The Brest-Litovsk Peace Treaty

On 3 March 1918, the Soviet government signed the Brest-Litovsk peace treaty with the Central Powers.  For months, politicians and agents on both sides of the war in Europe had tried to persuade the revolutionaries either to reinvigorate the fight against the Central Powers or to seek a permanent peace with them, because the continuation or cessation of hostilities on the Eastern Front would have an enormous impact on the progress of the war in all its theatres.

On display is the last entry in the book Mirnye peregovory v Brest-Litovske (Peace negotiations in Brest-Litovsk).  The Austro-Hungarian diplomat Kajetan Mérey opens the final session of the peace conference, with the signing of the peace treaty the sole remaining business.  The treaty, written in five languages, is recorded as taking from 4.34pm to 5.50pm for all parties to sign.  “I declare,” says Mérey at 5.52pm, “the negotiations between Germany, Austro-Hungary, Bulgaria, Turkey, and Russia to be completed and this session closed”.

Mirnye peregovory v Brest-Litovske (1920)  539.c.92.272