The Forgotten Peace, Brest-Litovsk, March 1918

The Forgotten Peace, Brest-Litovsk, March 1918

The Forgotten Peace, Brest-Litovsk, March 1918

The Forgotten Peace, Brest-Litovsk, March 1918

Excerpt

Twenty years ago, on March 3, 1918, the first treaty of peace between belligerent parties in the World War was signed by the Central Powers and Russia at Brest-Litovsk. Few at that time appreciated its full significance, and, in the later years, when events crowded hard upon each other, the Peace of Brest-Litovsk was forgotten.

Yet, this Peace of Brest-Litovsk is one of the important milestones in modern history, for with its signature begins a chain of events which leads directly to the happenings of to-day; a chain which numbers among its links some of the greatest incidents in war and peace. The Treaty of Brest- Litovsk not only signified the apparently complete victory of German arms in the East, and the greatest diplomatic and military humiliation which Russia had ever sustained in a long history of defeat, but, with the exception of the Treaty of Versailles, it had consequences and repercussions more vitally important than any other peace settlement since the Congress of Vienna.

It was the course of the negotiations at Brest-Litovsk which prompted President Wilson to promulgate his famous Fourteen Points, in an attempt to keep the Russians from concluding a separate peace. The rapacity of the victor's terms imposed upon Russia disclosed to the rest of the world the domination which the Supreme Command had attained in Germany, and the impossibility of arriving at a "peace of understanding" with a Germany in the hands of such rulers. The realization of this fact produced that final unity of purpose between the United States of America and the Western Powers, that implacable "will to victory", which all previous negotiations had failed to achieve, and which assured the ultimate defeat of Germany.

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