In Flanders Fields Museum and the School of History/Gateways to the First World War, University of Kent present a fourth series of eight seminars on Thursday evenings, free and open to all.
The treaty of Brest-Litovsk of March 1918 was perceived as treason to the Allied cause and once and for all established the idea that the Bolsheviks had excluded themselves from (Western) civilization. From the Bolsheviks’ point of view, however, peace was necessary if they wanted to remain in power. For nearly 5 months, the negotiations were constantly on the brink of collapse, to the utter joy of the Allies. Moreover, the messages coming from Russia were confusing: the military reassured their Western colleagues that the Bolsheviks would soon be ousted, whereas the Bolsheviks invited the Allies to join the negotiations and reach an overall peace agreement. Neither the Allies nor the Central Powers were interested and continued to pursue their own wartime goals. In my presentation, I will be focusing on the 5 months between November 1917 and March 1918, when the outcome of the negotiations, and hence the fate of the Bolsheviks, were still in limbo. Brest-Litovsk not only brought this uncertainty to an end, but also established the image of the Bolsheviks as traitors and pariahs of the international world order.
Darwin Lecture Theatre 1, University of Kent, Canterbury, CT2 7NX.