Treaty of Brest-Litovsk

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The Treaty of Brest-Litovsk was a peace treaty signed on March 3, 1918, at Brest-Litovsk (now Brest, Belarus) between Russia (the Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic) and the Central Powers, headed by Germany, marking Russia's exit from World War I.

While the treaty was practically obsolete before the end of the year, it did provide some relief to the Bolsheviks, who were tied up in fighting the Russian Civil War, and it affirmed the independence of Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Belarus, Ukraine, and Lithuania. In Poland, which was not mentioned in the treaty, its signing caused riots, protests and an end to any support for the Central Powers.[1].

Contents

Armistice negotiations

Peace negotiations began on December 22, 1917, a week after the conclusion of an armistice between Russia and the Central Powers, at Brest-Litovsk (modern Brest, Belarus, near the Polish border). The Germans were represented officially by Foreign Secretary Richard von Kühlmann, but the most important figure in shaping the peace on the German side was General Max Hoffmann, Chief of Staff of the German armies on the Eastern Front (Oberkommando-Ostfront). Austria-Hungary was represented by Foreign Minister Ottokar Czernin, and from the Ottoman Empire came Talat Pasha. The Germans demanded the "independence" of Poland and Lithuania, which they already occupied, while the Bolsheviks demanded "peace without annexations or indemnities" — in other words, a settlement under which the revolutionary government that succeeded the Russian Empire would give neither territory nor money.

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