Author Topic: Brest-Litovsk  (Read 9359 times)

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Offline Lyss

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Brest-Litovsk
« on: February 25, 2006, 02:44:46 PM »
I was looking through the archive and noticed that there wasn't a subject about the treaty of Brest-Litovsk yet.
As I am writing my thesis about this, I wondered what every body's opinion is.
Do you see it as something that was necessary for the new regime or as a cowardice step to ensure stability?
« Last Edit: May 06, 2009, 09:20:58 AM by Alixz »
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Offline LisaDavidson

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Re: Brest-Litovsk
« Reply #1 on: February 26, 2006, 01:27:04 PM »
I see it as the German's payoff for bringing Lenin back into the country. I think that Lenin was an agent of the Germans, although perhaps not an entirely willing one. The Germans needed a separate peace with Russia in order to continue fighting the war in the West, so I see him as a German stooge, in much the way Stalin was used by the Nazis in early WWII - to avoid fighting on both sides of their country.

toscany

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Re: Brest-Litovsk
« Reply #2 on: June 26, 2010, 03:44:20 PM »
I see it as the German's payoff for bringing Lenin back into the country. I think that Lenin was an agent of the Germans, although perhaps not an entirely willing one. The Germans needed a separate peace with Russia in order to continue fighting the war in the West, so I see him as a German stooge, in much the way Stalin was used by the Nazis in early WWII - to avoid fighting on both sides of their country.

I have to disagree.  The Brest Litovsk Treaty was much more detailed, and provided far more relief to Lenin.  Lenin had few to trust in forming a government, and the German Army was knocking on his door. True, the Germans may have been able to use the divisions in Russia on the Western Front, however, the German Army was defeating Russian forces. Further, the fighting on the Western Front ended in late 1918.  Why would Germany need a separate peace?

This treaty was short lived, signed in March 1918, and only lasted 8 months, for the hostilities ended. Trotsky was selected by Lenin to lead the delegation, and was not the diplomat that was best for a bargaining table.  He walked out on the delegation, angering Lenin, due to the pressure he was under. This forced Lenin to appoint another delegation .

Lenin also needed more time to strengthen his government and ties within Russia.  Lenin's most trusted associates were still in Kaiser Wilhelm's jails, and he wanted them out because he knew that they would be strong allies in building his government..

There was also a secret codicil to the treaty.  On Lenin's side of the codicil, it was the negotiation and release of his comrades in Wilhelm's prisons. On Willy's side, it was the requirement that the Imperial Family were to be released alive and unharmed.

Constantinople

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Re: Brest-Litovsk
« Reply #3 on: June 26, 2010, 03:55:17 PM »
The original deal to get Lenin into Russia was negotiatied by Alexander Helphand in Istanbul.  Without that deal, there is not much hope that Lenin would have been able to get into Russia.  Lenin wasn't exactly  an agent of the Germans but he was willing to do anything the Germans wanted so that he could get into Russia. 

toscany

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Re: Brest-Litovsk
« Reply #4 on: June 26, 2010, 04:00:58 PM »
The original deal to get Lenin into Russia was negotiatied by Alexander Helphand in Istanbul.  Without that deal, there is not much hope that Lenin would have been able to get into Russia.  Lenin wasn't exactly  an agent of the Germans but he was willing to do anything the Germans wanted so that he could get into Russia. 

Agreed, and his willingness to cooperate, is what Kaiser Wilhelm II had hoped.

Alixz

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Re: Brest-Litovsk
« Reply #5 on: June 29, 2010, 02:19:42 AM »
I have been reading The Fall Of the Dynasties by Edmond Taylor edited by John Gunther - published in 1953.

On page 282 in the chapter entitled The Age of the Witch Doctor, Taylor says:  When the victorious United State Army in 1945 stumbled upon the cache where the secret files of the German Foreign Office had been stored, there were several documents going back to the times of the First World War that our [then - my comment] Soviet Allies would have given a great deal to lay their hands on first.  One of the items, of outstanding interest to historians was a memorandum dated March 9, 1915, setting forth a comprehensive program for German political warfare against Czarist Russia.

More noteworthy was the overriding importance attached to working with the emigre leaders of the Russian Bolsheviks, who at the time were generally considered in the West as a splinter group of doctrinaire extremeists.

"Thus," read one specially lofty passage, "the armies of the Central Powers and the [Russian - Taylor comment] revolutionary movement will shatter the colossal political centralization which is the embodiment of the Czarist Empire and which will be a danger to world peace for as long as it is allowed to survive, and will conquer the stronghold of political reaction in Europe."

Taylor goes on to say, "Such language is unexpected in a state paper of the German Imperial government, not exactly a stronghold of political liberalism or a champion of world peace at the time.  The mind that framed it clearly had both scope and originality.  Naturally, for the author of the memorandum was Dr. Alexander Helfand (Helphand?), alias Parvus, whom we last heard of as  Trotsky's right hand in the Petersburg Soviet of 1905.

On page 285, Taylor goes on, "Here we come to to the heart of the controversy that has raged for nearly half a century [the book was written in 1953 - my comment] as whether Lenin was himself a German"agent".  The dispute hinges in part upon where Lenin's associates, Fuerstenburg and Radek, realized that in working with Parvus they were technically working for the Kaiser, and if so whether they acted with Lenin's approval.

Page 286   The decisive German contribution to the Bolshevik cause was, of course, allowing Lenin after the March Revolution to return to Russian across German territory - as he had no other dependable way of reaching his destination.  As far as it is known, the idea originated with the Bolshevik emigres in Switzerland, and the approach to the Germans was made unofficially, though a Swiss Socialist leader and the Swiss government....  The first official German mention of the affair is a telegram from the German minister in Bern, dated March 23, 1917, and apparently inspired by information from the Swiss Foreign Office, reporting the desire of the leading Russian revolutionaries in Switzerland to return to their homeland via Germany.

The Germans showed themselves understanding and co-operative on all these points.  Their realization of the need to protect the reputations of the travelers is brought out in several of the Wilhelmstrasse documents.....The final decision to authorize the trip was referred to the highest governmental and military authorities, including Ludendorff and the Kaiser.
« Last Edit: June 29, 2010, 02:58:05 AM by Alixz »

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Re: Brest-Litovsk
« Reply #6 on: June 29, 2010, 02:45:02 AM »
From the chapter entitled To The Bitter End page 309 - Formal peace negotiations between Russia and Germany and the Central Powers got underway at Brest-Litovsk, a rail head in western Russia then occupied by the Germans on December 22, 1917.  They were destined to leave a traumatic imprint upon the personality of the emerging Soviet power at the same time that they helped to transmit the revolutionary virus into the bloodstream of the Kaiser's Empire.

The Russian delegation was headed first by A. Joffe, then by Trotsky himself.  Both he and Lenin, despite the realism on which they prided themselves, had no realization of the trap into which they were walking.  They took it for granted that the proletariat of the Western world would follow the revolutionary example of their Russian brothers within a matter of months or even weeks; in the meantime they counted on the German workers to exert irresistible pressure on the Kaiser's generals and diplomats.  Perhaps, too, the earlier clandestine contacts between the German government and certain of their comrades had given them a misleading impression of the peace conditions that the Germans were prepared to offer or accept.

For the Bolsheviks, the awakening was terrible.  As a starter the Central Powers demanded that Russia cede Poland and the Baltic territories.  Recognition of Finnish independence was soon added to the conditions.  Then came the crusher:  Russia must also recognize the independence of the Ukraine, which had been proclaimed by the anti-Bolshevik and pro-German local government in Kiev on January 1.  Some of the Austrian and even German delegates felt that the precarious Soviet regime was being strained to the breaking point, but this did not worry General Ludendorff, the occult dictator of Germany and the real author of the Brest -Litovsk dikat.


According to John W. Wheeler-Bennett in his masterly Brest-Litovsk: The Forgotten Peace, the diagnosis seems plausible.  Ludendorff's ultimate aim was the total dismemberment of Russia and though this objective implied the final liquidation of the Romanov Dynasty it had seemingly been approved by the Kaiser.

THE FALL OF THE DYNASTIES BY EDMOND TAYLOR EDITED BY JOHN GUNTHER.  PUBLISHED IN 1953, BUT STILL VERY INTERESTING AND READABLE.
« Last Edit: June 29, 2010, 02:55:33 AM by Alixz »

Constantinople

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Re: Brest-Litovsk
« Reply #7 on: June 29, 2010, 06:54:22 AM »
Parvus was probably the architect of the 1905 revolution and it is highly unlikely that he would have been considered Trotsky's right hand man.  He had known Lenin since 1890 and was Lenin's primary funder.  The two considered each other equals.  It was Parvus who negotiated the train that the Germans sent lenin into Russia on.

Alixz

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Re: Brest-Litovsk
« Reply #8 on: June 29, 2010, 10:03:12 AM »
Taylor - page 66 - Chapter called The Year of The Red Cock

As vice-chairman of the St Petersburg Soviet [in 1905] - the chairman was an obscure Menshevik lawyer - he [Trotsky] rapidly became the outstanding leader of the 1905 revolutionary movement in Russia.  Trotsky was ably seconded by a picturesque but gifted member of the emigre underground named Alexander Helfand, alias Parvus, who between plots to set up the dictatorship of the proletariat, had found time to become a rising publisher and financier in Germany.  Trotsky, ably assisted by Parvus, took command of the nationwide general strike that had broken out more or less spontaneously after the signing of the humiliating peace treaty with Japan in September, and at one time came fairly close to toppling the Czar off his throne with it.

page 283 - Chapter called The Age of The Witch Doctor

Parvus shared a spell of prison and then of Siberian exile with Trotsky, and like him finally escaped to the West.  


....Parvus visited Switzerland and talked with a number of Russian emigres, including Lenin.  The latter treated him with some suspicion in part, according to certain sources because he looked on Parvus as a political rival - but did not refuse all co-operation.

More about Parvus from page 285 - On the other hand, whether Lenin knew about it or not, the Germans, chiefly through Parvus and Keskuela, were giving substantial assistance to his underground organization at home.  They produced revolutionary propaganda and smuggled it in bulk into Russia.  They provided arms and munitions.  They handed over to the revolutionary underground sizable cash subsidies, including the ruble balances from some large-scale illicit trade operations conceived and directed by Parvus.

Also Taylor maintains on page 285 Actually, the accumulation of evidence, particularly since World War II, about the relations between the Kaiser's government and the Bolsheviks in the earlier conflict [WWI] renders the controversy over Lenin's role almost pointless.  If he sanctioned the collaboration between some of his prominent supporters and his country's enemy - which seems probable but not yet proved - he did it indirectly so that it gave the Germans no hold over him and thus left him at all times not their agent but a free agent.

Remember that this book was written in 1953 and much more information has come to light since then.  I was hoping to help the creater of this thread with interesting research on Lenin's role in the revolution and the terms of the Treaty of Brest Litovsk.

Although I just realized that Lyss posted this in 2006 and has probably stopped researching for a paper a long time ago.
« Last Edit: June 29, 2010, 10:46:17 AM by Alixz »

Constantinople

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Re: Brest-Litovsk
« Reply #9 on: June 29, 2010, 10:52:27 AM »
Well I would say that there was a lot of inference in his statements.  On this page there is a picture of Parvus and Trotsky taken at the same time and you can see their relative status.  Parvus was better educated than Trotsky and a better strategist he was also the main source of funds so why would Trotsky consider him his assistant.  I would say there is a lot of conjecture there.
« Last Edit: July 23, 2010, 07:08:56 PM by Alixz »

Offline Zvezda

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Re: Brest-Litovsk
« Reply #10 on: July 23, 2010, 01:08:07 AM »
Quote
I have been reading The Fall Of the Dynasties by Edmond Taylor edited by John Gunther - published in 1953.
This is just rubbish. The conspiracy theory of a German hand in the Russian Revolution is bogus and has been discredited.

Professor I. Ratkovsky of Saint Petersburg/Leningrad University wrote in a recent university textbook:

http://www.gumer.info/bibliotek_Buks/History/Rat/02.php
The main channel for the transfer of “German Money” to the Bolsheviks of Petrograd was supposedly the export firm of Parvus, whose pro-German sympathies were well-known to the authorities. Nevertheless, the prosecutor of the Petrograd Trial Chamber, investigating the case against Lenin concerning German funding, could not find direct evidence of receipt by the Bolsheviks of any money by Parvus’ firm. In 1917 part of the “German money” reached the Bolsheviks from the Swiss Marxist Karl Moor, who was a “trusted agent” of the Germans (as became known only in 1950). Although the Bolsheviks at the meeting of the RSDLP of 24 September 1917 refused to take money from Moor after suspecting him of being linked to the German Government, by this time Moor managed to deliver to the Foreign Bureau of the Central Committee about 35 thousand dollars. To date, this information is the only rigorously documented evidence that the Bolsheviks took money from a German agent 1917. K. Moor at his request later was returned about 40 thousand dollars because of “economic hardship”

Constantinople

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Re: Brest-Litovsk
« Reply #11 on: July 23, 2010, 07:58:55 AM »
The Germans shipped lot of gold on the train that got Lenin into Russia.  They used golld because it left less of an audit trail.  And of course there were no receipts.  If Parvus signed anything, it would have been in the German embassy in Istanbul and this was probably destroyed at the end of the Frist World War.

Offline AGRBear

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Re: Brest-Litovsk
« Reply #12 on: October 14, 2010, 10:56:36 AM »
Quote
I have been reading The Fall Of the Dynasties by Edmond Taylor edited by John Gunther - published in 1953.
This is just rubbish. The conspiracy theory of a German hand in the Russian Revolution is bogus and has been discredited.

Professor I. Ratkovsky of Saint Petersburg/Leningrad University wrote in a recent university textbook:

http://www.gumer.info/bibliotek_Buks/History/Rat/02.php
The main channel for the transfer of “German Money” to the Bolsheviks of Petrograd was supposedly the export firm of Parvus, whose pro-German sympathies were well-known to the authorities. Nevertheless, the prosecutor of the Petrograd Trial Chamber, investigating the case against Lenin concerning German funding, could not find direct evidence of receipt by the Bolsheviks of any money by Parvus’ firm. In 1917 part of the “German money” reached the Bolsheviks from the Swiss Marxist Karl Moor, who was a “trusted agent” of the Germans (as became known only in 1950). Although the Bolsheviks at the meeting of the RSDLP of 24 September 1917 refused to take money from Moor after suspecting him of being linked to the German Government, by this time Moor managed to deliver to the Foreign Bureau of the Central Committee about 35 thousand dollars. To date, this information is the only rigorously documented evidence that the Bolsheviks took money from a German agent 1917. K. Moor at his request later was returned about 40 thousand dollars because of “economic hardship”


There is evidence that Lenin and his "Gold Train" carried enough German gold to support the revolutionaries shortly before Red October, therefore,  I will disagree.  I have several books on this subject, but,  at this moment I cannot get my hands on them.  When I do,  I'll give you the sources used.

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Constantinople

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Re: Brest-Litovsk
« Reply #13 on: October 14, 2010, 01:02:24 PM »
There was definitely gold on the sealed train and it was in the form of gold deutschmarks.  Parvus was responsible for setting up the deal while he was in Istanbul.

Alixz

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Re: Brest-Litovsk
« Reply #14 on: October 14, 2010, 02:44:25 PM »
Since Lenin and Co. had no aversion to taking a German train to Finland Station, I doubt that there was much aversion to German gold.

Lenin would do just about anything to insure the success of the revolution and I doubt that he cared where his funding came from unless that funding came with "strings" he couldn't cut.