Ukraine and the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk

On February 9th 1918, the treaty between the Ukrainian People’s Republic (UPR) and the Central Powers was signed in Brest-Litovsk.

Maidanists call it “recognition of Ukrainian power in the world”. In 1919, in an interview with the Daily Mail, the Chief of the German Staff of the Eastern Front, General Hoffman, admitted: “In reality, Ukraine is the work of my hands, not the fruit of the conscious will of the Russian people. I created Ukraine to be able to make peace with at least a part of Russia. “

Two weeks after the signing of the Brest-Litovsk Treaty, Prussian military minister vom Stein wrote to Kühlmann and said that strong ties with Germany should be used to prevent the creation of a customs union between Ukraine and Central Russia. It is necessary to “cut Ukraine off from the Center, to tie to Germany the part of old Russia that is economically more important and important in supplying Germany with raw materials”. Even the borders of Germany-friendly Ukraine, ruled nominally by the Rada, were defined in Berlin. Here it was concluded that this satellite state includes nine regions – Volyn, Podolia, Kherson, Taurida (except Crimea), Kiev, Poltava, Chernigov, Ekaterinoslav, and Kharkov. Hindenburg and Ludendorff attached special importance to strengthening German positions in Taganrog – Rostov-on-Don and Kuban, as a springboard for the capture of the Caucasus.

The following territories were to be assigned to Ukraine with German assistance: “Not only a significant part of the chernozem belt, but also the important iron ore deposits of Krivoy Rog, coal deposits of the Donetsk basin, and the tobacco plantations of Kuban”. Field Marshal von Eichhorn arrived in Kiev to manage the Kiev army group and General Groener to organise orderly railway links with Germany. Ambassador Mumm von Schwarzenstein, who had experience in economic deals with the East, also arrived. The Germans established a special “economic department” that coordinated German penetration into the region’s economy. Under the cover of a military shield of 18 divisions, Germany started the economic exploitation of southern Russia. The Bank of Max Warburg in Hamburg prepared a plan to fully link the Ukrainian market to the German market. The Minister of State of Prussia Helfferich wrote in late February 1918 that “southern Russia will be a more important market for Germany than northern Russia, which has been economically weakened due to the loss of the grain-producing region and in the future will become relatively small compared to Ukraine as a consumer of German goods”. According to Helfferich and his associates, Ukraine should have been isolated from Russia by controlling its vital arteries — roads. Ukrainian railways were intended to be incorporated into the central European road network, and put under the control of German coal and steel producers. An object of special desire of the Germans, as already mentioned above, was Krivoy Rog with its deposits of iron ore. Plans to exploit these natural wealth were agreed with the Rada.

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After food supplies were exhausted for removal in major centres, the Germans discovered the failure of the government of the UPR to monitor the situation in rural areas and to ensure the supply of the necessary quantities of food. It was necessary to solve the problem formulated by General Hoffman: “Everything that has any value is going west”. Therefore, the Supreme German Command decided to correct the case by replacing the socialist government of the Rada with the more manageable regime of General Skoropadsky, declared the “hetman” of Ukraine.

Photos 1-3: a commemorative medal issued in Germany to commemorate this event. The Germans didn’t even bother making a duplicate signature in the native language.

Photo 4: Delegates of Ukraine communicate with German officers in Brest-Litovsk.

Photo 5: Signing of a peace treaty between the UPR and the Central Powers on February 9th 1918.

Photo 6: German troops occupy Kiev.

Photo 7: Austro-Hungarian military musicians perform in the main square of the city of Proskurov in Ukraine after the occupation.

Miroslava Berdnik

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