Treaty of Brest-Litovsk

Treaty of Brest-Litovsk
By Euronews
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1918: March 3


Signed on March 3, 1918, the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk brought about the end of the war between the Central Powers and Russia.

Following the Bolshevik revolution of October 1917, one of Lenin’s first actions as leader was to end Russia’s participation in the war. An armistice between the Central Powers and Russia was reached in early December and a formal ceasefire was concluded on December 15. Peace talks began on December 22 when Foreign Ministers Leon Trotsky of Russia, Baron Richard von Kuhlman of Germany and Count Ottokar Czernin of Austria met in Brest-Litovsk, a town located in modern-day Belarus, near the border with Poland.

Determining the peace terms, however, proved to be extremely difficult. Unwilling to sign the harsh accord imposed by the Central Powers, Leon Trotsky withdrew the Bolshevik delegation from the talks in mid-February. Fighting resumed briefly on the Eastern Front, but the Russian army’s weakened state soon forced Lenin and Trotsky to comply with enemy terms. On March 3, 1918, the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk was signed. Under the Treaty, Russia lost vast farming areas of great economic importance such as Riga, Lithuania, Estonia and some of White Russia. The ceded territory contained a quarter of the country’s population and around 90% of its coal mines. The Germans were subsequently allowed by the terms of the Treaty to exploit these lands to support their war efforts in the west. Russia was also forced to recognize the independence of Ukraine, Georgia and Finland.

Main picture by Bulgarian Archives State Agency Fonds: 313K “Васил Радославов”, Inventory: 3, Archival unit: 42, Sheet no.: 1

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