March 3 - 1918 - The Treaty of Brest-Litovsk
The Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, signed by representatives of Soviet Russia and representatives from the Central Powers, effectively ended World War I on the Eastern Front. In order to do this, Russia had to accept extremely harsh terms regarding territorial claims and concessions. Yet the government of Russia was not the one that had been prosecuting the war, because Russia had undergone two revolutions in 1917, the February Revolution that overthrew the Tsar and the October Revolution that replaced the Provisional Government with a Communist one. The Bolsheviks now in charge of Russia, especially Vladimir Lenin and Leon Trotsky wanted most of all to end the war. More radical Bolsheviks thought eventually revolution would overthrow the governments of the Central Powers. Instead, Soviet Russia agreed to a harsh peace, to focus on a still raging Civil War. Remarkably, the German Empire would quickly cease to exist, which made the historical legacy of the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk much less impactful than it seemed at the time.