Winter 1918 on the Eastern Front

While the Bolsheviks seized power in Russia in the October Revolution in early November 1917, their revolution continued to sport contradictions between the Old Style and the New through the Winter of 1918.  On 1 Feb 1919 Old Style, Russia jumped forward to 14 February 1918 New Style, adopting the Gregorian calendar introduced in Roman Catholic countries in 1582, and in the British Empire in 1752.

Internally, the winter was hard on the Red Guard–history might have been a very different thing.  Although the White Army’s General Alexeyev & his Don Cossacks took action against the Bolsheviks at the same time as the time change, they were defeated and the Red Army had time to solidify their forces.  Externally, Leon Trotski tried to argue for an end to the state of war on the Eastern Front between Russia and Germany without a formal treaty, but on the 18th of February the Germans resumed hostilities and on the 19th the Bolsheviks said they would sign a peace treaty, nominally ceasing hostilities on 28 February 1918.

In the Baltics, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania also adopted the Gregorian calendar on 15 February 1918.  On the 16th of February, Lithuania declared independence from Russia 7 Germany, followed by Estonia on 24 February.  Meanwhile, on 22 February, Germany claimed the Baltic states, Finland and Ukraine from Russia, while the White Guard in Finland pursued a counter-revolution against the Bolshevik Red Guard.

The Russian Civl War continued through 1922, but the effect of the closing of the first phase with the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk in March 1918 freed Germany and the Central Powers to focus on the Western Front.  In a way, the Bolsheviks’ capitulation set the stage for the later Cold War between Eastern and Western Blocs.



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