<– Part 187 – February 17, 1918 | Part 188 – February 24, 1918 | Part 189 – March 3, 1918 –>

Turkish trenches at the Dead Sea

Australian Light Horse Regiment advancing down a hill

Negotiations have broken down between the Central Powers and Russia, with Germany & Austria-Hungary demanding full annexation of all occupied territories, and the Soviet leadership countering that they consider the war over and negotiations finished. On February 18, the day after the ceasefire was to have lapsed, a major Central Powers offensive was launched, and captured several key cities in the last week, including Pskov, Minsk, and Zhitomir. German forces are now within 100 miles of Petrograd, the Soviet capital, and the Soviets have moved their headquarters to Moscow. The German advance has met little resistance, and has primarily been conducted on trains using Russian railroads, from point to point.

In Palestine, the winter pause allowed the British to consolidate their positions; now, fearing the possibility of a flanking attack on the right, General Allenby launched an attack towards Jericho on February 19. Following several days of fighting though hills, cliffs, valleys, and rivers, British forces entered Jericho the morning of February 21. The British line stretches from the Dead Sea and Jordan river to the Mediterranean.

<– Part 186 – February 10, 1918  | Part 187 – February 17, 1918 |  Part 188 – February 24, 1918 –>

French sub Bernoulli

US President Woodrow Wilson delivered his “Four Principles” speech to the US Congress on February 11, further outlining his ideal terms for peace. They were, in summary: 1) All part of the final settlement should be solely focused on preserving peace within its context, 2) “people and provinces” will not be used as “mere chattel” in the peace context, moving from party to party, 3) all territorial settlements should ultimately benefit the citizens of the territory, and not national interests, and 4) all settlements should be used to benefit all nations involved, and avoid heavy punishment, as much as possible, to prevent another breakdown of peace.

On February 13, the French submarine Bernoulli was sunk in the Adriatic Sea after hitting a mine.

On Europe’s Eastern Front, Polish forces within the Austro-Hungarian army, dissatisfied by last week’s Treaty of Brest-Litovsk because of its failure to establish a Polish state, and especially upset by the transfer of Chelm province (heavily inhabited by Poles), mutinied en masse on February 15, attempting to cross the front lines to join Russia’s Polish First Army Corps. Although some of the Polish Legionnaires made it, many were captured by their Austro-Hungarian neighbors, who captured nearly 4,000 of them. Trials will begin soon, although Austro-Hungarian Emperor Charles is expected to delay them until the war’s conclusion.

<– Part 185 – February 3, 1918  | Part 186 – February 10, 1918 |  Part 187 – February 17, 1918 –>

Signing the treaty

Austro-Hungarian forces entering Ukraine following the treaty’s signing

After a Bolshevik delegation entered Ukraine & took Kiev last month to support the local soviet, the Central Powers signed a treaty with the Ukrainian People’s Republic on February 9 at Brest-Litovsk, outlining the terms of peace, which included territorial boundaries favoring Germany and Austria-Hungary, abrogation of war reparations for both sides, and allowances for Central Powers supply lines within Ukraine to be secured by German and Austro-Hungarian forces. This latter point has been seen as an occupation; further negotiations with Austria-Hungary regarding a unified Ukrainian province in exchange for grain and other supplies has met with fierce opposition from Polish residents of the empire, who have received no such territory of their own.

<– Part 184 – January 27, 1918  | Part 185 – February 3, 1918 |  Part 186 – February 10, 1918 –>

Ukrainian People’s Republic and Central Powers delegates during a break in negotiations earlier this week

Although the conflicts between Russia & Romania, as well as the simmering Russian Civil War, continue to grind along, the major belligerents remain in their camps, awaiting the various Spring offensives no doubt being planned at this time.

Delegates from the Central Powers have been meeting with representatives of the Ukrainian People’s Republic (a Soviet propped up by Russia), regarding the terms of peace between their respective nations.