Versailles and the Soviet Union

Claire Jordan

What were the stipulations of the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk of 1918 between Germany and Lenin’s Bolshevik government? To what extent was this treaty observed or honored at Versailles? Why or why not?

The Treaty of Brest-Litovsk of 1918

  • ended the war between Russia and Germany
  • Lenin ordered that the Bolshevik representatives get a quick treaty from the Germans so that the Bolsheviks could concentrate on the work they needed to do in Russia itself
  • Representatives from the Allies were supposed to attend but didn't, causing Russia to do all the work

January 21, 1918: Bolshevik Hierarchy Met

  • Only 15 out of 63 supported Lenin’s viewpoint
  • 16 voted for Trotsky(wanted to wage a “holy war” against all militarist nations, including Germany)
  • 32 voted in favor of a revolutionary war against the Germans, which would, they believed, cause a workers rebellion in Germany

February 18, 1918

  • Germans re-started their advance into Russia; advanced 100 miles in just four days
  • tired of the Bolshevik’s procrastination
  • showed Lenin that a treaty was needed immediately

March 3rd, 1918: Treaty was Signed

  • Trotsky followed Lenin
  • Russia lost Riga, Lithuania, Livonia, Estonia and some of White Russia, which all had great economic importance
  • Germany was allowed to exploit these lands to support their military effort
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Treaty of Brest-Litovsk in relation to the Treaty of Versailles

  • Because the Allies achieved victory over Germany on November 11, 1918, ending World War I, the treaty was annulled.
  • By the terms of the 1919 Treaty of Versailles, Germany was forced to give up its territorial gains from the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk.

Why was the Soviet Union not represented at the Paris Peace Conference? To what extent was the Soviet Union, in its absence, considered in the negotiations? To what extent did this affect the treaty?

  • Treaty negotiations were weakened by the absence of other important nations, such as Russia
  • Russia had fought as one of the Allies until December 1917, when its new Bolshevik Government withdrew from the war
  • The Bolshevik decision to repudiate Russia’s outstanding financial debts to the Allies and to publish the texts of secret agreements between the Allies concerning the postwar period angered the Allies
  • The Allied Powers therefore refused to recognize the new Bolshevik Government and thus did not invite its representatives to the Peace Conference. The Allies also excluded the defeated Central Powers (Germany, Austria-Hungary, Turkey, and Bulgaria).
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To what extent did the Soviet issue in the Paris peace negotiations have an effect on the USSR’s relations with the rest of Europe and the United States in the inter-war period to follow (1919-39)?

  • Europe and the United States had a negative relationship with the USSR during the inter-war period of 1919-1939.
  • The United States extended its embargo of Germany to include Russia, and orchestrated a series of covert actions against Soviet Russia, including secretly funding its enemies.
  • The USSR was not invited to join the League of Nations as well. This was due to their “World Revolution” ideals, negotiating a treaty prematurely, and the civil war within the country itself.
  • The new Soviet government implemented communist policies through military force. Stalin consolidated power, in 1928, after Trotsky. Russia and its Soviet land, like Ukraine and Belarus, suffered heavily under the hand of communism. Many starved, resistance was unacceptable, and mass murders were common. The Allied Powers looked on this with disgust and desired that the spread of communistic power be confined.

Bibliography Staff. "Treaties of Brest-Litovsk." History. A+E Networks, 2009. Web. 29 Sept. 2015. <>.

"Milestones: 1914-1920." Office of the Historian. United States Department of State, n.d. Web. 29 Sept. 2015. <>.

"Treaty of Brest-Litovsk." The History Learning Site. History Learning Site, 2015. Web. 27 Sept. 2015. <>.