The Peace of Brest-Litovsk

The Peace of Brest-Litovsk


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  • The German delegation on its arrival in Brest-Litovsk.

    ANONYMOUS

  • The Bolshevik delegation on its arrival in Brest-Litovsk.

    ANONYMOUS

To close

Title: The German delegation on its arrival in Brest-Litovsk.

Author : ANONYMOUS (-)

Creation date : 1917

Date shown: 1917

Dimensions: Height 0 - Width 0

Technique and other indications: Marshal von Eichhorn and, to his left, General Von Bredow.

Storage place:

Contact copyright: © All rights reserved

The German delegation on its arrival in Brest-Litovsk.

© All rights reserved

To close

Title: The Bolshevik delegation on its arrival in Brest-Litovsk.

Author : ANONYMOUS (-)

Creation date : 1917

Date shown: 1917

Dimensions: Height 0 - Width 0

Technique and other indications: Adolphe Ioffé, wearing a fur hat, and in front of him perhaps Lev Kamenev.

Storage place:

Contact copyright: © All rights reserved

The Bolshevik delegation on its arrival in Brest-Litovsk.

© All rights reserved

Publication date: January 2005

Historical context

Located on the Bug, Brest-Litovsk was chosen as the place of negotiations between imperial Germany and the Bolshevik power. Peace talks begin on the 22nd.
The peace treaty materializes a balance of power unfavorable to the Bolsheviks. To a "democratic peace" without annexation or indemnities, Lenin had initially posed as an alternative the revolutionary war which, in reality, the Bolsheviks do not have the means. Faced with the ultimatum of the Germans, who announced on February 17 the end of the armistice for the next day, Lenin was forced to accept an "infamous peace", provoking opposition even within his party, where he found himself in the minority. But aware of the danger this sort of "double-dip" represents for the Bolshevik regime itself, Lenin stubbornly pursues the political struggle as Petrograd is soon threatened by the advance of German troops. “If you don't sign, you will sign the death sentence for the Soviet power in three weeks,” he said. In a third vote, he wins, but the crisis is not over: Trotsky resigns from the Council of People's Commissars, Lenin threatens to quit the Party's Central Committee.

Image Analysis

The first photograph shows Marshal von Eichhorn and, to his left, General Von Bredow on their arrival in Brest-Litovsk. It is therefore the soldiers who are negotiating a peace which should allow the German army to concentrate its forces on the Western front against the French and the British. On the Bolshevik side, it is civilians who represent the new power still so fragile: Adolphe Ioffé, former president of the Revolutionary Military Committee, wearing a fur hat, and, in front of him, a character of uncertain identity, perhaps Lev Kamenev, which would allow the document to be dated to the end of December 1917.

Interpretation

Faced with the German offensive, Lenin made the choice "to cede space to gain time", to use Karl Radek's phrase. Poland, Finland, the Baltic States and Belarus move from de facto German occupation to recognized occupation; Georgia gains its independence; the Bolsheviks pledge to pay reparations. It is estimated that this treaty causes Russia to lose 27% of its territory, 26% of its population and a third of its wheat production. The Bolshevik delegation arrives in Brest-Litovsk on February 28. Started from 1er March, negotiations end on the 3rd with the signing of the treaty; it will be ratified by the Congress of Soviets on the 16th and the Reichstag on the 22. The treaty lapses with the defeat of Germany and Austria-Hungary a little over eight months later.
Paradoxically, these negotiations inaugurated the political and diplomatic relations that the Bolsheviks and Germany were to develop at the Genoa Conference (1922) - the two great defeated countries joining forces against the victors ...

  • Bolshevism
  • Communism
  • War of 14-18
  • Lenin (Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov, says)
  • peace
  • Russia
  • Russian revolution
  • Stalin (Joseph Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili, said)
  • Ukraine
  • Kamenev (Lev Borissovich)
  • Bukharin (Nikolai)

Bibliography

Pierre VALLAUD, 14-18, World War I, volumes I and II, Paris, Fayard, 2004.Marc FERROThe Russian Revolution of October 1917Paris, Albin Michel, collection "Library of the Evolution of Humanity", 1997.Malia MARTINUnderstanding the Russian RevolutionParis, Seuil.Richard PIPESThe Russian Revolutiontranslated from the American under the direction of Jean-Mathieu LUCCIONI, Paris, Presses Universitaires de France, 1993.

To cite this article

Jean-Louis PANNE, "The Peace of Brest-Litovsk"


Video: Treaty of Brest-Litovsk


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