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Why did Russia exit World War I?

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Answered 2011-09-13 23:11:34
World War 2Russia did not exit the war. They pressed forward in Europe until they had vanquished Germany and all her allies, except for Italy which was conquered by the western allies.

Russian/Soviet units defeated the German, Finnish, Hungarian, and Romanian armies. Once they had defeated the military units of these nations they set up puppet governments and began systematic exploitation of their conquests throughout east Europe.

Additionally the Soviets took advantage of weakened Japanese forces in the Far East in summer 1945. These Japanese units were quickly routed by the vastly superior armored forces of the Soviets.

World War 1Russia exited WWI due to internal strife. Militarily they had mainly served as a major nuisance to the Austrian, German, and Turkish armies during 1914-16. By 1917 the Russian ability to continue the war was waning. Russia lacked the internal transport and industrial base to support a long war and after three years, their power was spent.

Additionally Russia had a despotic government, arguably the most oppressive on the planet. Nonetheless, the western Democracies of France and Britain preferred this tyranical Dictatorship to the cultured and civilized German nation. Thus they allied themselves to Russia and sent what aid they could. Much aid did reach Russia, albeit not enough for them to stay in the war. Additionally, much of these supplies sat rotting in the arrival ports as the Russians lacked the logistical ability to disperse them.

Russian military leadership was lacking during the war. Instead of seeking quality leaders through proven battle experience, as did the Germans and French, the Russians promoted via political connection. The Czar himself, hardly a military wizzard, stayed near the front and made many important military decisions.

Thus with the military situation in deterioration, the economy in shambles, and the people resentful at the lack of civil liberties, the nation was ripe for revolution. Germany saw the opportunity to eliminate the Russians as a military foe and did what they could to encourage the total collapse of the central Russian government.

The Russian revolutionary Lenin, long in political exile in Switzerland, was spirited across Europe in a sealed train by the German government. His arrival in St. Petersburg quickly escalted an already volative situation into outright revolt. The Czar was forced to abdicate, the monarchy destroyed, and the military largely went AWOL.

Instead of signing a peace treaty with Germany/Austria the new Russian 'government' just decided to stop the fighting. German units wished a more formal end of the conflict so they pressed forward, occupying parts of the Ukraine and Latvia. Not wishing to see further territorial losses, the Russians at last agreed to sign a treaty with Germany ending the fighitng.

The treaty, signed in the city of Brest-Litovsk, was amazingly lenient on the Russians. Basically the Germans just asked the Russians to stop killing German troops and to give up a few colonial possessions in the west. The liberated colonies included Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, and Ukraine. The Soviets took most of these lost lands back in the 1930's but eventually all were freed during the Soviet collapse in the 1990's. Russia was allowed to keep all her vast colonial empire in central and East Asia. No reparations were required. The country was not stripped of dignity by being forced to accept responsiblity for the war. Although the Germans did loot some grain supplies from Ukraine, there was no systematic attempt to deny the Russian population basic food supplies.

When Germany herself collapsed under similar circumstances a year later, the western allies were far more brutal in their demands. 100% of German colonies were stripped away. Vast reparations, largest in human history, were demanded. The nation was demobilized, forced to accept 100% responsiblity for the war, and financially looked by the theft of all patents and trademarks. In Europe huge territorial concessions were forced on Germany leaving large German minorities scattered among their neighboring countries. To enforce the acceptance of these terms, the British continued an inhumane food embargo on Germany for more than a year after the fighting had stopped, this leading to the deaths of approximately one million German infants via starvation. The primary German allies, Austria-Hungary and Turkey, were even more brutallly realligned territorially.

The western Allies brutal treatment of Germany left a power vacuum in central Europe. The Russian revolution, early on a quite populist movement with great potential, quickly degenerated into a regime even more terrible than that of the Czars. Of course, France/Britain were quick to warm to this new terrorist state rather than accept Germany back into a leadership role in Europe, leading quickly to a second world war.

Why Russia pulled out of WW1Russia's industrial base at the time was weak and not really able to cope with a long and hard-fought war. In March 1917 there was a broadly based revolution which ousted the tsar but continued the war. There was an overwhelming desire to pull out: Russia had been defeated. In November 1917 the Bolshevists seized power and took Russia out of WW1.

The Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, imposed on Russia by Germany, was savage. Nearly all the non-Russian western parts of the Russian Empire, such as the Ukraine, became German (or Austrian) puppet states and Russia had to pay reparations.

After the defeat of Germany in France the treaty became meaningless.


Comment"Nonetheless, the western Democracies of France and Britain preferred this tyranical dictatorship to the cultured and civilized German nation."

Alliances are almost entirely based on (perceived) common interests, not on preferences. One needs to take a realistic view of these things. Consider some of the bizarre alliances made during the Cold War.

Moreover, the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk was extremely harsh.

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