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place on the 2nd January at Berlin in the presence of the Kaiser. Ludendorff again urged the absolute necessity for hurrying on the negotiations in connexion with plans for the Western offensive; the suggestion of Kühlmann himself that Ludendorff should come to Brest was finally not accepted, nor were any definite instructions in the sense required given to Kühlmann, and Ludendorff was only prevented by Hindenburg from resigning. The quarrel hinged on the desire to have the peace recognized as due solely to military success and not to adroit diplomacy, but, when put in the form of responsibility for the peace terms, Hertling's contention was incontrovertible that he, as Chancellor, was solely responsible. Hertling had expressly approved Czernin's Christmas Day reply, and Czernin had aided Kühlmann by speaking of separate Austrian negotiations with the Bolsheviks. From the Russian point of view the importance of this division of German opinion lay in the opportunity it afforded for protracting the negotiations and for placing the Germans in the unfavourable light desired. This opportunity was fully taken by Trotsky, at the time Commissary for Foreign Affairs, who arrived at Brest on the 7th January. He had already been active in enunciating the Bolshevik determination to conclude no peace that was not 'just and democratic', and in exposing the rôle of the Germans as protective liberators. During the adjournment the Bolsheviks had proposed the removal of the negotiations to Stockholm and in the same message had denounced the proposals put forward by the Central Powers on the 28th December as contrary to the principles of self-determination. Consequently the Central Powers were considerably relieved at the reappearance of the Russian delegation at Brest, and on the 9th January they presented Trotsky with a virtual ultimatum insisting on the continuance of the negotiations at Brest. This was accepted by him on the next day. Although he had been forced to abandon the Stockholm project, the anxiety of the Germans had been evident, and he made good use of the ensuing week in conducting elaborate discussions with Kühlmann as to selfdetermination. It is impossible to examine here the speeches on this question, but the two essential points were: What constitutes a nation?' and, How is self-determination to be realized in practice?'. On neither was any agreement reached; the Germans maintained that part of a nation (e.g. some of the


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Poles), and not merely the whole of a nation, could have the right of self-determination; the Russians allowed that the Ukrainians were in process of establishing themselves as an independent nation, but asserted that this was entirely an internal Russian affair; the Germans refused to permit the creation of a vacuum' by withdrawing from the occupied territories; the Russians insisted that no free choice was possible while foreign troops were in occupation, and denied the representative character of the bourgeois institutions set up by the Germans. Later both sides modified their positions to some extent, but it was impossible to overcome the root difficulty of arranging for any kind of real choice on the part of the inhabitants concerned so long as German troops were still in their country. It is difficult to estimate Kühlmann's motives for initiating these lengthy debates on political philosophy and political science, for he exposed himself to a number of humiliating verbal rebuffs and did not make any great headway towards a peace treaty with the Bolsheviks. Trotsky is perhaps near the mark when he states that Kühlmann hoped to come to a tacit understanding with the Bolsheviks whereby German annexations could be cloaked behind democratic formulae. But a further reason of great importance influenced Kühlmann in spinning out the negotiations.

5. The Ukrainian Treaty of 9th February 1918. Throughout the discussions the Bolsheviks were in a strong position, for from the first they had not hesitated to apply the right of self-determination to the various nations of the former Russian Empire; but in so doing they exposed themselves to attack from a most dangerous quarter. Discussions with a separate Ukrainian delegation had been proceeding since the 4th January. The position in the Ukraine was exceedingly complex; a semi-independent, Social-Revolutionary government had been established in Kieff and had been partially recognized by the Bolsheviks, who were at the moment negotiating with it for the cessation of help to Korniloff and Kaledin. In consequence, the Bolsheviks on the 10th January permitted the Ukrainians to participate as an independent delegation in the Brest Conference. The Ukrainians at once made recognition of their independence the principal condition among their exaggerated demands on the Central Powers. The latter seized upon the Ukrainians as an invaluable means of baffling Trotsky, who recognized their presence as a great trump card in Kühlmann's




hands'. Besides the public sittings, a number of private interviews took place between the Ukrainians, the Germans and the Austrians, and these were facilitated by Czernin falling conveniently ill in the middle of January. The Ukrainians, backed by General Hoffmann, succeeded in excluding any Polish representatives who would have summarily refused the Ukrainian demand for the district of Kholm; 1 but they were induced to give way over their initial claim for the incorporation of Eastern Galicia in their new State. The negotiations as to supplies of grain were making some advance, when on the 15th January Czernin received the first despairing appeal with regard to the Austrian food situation. On the 17th he received the news of the serious strikes that had broken out in Vienna, and on the 21st he returned there. The Ukrainians no longer treat with us they dictate!' The food position was of such seriousness that all the subsequent endeavours of Czernin were concentrated on achieving the earliest possible peace with the Ukraine in return for supplies, even at the price of disastrously embittering relations with the Poles over Kholm and Ruthenian autonomy.


The Austrian strike movement was succeeded in the last days of January by still bigger strikes in Germany. These took place against the wishes of the majority of the German labour leaders, and seemed to presage important results for the Bolshevik endeavours at Brest and elsewhere. Trotsky had left Brest on the 18th January in order to place before the third Congress of Soviets the position with regard to peace. At this Congress

1 The Kholm district lies mainly between the rivers Bug and Wieprz, in the south-east of Russian Poland. It formed part of Poland from the middle of the fourteenth century until 1912, when the Russian Government, despite violent Polish protests, formed it into a separate Government, under Russian law and directly governed from Petrograd. The population has for centuries been in part Polish and in part Ukrainian; among the latter the Uniate Church was from the first strong. There is little past evidence of any strong racial hostility in the district. The frontier, as drawn by the Treaty of the 9th February, ran farther west than that of 1912, thus including a greater number of Poles. The approximate proportions of the two nationalities in the district before the war were: Poles 335,153, Ukrainians 287,236, according to the language census of 1897. The religious census, revised by Dziewulski in 1906, gives the following percentages: Catholics 46-01, Greek Orthodox 35-7, Jews 14-2, Protestants 3.9. It seems certain, however, that the religious census does not correspond to the racial one, i.e. there are Catholic Ukrainians. It is probable that the Poles in 1906 numbered about 400,000, and that the Ukrainians actually exceeded this total. The line of national demarcation runs roughly as follows: south through or near Janów and Lomazy to Uscinów, thence south-east to Jaroslawiec, and south to Jarczów.

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Trotsky admitted that the Government might be compelled to sign a peace of annexation, but at the final vote he and the majority successfully opposed any capitulation, and, as against Lenin and the minority, urged a Holy Guerrilla War', rather than abandon the principles that had been so loudly proclaimed before the world. Trotsky returned to Brest on the 28th January with instructions to maintain a strong policy in accordance with the Left Social-Revolutionary formula of a peace only on true, democratic grounds. He was naturally elated at the internal condition of Austria, and the news of the German strikes added another feather to his cap. He had brought with him a new delegation from the Ukraine representing the Bolsheviks, who had by that time made great progress in conquering the weak authority of the Kieff Social-Revolutionary Government, and he refused to allow Czernin to deal solely with the Kieff delegation, on the ground that the change in the Ukrainian situation had now made it entirely unrepresentative. This was essentially the case, and prompt action was necessary on the part of the Central Powers if there was to be any Government left in the Ukraine with which to make peace. During the 4th and 5th February Kühlmann and Czernin were conferring in Berlin with the political and military leaders, and they returned with the aim of concluding peace immediately with the Ukraine and of then forcing Trotsky to come to terms. The Treaty with the Ukraine was signed on the 9th February; three days later Kieff was finally captured by the Bolsheviks, almost the whole of the Ukraine was overrun by them, and the Kieff Government, having fled to Jitomir, invited the assistance of the Germans and Austrians in driving them out. Still the Central Powers, having the Treaty and the invitation, had beaten the Bolsheviks by a short head.

The main purpose of the Treaty was to hand over the material resources of the Ukraine to the Central Powers, but the economic and financial articles were so drafted that, besides immediate assistance, lasting predominance was to be maintained. A number of special agreements as to grain had to be made during the ensuing months at Kieff, and the carrying out of their conditions depended almost entirely upon the energy and organization of the German and Austrian occupying authorities; but the net result was a most important contribution to German resources and an absolutely invaluable increase of Austrian food



supplies. In return, the independence of the Ukraine was implicitly recognized, although its frontiers were entirely uncertain, except on the west. Here the district of Kholm was included in the Ukraine and the frontier then followed the old Austro-Russian boundary, but a subsequent annex rendered the annexation of Kholm subject to the investigation of a special commission composed of all the parties concerned.

6. The Russian Treaty signed 3rd March; its main provisions. On the very day on which the Ukrainian Treaty was signed, the Bolsheviks issued a wireless message calling on the German army to refuse obedience to the Kaiser. At the request of Hindenburg, Kühlmann was at once instructed to present an ultimatum demanding a settlement on German lines. On the 10th February Trotsky declared the state of war to be at an end, but he refused to sign the Treaty. He considered it possible that the moral of the German troops in the east, and German public opinion behind them, would prevent any further German advance. In this he was fatally wrong. German General Headquarters had already been pressing Hertling to denounce the Armistice, and at the decisive conference of Homburg, the 13th February, Ludendorff succeeded in gaining his object. The Armistice was declared to have lapsed automatically and hostilities recommenced on the 18th February. There was no resistance from the few remaining Russian troops; enormous quantities of stores were seized; great tracts of additional territory were occupied, the final line of occupation being approximately Narva-Pskov-Polotsk-Orsha-Mogilev; south of this the Germans continued to drive the Bolsheviks out of the Ukraine, and by May were in occupation of all its nine provinces and much of the territory of the Don Cossacks. In the early morning of the 24th February the Council of People's Commissaries decided to accept the German peace terms; a new delegation left for Brest on the same day, and on the 3rd March the Treaty was signed. This comprised nine documents; it is doubtful whether the Russian signatories had even read them all.

By the political treaty Russian sovereignty was renounced over Poland, Lithuania, and Courland, and their future fate was to be decided by Germany and Austria-Hungary in agreement with the inhabitants. Finland and the Aaland Islands were to be evacuated (the Bolsheviks had already recognized Finnish independence). A German police force' was to remain in

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