World War I
October Revolution

World War I
The Peace of Brest-Litovsk

With the October Revolution in progress and Russia's Menshevik government paralyzed, Russia was in chaos. Entire army brigades, such as the LATVIAN BRIGADE, placed themselves under the authority of the Petrograd Soviet; other units still at the front were faced with mass desertions, with the constant threat of a mutiny.
Germany, to put pressure on Russis and improve it's bargaining position at the negotiation table, ordered it's troops to advance, occupying the Baltic as far as Estonia, advancing in the south as far east as the Don.

On March 3rd 1918, in the Polish border city of Brest-Litovsk, representatives of Germany, Austria-Hungary, Ottoman Turkey and the nascent Soviet government signed the PEACE OF BREST-LITOVSK. Russia was to cede Livonia, Courland, Lithuania, Estonia and Poland, and to recognize the Ukraine and Finland as independent states. It was also to cede the Kars district of Armenia to the Ottoman Empire.
The demands were harsh, and Lenin hesitated. The Germans pointed out that the 40 million Goldmarks had been only a loan and that they wanted a payback.

Lenin, with a Civil War going on, had to sign a peace at any price. Germany now got it's forces on the eastern front freed to be utilized in one last attempt to force a victory in the west. It failed, and with Germany's request for a truce, the Entente declared the Peace of Brest-Litovsk null and void.


This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted in 2000, last revised on November 8th 2004

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