Germany: The Treaty of Brest-Litovsk- 3 March 1918
After the October Revolution, two of the goals of the Soviet Russian Bolshevik government was to put an immediate end to the war, and to reach a "peace without annexations and contributions." Hence, the Russians contacted the Central Powers - Germany, Austria-Hungary, Osman Empire and Bulgaria - to work towards peace talks.
On 5 December 1917, a 10-day truce was signed, and then renewed for another 28 days on the 15th of December.
Picture: Signing the truce between the Central Powers and Soviet Russia on 15 December 1917 in Brest-Litovsk: on the left, signing general field marshal Leopold Prinz von Bayern, on the left Russian delegation with Adolf Abramowitsch Joffe, Lew Borissowitsch Kamenew, and Bitsenko.
BArch, Bild 183-R92623 / o.Ang.
The Weimar Collection by the Bundesarchiv is now available online here
On the 22nd December, the first round of official peace talks started in Brest-Litovsk, Poland, where the German high command for the Eastern Front was located. The first two rounds ended without results, because the Central Powers were not willing to relinquish annexations and compensations to Soviet Russia. On the contrary, the German military command wanted to seize the opportunity to expand the German territory to the East, and also to succeed in the war on the Western front, after having accomplished this unexpected victory against Russia.
Picture: Germany and Austrian delegation entering the negotiations venue, December 2017
BArch, Bild 183-S0802-508 / o.Ang
On 9 February 1918, the Central Powers signed a separate peace treaty with Ukraine. According to the treaty, Ukraine was forced to deliver significant quantities of grain to Germany and Austria-Hungary - it was the so-called "peace for bread."
Picture: Peace treaty negotiations in Brest-Litovsk, ca. January/February 1918
BArch, Bild 183-F0328-0202-009 / o.Ang.
After signing this separate treaty, the Central Powers issued an ultimatum to Soviet Russia to give in to their demands. When Russia did not give in to these demands, Germany resumed hostilities. Giving in to pressure, for fear of an internal breakdown, the Bolshevik government eventually accepted the terms of the treaty, which was later called a "dictated peace," in March 1918. The former Russian Empire lost large parts of its territories and a third of its population, agricultural land, half of its industry, and almost 90 % of its coal deposits.
Picture: Telegram to the German minister of state Karl Helfferich with the peace conditions for Soviet Russia, 2/3 March 1918
BArch, R 704/56 fol. 132
An annex to the peace treaty of Brest-Litovsk, signed on 27 August 1918 in Berlin, stipulated further Russian losses of territory, and established compensations for German properties that had been appropriated before. The treaty of Brest-Litovsk was later invalidated by the Treaty of Versailles in 1919.
Picture: Russian delegation at the peace treaty negotiations in Brest-Litovsk: unkown, Leo Trotzki, Wassili Michailowitsch Altfater, Lew Borissowitsch Kamenew, February 1918
BArch, Bild 183-R15113 / o.Ang.