The first worldwide conflict

The First World War, 1914 - 1918

The Great War, also known as the First World War, or World War I, was a global conflict that lasted from 1914 to 1918, fundamentally reshaping the 20th century.

The war began on the 28th June 1914, with the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria-Hungary by Gavrilo Princip, a Bosnian Serb nationalist.

This event set off a chain reaction among the great powers, rooted in complex alliances and nationalist fervor.

By August 1914, major European powers were embroiled in the conflict: Germany and Austria-Hungary (Central Powers) faced off against France, Russia, and the United Kingdom (Allied Powers).

The war quickly spread beyond Europe, drawing in colonies and nations worldwide, including Japan and the Ottoman Empire.

Wounded Canadian soldiers are pictured handing a dog to a nurse in a clearing station in France towards the end of the Battle of the Somme in October 1916. The battle resulted in over one million casualties, symbolizing the horrific scale and devastation of First World War trench warfare.

First World War in Colour | Projects | The Vimy Foundation

...the immense human cost, with millions of casualties and little territorial gain...

Australian Propaganda Poster 1918. During the First World War, propaganda was extensively used by all sides to boost morale, recruit soldiers, and demonize the enemy, shaping public opinion and national sentiment.

6 WWI Propaganda Posters That Rallied People to Fight (historycollection.com)

Early battles, such as the Battle of the Marne in September 1914, revealed the brutal stalemate of trench warfare on the Western Front, where soldiers faced horrific conditions and unprecedented casualties.

Key figures like German General Paul von Hindenburg, British Field Marshal Douglas Haig, and French General Ferdinand Foch emerged as leading military commanders.

On the Eastern Front, the war saw significant movements, such as the German victory at the Battle of Tannenberg in 1914.

As the war dragged on, new technologies like tanks, machine guns, and poison gas led to massive destruction and loss of life.

The Battle of Verdun (1916) and the Battle of the Somme (1916) exemplified the immense human cost, with millions of casualties and little territorial gain.

The war also saw significant naval battles, such as the Battle of Jutland (1916), which was the largest naval battle of the war.

Germans soldiers during the Battle of Verdun in 1916. Verdun was one of the First World War's longest and bloodiest battles, with French and German forces suffering nearly 700,000 combined casualties in a grueling fight symbolizing the war's brutal attrition.

cc3cc17a30762e16ab5de2e095b40ebb.jpg (1200×747) (pinimg.com)

...a significant boost...

The conflict's scale and duration strained resources and morale on all sides.

In 1917, the Russian Revolution led to Russia's withdrawal from the war after the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, allowing Germany to focus on the Western Front.

Meanwhile, the entry of the United States into the war in April 1917, under President Woodrow Wilson, provided a significant boost to the Allied Powers, both materially and morally.

...the war devastated European economies...

Socially, the war brought about immense suffering and loss, with an estimated 10 million military deaths and millions of civilian casualties.

The war also accelerated changes in gender roles, as women took on roles traditionally held by men, contributing to the suffrage movement. Economically, the war devastated European economies, leading to widespread poverty and contributing to the Great Depression.

The First World War reshaped society, politics, and the global order, setting the stage for the tumultuous decades that followed.

Three Canadian soldiers are pictured in a German dug out which was captured east of the French city of Arras on the Western Front. 

First World War in Colour | Projects | The Vimy Foundation


The Russian Revolution, 1917 - 1923

The Russian Revolution (8th March 1917 – 16th June 1923) was a seismic event that profoundly reshaped the course of Russian and world history.

It began with the February Revolution in March 1917, the main events of which took place in and near Petrograd, which saw widespread unrest and protests culminating in the abdication of Tsar Nicholas II and the establishment of a provisional government.

...deep-seated social, economic, and political grievances...

This was followed by the October Revolution in November 1917, led by the Bolshevik Party under the leadership of Vladimir Lenin, which overthrew the provisional government and established the world's first communist state.

The revolution was fueled by deep-seated social, economic, and political grievances, including widespread poverty, inequality, and the brutalities of the First World War.

Leo Trotsky in the centre, front, at a gathering of revolutionaries. He was made leader of the Red Army and then later appointed to the position of the People’s Commissar for Foreign Affairs. Leon Trotsky played a crucial role in the Russian Revolution, organizing the Red Army, leading the Bolshevik takeover, and helping to consolidate Soviet power alongside Lenin.

New colour images of Russian Revolution including Lenin and Tsar Nicholas II | Daily Mail Online

...sparked a brutal civil war...

The cost and effort of fighting in World War One took a huge toll on Russia and fuelled the rebellion against the tsar in early 1917. Boris Kustodiev's famous painting of a soldier with a rifle urged Russians to give money to the war effort. The poster was produced in February 1917 to advertise the "Freedom Loan" and the soldier went on to appear in many other posters until the second Russian rebellion in October.

Russian Revolution: Ten propaganda posters from 1917 - BBC News

The Bolsheviks promised "peace, land, and bread" to the Russian people, appealing to the desires of workers, peasants, and soldiers for change.

The revolution unleashed a wave of radical transformations, including the nationalization of industry and land, the redistribution of wealth, and the establishment of a one-party state.

It also sparked a brutal civil war between the Bolshevik "Reds" and their opponents, the "Whites," as well as various nationalist and anti-Bolshevik forces.

The Russian Revolution had far-reaching consequences, inspiring communist movements worldwide, reshaping global geopolitics, and laying the foundation for the Soviet Union, which would become a superpower in the 20th century.

Vladimir Lenin (center) and Communist Party Executive Committee Chairman Yakov Sverdlov (left) on Revolution Square in Moscow, November 1918. Vladimir Lenin, leader of the Bolsheviks, orchestrated the October Revolution in 1917, overthrowing the provisional government and establishing Soviet rule, fundamentally reshaping Russia's political landscape.

Russian Agents Offered 10K Soldiers to Aid Catalan Separatists – Reports - The Moscow Times


Russian Civil War, 1917 - 1923

The Russian Civil War, spanning from the 7th November 1917 through to the 16th June 1923, emerged from the collapse of the Russian Empire and the power struggles that ensued in its aftermath.

The primary causes were multifaceted, including the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917, which overthrew the Tsarist regime, as well as social, economic, and political upheaval exacerbated by the First World War.

New recruits fire a volley into the air after swearing allegiance to the Red Army. During the Russian Civil War, the Red Army, led by the Bolsheviks, numbered around 5 million troops, while the White Army, composed of anti-Bolshevik forces, consisted of about 2 million soldiers.

The Faces Of Russia's Civil War (rferl.org)

...The conflict was further complicated by intervention from foreign powers...

Anti-Bolshevik propaganda poster "For united Russia" representing Soviet Russia as a fallen communist dragon and the White Cause as a crusading knight.

Russian Civil War - Wikipedia

Key events in the conflict included the October Revolution of 1917, where the Bolsheviks, led by figures like Vladimir Lenin and Leon Trotsky, seized power, leading to the establishment of a communist government.

This triggered opposition from a diverse array of factions, including the anti-Bolshevik White Army, which sought to restore the monarchy or establish alternative forms of government.

The conflict was further complicated by intervention from foreign powers, with Allied forces supporting the White Army in a bid to prevent the spread of communism.

Prominent personalities in the Russian Civil War included Lenin, whose leadership guided the Bolsheviks, and Trotsky, known for his organizational skills and role in forming the Red Army.

On the opposing side, figures like Admiral Alexander Kolchak and General Anton Denikin led the White Army in various regions of Russia.

Victims of a pogrom perpetrated by Ukrainian forces in Khodorkiv, 1919. During the Russian Civil War, pogroms—violent anti-Jewish riots—occurred across the country, perpetrated by various factions including the Red and White armies, resulting in widespread death, displacement, and suffering among Jewish communities.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russian_Civil_War

...leading to the establishment of a communist state...

The wider impact of the Russian Civil War was profound, leading to widespread devastation, famine, and loss of life.

It also contributed to the consolidation of Bolshevik power and the establishment of the Soviet Union as a major world power.

Ultimately, the outcome of the conflict solidified Bolshevik rule in Russia, leading to the establishment of a communist state that would shape world history for decades to come


Ukrainian–Soviet War, 1917 - 1921

The Ukrainian–Soviet War describes the conflict between the Ukrainian People's Republic and the Bolsheviks (Russian SFSR and Ukrainian SSR) from the 8th November 1917 until the 17th November 1921.

This war erupted shortly after the October Revolution when Lenin sent Antonov's expeditionary group to Ukraine and Southern Russia.

Soviet historiography framed the Bolshevik victory as the liberation of Ukraine from Western and Central European armies, including Poland's.

However, modern Ukrainian historians view it as a failed struggle for independence by the Ukrainian People's Republic against the Bolsheviks.

The conflict was further complicated by the involvement of various factions such as the Revolutionary Insurgent Army of Ukraine, White Army Russians, and troops from Poland, Austria-Hungary, and Germany.

Polish–Ukrainian, Polish–Soviet and Ukraine–Soviet Wars in early 1919.

Ukrainian–Soviet War - Wikipedia

German troops advance to the east during the winter of 1918. Bundled against the cold, the man in the foreground carries the Mauser Gewehr 98.. In the Ukrainian-Soviet War, the German Army supported the Ukrainian People's Republic by providing military aid and helping retake Kyiv, influencing the conflict's dynamics and temporarily bolstering Ukraine's fight against the Bolsheviks.

The First Russian-Ukrainian War … of 1919 - The Armory Life

...significant Bolshevik invasions...

The war can be divided into three phases:

  • December 1917 – April 1918: Revolutionary days marked by attempted Bolshevik coups, invasion by Red Army formations, and eventual liberation from Bolshevik control.
  • December 1918 – December 1919: Civil war with significant Bolshevik invasions, unification efforts, anti-Soviet uprisings, and conflicts involving Denikin's Volunteer Army and Allied interventions.
  • Spring 1920 – Autumn 1921: The Polish–Soviet War, ongoing Russian Civil War engagements, Ukrainian guerrilla operations, and government-in-exile activities.

Key documents include the Declarations of the Central Council of Ukraine, the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, the Unification Act, the Treaty of Warsaw, and the Peace of Riga.

The state of play after two years of war between Ukraine and the Soviet Union. The Ukrainian-Soviet War (1917-1921) was complex due to the involvement of multiple factions, including the Ukrainian People's Republic, Bolsheviks, White Army, and foreign powers like Poland and Germany, making it a multifaceted struggle for independence.

100 years ago, west and east Ukraine united in short-lived independence amid invasion from all sides - Euromaidan Press

...numerous battles and shifting control...

Following the February Revolution of 1917, Ukrainian nationalists sought autonomy from Petrograd. By November 1917, they opposed the Bolshevik coup and declared the Ukrainian People's Republic.

Despite efforts to stabilize the region, Bolshevik forces invaded Ukraine in December 1917.

The ensuing conflict saw numerous battles and shifting control, culminating in the incorporation of most Ukrainian territories into the Ukrainian SSR and the exile of the UNR government.

Partisan resistance persisted until mid-1922 but ultimately failed to secure Ukrainian independence.


Outbreak of Spanish Flu, January 1918

The Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918, one of the deadliest pandemics in history, began its ominous spread amidst the backdrop of the First World War.

While its exact origins remain debated, the first cases were reported in military camps in the United States in early 1918.

However, despite its name, Spain was not the epicenter of the outbreak; rather, it garnered widespread attention due to its neutral status in the war, allowing for more open reporting of the disease's impact.

As soldiers moved across continents, the virus quickly spread globally, exacerbated by crowded and unsanitary conditions.

The initial wave of the Spanish Flu was severe but relatively mild compared to the devastating second wave that emerged in the fall of 1918, claiming millions of lives worldwide.

This deadly pandemic would ultimately leave an indelible mark on history, shaping public health practices and medical research for generations to come.

Spanish Flu medical advice poster, USA, 1918. The text of this poster explains how influenza is spread, and gives some preventative advice. The 1918 Spanish influenza pandemic, which occurred in several waves between 1918 and 1920, infected one fifth of the world population and killed between 20 and 50 million, more than had been killed in the First World War. The second wave of the pandemic, from August 1918, was much deadlier than the first, with high mortality rates among young healthy adults.

Spanish Flu Medical Advice Poster Photograph by Nara/science Photo Library - Fine Art America

The outbreak of Spanish Flu. The horrific 1918 flu pandemic was thought to have infected around one fifth of the world's population at the time. Pictured are masked Red Cross litter carriers in Washington D.C as they carry a man stuck by the illness.

Spanish flu centenary marked by new colourised photos | Daily Mail Online


Ukrainian People's Republic declares independence, 22nd January 1918

On 22nd January 1918, the Ukrainian People's Republic boldly declared its independence from Bolshevik Russia, marking a pivotal moment in the struggle for self-determination in Eastern Europe.

Amidst the turmoil of the First World War and the Russian Revolution, this declaration asserted Ukraine's sovereignty and aspirations for autonomy.

Led by prominent political figures such as Mykhailo Hrushevsky and Symon Petliura, the Ukrainian People's Republic sought to establish a democratic and independent state free from Russian domination.

...a protracted and tumultuous struggle...

However, this declaration was met with opposition from both Bolshevik forces and rival factions within Ukraine, leading to a protracted and tumultuous struggle for independence that would shape the country's future trajectory.

Map of Ukraine, 1919. On the 22nd January 1918, the Ukrainian People's Republic declared independence from Bolshevik Russia, asserting its sovereignty amidst the First World War and the Russian Revolution, marking a significant step in Ukraine's struggle for national self-determination.

https://origins.osu.edu/read/ukrainian-independence-versailles-versailles?language_content_entity=en

...the collapse of the Ukrainian State...

Mykhailo Hrushevsky, President of the Central Council of Ukraine (1917 - 1918)

Mykhailo Hrushevsky - Wikipedia

During its brief existence, the Ukrainian People's Republic underwent significant political changes, transitioning from a socialist-leaning republic under the Central Council of Ukraine to a socialist republic led by the Directorate and Symon Petliura.

From April to December 1918, its socialist authority was disrupted by the pro-German Ukrainian State of Pavlo Skoropadskyi, elected as Hetman of Ukraine by a peasant congress.

Following the collapse of the Ukrainian State, the Ukrainian People's Republic unified with the West Ukrainian People's Republic in January 1919 and later allied with the Second Polish Republic after the Polish-Ukrainian War.

However, on the 10th November 1920, it lost the remainder of its territory to the Bolsheviks, and the Peace of Riga on the 18th March 1921, finalized its fate.

In this 1919 caricature, Ukrainians are surrounded by a Bolshevik (to the north, man with hat and red star), a Russian White Army soldier (to the east, with Russian eagle flag and a short whip), and to the west a Polish soldier, a Hungarian (in pink uniform) and two Romanian soldiers.

Ukraine as a ‘borderland’: a brief history of Ukraine’s place between Europe and Russia (theconversation.com)


Start of the Finnish Civil War, 27th January 1918

The Finnish Civil War, fought from January to May 1918, was a bitter and complex conflict that erupted in the wake of World War I and the Russian Revolution.

It pitted the "Reds," comprised of the working-class faction supported by Bolshevik Russia, against the "Whites," made up of the conservative, middle-class faction led by General Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim and supported by Imperial Germany.

The war was rooted in deep social and economic divisions within Finnish society, exacerbated by political instability and the struggle for independence from Russia.

The conflict saw intense and brutal fighting, particularly in urban areas and the industrial heartlands.

The Whites ultimately triumphed, leading to the establishment of a conservative government and the brutal suppression of the Red faction, including executions and imprisonments.

The brutality of war: Onni Kokko,14 years old white guard soldier (left) and Arvo Koivisto, 14 years old red guard soldier (right). Kokko wounded in battle of Tampere and died in Vaasa. Koivisto, a Red guard messenger, had retreated with the Reds from Tampere towards east but was caught by the Whites near Lahti on 1 May, a month after his 14th birthday. The local White Guard of his home village Tyrvää executed him in June 1918.  

Left: Main frontline of the Finnish Civil War in 1918, the Civil War... | Download Scientific Diagram (researchgate.net)

White Guards in Vasa at the beginning of the Finnish Civil War, 1918. The conflict, fought between the Reds (working-class Bolshevik supporters) and the Whites (conservative middle-class faction), left lasting scars in Finnish society.

Finnish Civil War - Alchetron, The Free Social Encyclopedia

...bitterness and division that lingered for decades...

The civil war left deep scars in Finnish society, resulting in significant loss of life and a legacy of bitterness and division that lingered for decades.

The victory of the Whites also paved the way for Finland's eventual establishment as an independent republic, although the immediate post-war period was marked by political repression and a cautious relationship with Soviet Russia.


Creation of the Kuban People's Republic, 28th January 1918

The Kuban People's Republic (KPR) was an anti-Bolshevik state during the Russian Civil War, existing from January 1918 to spring 1920.

Proclaimed by the Kuban Rada, it declared independence from the Russian Empire and sought union with the Ukrainian People's Republic but was occupied by Anton Denikin's forces in November 1919 and fully annexed by the Soviets in early 1920.

...aiming to govern independently from Russia...

Historically, the Kuban region was a Cossack territory with distinct demographics and a semi-autonomous status. The Kuban Cossacks, formed to guard against the Mountain peoples, had significant military privileges and loyalty to the Tsar.

However, post-1917, with the fall of the monarchy, they proclaimed the Kuban People's Republic, aiming to govern independently from Russia.

Kuban Cossacks, 19th century. The Kuban People's Republic (KPR), an anti-Bolshevik state from 1918 to 1920, sought independence but faced internal divisions and external pressures. Despite attempts at alliances, it collapsed, impacting future developments in regional nationalism.

How Kuban tried to unite with Ukraine in 1917-1920 — story, photos (babel.ua)

...shifting political landscape and pressure from Bolshevik forces led to its downfall...

Anton Denikin, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of South Russia.  Denikin led the forces that occupied the Kuban People's Republic during the Russian Civil War. His actions, including the arrest of Rada members, contributed to the Republic's downfall and subsequent annexation by the Soviets.

Anton Denikin - Wikipedia

During its brief independence, the KPR faced internal conflicts and external threats. The Rada, or governing council, struggled to maintain unity among Cossacks and non-Cossacks.

Initially, it sought to join a federal structure with Ukraine, but the shifting political landscape and pressure from Bolshevik forces led to its downfall.

In April 1918, the Rada aligned with Lavr Kornilov's Volunteer Army, but internal divisions persisted.

The Republic's attempts to gain international recognition at the Paris Peace Conference in 1919 were unsuccessful.

The KPR was de facto recognized by the Ukrainian People's Republic, Azerbaijan Democratic Republic, the German Empire, the Ottoman Empire, the Democratic Republic of Georgia, and the Mountainous Republic of the Northern Caucasus.

However, Denikin's distrust and Soviet advances ultimately led to its collapse.

Members of the State Duma from the Kuban Cossacks, 1907. There are several future politicians of the Kuban Peopleʼs Republic among them: Fedor Shcherbyna (3rd row from the top, 5th from the left) and Kondrat Bardyzh (3rd row from the top, 6th from the left).

How Kuban tried to unite with Ukraine in 1917-1920 — story, photos (babel.ua)

The failure of the Kuban People's Republic underscored the challenges of regional nationalism and unity, influencing future efforts in Yugoslavism by highlighting the difficulties in uniting diverse ethnic groups under a single national identity.


Women's suffrage in the United Kingdom: Representation of the People Act gives most women over 30 the vote, 6th February 1918

February 6th stands as a historic day in the annals of the United Kingdom's political history, heralding the passage of the Representation of the People Act.

Enacted in 1918, this pivotal legislation granted a momentous stride towards women's suffrage by extending voting rights to most women over the age of 30.

It symbolized the culmination of years of tireless activism and advocacy by the women's suffrage movement, which had fervently campaigned for equal political representation and rights.

Leaders like Emmeline Pankhurst and the members of the Women's Social and Political Union had faced imprisonment and endured immense hardships to champion this cause.

While the Act fell short of universal suffrage, excluding younger women and those without property qualifications, its enactment represented a monumental victory for gender equality and democracy.

By recognizing the political agency of women, the Act paved the way for greater inclusion and participation in the democratic process, empowering women to contribute significantly to the governance and decision-making of their nation.

Women's Social and Political Union

poster by Hilda Dallas, 1909. Established in 1903, the Women's Social and Political Union (WSPU) emerged as a prominent women-only political movement in the United Kingdom, advocating for women's suffrage. Renamed the suffragettes in 1906, it became a leading militant organization dedicated to achieving voting rights for women. 

Women's suffrage in the United Kingdom - Wikipedia

Emmeline Pankhurst and her daughters Christabel and Sylvia, at Waterloo Station on the 4th October 1911. Emmeline was setting off for a lecture tour of the US and Canada. Pankhurst, a leading suffragette, played a crucial role in advocating for women's voting rights, culminating in the Representation of the People Act 1918, which granted suffrage to most women over 30 in the United Kingdom.

Tom Marshall/mediadrumworld.com

Suffragettes in colour: Fascinating pictures of the fight for the vote are brought back to life 100 years on - Mirror Online

...greater gender equality...

This landmark achievement not only transformed the political landscape of the United Kingdom but also served as an inspiration and catalyst for similar movements advocating for women's rights worldwide, influencing subsequent reforms and societal shifts towards greater gender equality.


Act of Independence of Lithuania, 16th February 1918

The Act of Independence of Lithuania, also known as the Act of February 16th, was signed by the Council of Lithuania on 16th February 1918.

This historic document proclaimed the restoration of an independent Lithuanian state, governed by democratic principles, with Vilnius as its capital. Chaired by Jonas Basanavičius, all twenty representatives of the Council signed the Act.

This proclamation was the culmination of a series of resolutions, including one from the Vilnius Conference and the Act of January 8. The journey to the Act was complex and fraught with challenges, particularly due to pressure from the German Empire, which occupied Lithuania at the time. The Council had to navigate carefully between German demands and the aspirations of the Lithuanian people.

Members of the Council of Lithuania in November 1917. From left to right: Standing: Kazimieras BizauskasJonas VailokaitisDonatas Malinauskas, kun. Vladas MironasMykolas Biržiška, kun. Alfonsas PetrulisSaliamonas BanaitisPetras KlimasAleksandras StulginskisJokūbas Šernas, and Pranas Dovydaitis. Sitting: Jonas Vileišis, Dr. Jurgis Šaulys, kun. Justinas StaugaitisStanislovas Narutavičius, Dr. Jonas BasanavičiusAntanas Smetona, kan. Kazimieras Steponas ŠaulysSteponas Kairys, and Jonas Smilgevičius.

Act of Independence of Lithuania - Wikipedia

...the beginning of independent Lithuania...

Scan of the original Act of Independence of Lithuania hand-written in Lithuanian language and with twenty original signatures, which was found on 29th March 2017 by Vytautas Magnus University professor Liudas Mažylis at the Federal Foreign Office Political Archive in Berlin, Germany.

Act of Independence of Lithuania - Wikipedia

Initially, the impact of the Act was limited. The German authorities prohibited its publication, forcing the text to be distributed and printed illegally. The Council's efforts were significantly hindered, and German control over Lithuania persisted.

However, the situation changed dramatically when Germany lost the First World War in the fall of 1918. By November 1918, the first Cabinet of Lithuania was formed, and the Council gained control over the territory, marking the beginning of independent Lithuania, which would soon face the Wars of Independence.

The Act of Independence is a foundational legal document for modern Lithuania, providing the basis for its existence both during the interwar period and after 1990. It established essential constitutional principles followed by all subsequent Lithuanian constitutions.

The Act was crucial in the re-establishment of Lithuania's independence in 1990, as Lithuania broke away from the Soviet Union, asserting that the Act never lost its legal power and re-establishing the state that existed between the world wars.


Estonian Declaration of Independence, 24th February 1918

The Estonian Declaration of Independence, also known as the Manifesto to the Peoples of Estonia, established the independent democratic Republic of Estonia on the 24th February 1918. This date is now celebrated as Estonian Independence Day.

The declaration was drafted by the Salvation Committee, which was elected by the elders of the Estonian Provincial Assembly and included members Konstantin Päts, Jüri Vilms, and Konstantin Konik. Although originally intended for proclamation on the 21st February 1918, the manifesto was publicly read in Pärnu on the evening of February 23 and then printed and distributed in the capital, Tallinn, the next day.

Map of Estonia’s capital Tallinn in 1922. On February 24, 1918, the Estonian Declaration of Independence was proclaimed in Tallinn, amidst the chaos of the First World War. This historic declaration marked Estonia's emergence as a democratic republic, later gaining international recognition after the War of Independence.

Map Porn, for interesting maps (reddit.com)

...the German Empire did not initially recognize Estonia's declaration...

Estonian Declaration of Independence.

Estonian Declaration of Independence - Wikipedia

On the 24th February 1918, amid the turmoil of the First World War, with Russian Bolshevik troops retreating and the German army advancing, the Estonian Salvation Committee declared Estonia's independence in Tallinn.

This proclamation was made in the main hall of the local branch of the former imperial Russian state bank.

The German Empire did not initially recognize Estonia's declaration. However, after Germany's defeat in November 1918, German troops withdrew from Estonia and formally handed over power to the Estonian Provisional Government on the 19th November 1918.

Following the declaration, Estonia faced the Russian Bolshevik invasion and fought the Estonian War of Independence. The conflict concluded with the signing of the Tartu Peace Treaty on February 2, 1920, between the Republic of Estonia and Bolshevik Russia.

Subsequently, Estonia gained international recognition and joined the League of Nations in 1921, solidifying its status as an independent nation.


Lottery of Huruslahti, 25th February 1918

The Lottery of Huruslahti (Finnish: Huruslahden arpajaiset) was a notorious massacre during the Finnish Civil War, in which approximately 90 Red Guard prisoners were executed by the White Guards following the Battle of Varkaus in 1918.

This event marked the first use of the Shoot on the Spot Declaration, which permitted the summary execution of Red leaders, agitators, and saboteurs caught in the act.

...selected victims based on known acts of violence...

The surviving Red Guard prisoners reported that the White Guards assembled all captives on the ice of Huruslahti, identified leaders first, and then every fifth prisoner for execution.

The Whites, however, contended that they selected victims based on known acts of violence rather than randomly, although many of those executed were minors who had not participated in the battle.

The condemned were separated from the others and executed in groups of five.

White Guard cavalry during a parade in Helsinki, March 1919. The White Guards were motivated by a desire to eliminate perceived threats from the Red Guards, following a military order to execute Red leaders and agitators, aiming to swiftly suppress opposition and consolidate their control.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_Guard_(Finland)

...making the executions illegal...

The legality of these executions has been widely debated. By modern standards, the event would be classified as a war crime. At the time, the White leadership was embarrassed, as there was no formal declaration of war, and the legality of the actions relied solely on a military order rather than conventional law.

The Senate categorized the victims as "armed civilians," making the executions illegal due to the absence of specific legislation authorizing the death penalty.

Additionally, Finland had not signed any international treaties on the laws of war, such as the Brussels Declaration of 1874 or the Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907. Post-war amnesty laws ultimately absolved all perpetrators from legal responsibility, further complicating the historical and legal assessment of the event.

Execution of Finnish Red Guard soldiers during Lottery of Huruslahti. The Lottery of Huruslahti is linked to historical decimation as the White Guards executed every fifth Red Guard prisoner, mirroring the ancient Roman practice of killing a fraction of a group to enforce discipline and instill fear.

"Lottery of Huruslahti". Execution of Finnish Red Guard soldiers during the civil war, 1918, town of Varkaus. : r/MorbidReality (reddit.com)


Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, 3rd March 1918

The Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, signed on March 3, 1918, between Soviet Russia and the Central Powers (Germany, Austria-Hungary, the Ottoman Empire, and Bulgaria), marked Russia's exit from World War I.

Negotiations began after the December 1917 armistice on the Eastern Front, with the treaty finalized at Brest-Litovsk (now Brest, Belarus). The Soviet delegation, initially led by Adolph Joffe and later by Leon Trotsky, faced demands from the Central Powers for the secession of occupied Russian territories.

Photocopy of the first page of Brest-Litovsk Peace Treaty between Soviet Russia and Germany, Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria and Turkey, March 1918. From left to right the columns are written in: German, Hungarian, Bulgarian, Ottoman Turkish and Russian.

Traktat brzeski 1918 - Treaty of Brest-Litovsk - Wikipedia

...Russia recognized Finnish independence and agreed to end hostilities...

Trotsky attempted to delay the talks, hoping for revolutions in Central Europe, but a renewed Central Powers offensive in February 1918 forced the Soviets to agree to peace terms.

The treaty imposed significant territorial losses on Russia, including Ukraine, Poland, Belarus, the Baltic states (Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia), and the Caucasus regions of Kars and Batum. These areas accounted for 34% of Russia's population, 54% of its industrial land, 89% of its coalfields, and 26% of its railways.

Additionally, Russia recognized Finnish independence and agreed to end hostilities with the Ukrainian People's Republic. A supplementary protocol in August 1918 obligated Russia to pay Germany six billion marks in war reparations.

Signing of the armistice between Russia and Germany on 15 December 1917. Prince Leopold of Bavaria signing the treaty.

Traktat brzeski 1918 - Treaty of Brest-Litovsk - Wikipedia

...saw Russia and Germany renounce all territorial and financial claims against each other...

The treaty was highly controversial in Russia, fueling the White movement and causing a split between the Bolsheviks and the Left Socialist-Revolutionaries, who withdrew from the Council of People's Commissars and later rebelled. The treaty was nullified by the Armistice of November 11, 1918, following Germany's surrender.

During the subsequent Russian Civil War, Soviet attempts to regain lost territories had mixed outcomes. While the Red Army was defeated in the Baltic independence wars and the Polish-Soviet War, it succeeded in reclaiming Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia, and parts of Ukraine.

The Treaty of Kars (1921) affirmed the border with Turkey, and the Treaty of Rapallo (1922) saw Russia and Germany renounce all territorial and financial claims against each other.


The Belarusian People's Republic declares independence, 25th March 1918

The Belarusian People's Republic (BNR), also known as the Belarusian Democratic Republic, was proclaimed by the Council of the Belarusian Democratic Republic in its Second Constituent Charter on the 9th March 1918, during the First World War.

The declaration of independence was made in its Third Constituent Charter on March 25, 1918, while contemporary Belarus was under occupation by the Imperial German Army.

The government of the Belarusian Democratic Republic never controlled the entire territory of Belarus. In 1919, it coexisted with the Soviet Russia-controlled Socialist Soviet Republic of Byelorussia, which later became part of the Lithuanian–Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic.

The BNR moved its seat of government to Vilnius and Hrodna but ceased to exist due to the division of Belarusian territory between the Bolshevik Red Army and the Polish Armed Forces following the Polish–Soviet War of 1919–1921.

Belarusian People's Republic postcard with coats of arms of voivodeships.

Belarusian Democratic Republic - Wikipedia

The first government of the People's Republic. Sitting, left to right: Aliaksandar BurbisJan SieradaJazep VaronkaVasil Zacharka. Standing, left to right: Arkadź SmoličPyotra KrecheuskiKastuś JezavitaŭAnton Ausianik [be]Leanard Zajac.

Belarusian Democratic Republic - Wikipedia

...a significant historical and political reference point...

Despite losing control over Belarus, the Rada (Council) of the Belarusian Democratic Republic continues to function as the oldest government in exile.

It symbolizes the enduring quest for Belarusian independence and sovereignty, maintaining its role as a representative of Belarusian national interests abroad.

The BNR's legacy persists as a significant historical and political reference point for contemporary Belarusian democratic and independence movements.


March Days Genocide, 30th March – 2nd April 1918

The March Days, or March Events, occurred between the 30th March 30 and the 2nd April 1918, in Baku and adjacent areas of the Baku Governorate.

These clashes resulted from a power struggle between the Bolsheviks, supported by the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutiun), and the Azerbaijani Musavat Party, amid rumors of a potential Muslim revolt.

The arrival of the disbanded Caucasian Native Cavalry Division in Baku sparked tensions when its commander, General Talyshinski, was arrested, leading to protests from the Azerbaijani population.

An incident involving the steamship Evelina further escalated the situation when armed former servicemen were disarmed by the Soviet forces, leading to open hostilities.

Bolshevik revolutionary Stepan Shahumyan. Shahumyan orchestrated an attack on Azerbaijani forces during the March Days of 1918 in Baku, leading to intense clashes and significant casualties.

Stepan Shaumian - Wikipedia

Muslim victims in Baku after March days. The March Days of 1918 in Baku resulted in significant casualties, with estimates of around 12,000 people, mostly Muslims, killed during the inter-ethnic clashes.

March Days - Wikipedia

...significant bloodshed and the mass killing of Muslim civilians...

On the 31st March 31, Azerbaijani protests demanding arms for Muslims were rejected by the Bolsheviks, who accused the Muslims of initiating violence and halted negotiations.

The Bolsheviks, supported by Dashnak forces, used this pretext to launch a broader attack, resulting in significant bloodshed and the mass killing of Muslim civilians.

The fighting transformed Baku into a battlefield, with trenches and barricades across the city.

The situation escalated into full-scale battles, with Armenian forces looting, burning, and killing indiscriminately in Muslim areas.

...a significant episode of ethnic and political violence...

The conflict continued until the night of April 2, when resistance ceased after extensive destruction and loss of life.

Reports vary, but contemporary sources like The New York Times estimated casualties to be between 2,000 and 12,000, highlighting the brutal and chaotic nature of the events.

The March Days are remembered as a significant episode of ethnic and political violence in the history of Baku.


End of the Marri Punitive Expedition, 8th April 1918

The operations against the Marri and Khetran tribes, known as the Marri Punitive Expedition, highlight the impact of British colonialism on the wider political landscape. This expedition, conducted between February and April 1918 in Balochistan, British India, was a response to a rebellion by the Marri tribe, who believed the British were weakened by the First World War.

Despite attempts at conciliation, the Marri attacked the British post at Gumbaz on 20 February but were repulsed by a smaller British force. Following this, the Marri occupied Kohlu, prompting the Khetran tribe to join the uprising. They captured Barkhan and raided villages and railways in the Sibi and Loralai districts.

Part of the British force returning from the conflict, passing through the hills at the southern border of Marri country. The Marri Punitive Expedition (1918) was a British military campaign in Balochistan, India against the Marri and Khetran tribes, resulting in significant tribal defeats and economic damage.

Operations against the Marri and Khetran tribes - Wikipedia

...defeated a large Marri force...

In retaliation, the British formed the Marri Field Force under Major-General Richard Wapshare, with two columns led by Brigadier-Generals T. H. Hardy and Philip Miles.

Miles defeated the Marri-Khetran forces at Fort Munro on 15 March and captured Barkhan, ending Khetran involvement.

Hardy defeated a large Marri force at Hadb on 3 April and, with support from the Royal Flying Corps, captured the Marri capital, Kahan. The Marri leader, Khair Bux Mari, surrendered on 8 April.

The Khetran chiefs surrender at Barkhan. At the end of the campaign, the Marri estimated their losses at 300 killed and 700 wounded, which represented a significant portion of their total male population of approximately 12,500.

Operations against the Marri and Khetran tribes - Wikipedia

...and incited further unrest among indigenous tribes...

The expedition resulted in significant economic damage, including a reduction in tax revenue and destruction of property.

A council of elders recommended compensation payments by the Marri and imprisonment of tribe members. The rebellion also inspired uprisings by the Mengal, Gurgnari, and Musakhel tribes, which were suppressed by the Marri Field Force.

This campaign underscores the broader implications of British colonialism, demonstrating how military actions disrupted local governance and incited further unrest among indigenous tribes.


Union of Bessarabia with Romania, 9th April 1918

The Union of Bessarabia with Romania was proclaimed on the 9th April 1918, by Sfatul Țării, the legislative body of the Moldavian Democratic Republic.

This region, originally part of the Russian Empire since the Treaty of Bucharest in 1812, underwent significant demographic changes under Russian rule, with native Tatars being replaced by Moldavians, Wallachians, Bulgarians, Ukrainians, Greeks, Russians, and others.

Russia's efforts to integrate Bessarabia included imposing the Russian language and limiting education in native languages.

1918 map of the region. On the 9th April 1918, Bessarabia's Sfatul Țării proclaimed its union with Romania, marking a significant territorial and political shift following Russian rule and the First World War.

Union of Bessarabia with Romania - Wikipedia

...the dissolution of the assembly and dismissal of former deputies' protests...

The First World War and the Russian Revolution in 1917 heightened national awareness among Bessarabians. Subsequently, Bessarabia declared its own parliament, Sfatul Țării, and the Moldavian Democratic Republic.

With Romanian military intervention securing the region, Sfatul Țării declared independence and voted for unification with Romania on the 9th April 1918.

Although initial unification terms included several conditions, only the promise of agrarian reform was fulfilled, leading to the dissolution of the assembly and dismissal of former deputies' protests by the Romanian administration.

Post-First World War peace talks awarded Bessarabia to Romania, but the Russian SSR and the United States did not recognize this decision.

...led to Soviet occupation and the eventual incorporation...

The situation changed with the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact between the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany, which allowed the USSR to issue an ultimatum to Romania on the 28th June 1940, demanding Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina.

Romania's acceptance led to Soviet occupation and the eventual incorporation of Bessarabia into the Ukrainian SSR and the new Moldavian SSR.

The Moldavian SSR gained independence in 1991 as Moldova, and a minority movement advocating for reunification with Romania persists, commemorating the union on the 27th March as the Day of the Union of Bessarabia with Romania.


Formation of the Transcaucasian Democratic Federative Republic, 22nd April 1918

The Transcaucasian Democratic Federative Republic (TDFR) was a short-lived state in the Caucasus, existing from 22nd April to the 28th May 1918.

It encompassed present-day Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia, as well as parts of Russia and Turkey.

The TDFR dissolved quickly, with Georgia declaring independence first, followed by Armenia and Azerbaijan.

Previously part of the Russian Empire, the region was governed by the Special Transcaucasian Committee (Ozakom) after the 1917 February Revolution.

Following the Bolshevik rise in the October Revolution, the Transcaucasian Commissariat replaced Ozakom.

A 1918 map of the Caucasus by the British Army. The highlighted sections show the successor states of the TDFR, which claimed roughly the same territory.

Transcaucasian Democratic Federative Republic - Wikipedia

...the Commissariat dissolved itself...

Akaki Chkhenkeli, Prime Minister of the Transcaucasian Democratic Federative Republic

Akaki Chkhenkeli - Wikipedia

In March 1918, amid World War I, the Commissariat attempted peace talks with the invading Ottoman Empire. These talks failed as the Ottomans did not recognize the Commissariat's authority.

The Treaty of Brest-Litovsk ceded parts of the Transcaucasus to the Ottomans, prompting their further invasion.

In response, the Commissariat dissolved itself on the 22nd April 1918, establishing the TDFR as an independent state.

A legislature, the Seim, was formed to negotiate with the Ottomans, who recognized the new state immediately.

However, differing goals among Armenians, Azerbaijanis, and Georgians quickly undermined the TDFR. Renewed Ottoman offensives in May 1918 further strained the federation.

...effectively ending the federation...

On May 26, Georgian delegates declared the TDFR unviable and proclaimed the Democratic Republic of Georgia.

Following this, the Republic of Armenia and Azerbaijan Democratic Republic declared independence on May 28, effectively ending the federation.

Due to its brief existence, the TDFR is largely overlooked in the region's national histories and is mainly considered a preliminary step towards the establishment of independent states.

Boundaries of the TFDR from April 1918 and the new states as they came into existence in May 1918.

Vladimer Shioshvili

(6) Who wanted the TDFR? The making and the breaking of the Transcaucasian Democratic Federative Republic | adrian Brisku - Academia.edu


Conscription Crisis of 1918, 23rd April 1918

The Conscription Crisis of 1918 emerged when the British government attempted to impose conscription in Ireland during the First World War. Vigorous opposition was led by trade unions, Irish nationalist parties, and Roman Catholic clergy.

Though a conscription law was passed, it was never enforced, and no one in Ireland was drafted into the British Army. The proposal and subsequent backlash significantly bolstered support for Irish separatist political parties, influencing the events leading up to the Irish War of Independence.

During the German Spring Offensive of 1918, the British Army faced severe troop shortages. To address this, Prime Minister David Lloyd George's coalition government proposed extending conscription to Ireland through a new Military Service Bill.

Despite large voluntary enlistment from Ireland at the war's onset, the prospect of enforced conscription incited a strong backlash.

The British government's dual policy linking conscription with the implementation of the Home Rule Bill alienated both Irish nationalists and unionists. The Irish Parliamentary Party (IPP) and other nationalist groups vehemently opposed conscription and left Westminster in protest to mobilize resistance in Ireland.

Ireland's Solemn League and Covenant Pledge 1918, with portraits of Bishops Conference and Mansion House Committee members. On 18 April 1918, a conference held in the Mansion House Dublin, was attended by a wide range of organisations. A coalition emerged from this meeting and formed an effective anti-conscription movement. The document shows portraits of Bishops Conference and Mansion House Committee members.

Conscription Crisis of 1918 - Wikipedia

British soldiers carrying their wounded comrades, 1914/1915. The British experienced a conscription crisis in 1918 due to their attempt to enforce military draft in Ireland. The British needed to conscript the Irish in 1918 because the British Army was dangerously short of troops on the Western Front during the First World War, especially after heavy losses in the German Spring Offensive, necessitating additional manpower.

British soldiers carrying their wounded comrades. ca.1914-1918 [2493×2067] (colorized) : r/HistoryPorn (reddit.com)

The opposition movement, including an Anti-Conscription Committee and widespread strikes, culminated in a one-day general strike on the 23rd  April  1918, which brought various sectors to a standstill. Although the conscription law passed, it was never implemented due to strong and united Irish opposition.

The crisis, however, led to increased support for Sinn Féin, significantly contributing to their victory in the 1918 general election. This victory set the stage for the formation of the first Dáil Éireann and the subsequent Irish War of Independence, reshaping the political landscape of Ireland.


Mountainous Republic of the Northern Caucasus established, 11th May 1918

The Mountainous Republic of the Northern Caucasus (MRNC), also known as the United Republics of the North Caucasus, Mountain Republic, or the Republic of the Mountaineers, was a state in Eurasia that existed from 1918 to 1919 during the Russian Civil War.

It emerged as a coalition of various Caucasian ethnic groups, including the Abkhazians, Abazins, Circassians, Chechens, Karachays, Ossetians, Balkars, Ingush, and Dagestanis.

Territories controlled by the Mountain Republic.

Mountainous Republic of the Northern Caucasus - Wikipedia

The MRNC encompassed the former territories of Terek Oblast and Dagestan Oblast of the Russian Empire.

These areas now correspond to the present-day republics of Chechnya, Ingushetia, North Ossetia–Alania, Kabardino-Balkaria, Dagestan, and parts of Stavropol Krai in the Russian Federation.

Covering approximately 430,874 square kilometers (166,361 sq mi), the MRNC had a population of around 11.2 million. Its capital moved from Vladikavkaz to Nazran, and finally to Temir-Khan-Shura.

The MRNC declared independence from the Russian Empire following the February Revolution and before the Russian Civil War.

The Russian Volunteer Army captured the state in 1919, leading to its dissolution. In September 1919, the North Caucasian Emirate was declared as the successor to the Mountain Republic.

Tapa Abdul Mejid Tchermoev, Prime Minister of the Mountainous Republic of the Northern Caucasus, 11 May 1918 – December 1918. 

However, Soviet Russia captured the area in August 1920, which sparked an uprising.

In April 1921, the Bolsheviks established the Mountain Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic within the RSFSR, but resistance continued until 1925.


Democratic Republic of Georgia established, 26th May 1918

The Democratic Republic of Georgia (DRG) was the first modern republic of Georgia, existing from May 1918 to February 1921.

It emerged after the Russian Revolution of 1917, which led to the collapse of the Russian Empire, enabling former Russian territories to declare independence. Unlike Bolshevik Russia, DRG was governed by a moderate, multi-party system led by the Georgian Social Democratic Party (Mensheviks).

Map of borders submitted by the Democratic Republic of Georgia to the Paris Peace Conference in 1921.

Democratic Republic of Georgia - Wikipedia

Initially a protectorate of the German Empire, DRG faced partial British occupation after Germany's defeat in the First World War.

British troops were stationed to counter a potential Bolshevik invasion but left in 1920 following the Treaty of Moscow, where Russia recognized Georgia's independence in exchange for DRG not hosting anti-Russian forces.

Without Western European support, the Bolshevik Red Army invaded in February 1921, leading to DRG's defeat and the establishment of Soviet rule by March. The Georgian government, led by Prime Minister Noe Zhordania, relocated to France, continuing in exile.

France, Britain, Belgium, and Poland recognized this government as the legitimate authority of Georgia until the 1930s when Soviet dominance rendered continued recognition impractical.

Noe Zhordania, the chairman of the second and the third government of the Republic.

Democratic Republic of Georgia - Wikipedia

Fragments of the Constitution of Georgia adopted by the Constituent Assembly of Georgia on 21st February 1921.

საქართველოს ეროვნული არქივი (archive.gov.ge)

...one of the first European nations to grant women the right to vote...

Despite its brief existence, DRG remains an inspiration for modern Georgia due to its democratic and pluralistic legacy.

It was one of the first European nations to grant women the right to vote, a right enshrined in its constitution. DRG also elected women to its parliament and included representatives from diverse ethnic backgrounds, including Germans, Russians, Armenians, Azerbaijanis, and Jews.

Additionally, DRG established Georgia's first university, fulfilling a longstanding aspiration of Georgian intellectuals previously thwarted by Imperial Russian rule. 


First Republic of Armenia declares independence, 28th May 1918

The First Republic of Armenia, known as the Republic of Armenia, was an independent state from May 1918 to December 1920. Established after the dissolution of the Transcaucasian Democratic Federative Republic, it was the first Armenian state since the Middle Ages, with Yerevan as its capital.

Initially, Armenia controlled a small area around Lake Sevan due to an Ottoman invasion during the Caucasus campaign. After the Armistice of Mudros, Armenia expanded its borders, leading to a brief border conflict with Georgia.

The first winter was harsh, with hundreds of thousands of genocide refugees dying from starvation or exposure.

In spring 1919, with British support, Armenia incorporated Kars and Nakhchivan, tripling its size. However, control over these regions was lost during Muslim uprisings in the summer of 1919.

The Declaration of Independence of Armenia, 1918. 

First Republic of Armenia 1918-1920 - Armenian-History.com

Official map of the First Republic presented at the Paris Peace Conference.

First Republic of Armenia - Wikipedia

...Turkish forces invaded, leading to Armenia's partition and sovietisation by the Russian SFSR...

Republic of Armenia passport issued in Constantinople to two teenagers entering Canada in 1920.

Image scanned from "Polyphony: The Bulletin of the Multicultural History Society of Ontario - Armenians in Ontario, Fall/Winter 1982, Vol.4, No. 2"

By late 1919, Zangezur was attacked by Azerbaijan, and in March 1920, an Armenian uprising in Nagorno-Karabakh ended with its sovietisation in April.

In August 1920, the Treaty of Sèvres promised Armenia an additional 40,000 square miles in Western Armenia, but it was never implemented.

Later in 1920, Turkish forces invaded, leading to Armenia's partition and sovietisation by the Russian SFSR, which established the Armenian Soviet Socialist Republic. An anti-Bolshevik revolt occurred from February to July 1921.

During its brief existence, Armenia established diplomatic relations with 40 countries, gained de jure recognition, held parliamentary elections, and founded its first university.

The government was dominated by the Dashnak party (ARF), though initial cabinet positions were shared with the Armenian Populist Party and Social Revolutionaries.

The Armenian delegation at the Paris Peace Conference, headed by Avetis Aharonyan's cabinet. Standing from left to right: Simon Hakobian, Simon Narinian, Artavazd Hanmian, Hamazasp Ohanjanian, Manuk Hambardzumian, Garegin Pastrmajian and Zatik Matikian. Sitting from left to right: Levon Shant, Astvatsatur Khachatrian, Nikol Matinian, Avetis Aharonian, Armenak Barseghian and Hakob Nevruz.

First Republic of Armenia - Wikipedia


Azerbaijan Democratic Republic declares independence, 28th May 1918.

The Azerbaijan Democratic Republic (ADR), also known as the Azerbaijan People's Republic, was the first secular democratic republic in the Turkic and Muslim worlds. Founded by the Azerbaijani National Council in Tiflis on the 28th May 1918, after the collapse of the Transcaucasian Democratic Federative Republic, the ADR existed until April 28, 1920.

Its borders were with Russia to the north, Georgia to the northwest, Armenia to the west, and Iran to the south, with a population of around 3 million. Ganja served as the temporary capital since Baku was under Bolshevik control. The name "Azerbaijan" was chosen by the leading Musavat party for political reasons, despite historically referring to a region in northwestern Iran.

Map of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic with territorial claims and disputed areas. The Azerbaijan Democratic Republic, founded in 1918, was the first secular democratic republic in the Muslim world, granting women equal rights and establishing Baku State University before its 1920 Sovietisation.

User:Golden - Wikimedia Commons

...One of the ADR's significant achievements was granting women equal political rights...

A founder and Speaker of the Republic, Mammad Amin Rasulzade is widely regarded as the national leader of Azerbaijan.

Azerbaijan Democratic Republic - Wikipedia

The ADR established a parliamentary government based on universal, free, and proportionate representation, with the Parliament being the supreme state authority and the Council of Ministers accountable to it. Fatali Khan Khoyski became the first prime minister.

The parliament included members from various parties such as Musavat, Ahrar, Ittihad, and Muslim Social Democrats, as well as representatives from Armenian, Russian, Polish, German, and Jewish minorities.

Many parliament members supported Pan-Islamist and Pan-Turkist ideas.

One of the ADR's significant achievements was granting women equal political rights, making Azerbaijan one of the first countries globally and the first majority-Muslim nation to do so.

Additionally, the ADR founded Baku State University, the first modern university in Azerbaijan, marking another major accomplishment during its brief existence.


Committee of Members of the Constituent Assembly, 8th June 1918

The Russian Constituent Assembly was an elected body tasked with drafting a new constitution for post-revolutionary Russia. Elections were held in November 1917, with the Socialist-Revolutionary Party winning the majority.

However, the Bolsheviks, who gained significant support in urban areas, saw the Assembly as a threat to their power.

On the 5th January 1918, the Assembly convened but was dissolved by the Bolsheviks the next day, after just one session.

This dissolution led to widespread discontent and contributed to the Russian Civil War, as various anti-Bolshevik groups, including the Committee of Members of the Constituent Assembly (Komuch), sought to restore democratic governance.

Viktor Deni’s propaganda poster, ‘Constituent Assembly’, suggesting bourgeois corruption.

The Constituent Assembly (alphahistory.com)

In response, anti-Bolshevik factions formed the Committee of Members of the Constituent Assembly (Komuch) on the 8th June 1918, in Samara, following the city's occupation by the Czechoslovak Legion. Komuch aimed to represent the now defunct Russian Constituent Assembly, which had been dissolved by the Bolsheviks.

Viktor Chernov, a prominent Socialist-Revolutionary leader, was instrumental in the Russian Constituent Assembly, advocating for democratic reforms. After its dissolution by the Bolsheviks, he influenced the formation of the Committee of Members of the Constituent Assembly (Komuch), seeking to restore democratic governance during the Russian Civil War.

Chernov, the minister who failed to give land to the peasants - Russia Beyond - United Kingdom (rbth.com)

...the highest authority in Russia...

Initially, Komuch comprised five Socialist-Revolutionaries: Vladimir Vol'skii (chairman), Ivan Brushvit, Prokopiy Klimushkin, Boris Fortunatov, and Ivan Nesterov.

They proclaimed themselves the highest authority in Russia, reinstating various democratic freedoms, including an eight-hour workday and the legalization of trade unions and factory committees.

Soviet decrees were nullified, and industries returned to their previous owners, allowing for private enterprise.

Initial members of the committee. From left to right: Ivan Brushvit, Prokopiy Klimushkin, Boris Fortunatov, Vladimir Volsky (chairman) and Ivan Nesterov.

Committee of Members of the Constituent Assembly - Wikipedia

...the restoration of democratic institutions and freedoms...

Komuch grew as former Constituent Assembly members arrived in Samara, reaching 96 members by September 1918. Brushvit persuaded the Czechoslovak Legion to support their cause, and Komuch announced the restoration of democratic institutions and freedoms, albeit while providing opportunities for landowners to reclaim confiscated lands.

They established the People's Army to protect property and mobilize support.

From June to August 1918, Komuch expanded its influence into the provinces of Simbirsk, Kazan, Ufa, and Saratov.

However, in September, the People's Army faced significant defeats by the Soviet Red Army, losing control of key territories.

Komuch participated in the State Conference in Ufa with the Provisional Siberian Government, establishing the short-lived Provisional All-Russian Government.

However, following Admiral Aleksandr Kolchak's coup in November 1918, General Vladimir Kappel dissolved Komuch and other provisional institutions, marking the end of Komuch's influence.


Signing of the Armistice, 11th November 1918

In the final months of the First World War, the tide of the conflict shifted dramatically, marking the beginning of the end for the Central Powers and ultimately leading to the signing of the Armistice.

As the year 1918 progressed, a series of pivotal events unfolded, shaping the course of the war and setting the stage for its conclusion.

One of the most significant turning points came with the Allied Hundred Days Offensive, launched in August 1918.

German prisoners of war during the First World War.

Imperial War Museum

This massive coordinated offensive, led primarily by British, French, and American forces, inflicted heavy losses on the German army and steadily pushed them back along the Western Front.

..."Black Day of the German Army."..

The Allies achieved numerous decisive victories, including the Battle of Amiens in August, often described as the "Black Day of the German Army," due to the substantial German casualties and the significant territorial gains made by the Allies.

French cavalry cross a stream during the Battle of the Somme, 1916.

https://www.historydefined.net/color-photos-wwi/

...further eroded Germany's position...

The momentum of the Allied advance continued to build throughout September and October, with a series of successful offensives that further weakened German defences and morale.

The Battle of Cambrai and the breaking of the Hindenburg Line were among the key milestones during this period, underscoring the relentless pressure exerted by the Allied forces.

Meanwhile, on the Eastern Front, the collapse of the Central Powers' ally, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, further eroded Germany's position.

The disintegration of the Austro-Hungarian state led to a swift Allied advance into the Balkans and the eventual surrender of Austria-Hungary in early November 1918.

A German prisoner and a wounded British soldier lighting cigarettes at an advanced dressing station. Epehy, France, 1918. Colorised by Julius Colorization.

27 Stunning Photos of World War One in Color (historydefined.net)

https://www.instagram.com/julius.colorization/

...a dramatic shift in the balance of power...

By early November, the situation for Germany had become increasingly untenable.

The exhaustion of its military resources, combined with internal unrest and the threat of revolution at home, forced German leaders to seek an end to the war.

Negotiations for an armistice began, culminating in the signing of the Armistice of Compiègne on the 11th November 1918, effectively ending hostilities on the Western Front.

The last few months of the ‘Great War’ witnessed a dramatic shift in the balance of power, as Allied offensives and internal turmoil within the Central Powers hastened the end of the conflict, bringing an end to one of the deadliest conflicts in human history.

Celebrations in the U.S. following the end of the First World War. - Soldiers and civilians waving the Union Jack and stars and stripes.

https://www.reddit.com/r/HistoryPorn/comments/9vtpkc/this_sunday_marks_100_years_since_the_armistice/


Further reading