<– Part 183 – January 20, 1918 | Part 184 – January 27, 1918 | Part 185 – February 3, 1918 –>

On January 20, an Ottoman fleet, led by a battlecruiser and light cruiser, sunk two unescorted British monitors near Imbros in the Aegean sea, but then sailed into a minefield, sinking the light cruiser and disabling the battlecruiser – a stunning victory immediately changed into a stunning defeat.

At Galati, following heavy Russian artillery fire, the Romanian launched a counter-attack January 22 using their own artillery, gunboats, rifles, and bayonets. The Russians capitulated later in the day, were disarmed, and sent home. Fighting continues throughout the country between the two erstwhile allies, with the worst earlier today at Faltceni, where nearly 100 Romanians and 600 Russians were casualties.

In Russia itself, fighting is increasing between the Bolsheviks seeking to centralize power, loyalists to the czar, and soviets declaring their own independence (encouraged in part by a Bolshevik declaration supposedly allowing them to be independent). The first soviet to declare independence, Finland, is now stuck in its own civil war.

<– Part 182 – January 13, 1918  | Part 183 – January 20, 1918 |  Part 184 – January 27, 1918 –>

Although forces in most areas continue to observe a lull, the Russian-Romanian tension has escalated to open warfare between the two formerly-allied parties. At the Romanian city of Galați, Russian forces attempting to desert the front have opened fire on the civilian center with artillery, as the heavily-outnumbered Romanians attempt to stop their rampage through the area, with minimal success in halting them.

<– Part 181 – January 6, 1918  | Part 182 – January 13, 1918 |  Part 183 – January 20, 1918 –>

Two opposing views of the reality of Wilson’s speech

Two opposing views of the reality of Wilson’s speech

US President Woodrow Wilson delivered a speech to the US Congress on January 8, outlining 14 points upon which a European speech should be established. Widely viewed positively by the Allies (although some question the idealism of Wilson), it is also seen as a like-response to Lenin’s Decree on Peace last November, and was similar to a statement made by the British last week.

The 14 Points can be divided into three main divisions: the first regarding lasting peace, the second regarding specific territorial issues among the combatants, and the third an establishment of an international peacekeeping force.

The first five points call for public treaties (thus preventing the secret alliances that dragged many nations into the war), freedom of international ocean navigation and trade, reduction of nations’ weapons of war, and colonial self-determination of sovereignty.

Points 6-13 call for all Russian, Belgian, French, Italian, southern Europe territories occupied by Germany and her allies to be returned (including the portion of France taken by Prussia in 1871 and portions of Austria-Hungary with a dominant Italian population), self-determination of the people of Austria-Hungary and Turkey, and the establishment of an independent Polish state with access to the Baltic sea (which would split Germany in half, as Prussia would be isolated from the rest of the Germanic peoples).

Finally a loose coalition of nations, the “League of Nations,” should be established to enforce the preceding principles, as well as provide a venue for nations to peacefully negotiate conflicts with the support of an international body.

It has been well received by the Allies (although French Prime Minister George Clemenceau lamented that God only had 10 Commandments), and elements of the Central Powers government, including the German Imperial Chancellor Prince Maximilian of Baden, view it as a just, non-punitive peace and support an immediate armistice. Others, more cynically, see it as “one more scrap to the diplomatic waste paper basket,” as former US President Theodore Roosevelt put it.

In Russia, fighting between Bolsheviks, other leftists, and forces loyal to the imperial family continue.

In Romania, tensions between Romanian forces and the Russian soldiers there continue to increase. Russian forces, embracing Bolshevik ideals of equality, have been executing officers, becoming brigands, and looting, pillaging, and raping throughout the Romanian countryside. Russian forces are being sent back to Russia on trains, as more and more divisions leave the front. Local Romanian gendarmerie patrol behind the front lines to eliminate bands of Russian soldiers roaming around.

<– Part 180 – December 30, 1917  | Part 181 – January 6, 1918 |  Part 182 – January 13, 1918 –>

The new year has brought relative stagnation in the military theaters, although the political theater in Russia continues to see the Bolsheviks under Vladimir Lenin consolidate their control over the nations. All military titles, ranks, decorations, and even saluting has been prohibited and removed as the equality of man is forced upon the people. On January 2, a new secret police organization, the Cheka, was formed by Lenin to further the aims of the new Soviets.