for the peace treaty included annexing most of Russian
Poland, with Austria to receive a smaller piece. A rump Polish state
would be established to act as a buffer between Germany and Russia. In
On 28 December, the
Central Powers delegation withdrew from the
conference to consider the
Bolshevik peace proposals. Over Christmas
of 1917, the
Central Powers released a declaration stating that they
were in favor of the separate peace with all the Allies without
indemnities and without annexations, provided the peace was immediate
and all belligerents took part in the negotiations. But this did not
supersede the demand for the "independence" of
Lenin was in favor of signing the agreement immediately. He thought that only an immediate peace would allow the young Bolshevik government to consolidate power in Russia. However, he was virtually alone in this opinion among the Bolsheviks on the Central Committee.
For the second round of negotiations, Trotsky replaced Joffe as the head of the Soviet delegation. Meanwhile, Count Czernin announced that if negotiations between Berlin and Petrograd failed, then Austria would seek a separate peace with the latter. Kuhlmann then told the ambassador that such an action would result in Germany withdrawing all its divisions from the Austrian frontier, which promptly led Czernin to drop that offer. He also asked General Hindenburg exactly why he sought the annexation of the Baltic states and was told, "To secure my left flank for when the next war happens."
While Lenin wanted to accept the German peace proposal immediately, a majority of the Bolshevik Central Committee disagreed. The "Left Communists", led by Nikolai Bukharin and Karl Radek , believed that Germany, Austria, Turkey, and Bulgaria were all on the verge of revolution. They wanted to continue the war while awaiting revolutions in those countries. Thus the Soviet delegation returned to the peace conference without instructions to sign the proposed treaty.
Kühlman and Hoffmann now proposed independence for the Baltic
states, Poland, and Ukraine, in accordance with the Soviets' own
national self-determination doctrine. Indeed, the Germans were
already negotiating with a separatist government in Ukraine. On 9
February 1918, Germany recognized that government and signed a treaty
with it, the first
Treaty of Brest-Litovsk
Frustrated with continued German demands for cessions of territory, Trotsky on 10 February announced a new policy. Russia unilaterally declared an end of hostilities against the Central Powers, and Russia withdrew from peace negotiations with the Central Powers - a position summed up as "no war — no peace".
Other Bolshevik leaders denounced Trotsky for exceeding his instructions and exposing Soviet Russia to the threat of invasion. Trotsky subsequently defended his action on the grounds that the Bolshevik leaders had originally entered the peace talks ostensibly, with the hope of exposing their enemies' territorial ambitions and rousing the workers of central Europe to revolution in defense of Russia's new workers' state.
The consequences for the
Bolsheviks were worse than what they had
feared in December. The
Central Powers repudiated the armistice on 18
February 1918, and in the next fortnight seized most of Ukraine,
Belarus, and the Baltic countries in
Operation Faustschlag . Through
the ice of the
Baltic Sea , a German fleet approached the Gulf of
Signing of armistice between Russia and Germany
Borders drawn up in Brest-Litovsk.
Treaty of Brest-Litovsk
The treaty marked Russia's final withdrawal from World War I as an enemy of her co-signatories, on severe terms. In all, the treaty took away territory that included a quarter of the population and industry of the former Russian Empire and nine-tenths of its coal mines .
TERRITORIAL CESSIONS IN EASTERN EUROPE
Russia renounced all territorial claims in
The treaty stated that "Germany and
Austria-Hungary intend to
determine the future fate of these territories in agreement with their
populations." Most of these territories were in effect ceded to
Germany, which intended to have them become economic and political
dependencies. The many ethnic German residents (_volksdeutsch_) would
be the ruling elite. New monarchies were created in
This plan was detailed by German Colonel General Erich Ludendorff , who wrote, "German prestige demands that we should hold a strong protecting hand, not only over German citizens, but over all Germans."
The occupation of Western Russia ultimately proved a costly blunder
for Berlin as over one million German troops lay sprawled out from
Germany transferred hundreds of thousands of veteran troops to the Western Front for the 1918 Spring Offensive , which shocked the Allies badly, but ultimately failed. Some Germans later blamed the occupation for significantly weakening the Spring Offensive.
TRANSFER OF TERRITORY TO OTTOMAN EMPIRE
"Three bones—a bountiful tip", a political cartoon from 1918 by American cartoonist E. A. Bushnell .
At the insistence of
Talaat Pasha , the treaty declared that the
territory Russia took from the
Paragraph 3 of Article IV of the treaty states that:
The districts of Erdehan, Kars, and Batum will likewise and without delay be cleared of Russian troops. Russia will not interfere in the reorganization of the national and international relations of these districts, but leave it to the population of these districts to carry out this reorganization in agreement with the neighboring States, especially with the Ottoman Empire.
RUSSIAN-GERMAN FINANCIAL AGREEMENT OF AUGUST 1918
In the wake of Russian repudiation of Tsarist bonds, nationalisation of foreign-owned property and confiscation of foreign assets, Russia and Germany signed an additional agreement on 27 August 1918. Russia agreed to pay six billion marks in compensation to German interests for their losses.
Treaty of Brest-Litovsk
The fate of the region, and the location of the eventual western
border of the
For the Western Allies, the terms that Germany imposed on Russia were interpreted as a warning of what to expect if Germany and the other Central Powers won the war. Between Brest-Litovsk and the point when the German military situation in the west became dire, some officials in the German government and high command began to favor offering more lenient terms to the Allies in exchange for their recognition of German gains in the east.
Russia's post-1991 western border bears a marked similarity to that imposed by the Brest-Litovsk treaty.
Emil Orlik , the Viennese Secessionist artist, attended the conference, at the invitation of Richard von Kühlmann. He drew portraits of all the participants, along with a series of smaller caricatures. These were gathered together into a book, _Brest-Litovsk,_ a copy of which was given to each of the participants.
* World War I portal
* ^ (in Ukrainian) To whom did Brest belong in 1918? Argument among Ukraine, Belarus, and Germany. Ukrayinska Pravda , 25 March 2011. * ^ A History of the Habsburg Empire, 1526-1918 By Robert A. Kann page 479-480 * ^ Spencer C. Tucker (2005). _World War One_. ABC-CLIO. p. 225. * ^ Mapping Europe's Borderlands: Russian Cartography in the Age of Empire Steven Seegel - 2012 At Brest-Litovsk in March 1918, no Polish delegation was invited to the negotiations, and in the Polish press, journalists condemned it as yet another partition of the lands east of the Bug River by great powers * ^ Zara S. Steiner (2005). _The Lights that Failed: European International History, 1919–1933_. Oxford U.P. p. 68. * ^ Fry, Michael Graham; Goldstein, Erik; Langhorne, Richard (2002). _Guide to International Relations and Diplomacy_. Continuum. p. 188. * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ _D_ _E_ _F_ Ruth Fischer, _Stalin and German Communism: A Study in the Origins of the State Party_ (New Brunswick, New Jersey: Transition Books, 1982) p. 32-36. * ^ David Stevenson (2009). _Cataclysm: The First World War as Political Tragedy_. Basic Books. p. 315. ISBN 978-0-7867-3885-4 . * ^ Ruth Fischer, _Stalin and German Communism_, p. 39. * ^ Ruth Fischer, _Stalin and German Communism_, p. 38. * ^ John Keegan, _The First World War_ (New York: Vintage Books, 2000), p. 342. * ^ Shirer, _The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich_, 1960, p. 57 * ^ Ludendorff, Erich von (1920). _The General Staff and its Problems_. London. p. 562. * ^ "LENINE’S MIGRATION A QUEER SCENE", _ The New York Times _, March 16, 1918 * ^ The Military Writings of Leon Trotsky Volume 1, 1918 TWO ROADS "We have not forgotten, in the first place, that the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk meant the noose that was flung about our neck by the bourgeoisie and the SRs who were responsible for the offensive of June 18". * ^ The Military Writings of Leon Trotsky Volume 1, 1918 THE INTERNAL AND EXTERNAL TASKS OF THE SOVIET POWER "Those who bear the guilt of the Brest-Litovsk peace are the Tsarist bureaucrats and diplomats who involved us in the dreadful war, squandering what the people had accumulated, robbing the people – they who kept the working masses in ignorance and slavery. On the other hand, no less guilt rests with the compromisers, the Kerenskys, Tseretelis and Chernovs * ^ The Military Writings of Leon Trotsky Volume 1, 1918 WE NEED AN ARMY "the entire burden of recent events, above all, the Brest peace, has fallen tragically upon us only through the previous management of affairs by the Tsarist regime and, following it, by the regime of the petty-bourgeois compromisers." * ^ Jewish Museum in Prague (2013-2015). Emil Orlik (1870–1932) - Portraits of Friends and Contemporaries . Retrieved 2015-04-03.
* Dornik, Wolfram, and Peter Lieb. "Misconceived realpolitik in a failing state: the political and economical fiasco of the Central Powers in the Ukraine, 1918." _First World War Studies_ 4.1 (2013): 111-124. * Kennan, George . _Soviet Foreign Policy 1917–1941_, Kreiger Publishing Company, 1960. * Kettle, Michael. _Allies and the Russian Collapse_ (1981) 287p. * Wheeler-Bennett, Sir John _Brest-Litovsk the Forgotten Peace, March 1918_, (W. W. Norton ;background:none transparent;border:none;-moz-box-shadow:none;-webkit-box-shadow:none;box-shadow:none;">v
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