Treaty of Brest-Litovsk

The Great War

Europe 1918.032

Treaty of Brest-Litovsk

World War I in Europe and the Russian Revolution (20 March 1918)

Historical Map of Europe & the Mediterranean

With Russia helpless against the German advance, Lenin was forced to pay a high price for peace. On 3 March 1918, the Bolsheviks signed the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, effectively recognizing German dominance over the previously Russian territories of eastern Europe.

Main Events

Bolsheviks gain control of Russia

On 25 November 1917 (O.S. 12 November), Russia held elections for the National Constituent Assembly, with the Socialist-Revolutionary Party winning a plurality. With the Socialist Revolutionaries unwilling to support Premier Vladimir Lenin's creation of a Soviet Republic, the Assembly dissolved on 18 January 1918 (O.S. 5 January), with Lenin's Bolsheviks operating as a de facto single-party government.

Finnish Declaration of Independence

Citing the Bolsheviks' declaration of the right to self-determination, the newly-formed government of Finland declared independence from Russia.

Armistice of Focșani

Although the Central Powers had captured most of Romania's territory, they were unable to break through the Romanian line into Moldavia. However, without Russian support, Romania was forced to make an armistice with Austria-Hungary in May 1917. Two months later, Romania signed the Treaty of Bucharest, relinquishing the Carpathian ridgeline to Hungary in exchange for the formerly Russian but ethnically Romanian region of Bessarabia.

Finnish Civil War

Flu pandemic in Europe

In 1918, cases of a new virulent strain of influenza started appearing on the European military fronts, in particular around the major troop staging and hospital camp in Étaples, France. Because news from the front was censored, the first big public outbreak was in neutral Spain, after which the Allies called it 'Spanish flu' - although whether it originated in Europe, North America, or China remains uncertain. The flu killed more than 400,000 in France, over 500,000 in Italy, about 260,000 in Spain, 250,000 in Britain, and 150,000 in Germany, with some 2.6 million deaths in Europe overall.

Treaty of Brest-Litovsk

Soviet Russia signed the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk with Germany, Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria, and the Ottoman Empire at Brest-Litovsk, Russia. The treaty ended Russia's participation in World War I and forced it to cede the Baltic States to Germany, to cede Kars to the Ottoman Empire, and to recognize the independence of Ukraine and Finland. Russia was also obliged to pay six billion German gold marks in reparations.

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