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Treaty of Brest-Litvosk - History

Treaty of Brest-Litvosk - History

Negotiations


After a revolution in Russia, the new Soviet government was anxious to end the war. They negotiated a ceasefire that was followed by a treaty, which ceded large areas to Germany and the Central Powers


The fighting over The February Revolution (which actually took place in March) began as a series of riots protesting food shortages and the ongoing unpopular war. Czar Nicholas II ordered the Dumas (the Russian Parliament) disbanded. Members of the Dumas refused to obey the dissolution order.

When Nicholas called on the army to put down the rioters, the army mutinied. Nicholas II was forced to abdicate. A provisional government was formed, the most influential member being Alexander Fyodorovich Kerensky.

On April 16th, 1917 Vladamir Lenin returned to Russia. The Germans had sent him in a sealed car from Switzerland. They hoped that Lenin would foment further instability in Russia since Lenin's Bolsheviks were opposed to continuing the war with the Germans.

For a number of months the provisional government ruled Russia. The government supported continuing fighting the war, which was extremely unpopular. The Bolsheviks led by Lenin advocated an immediate end to the war, giving land to the peasants and help to everyone else. Their popularity grew. On October 25th, 1917 the Bolsheviks led an armed resurrection against the government in Petrograd and seized power.

The new Soviet government was eager to end the war with the Central powers and immediately agreed to a ceasefire which went into effect in December. Negotiations began for a permanent peace but the Germans demanded large to annex large areas including Ukraine. The Soviets refused, and at one point walked away from the negotiations. The Germans began an offensive in which they captured most of the areas that they had demanded. The Soviets returned to the negotiations and agreed to all of the German initial demands
The treaty was signed on March 3, 1918, between the central powers (Germany, Austria, Hungary, Turkey and Bulgaria) and the Soviet government. Under the terms of the agreement, Russia lost Estonia, Latvia, Ukraine, most of Byelorussia, and Russian Poland. The treaty was annulled under the terms of the German armistice.


World War I and The Treaty of Brest-Litovsk

After a nearly a year of turmoil in Russia, the Bolsheviks ascended to power in November 1917 after the October Revolution (Russia still used the Julian calendar). As ending Russia's involvement in World War I was a key tenet of the Bolshevik platform, new leader Vladimir Lenin immediately called for a three-month armistice. Though initially wary of dealing with the revolutionaries, the Central Powers (Germany, Austro-Hungarian Empire, Bulgaria, and the Ottoman Empire) finally agreed to a ceasefire in early December and made plans to meet with Lenin's representatives later in the month.


The Treaty

This is an excerpt of the original document:

  • Article I. Germany, Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria, and Turkey, for the one part, and Russia, for the other part, declare that the state of war between them has ceased. They are resolved to live henceforth in peace and amity with one another.
  • Article II. The contracting parties will refrain from any agitation or propaganda against the Government or the public and military institutions of the other party. In so far as this obligation devolves upon Russia, it holds good also for the territories occupied by the Powers of the Quadruple Alliance.
  • Article III. Livonia will likewise, without delay, be cleared of Russian troops and the Russian Red Guard. Russia will liberate at once all arrested or deported inhabitants of Livonia, and ensures the safe return of all deported Livonians.
  • Article IV. Finland and the Aaland Islands will immediately be cleared of Russian troops and the Russian Red Guard, and the Finnish ports of the Russian fleet and of the Russian naval forces. So long as the ice prevents the transfer of warships into Russian ports, only limited forces will remain on board the warships. Russia is to put an end to all agitation or propaganda against the Government or the public institutions of Finland.The fortresses built on the Aaland Islands are to be removed as soon as possible. As regards the permanent non- fortification of these islands as well as their further treatment in respect to military technical navigation matters, a special agreement is to be concluded between Germany, Finland, Russia, and Sweden there exists an understanding to the effect that, upon Germany's desire, still other countries bordering upon the Baltic Sea would be consulted in this matter.
  • Article V. In view of the fact that Persia and Afghanistan are free and independent States, the contracting parties obligate themselves to respect the political and economic independence and the territorial integrity of these states.
  • Article VI. The prisoners of war of both parties will be released to return to their homeland. The settlement of the questions connected therewith will be effected through the special treaties provided for in Article IX.
  • Article VII. The contracting parties mutually renounce compensation for their war expenses, i.e., of the public expenditures for the conduct of the war, as well as compensation for war losses, i.e., such losses as were caused [by] them and their nationals within the war zones by military measures, inclusive of all requisitions effected in enemy country.
  • Article VIII. Diplomatic and consular relations between the contracting parties will be resumed immediately upon the ratification of the treaty of peace. As regards the reciprocal admission of consuls, separate agreements are reserved.
  • Article IX. As regards the economic relations between the Powers of the Quadruple Alliance and Russia the regulations contained in Appendices II-V are determinative.
  • Article X. The re-establishment of public and private legal relations, the exchange of war prisoners and interned citizens, the question of amnesty as well as the question anent the treatment of merchant ships which have come into the power of the opponent, will be regulated in separate treaties with Russia which form an essential part of the general treaty of peace, and, as far as possible, go into force simultaneously with the latter.
  • Article XI. The present treaty of peace will be ratified. The documents of ratification shall, as soon as possible, be exchanged in Berlin. The Russian Government obligates itself, upon the desire of one of the powers of the Quadruple Alliance, to execute the exchange of the documents of ratification within a period of two weeks. Unless otherwise provided for in its articles, in its annexes, or in the additional treaties, the treaty of peace enters into force at the moment of its ratification.

The Brest Litvosk Treaty was signed in the modern day city of Brest, which is located just across the Polish border with Belarus. At the time of signing though the city, then named the Brest Litvosk, was located deeply behind the German lines during World War I. While the official armistice (signing pictured above, photographed by Bundesarchiv, Bild) between the two countries at war was called for on Dec. 2, 1917, the treaty itself was not formally issued until March 3rd of the following year. This is the treaty which took Russia out of the first World War and was a major stepping stone for the eventual revolution to come.

The treaty itself laid quite a steep price for the Russian withdraw of from the war. Some of the provisions include a large loss of Russian territory, the demobilization of the Russian army, return of all Russian warships to their ports, release of all POWs, and the recognition of Persia and Afghanistan as free and independent states just to name a few of the requirements in the treaty. These are of course only some of the provisions, the entirety of the treaty can be read here.

The Brest Litvosk Treaty played a large importance in the Russian revolutions in 1917. For Russia to be able to even have a revolution in the first place they needed to be pulled out of the the war to focus on that. That is what this treaty accomplished. After withdrawing from the war the revolution was able to finally, and fully, take shape. After this withdrawal lines were further drawn between the Soviets, who’s previous platform was to pull Russia out of the war, and the provisional government with remnants of the tsarists’ and other members ranking in the nobility. The showdown was set, and the outcome would have a unknowingly massive effect on the future.


Which WWI peace treaty was harsher?Versailles or Brest-Litovsk?

. The Austrians? They did not get dismembered. They were forbidden from Anschlussing to Germany, which was dodgy, but otherwise they were not punished. Or if you mean the whole Empire. well, I hate to break to you, but feudalism was over, the nationalities were no longer a Habsburg fiefdom - they wanted to break away, and they did even before the war ended, the peace just recognized the fact. The Austrian empire stopped existing before the November ceasefire already, there was nothing left to dismember.

As for Hungary, well, once again, the minorities wanted to go. Entente hypocrisy and a fear of the Reds in Hungary ensured that they got the short end of the stick and some purely Hungarian territories also got detached - but keeping up a Hungarian nation where Hungarians were a minority yet everyone else was a second-class citizen would not have worked. Mind you, the concept of ethnic nationalism and the idea that ethnically homogenous nation states have to be established - or else - is quite bankrupt now, but at the time it seemed like a sensible alternative to one nationality oppressing several others (the reality of a lot of European empires pre-WWI).

Lukedalton

Admiral Halsey

Lukedalton

Magnificate

Caesar Biden

Kung Zog

Brest Litovsk was much harsher. It aimed to annex and/or puppet as much territory as possible. During the Paris negations on the other hand, which becomes really apparent when reading the minutes, the victors were quite limited in what they wanted. French demands for Rhineland is the only thing that comes close, and it is still far away from Brest-Litovsk.

While the territory taken by Germany from Russia was not really "Russian" territory, it was definitely not German. It aimed to cripple Russia economically and create numerous colonies to extract resources from and settle Germans in.

Brundlefly

All in all, I'd say Brest-Litovsk was harsher.

In terms of territory, though, I'd say that both treaties were actually less harsh than they sounded. For instance, the loss of the German colonies was more a loss of prestige than an economic one. And Brest-Litovsk may have included a large territorial loss for Russia, but not necessarily for Soviet Russia. Back in 1917, the Soviets only controlled Moscow and the larger area surrounding Moscow. The areas conceded to Germany according to the Treaty were not controlled by the Red Army yet. So basically Trotsky could have gone for a gamble: signing the treaty, consolidating the Soviet power in Moscow, and speculating on a future German defeat, which would have left the German-occupied areas open subjects at the Paris conference..

Perfidious Albion

(A) Why is that relevant? This isn't the 21st century. The Russian Empire wasn't "Russia" as we might nowadays understand a nation-state it was not the territory consisting of ethnic Russians and them only. The Russian Empire was the domain ruled by the House of Romanov, just as Austria-Hungary was the domain ruled by the House of Habsburg-Lorraine, and the Ottoman Empire for that matter was the domain ruled by the House of Osman. Your mindset was made a standard by Woodrow Wilson and his (highly inconsistently applied) principle of self-determination, after Brest-Litovsk came into effect and after Brest-Litovsk was made redundant by the defeat (yes, it was a defeat) of Imperial Germany by the Entente. Judging Brest-Litovsk by that principle is like judging Napoleon Bonaparte for not abiding by the Geneva Convention. The leaders of Imperial Germany certainly wouldn't have cared about such things. Imperial Germany merely sought to weaken Russia, as it weakened France after defeating it and imposing the Treaty of Frankfurt upon it.

(B) Even if that mindset were true, this would still be inaccurate. There were plenty of ethnic Russians in the territories taken from Russia real-life ethnic boundaries aren't just lines on a map where you can say "everyone of Nationality X is on this side of this line". Meanwhile, Schleswig contained plenty of Danes, Alsace-Lorraine never wanted to be German to begin with (judging by the behaviour of the people whom the people of Alsace-Lorraine elected to office) and the lands given to Poland were mostly Polish lands that Prussia had taken from Poland long before. The Saarland one could reasonably say shouldn't have had anything happen to it and one can argue about Silesia, but for the most part the political borders drawn up at Versailles between Germany and Denmark, Poland and France corresponded to ethnic boundaries as well as could reasonably have been done.

By that definition, if the German democrats had managed to prevent the National Socialists from taking power, this would retroactively mean that Versailles was less harsh than it was in OTL, even though it's the exact same treaty. Easy reductio ad absurdum.

Such a retroactive definition is, frankly, silly.

Mirage

Kung Zog

Perfidious Albion

I agree that Austria has far, far more of a case for having been treated harshly by the Entente than Germany does—later, dubious propaganda about having been an unwilling victim of the National Socialists notwithstanding.

Austria started off the First World War as a great power and ended it as a scarcely relevant state, with even lands that it could reasonably claim to be core Austrian territories taken away for the sake of expedience, in spite of the principle of self-determination which was supposed to govern Wilson's peace. Whether by the old way of looking at territories of houses or the new way of nationalist self-determination, both of which are equally valid when considering Versailles, Trianon et cetera, Austria was treated extremely poorly.

Fasquardon

The Germans very much wanted to turn Russia into a quasi-colony, and Brest-Litovsk was explicitly a step in that direction.

By comparison, the British and Americans explicitly wanted to preserve Germany as a great power.

The only reason Brest-Litovsk comes off looking so good is because the Germans were defeated in the West before they were able to actually enforce more than 1/10th of it. Even so, that 1/10th was worse than Versailles.

Napoleon IV

Matteo

Brest-Litovsk was a treaty between a victorious Great Power and an utterly defeated power with no ability to resist and about to engage in Civil War. Or perhaps more accurately, it was an agreement with a group that never existed before claiming it controlled Russia.

Versailles was a treaty between Great Powers. Germany was beaten, but it was still on foreign territory and was retreating in good enough order that the Entente was fighting for every mile. Casualty totals for the 100 days show what kind of a price would be payed if the Entente choose to push onto Berlin and prolong the war another year. In negotiations you pay for what you want. The Entente didn't want those casualties so it got less then Germany got from Russia.

The german imperial general staff tried to make believe that the Army was retreating in good order. In fact it was in the verge of collapsing and was forced not only to retreat but also to quickly ask for peace.

They used this propaganda lie to build the back-stabbing lie.

Kung Zog

The Germans very much wanted to turn Russia into a quasi-colony, and Brest-Litovsk was explicitly a step in that direction.

By comparison, the British and Americans explicitly wanted to preserve Germany as a great power.

The only reason Brest-Litovsk comes off looking so good is because the Germans were defeated in the West before they were able to actually enforce more than 1/10th of it. Even so, that 1/10th was worse than Versailles.

Richter von Manthofen

I am just wondering if you know what the "Treaty of Brest-Litovsk" actually said. I get the Feeling you only look at the wiki map and think "WOW they took a large piece out of the Russian Empire".

I agree that the territorial losses of Germany (not including colonies) are not as vast as the territories that the Russian Empire lost. But the overwhelming part of those territories were not transferred to the Central powers, but were territories that wanted to break away from the Russian Empire (Ukraine, Finland, some Baltics). Thats comparable (by Quality and probably quantity) to the territory Austria Hungary lost)

Now to other (selected and comparable) issues.

Navy ships - Germany had to surrender (most and best) of theirs, Russia could Keep them
Army - Germany was limited in Army size, Russia had to demobilize
Germany was prohibited to use (modern) weapons - no such Limit on Russia

Russia lost a sizeable part of Industry and mines (most went to sucessor states, or probablle sucessor states like Poland) - Germany lost for example the Saar coal mines (not the territory but the mines were now French property)

War guilt - well no such thing in the treaty with Russia.

War cost - both sides took their cost in B-L without demands to the other side. Versailles Germany had to agree to take on teh war cost eof the Entente (later it was fixed to around 269 Billion Goldmark). In an addition (August 1918) to B-L Russia agreed to pay 6 Billion Goldmark. (but this Addition had additional Agreements, some of which benefitted Red Russia - The russians even considered to ask Germany to send soldiers to fight against the Entente Forces on Russian soil ! - that Highlights the severness of German demands - the loser actually considered to INVITE the former enemy to help out

Sure B-L was not a light peace (and the Russians later said they should have taken Germanys original terms, because B-L later was harsher - maybe because Ukraine had made peace with Germany and wanted support from Germany ), but it let Russias sovereignity of the remaining territory fully intact. Versailles grossly limited Germanys sovereignity.

Russia could negotiate the terms, GErmany was FORCED to take the terms.

B-L had under 20 articles, Versailles 440!

What about the patents and rights Germany lost at Versailles?

True Russia lost more percent of ist European territory.

BTW did you know that only the English and French VErsions of Versailles were "binding" - For B-L the Russian text stood equal to the German. if questions would arise.

Richter von Manthofen

GrafZahl

Hello folks,
this beeing my first I hope I can add something to the discussion.

Do you have any facts to back up this argument? Such as russian obligations beyond reparations? With "russian" I mean "sowjet russia" in post Brest-Litowsk borders?

A nation allowed an army of 100.000 men, with now heavy weapons, no tanks, no airforce at all and an navy of up to 6 pre-dreadnought battleships as max allowed strenght is hardly a great power. It is not even a mediocre power. It is playing in the same league as luxembourg.

If someone wants to compare Versailles and Brest-Litowsk in terms of harshness, it is necessary to define a point of view first.
Like defining if peoples self determination is a principle to be embraced, or not? (moral question)
Also it would be necessary to determine the weight of the different dimensions? What is more important? Loss of people? Loss of territory? Forced disarming? Loss of sovereignity? Occupation? Reparations?

That said, I think the concept of peoples self determination is a valid and good concept. That said the loss of germanys colonies wasn't that harsh. This also applies to the sowjet "losses".
The sowjet government was not imperial russia. Territories belonging to the russian empire, like ukraine, finnland, the baltics, poland, belorussia never belonged to a "Sowjet Union" before. They were not inhabited by russians, but other ethnic groups. And those wanted to be no part of a Sowjet Union. The wanted their own states, even before the war.
It is comparable to the hungarians, the czechs, croats etc. in austro-hungary.
Brest-Litowsk gave those people independence. Of course they would have been german puppets somewhat, as this status fits the interests of both sides (the new states seeking protection agains sowjet russia, germany is glad to have buffer states against the former russian colossus).

To put things short: I do not see the border changes in the east as harsh in any way.
If you deny the right of self determination and see the sowjet government as legit successor to imperial russian rule and put emphasis on the value of territory, instead of percentage of total territory (Sowjet Union still largest country on earth), then B-L is indeed very harsh in terms of territory.
As far as I know (could be that I am wrong here) germany annexed no (or next to none) russian territory.
On the other hand Versailles saw huge losses of german territory, with majority german population to other nations. These were also important parts of germany. The only part with german minority germany ceeded was poznan. Every other part was 80-95% german.
Also germany paid far more reparations, had his military crippled, was occupied for decades (Rhineland, Saar, Ruhr), with german citizens degraded to somewhat downtrodden lesser humans, bullied by largely african french colonial troops, including quite some cases of rape.
Also germany was no longer a sovereign nation. It was widely viewed as a total disgrace. What it was and is.

By the way: Germany and Great Britain today are puppets of the USA, no matter what they tell you. And both countries (and many others to) have no more independence than a puppet ukraine had from germany.


The Treaty of Brest-Litovsk

The treaty that ended Russia's participation in the First World War was signed on March 3rd, 1918.

When the Bolsheviks seized power in Russia in the Revolution of 1917, the country was still engaged in the First World War, allied with England, France and the United States against the Central Powers of Germany and Austria-Hungary with their Ottoman allies. The Russian army was disintegrating and the Germans had pushed far into the country and now occupied Russian Poland and Lithuania. An urgent priority for the new regime was to get out of the war. A truce was hastily agreed, to be followed by a peace conference, and Russian participation in the war in effect came to an end. Lenin was far more interested in putting down internal opposition than in fighting Germans. He had, after all, been infiltrated back into Russia by the German government in the hope of hampering the Russian war effort and the tactic would now pay off.

Held in the town of Brest-Litovsk in Poland (now in Belarus), where the German army had its headquarters, the conference opened in December. Trotsky, the foreign minister, led the Russian delegation. The German and Austrian delegations were headed by their foreign secretaries, Richard von Kühlmann and Ottakar Czernin, but an influential figure for the Germans was General Max Hoffman, Chief of Staff of the German armies on the eastern front. Talat Pasha represented the Ottoman Empire.

Trotsky skilfully contrived to spin the discussions out in the hope of a Communist revolution in Germany and Austria which would save Russia’s bacon. No such thing occurred and in February Trotsky announced to the stupefaction of the Central Powers’ delegates ‘neither war nor peace’, meaning that Russia would not resume fighting, but would not agree to give up territory or pay money. He thought the German army was exhausted, but he was wrong. The Central Powers simply ended the armistice and resumed their invasion, sweeping what was left of the Russian army aside, while a German fleet started menacingly up the Baltic towards Petrograd (the former St Petersburg).

The Left Socialist Revolutionaries, who formed part of the government, had played a major role in the 1917 revolution and who commanded more popular support than the Bolsheviks, wanted to appeal to the Russian people to fight a guerrilla war against the invaders. They regarded this as the best way of inspiring a communist revolution in the West, but Lenin feared that if the German advance continued the regime would be overthrown. He insisted that the enemy terms must be accepted.

They were extremely harsh. Russia gave up close to half its European territory. Russian Poland, Lithuania and part of Latvia were ceded to Germany and Austria. The Ukraine, Finland, Estonia and the rest of Latvia were transformed into independent states under German protection. Bessarabia was to go to Romania and the Ottomans took the Armenian areas in the Caucasus. All Bolshevik propaganda in the ceded areas was to cease (a provision which the Bolshevik regime soon found ways round). Russia lost huge areas of prime agricultural land, eighty per cent of her coal mines and half her other industries. A follow-up agreement in August committed the country to pay six billion marks in reparations.

Trotsky could not face the humiliation of signing the treaty and had a subordinate sign for the regime. There was turmoil in Russia. The Petrogradskoe Ekho evening newspaper, for example, reported that workers at the Tula armament factory considered the treaty an act of treason which was ‘destructive to the international proletarian movement and deeply harmful to the interests of Russian workers, the revolution and the Russian economy in general.’ Whether ordinary Russian factory hands ever talked like that seems doubtful, but certainly many Russians regarded the treaty as an abominable betrayal of their country. Brest-Litovsk had a role in provoking the civil war between the Whites and the Reds. So did the fact that the Left Socialist Revolutionaries withdrew from the government and left it entirely in the hands of the Bolsheviks, and some of them took the White side in the civil war.

Meanwhile the Allied powers intervened. The French navy arrived in Odessa and British troops in Murmansk, while the Japanese sent soldiers to the Russian Far East. There was also always the possibility of the Germans deciding to renounce the treaty and resume their invasion of Russia. Lenin told the Central Executive Committee in April: ‘Yes, the peace we have arrived at is unstable in the highest degree the breathing space obtained by us can be broken off any day…’

Fortunately for the Russian regime, the Allied Powers won the war later in the year and the treaty was abrogated, which at least saved Russia from some of the worst consequences, though Poland, the Baltic states and Finland were not recovered in the peace settlement at Versailles in 1919.


Background of the Eastern Front in WWI

The breakout of World War I in 1914 saw the Central Powers clashing with the Triple Entente (Great Britain, France, and Russia) across Europe and their worldwide colonial possessions.

Immediately the war was divided into two fronts: the Western and Eastern Front. The failure of the German Schlieffen Plan resulted in a drawn-out war of attrition on the Western Front.

Here the Germans battled the British and French in trench warfare that took its toll on the soldiers and nations.

On the Eastern Front, trench-style warfare never got a chance to develop. The Eastern Front was much longer than the Western Front, stretching from the Baltic Sea and Petrograd (St. Petersburg) in the west/north, all the way to the Black Sea in the south.

The longer lines meant that traditional warfare could ensue with rapidly changing fronts based on the latest offensive and counter-offensives deployed.

At the outset of the war the Russians saw initial successes simultaneously battling and pushing back the Germans in the northwest and Austro-Hungarians in the southwest.

The tides of war quickly turned with the Germans and Austro-Hungarians pushing the Russians much further east and dealing massive casualties in 1915. The poorly-supplied and -equipped Russians were no match for the well-trained Central Powers, especially Germany.

By late 1916 the Eastern Front was looking grim for the Russians. Despite the success of the mid-1916 Brusilov Offensive, most other offensives ended in disaster and the Russians were worn out and tired of war.

Civilian unrest became evident with anti-war and anti-Tsar protests occurring regularly. By early 1917 the protests intensified, with many factory workers (mainly women as the men had been drafted) striking to show their dissatisfaction.

In the resulting February Revolution, Tsar Nicholas II abdicated his throne and a Provisional government stepped in to lead the nation.


The Peace Treaty of Brest-Litovsk

Article I. Germany, Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria, and Turkey, for the one part, and Russia, for the other part, declare that the state of war between them has ceased. They are resolved to live henceforth in peace and amity with one another.

Article II. The contracting parties will refrain from any agitation or propaganda against the Government or the public and military institutions of the other party. In so far as this obligation devolves upon Russia, it holds good also for the territories occupied by the Powers of the Quadruple Alliance.

Article III. The territories lying to the west of the line agreed upon by the contracting parties which formerly belonged to Russia, will no longer be subject to Russian sovereignty the line agreed upon is traced on the map submitted as an essential part of this treaty of peace. The exact fixation of the line will be established by a Russo-German commission.

No obligations whatever toward Russia shall devolve upon the territories referred to, arising from the fact that they formerly belonged to Russia.

Russia refrains from all interference in the internal relations of these territories. Germany and Austria-Hungary purpose to determine the future status of these territories in agreement with their population.

Article IV. As soon as a general peace is concluded and Russian demobilization is carried out completely Germany will evacuate the territory lying to the east of the line designated in paragraph 1 of Article III, in so far as Article IV does not determine otherwise.

Russia will do all within her power to insure the immediate evacuation of the provinces of eastern Anatolia and their lawful return to Turkey.

The districts of Erdehan, Kars, and Batum will likewise and without delay be cleared of the 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 Turkey.

Article V. Russia will, without delay, carry out the full demobilization of her army inclusive of those units recently organized by the present Government. Furthermore, Russia will either bring her warships into russian ports and there detain them until the day of the conclusion of a general peace, or disarm them forthwith. Warships of the States which continue in the state of war with the Powers of the Quadruple Alliance, in so far as they are within Russian sovereignty, will be treated as Russian warships.

The barred zone in the Arctic Ocean continues as such until the conclusion of a general peace. In the Baltic sea, and, as far as Russian power extends within the Black sea, removal of the mines will be proceeded with at once. Merchant navigation within these maritime regions is free and will be resumed at once. Mixed commissions will be organized to formulate the more detailed regulations, especially to inform merchant ships with regard to restricted lanes. The navigation lanes are always to be kept free from floating mines.

Article VI. Russia obligates herself to conclude peace at once with the Ukrainian People's Republic and to recognize the treaty of peace between that State and the Powers of the Quadruple Alliance. The Ukrainian territory will, without delay, be cleared of Russian troops and the Russian Red Guard. Russia is to put an end to all agitation or propaganda against the Government or the public institutions of the Ukrainian People's Republic.

Esthonia and Livonia will likewise, without delay, be cleared of Russian troops and the Russian Red Guard. The eastern boundary of Esthonia runs, in general along the river Narwa. The eastern boundary of Livonia crosses, in general, lakes Peipus and Pskow, to the southwestern corner of the latter, then across Lake Luban in the direction of Livenhof on the Dvina. Esthonia and Livonia will be occupied by a German police force until security is insured by proper national institutions and until public order has been established. Russia will liberate at once all arrested or deported inhabitants of Esthonia and Livonia, and insures the safe return of all deported Esthonians and Livonians.

Finland and the Aaland Islands will immediately be cleared of Russian troops and the Russian Red Guard, and the Finnish ports of the Russian fleet and of the Russian naval forces. So long as the ice prevents the transfer of warships into Russian ports, only limited forces will remain on board the warships. Russia is to put an end to all agitation or propaganda against the Government or the public institutions of Finland.

The fortresses built on the Aaland Islands are to be removed as soon as possible. As regards the permanent non- fortification of these islands as well as their further treatment in respect to military technical navigation matters, a special agreement is to be concluded between Germany, Finland, Russia, and Sweden there exists an understanding to the effect that, upon Germany's desire, still other countries bordering upon the Baltic Sea would be consulted in this matter.

Article VII. In view of the fact that Persia and Afghanistan are free and independent States, the contracting parties obligate themselves to respect the political and economic independence and the territorial integrity of these states.

Article VIII. The prisoners of war of both parties will be released to return to their homeland. The settlement of the questions connected therewith will be effected through the special treaties provided for in Article XII.

Article IX. The contracting parties mutually renounce compensation for their war expenses, i.e., of the public expenditures for the conduct of the war, as well as compensation for war losses, i.e., such losses as were caused [by] them and their nationals within the war zones by military measures, inclusive of all requisitions effected in enemy country.

Article X. Diplomatic and consular relations between the contracting parties will be resumed immediately upon the ratification of the treaty of peace. As regards the reciprocal admission of consuls, separate agreements are reserved.

Article XI. As regards the economic relations between the Powers of the Quadruple Alliance and Russia the regulations contained in Appendices II-V are determinative.

Article XII. The reestablishment of public and private legal relations, the exchange of war prisoners and interned citizens, the question of amnesty as well as the question anent the treatment of merchant ships which have come into the power of the opponent, will be regulated in separate treaties with Russia which form an essential part of the general treaty of peace, and, as far as possible, go into force simultaneously with the latter.

Article XIII. In the interpretation of this treaty, the German and Russian texts are authoritative for the relations between Germany and Russia the German, the Hungarian, and Russian texts for the relations between Austria-Hungry and Russia the Bulgarian and Russian texts for the relations between Bulgaria and Russia and the Turkish and Russian texts for the relations between Turkey and Russia.

Article XIV. The present treaty of peace will be ratified. The documents of ratification shall, as soon as possible, be exchanged in Berlin. The Russian Government obligates itself, upon the desire of one of the powers of the Quadruple Alliance, to execute the exchange of the documents of ratification within a period of two weeks. Unless otherwise provided for in its articles, in its annexes, or in the additional treaties, the treaty of peace enters into force at the moment of its ratification.

In testimony whereof the Plenipotentiaries have signed this treaty with their own hand.


Bolsheviks endorse the Brest-Litovsk treaty (1918)

The Seventh Party Congress in March 1918 passed this resolution for peace, thus endorsing the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk:

“In view of the fact that we have no army, that our troops at the front are in a most demoralised condition and that we must make use of every possible breathing spell to slow imperialist attacks on the Soviet Socialist Republic, the Congress resolves to accept the most onerous and humiliating peace treaty which the Soviet Government has signed with Germany.

At this stage of the social revolution, it is historically inevitable that the imperialistic states (west and east) should make frequent attacks on Soviet Russia. Both the internal conditions arising from the class struggle within each country and the international situation are almost certain to bring about at any time, even within the next few days, an imperialistic offensive against the socialist movement in general, and against the Russian Socialist Republic in particular.

Under the circumstances, this Congress declares that the first and most fundamental task of our party… and of the Soviet Government is to make the most energetic and ruthlessly resolute steps to raise the discipline and self-discipline of the workers and peasants of Russia… The Congress perceives that the only hope for the success of the Socialist Revolution, which so far has been victorious only in Russia, is by turning it into an international workers’ revolution.

The Congress believes that from the point of view of the international revolution, the decision taken by the Soviet Government [signing the treaty] was unavoidable and inevitable under the present correlation of international forces. Believing that the workers’ revolution is steadily growing in all belligerent countries, and is preparing the inevitable and complete defeat of capitalism, the Congress declares that the socialist proletariat of Russia will do everything within its power and use all its resources to help the proletarian revolutionary movement in all countries.”


Watch the video: Η Συνθήκη της Ρώμης (January 2022).