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Why Did Russia Sign a Peace Agreement with Germany during World War I

This fraternization ended a week later with the arrival of Leon Trotsky, the Soviet foreign commissioner. Trotsky ordered an end to conviviality and mixed meals, and demanded that all negotiations be conducted at the table. The armistice was practically a German capitulation, as its terms put an end to any possibility of Germany continuing the war. Similar agreements had already been signed by Bulgaria, Turkey and Austria. However, the peace treaties that officially ended the First World War were not signed until 1919. Trotsky responded by calling for peace without concessions. He began to deliberately delay discussions, debated endlessly on minor points, threatened to end negotiations, and constantly demanded pauses. The Germans did not believe his tone, one general commented that Trotsky was ”negotiating” as if the Russians were winning the war instead of losing it. When the Germans presented another list of demands in January, Trotsky refused to sign and returned to Russia. On February 18, 1918, the Central Powers launched Operation Faustschlag, the last major offensive in the East during World War I. For 11 days, the Germans advanced more than 150 miles to Russia, Ukraine and the Baltic states. With the German army now less than 100 miles from Petrograd, the Bolsheviks moved the capital to Moscow, further southeast. When Russian troops dropped their weapons and surrendered en masse, German General Max Hoffman noticed the ease of the campaign, saying it had ”the charm of novelty.” The districts of Erdehan, Kars and Batum were also immediately evacuated by Russian troops.

Russia will not interfere in the reorganization of the national and international relations of these districts, but will leave it to the population of these districts to carry out this reorganization in agreement with the neighboring states, especially with the Ottoman Empire. Lenin, however, believed he had an ace in the hole. Consumed by Marxist ideology, Lenin believed that Germany too would soon experience its own communist revolution. Once the emperor was overthrown and a German Bolshevik government in power in Berlin, he would make common cause with Petrograd, and the two nations would then work to spread communism throughout the world. Lenin believed that he only had to wait for the emperor. The Treaty of Brest-Litovsk lasted just over eight months. Germany terminated the treaty and broke on 5 September. Diplomatic relations with Soviet Russia were established in November. The Ottoman Empire broke the treaty after only two months by invading the newly created First Republic of Armenia in May 1918. During the armistice of 11 November 1918, which ended the First World War, one of the first conditions was the complete abolition of the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk. After the German capitulation, the Bolshevik legislature annulled the treaty on 13 November 1918.

Within a year of the armistice, the German army withdrew its occupying forces from the territories gained at Brest-Litovsk, leaving a power vacuum that various forces later attempted to fill. In the Treaty of Rapallo, concluded in April 1922, Germany agreed to the annulment of the treaty, and the two powers agreed to renounce all territorial and financial claims related to the war against each other. When Sokolnikov arrived in Brest-Litovsk, he said: ”We will immediately sign the treaty that is presented to us as an ultimatum, but at the same time we will refuse to enter into a discussion about its conditions.” [29] The treaty was signed on March 3, 1918 at 5:50 p.m.m. The leaders of Western nations, especially the United States and Britain, watched with concern as the Bolshevik revolution succeeded in Russia. Communism, which rejected religion and wanted to end private ownership of property as a means of producing wealth, was at odds with the economic and social systems of these countries. It was also noted that Leon Trotsky, who, besides Lenin, was the other important leader of the Russian Revolution, was Jewish. This fact further fueled anti-Semitism in Europe and fueled fears that an alleged Jewish-Bolshevik conspiracy was planning to rule the world – a conspiracy theory that would persist, particularly in Germany, into the 1920s and 1930s. The Treaty of Brest-Litovsk also created significant political divisions, both between the Bolsheviks and their left-wing ALLies SR and within the Bolshevik Party itself. Thus, while Brest-Litovsk kept Lenin`s promise of 1917 and brought peace to the war-weary Russian people, its other results were detrimental to the new regime. When the conference was convened, Kühlmann asked Joffe to describe the Russian conditions for peace.

He scored six points, all variants of the Bolshevik slogan of peace with ”no annexation or reparation.” The Central Powers accepted these principles, ”but only in the event that all belligerents [including the Nations of the Entente] without exception undertake to do the same.” [13] They did not intend to annex forcibly occupied territories. Joffe telegraphed this wonderful news to Petrograd. Through informal conversations in disorder, one of Hoffmann`s advisers, Colonel Friedrich Brinckmann, realized that the Russians had optimistically misinterpreted the importance of the Middle Power. [14] It was up to Hoffmann to clarify matters at the dinner on December 27: Poland, Lithuania and Courland, already occupied by the Central Powers, were determined to secede from Russia, according to the principle of self-determination advocated by the Bolsheviks themselves. Joffe ”looked like he had been hit in the head.” [15] Pokrovsky cried when he asked how one could speak of ”peace without annexations” when Germany wrested eighteen provinces from the Russian state. [16] The Germans and Austria-Hungary planned to annex parts of Polish territory and, with what remained, establish a Polish rump state, while the Baltic provinces were to become client states ruled by German princes. .