March 14, 1918 – Soviet Congress Ratifies Treaty of Brest-Litovsk
Pictured – An Allied cartoon depicts Russia after Brest-Litvosk as a chained giant.
The Bolshevik government, now meeting in Moscow after moving the capital from Petrograd that week, accepted the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk on March 14, 1918. They had no choice. Failure to do so would have meant the continuation of Operation “Fist-Punch,” the Central Powers invasion of Russia. German, Turkish, and Austrian troops were anyway already occupying the land Russia had given up. Austrian troops entered Odessa on March 13.
The terms of the Treaty of Brest-Litvosk are often forgotten, because they were overturned once Germany asked for peace in November 1918. But they serve as a reminder of how harsh Germany’s price for victory was. Russia was forced to give up almost all its western European territory and 30% of its population, and had to pay a massive indemnity. Any German peace with the Western Allies would have been similarly unendurable – Germany was not willing to negotiate except on its own terms.