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Russia and the Central Powers sign the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk

A British Mark IV tank advances across the red field, star and crescent moon of a Turkish flag under a chain of grey and yellow clouds. Entitled Entente-török fegyverszünet, Entente-Turkish Armistice, it refers to the British-Turkish Armistice signed on October 30, 1918, that took effect on October 31. Original watercolor postcard by Schima Martos.

A British Mark IV tank advances across the red field, star and crescent moon of a Turkish flag under a chain of grey and yellow clouds. Entitled Entente-török fegyverszünet, Entente-Turkish Armistice, it refers to the British-Turkish Armistice signed on October 30, 1918, that took effect on October 31. Original watercolor postcard by Schima Martos.

Image text

Entente-török fegyverszünet



Entente-Turkish Armistice

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Russian and German representatives met from December 3 to 5, 1917 after agreeing to suspend hostilities until December 17 while preparing peace terms. Lenin, facing internal opponents, supported immediate peace. Trotsky and other leaders hoped to delay peace long enough for socialists in Germany and Austria-Hungary to follow Russia's lead and seize power. When the negotiators met again, they agreed to an armistice until January 14, 1918.

Germany demanded from Russia most of Poland, all of Lithuania, and parts of Latvia, Estonia, and a Ukraine fighting a civil war. Trotsky suspended negotiations on January 18. In Petrograd, Lenin argued against Trotsky and others for an immediate peace. Trotsky returned to the negotiations with a bottom-line position of 'no war, no peace.' On February 10, he and his delegation left, announcing that Russia was withdrawing from the war, but would not sign the proposed peace treaty. On February 17, German Generals Ludendorff and Hoffman ordered a general advance against Russia.

Russian forces offered little resistance. When Germany next presented a peace treaty, it contained harsher terms, taking all of Estonia and forcing Russia from Finland and Ukraine. Turkey was given more Russian territory. The Bolsheviks continued to argue until Lenin threatened to resign, forcing a vote by the Central Committee on February 23. The next morning, Lenin and Trotsky notified the Germans that they would sign.

Germany continued its advance until signing the treaty on March 3. As German forces advanced along the Black Sea and threatened Petrograd, the government moved the capital to Moscow where the treaty was ratified. Germany, Austria-Hungary, Turkey, and Bulgaria were all signatories.

The Treaty of Brest-Litovsk was annulled with the collapse of the Central Powers in November, 1918.

1918-03-03