The Descent to Bolshevism
( Originally Published 1918 )
THE hopes entertained for the new Republic of Russia were doomed to disappointment. For a short time, under the leadership of Lvov, the Russians marched along the path of true democracy. But the pace became too rapid.
The government prospered in Petrograd, and the economic organization of the country proceeded with great speed. An eight-hour day was introduced in the capital and in many other cities throughout the republic. The fever of organization spread even to the peas-ants. They formed a Council of Peasants' Deputies, modeled after the Council of Work-men and Soldiers. On the 13th of April, 1917, came the first meeting of the All-Russia Congress of Soviets, and with it a revival of the differences of opinion which ultimately were to destroy the government. The great majority were for war, but the minority, led by Lenine and the Bolsheviki element, demanded an immediate peace. They declared that the enemies of the Revolution were not the Central Powers, but the capitalists in all countries, and not least the Provisional Government of Russia.
Some clue to the meaning of the Bolsheviki movement in Russia is to be found in the life of Lenin, its leading spirit. It has been charged that he was the tool of the German Government. He undoubtedly received facilities from the German Government to return to Russia from Switzerland immediately after the Revolution in March. His whole career, however, suggests that he was not a tool, but a fanatic.
He was born in Simbirsk, in Central Russia, in the year 1870. Lenine was only one of the several aliases that he had found it necessary to adopt at various times. He was of good family, and received his education at the Petrograd University. From the very beginning he took an active interest in the political and social problems of the day. In 1887 his brother, A. Uljanov, was arrested, and after a secret trial condemned to death and hanged as a participant in a plot to wreck the imperial train carrying Alexander III. Lenine was also arrested, but was released on account of a lack of evidence. At this time the Russian Socialistic movement was still in its infancy.
Lenine spent his Sundays in a circle of uneducated workmen, explaining to them the elements of socialistic economics. Along with this propaganda work he studied deeply the economic phases of Russian life, being especially interested in its working and peasant classes. He wrote several books on the subject, which are still accepted as valuable representatives of Russian economic literature. Because of his socialistic activities, Lenine was compelled to leave Russia on several occasions, when he lived in Switzerland, France and Austria. From these countries he directed the work of one of the groups of the Social Democratic party, and became an important leader.
In the General Russian Socialistic Convention, held in 1903, this group made a definite stand for its program and policies. This was the time when the word "Bolsheviki" was coined, meaning the "majority," who had voted in accord with Lenine's proposals. Lenine believed in the seizure of political power by means of violent revolution and in establishing a proletarian government. After the Revolution of 1905, the Lenine faction dwindled and it seemed as if Bolshevism was destined to die out. But in 1911, with the awakening of a new spirit in the political and social life of Russia, a new impetus was given to the activities of the Bolsheviki. The first Socialist daily paper, Pravda, ("the Truth,") was one of their efforts. In 1913 the Bolsheviki sent six representatives to the Duma.
At the' outbreak of the war Lenine was in Cracow. Like other revolutionary leaders he was compelled to live in exile. He went to Switzerland where he remained until the news of the successful revolution caused his return to Russia. On his arrival in Petrograd he gathered together his followers and began the agitation in favor of the Bolshevist program and of peace.
The first sign of the conflict between the Provisional Government and the Soviet arose in connection with the joint note sent to the Allies by the Provisional Government on May 1st. This note was signed by Foreign Secretary Miliukov. It declared, among other things, that the Provisional Government would "maintain a strict regard for its engagements with the Allies of Russia."
The document aroused strong disapproval among many members of the Council of the Soviet, and serious anti-government demonstrations occurred in Petrograd on May 3rd and 4th. These demonstrations were directed distinctly against Miliukov. Detachments of soldiers and workmen gathered in front of the headquarters of the Provisional Government, carrying banners, with inscriptions "Down with Miliukov! Down with the Provisional Government!" Miliukov appealed to the crowd for confidence, and his words were greeted with hearty cheering.
The Soviet Council ultimately voted confidence in the Government by a narrow margin of 35 in a total of 2500. But the agitation against the Government persisted, and on May 16th Miliukov resigned. General Kornilov, Commander of the Petrograd Garrison, and Guchkov, Minister of War, finding their control of the army weakened by the interference of the Soviet Council, also resigned.
The situation became critical. As a result of this agitation a new coalition government was formed. Prince Lvov remained Prime Minister. Terestchenko became Foreign Minister, Most significant of all, Kerensky be-came the Minister of War. The new Government issued a new declaration of policy, promising a firm support of the war with Germany, and an effort to call together at the earliest possible date a Constituent Assembly to deal with questions of land and of finance. This manifesto was received coldly by the Soviets and their press.
It was at this time that Allies sent special missions to Russia to aid the Russian Government in forwarding the fight against the common enemy. The American mission to Russia was headed by Elihu Root, former Secretary of State.
It was most cordially received, and housed in the former Winter Palace of the Czar. On June 15th the American Ambassador, David R. Francis, presented the Root mission to the Council of Ministers in the Marinsky Palace, and Mr. Root made an eloquent address, declaring the sympathy of the American Republic with the new Russian Democracy. He declared that the liberty of both nations was in danger. "The armed forces of military autocracy are at the gates of Russia and the Allies. The triumph of German arms will mean the death of liberty in Russia. No enemy is at the gates of America, but America has come to realize that the triumph of German arms means the death of Liberty in the world."
At Moscow Mr. Root addressed representatives of the Zemstvo and the local Council of the Workmen and Soldiers. He was warmly applauded, and on motion of the Mayor a telegram was sent to President Wilson, thanking him for sending the Root Commission to Russia. The Root Mission returned to the United States early in August, and reported to Washington August 12th. At a public reception given by the citizens of New York, Senator Root expressed supreme confidence in the stability of the Revolution.
On July 1st, inspired by Kerensky, and under the personal leadership of General Kornilov, the Russian army began an offensive in Galicia. It first met with complete success, capturing Haliez, and sweeping forward close to Dolina in the Carpathian foothills. Then under a very slight hostile German pressure, the Russian armies, immediately to the north and south of Kornilov's army, broke and ran. This action was directly traced to orders subversive of discipline, emanating from the Petrograd Soviet. Kornilov's army was compelled to retire, and by July 21st was in full retreat from Galicia.
The Russian mutiny spread. Regiments re-fused to fight or to obey their officers.
One of the most picturesque episodes of this phase of the war was the formation of a woman's regiment, known as the "Command of Dea h," which was reviewed at Petrograd Jun 21st, by Minister of War, Kerensky. In front of the barracks assigned to this regiment a visitor found posted at the gate a little blue-eyed sentry in a soldier's khaki blouse, short breeches, green forage cap, ordinary woman's black stockings and neat shoes. The sentry was Mareya Skridlov, daughter of Ad-mirai Skridlov, former commander of the Baltic fleet and Minister of Marines. In the courtyard three hundred girls were drilling, mostly between 18 and 25 years old, of good physique and many of them pretty. They wore their hair short or had their heads entirely shaved. They were drilling under the instruction of a male sergeant of the Volynsky regiment, and marched to an exaggerated goose step.
The girl commander, Lieutenant Buitch karev, explained that most of the recruits were from the higher educational academies, with a few peasants, factory girls and servants. Some married women were accepted, but none who had children. The Battalion of Death distinguished itself on the field, setting an example of courage to the mutinous regiments during the retreat of Brusilov.
With the army thus demoralized the Russian Revolution encountered a perilous period toward the end of July, 1917, and civil war or anarchy seemed almost at hand, when out of the depths of the national spirit there arose a new revolution to save the situation and to maintain order. The country was everywhere the scene of riotous disturbances. Anarchists, radicals, and monarchists seemed to be working hand-in-hand to precipitate a reign of terror, when once more Kerensky saved the situation. On July 20th, it was announced that the Premier, Prince Lvov, had resigned, and that Alexander Kerensky had been appointed Premier, but would also retain his portfolio as Minister of War.
A new government was quickly formed. Kerensky was made practical Dictator, and his government received the complete endorse-men of a joint Congress of the Soviets and the ouncil of peasant delegates. Kerensky acte with the utmost vigor. Orders were give to fire on deserters and warrants issued for t e arrest of revolutionary agitators who-ever they might be. Rear-Admiral Verdervski, commander of the Baltic fleet, was seized for c communicating a secret government telegram to sailors' committees. Agitators from the Soviet were arrested, charged with inciting the Peterhof troops against the Federal government. On July 22d, the following resolution was passed by the joint Congress:
Recognizing that the country is menaced by a military debacle on the front and by anarchy at home, it is resolved :
1. I hat the country and the revolution are in danger.
2. That the Provisional Government is proclaimed the Goverment of National Safety.
3. hat unlimited powers are accorded the Government or re-establishing the organization and discipline of the army for a fight to a finish against the enemies of public order, and for the realization of the whole program embodied in the governmental program just announced.
The reorganization of the Councils of the All-Russia, and Workmen's and Peasants' Organizations on the 23rd, issued a ringing address to the army denouncing its mutinous spirit and warning it of the inevitable result. The Provisional Government also issued a proclamation on July 22nd, charging that the disorders were precipitated to bring about a counter-revolution by the enemies of the country. But the army was demoralized. It disregarded discipline and refused to recognize military rule. A general retreat followed. The Germans and Austrians steadily advanced through Galicia and crossed the frontier before the Russian armies could be forced to make a stand.
The death penalty for treason or mutiny was restored in the army on July 25th, when Kerensky threatened to resign unless this was done. On that same date the government authorized the Minister of the Interior to suspend the publication of periodicals that incite to insubordination or disobedience to orders given by the military authorities. By July 28th the situation had become more hopeful. On that day General Ruzsky, formerly commander-in-chief of the northern armies of Russia, and General Gurko, ex-commander on the Russia southwestern front, were summoned to Petograd. Each had retired on account of the interference of the Council of Workmen and Soldiers' delegates. Their return, to the service was a hopeful sign. The Soviet also passed by an overwhelming majority a resolution censuring Lenine, and demanding that he should be publicly tried. Charges had been m de that Lenine and his associates were working under German direction and financed by Ger ans. On August 2nd, Kornilov be-came Commander-in-Chief of the Russian army. A disagreement in the Cabinet led to its reorganization. In the new Cabinet appeared again representatives of the Constitutional Democratic party. Conditions began to show improvement from this time forth.
An extraordinary National Council met at Moscow August 26th, 1917. This conference consisted of 2,500 delegates representing the Duma, the Soviets, the Zemstvos, and indeed all organized Russia. Kerensky opened the conference in a speech of great length in which he reviewed the general situation, declaring that the destructive period of the Revolution had passed and that the time had come to consolidate its conquests.
Perhaps the most important address before the Council was that made by General Kornilov, Commander-in-Chief of the army. General Kornilov was received with prolonged cheers, which in the light of his subsequent action were especially significant. General Kornilov described with much detail the disorganization and insubordination in the army, and continued :
"We are implacably fighting anarchy in the army. Undoubtedly it will finally be re-pressed, but the danger of fresh debacles is weighing constantly on the country. The situation on the front is bad. We have lost the whole of Galicia, the whole of Bukowina, and
all the fruits of our recent victories. If Russia wishes to be saved the army must be re-generated at any cost." General Kornilov, then outlined the most important of the reform measures which he recommended, and concluded: "I believe that the genius and the reason of the Russian people will save the country. I believe in a brilliant future for our army. I-believe its ancient glory will be restored."
General Kaledines, leader of the Don Cos-sacks, mounted thé tribune and read a resolution passed by the Cossacks demanding the continuation of the war until complete victory was attained. He defied the extreme Radicals. "Who saved you from the Bolsheviki on the 14th of July?" he asked contemptuously. "We Cossacks have been free men. We are not made drunk by our new-found liberties and are unblinded by party or program. We tell you plainly and categorically, `Remove yourselves from the place which you have neither the ability nor the courage to fill, and let better men than yourselves step in, or take the consequences of your folly.' "
The conference took no definite action, being invested with no authority, but it served to bring out clearly the line of cleavage between the Radical or Socialistic element rep-resented by Kerensky and the Conservatives represented by the Generals of the army.
Immediately on the heels of the Moscow conference an important German advance was made in the direction of Riga, the most important Russian Baltic port. In spite of a vigorous defense the Germans captured the city.
The loss of Riga intensified the political excitement in Russia, and produced a profound crisis. A wave of unrest spread throughout the country. The Grand Duke Michael, and the Grand Duke Paul with their families, were arrested on a charge of conspiracy. The Provisional Government was charged with responsibility of the collapse of the army.
It was on September 9th, that the storm broke, and General Kornilov, the Commander-in-Chief of the Russian armies, raised the flag of revolt against the Provisional Government. The details of the revolt are as follows:
At one o'clock Saturday afternoon, Deputy Lvov, of the Duma, called upon Premier Kerensky, and declared that he had come as the representative of General Kornilov to demand the surrender of all power into Kornilov's hands. M. Lvov said that this demand did not emanate from Kornilov only but was supported by an organization of Duma members, Moscow industrial interests, and other conservatives. This group, said M. Lvov, did not object to Kerensky personally, but demanded that he transfer the Portfolio of War to M. Savinkov, assistant Minister of War, who all along had supported Kornilov.
"If you agree," M. Lvov added, "we invite you to come to headquarters and meet General Kornilov, giving you a solemn guarantee that you will not be arrested."
Premier Kerensky replied that he could not believe Kornilov to be guilty of such an act of treason, and that he would communicate with him directly. In an exchange of telegrams Kornilov confirmed fully to the Premier his demands. Kerensky promptly placed Lvov under arrest, denounced Kornilov as a traitor and deposed him from his position as Commander-in-Chief, General Klembovsky being appointed in his place. General Kornilov responded to the order of dismissal by moving an army against the Capital.
Martial law was declared in Moscow and in Petrograd. Kerensky assumed the functions of Commander-in-Chief and took military measures to defend Petrograd and resist the rebels. On the 12th it was clear that the Kornilov revolt had failed to receive the expected support. Kornilov advanced toward Petrograd, and occupied Jotchina, thirty miles southwest of the Capital, but there was no bloodshed. On the night of the 13th, General Alexief demanded Kornilov's unconditional surrender, and the revolt collapsed. Kornilov was arrested and the Provisional Government reconstituted on stronger lines.
After the so-called Kornilov revolt, the Russian Revolution assumed a form which might almost be called stable. A democratic congress met at Moscow, September 27th, and adopted a resolution providing for a preliminary parliament to consist of 231 members, of whom 110 were to represent the Zemstvos and the towns. The congress refused its sanction to a coalition cabinet in which the Constitutional Democrats should participate, but Kerensky practically defied the congress, and named a coalition cabinet, in which several portfolios were held by members of the Constitutional Democratic Party. The new government issued a statement declaring that it had three principal aims: to raise the fighting power of the army and navy; to bring order to the country by fighting anarchy; to call the Constituent Assembly as soon as possible. The Constituent Assembly was called to assemble in December. It was to consist of 732 delegates to be elected by popular vote.
Meantime agitation against the Coalition Government continued. On November 1st, the Premier issued a statement through the Associated Press, to all the newspapers of the Entente, which conveyed the information that he almost despaired of restoring civil law in the distracted country. He said that he felt that help was needed urgently and that Russia asked it as her right. "Russia has fought consistently since the beginning," he said. "She saved France and England from disaster early in the war. She is worn out by the strain and claims as her right that the Allies now shoulder the burden."
On November 7th, an armed insurrection against the Coalition Government and Premier Kerensky was precipitated by the Bolsheviki faction. The revolt was headed by Leon Trotzky, President of the Central Executive Committee of the Petrograd Council, with Nicholas Lenine, the Bolsheviki leader. The Revolutionists seized the offices of the telephone and telegraph companies and occupied the state bank and the Marie Palace where the preliminary Parliament had been sitting. The garrison at Petrograd espoused the cause of the Bolsheviki and complete control was seized with comparatively little fighting. The Government troops were quickly overpowered, except at the Winter Palace, whose chief guardians were the Woman's Battalion, and the Military Cadets. The Woman's Battalion fought bravely, and suffered terribly, and with the Military Cadets who also remained true, held the Palace for several hours. The Bolsheviki brought up armored cars and the cruiser Aurora, and turned the guns of the Fortress of SS. Peter and Paul upon the Palace before its defenders would surrender.
That evening the Revolutionary Committee issued a characteristic proclamation, denouncing the government of Kerensky as opposed to the government and the people, and calling upon the soldiers in the army to arrest their officers if they did not at once join the Revolution. They announced the following 'program :
First: The offer of an immediate democratic peace.
Second: The immediate handing over of large proportional lands to the peasants.
Third: The transmission of all authority to the Council of Workmen's and Soldiers' Delegates.
Fourth: The honest convocation of the Constitutional Assembly.
At a meeting of the Council Trotzky declared that the Government no longer existed,. and introduced Lenine as an old comrade whom he welcomed back. Lenine was received with prolonged cheers, and said: "Now we have a Revolution. The peasants and workmen control the Government. This is only a preliminary step toward a similar revolution everywhere."
Proclamation after proclamation came from the new Government. In one of them it was stated "M. Kerensky has taken flight, and all military bodies have been empowered to take all possible measures to arrest Kerensky and bring him back to Petrograd. All complicity with Kerensky will be dealt with as high treason."
A Bolsheviki Cabinet was named. The Premier was Nicholas Lenine; the Foreign Minister, Leon Trotzky. The other Cabinet members were all Bolsheviki, including Bibenko, a Kronstadt sailor, of the Committee on War and Marine, and Shliapnikov, laborer, who was Minister of Labor. Lenin's personality has already been described. Trotzky, the chief aid of Lenine's rebellion, had been living in New York City three months before the Czar was overthrown, but he had previously been expelled from Germany, France, Switzerland and Spain. His real name was Leber Braunstein, and he was born in the Russian Government of Kherson, near the Black Sea.
When the insurrection occurred, Kerensky succeeded in escaping from Petrograd, and persuaded about two thousand Cossacks several hundred Military Cadets, and a contingent of Artillery, to fight under his banner. He advanced toward Petrograd, but his forces were greatly outnumbered by the Bolshviki. At Tsarskoe-Selo a battle took place, the Kerensky troops met defeat, and its leader paved himself by flight.
At Moscow the entire city passed into the control of the Bolsheviki but not without severe fighting in which more than three thou-sand people were slain. On the collapse of the Kerensky government conditions through-out Russia became chaotic. Ukraine declared its independence, and Finland also severed its connection with Russia. General Kaledines declared against the Bolsheviki, and organized an army to save the country. Siberia, Bessarabia, Lithuania, the Caucasus and other districts declared their complete independence of the Central Government.
The Bolsheviki, in control at Petrograd, opened negotiations with the Central Powers for an armistice along the entire front from the Baltic to Asia Minor, and on December 17th, such an armistice went into effect. Meanwhile they began negotiations for a treaty of peace. General Dukholin, the Commander-in-Chief on November 20th, was ordered by Lenine to propose the armistice. To this request he made no reply, and on November 21st, he was deposed and Ensign Krylenko was appointed the new Commander-in-Chief.
General Dukholin was subsequently murdered, by being thrown from a train after the Bolsheviki seized the general headquarters.
Trotzky sent a note to the representaives of neutral powers in Petrograd, informing them of his proposal for an armistice, and stating, "The consummation of an immediate peace is demanded in all countries, both belligerent and neutral. The Russian Government counts on the firm support of workmen i all countries in this struggle for peace." Lenine, however, declared that Russia did not complate a separate peace with Germany, and that the Russian Government, before agreeing to an armistice, would communicate with the Allies and make a certain proposal to the imperialistic governments of France and England, rejection of which would place them in open opposition to the wishes of their own people.
A period of turmoil followed. In the meantime elections for the Constituent Asse Assembly were held. The result in Petrograd was announced as 272,000 votes for the Bolsheviki, 211,000 for the Constitutional Democrats, and 116,000 for the Social Revolutionaries, showing that the Bolsheviki failed to attain a majority. Notwithstanding the prevailing chaos, the Lenine-Trotzky Government persisted in negotiations for an armistice, and it was arranged that the first conference be held at the German headquarters at Brest-Litovsk.
The Russian delegates were Kaminev, whose real name was Rosenfelt, a well known Bolshevist leader; Sokolnikov, a sailor; Bithenko, a soldier, and Mstislasky, who had formerly been librarian to the General Staff, but who was now a strong Socialist. Representatives were present of Germany, Austria-Hungary, Turkey and Bulgaria.
After many interchanges of opinion a suspension of hostilities for ten days was authorized, to be utilized in bringing to a conclusion negotiations for an armistice. On December 7th it was announced from Petrograd that for the first time since the war not a shot was fired on the Russian front. Foreign Secretary Trotzky, on the 6th of December, notified the allied embassies in Petrograd of these negotiations and added that the armistice would be signed only on condition that the troops should not be transferred from one front to another. He announced that negotiations had been suspended to accord the Allied Governments opportunity to define their attitude toward the peace negotiation; that is, their willingness or refusal to participate in negotiations for an armistice and peace., In case of refusal they must declare clearly and definitely before all mankind the aims for which the peoples of Europe had been called to shed their blood during the fourth year of the war.
No official replies were made to this note. On December 7th, Generals Kaledines and Kornilov raised the standard of revolt, but reports indicated that the Bolsheviki were ex-tending their control over all Russia. A Meeting of the Constituent Assembly took Place on December 11th. Less than 50 of the 600 delegates attended. Meanwhile the negotiations for an armistice continued. On December 16th an agreement was reached and an armistice signed, to continue from December 17th to January 14th, 1918.
Within the first month in which the Bolsheviki conducted the government numerous edicts of a revolutionary character were issued. Class titles, distinctions and privileges were abolished; the corporate property of nobles, merchants and burgesses was to be handed over to the state, as was all church property, ands, money and precious stones ; and religious instruction was to cease in the schools. Strikes were in progress everywhere, and disorder was rampant.
Kornilov, Terestchenko and other associates of Kerensky, were imprisoned in the Fortress of SS. Peter and Paul; the Cadet Part was outlawed by decree and the houses of its leaders raided. On January 8, 1918, it was announced that the Bolsheviki had determined that all loans and Treasury bonds held by foreign subjects, abroad or in Russia, were repudiated.
During this period the Bolsheviki's Foreign Secretary astonished the world by making public the secret treaties between Russia and Foreign Governments in the early years of the war. These treaties dealt with the proposed annexation by Russia of the Dardanelles, Constantinople and certain areas in Asia Minor; with the French claim on Alsace-Lorraine and the left bank of the Rhine; with offers to Greece, for the purpose of inducing her to assist Serbia; with plans to alter her 'Western boundaries, with the British and Russian control of Persia; and with Italy's desire to annex certain Austrian territories. These treaties had been seized upon the Bolsheviki assumption of power, and were now repudiated by the new Government.
During the period of the armistice Lenine began his move for a separate peace, in spite of the formal protests of the Allied representatives at Petrograd.
The first sitting took place on Saturday, December 22, 1917. Among the delegates were Dr. Richard von Kuhlmann, Foreign Minister, and General Hoffman, of Germany; Count Czernin, Foreign Minister of Austria-Hungary; Minister Kopov, of Bulgaria; Nesimy Bey, former Foreign Minister of Turkey, and a large delegation from Russia, composed of Bolshevist leaders. Dr. von Kühlinann was chosen as the presiding officer and made the opening speech. The Russian peace demands and the German counter-proposals were then read, and considered.
The German proposals proved unacceptable to Russia, and a second session of the peace conference was held at Brest-Litovsk on January 10, 1918. Trotzky himself attended this meeting as one of the representatives from Russia, and there was also a representative from Ukraine, which had declared its independence, and was allowed to join the conference. General Hoffman protested strongly against the Russian endeavor to make appeals of a revolutionary character to the German troops.
The armistice having expired, it was agreed it should be continued to February 12th. After a long and acrimonious debate the Conference broke up in a clash over the evacuation of the Russian provinces. On January 24th it was announced that the Russian delegates to the peace conference had unanimously decided to reject the German terms. They stated that when they asked Germany's final terms General Hoffman of the German delegation had replied by opening a map and pointing out a line from the shores of the Gulf of Finland to the east of the Moon Sound Islands, to Valk, to the west of Minsk, to Brest-Litovsk, thus eliminating Courland and all the Baltic provinces.
Asked the terms of the Central Powers in regard to the territory south of Brest-Litovsk General Hofman replied that was a question which they would discuss only with Ukraine. M. Kaminev asked: "Supposing we do not agree to such condition, what are you going to do?"
General Hoffman's answer was, "Within a week we would occupy Reval."
On January 27th, Trotzky made his report to the Soviets at Petrograd. After a thorough explanation of the peace debates, he declared that the Government of the Soviets could not sign such a peace. It was then decided to demobilize the Russian army and ' withdraw from the war.
Final sessions of the peace congress were resumed at Brest-Litovsk, January 29th; a peace treaty was made between the Central Powers and the Ukraine, and the Bolsheviki yielded to the German demands without signing a treaty. Meanwhile the Russian Constituent Assembly which met at Petrograd on January 19th was dissolved on January 20th, by the Bolsheviki Council.
Disorders continued throughout all Russia and counter-revolutionary movements were started at many places. On February 18th, the day when the armistice agreement between Russia and the Central Powers expired, German forces began a new invasion of Russia. The next day the Bolshevist Government is-sued a statement, announcing that Russia would be compelled to sign a peace. The German advance went on rapidly, and many important Russian cities were occupied. On February 24th, the Bolshevist Government announced that peace terms had been accepted, and a treaty was signed at Brest-Litovsk on March 3rd.
On March 14th the All-Russia Council of Soviets voted to ratify the treaty, after an all-night sitting. Lenine pronounced himself in favor of accepting the German terms Trotzky stood for war, but did not attend the meetings of the Council. Lenine defended the step by pointing out that the country was completely unable to offer resistance, and that peace was indispensable for the completion of the social war in Russia.
The new treaty dispossessed Russia of territories amounting to nearly one-quarter f the area of European Russia, and inhabited by one-third of Russia's total population. Trotzky resigned on account of his opposition to the treaty and was succeeded by M. Tchitcherin. He became Chairman of the Petro-grad Labor Commune. The treaty between Russia and the Central Powers was formally denounced by the Premiers and Foreign Ministers of Great Britain, France, and Italy, and was not recognized by the Allied nations.
A final revocation of its provisions by both sides did not put an end to the military operations of the Central Powers in Russia, nor did the Russians cease to make feeble and sporadic attempts at resistance. Germany was forced to keep large bodies of troops along the Russian front, but formally Russia's part in the war had come to an end.