Sunday, March 23, 2008

Treaty of Brest-Litovsk

On March 3, 1918, the war on the Eastern Front came officially to an end with the signing of the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk.

Under the terms of this treaty, which was signed at Brest-Litovsk (now Brest, Belarus), the Bolshevik government of Soviet Russia ceded large amounts of territory, population and natural resources to the Central Powers in exchange for the ending of hostilities.

With no more threat of war on the Eastern Front as of March 1918, the Germans were now free to redeploy their troops to the stalemated Western Front. The elite Czech Legion, which had been fighting the Germans alongside the Russian Czar’s troops, had withdrawn to the interior of Russia along the Trans-Siberian railroad and were being prevented by local Bolsheviks from making their way to the Western Front via Vladivostok in the Far East. The United States had entered the war nine months earlier as an "associated power" on the side of the Allies (also known as the Entente Powers), but were still in the process of sending and training their Army divisions prior to deployment on the Western Front. The Soviets were expanding their control to the outlying provinces of Russia and their Bolshevik Red Army was growing in strength. Huge stockpiles of Allied war material intended for the Eastern Front were still sitting in warehouses in Murmansk and Archangel, waiting for the Bolsheviks, or worse yet the Germans, to get their hands on them.

By the end of March, 1918, the Allies were desperately in need of a strategy to deal with these mounting problems.

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