Because of the civil war between the Bolsheviks and the "white Russians", a peace treaty was signed on March 3, 1918 between the government of Russia and the Central Empires (Germany, Austria-Hungary and Turkey) in Brest-Litovsk. Convinced then of the need for immediate peace to give a future to the October Revolution, Lenin signed a ceasefire in November 1917 and began peace negotiations with Germany. A respite for the Bolsheviks acquired at the cost of humiliating territorial concessions.
The armistice was signed on December 15. Leon Trotsky, head of the Soviet delegation, dragged out the talks in the hope of triggering a socialist revolution in Germany, which he believed was imminent. The Germans, for their part, refused to liberate the territories already occupied and demanded the independence of all western Russia, from Finland to Ukraine.
Brest-Litvosk, a shameful treaty?
Germany concludes a separate peace with Ukraine. However, a major German offensive carried out on all fronts forced the Soviet Republic to sign peace on March 3, 1918, on terms even more disadvantageous than those proposed by the Central Empires a month earlier. Indeed, the "shameful peace treaty», According to Lenin's formula, deprived Russia not only of 800,000 km2 of territory, but also of a significant part of its agricultural and industrial resources, concentrated in Finland, Poland, the Baltic countries, Ukraine, part of Belarus; in addition, Russia was to deliver the cities of Ardahan, Batumi and Kars to Turkey and also pay war indemnities.
This separate peace allowed Germany to return a large number of troops to the Western Front to oppose the Allied offensives. On November 13, 1918, after the defeat of the Central Empires, the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk was annulled by the Soviet government, which therefore endeavored to reconquer the lost territories. The Treaty of Versailles, which ended World War I, also declared the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk.