Napoleon III, Bismarck and the Brest Peace. Essay

Napoleon III, Bismarck and the Brest Peace. Essay

We can see two lines of events connecting  Napoleon III and the Brest Peace.

The first line of events. (It includes, in addition, Otto von Bismarck).

“The Government of the Commune, represented by Cluseret, tried to enter into negotiations with the German occupation authorities, trying to ensure their neutrality. Bismarck, breaking the resistance of William I, went to these negotiations [April 1871]. ” (The History of Diplomacy. - Section Four. Diplomacy in the New Time (1789-1871) (Prof. A. Efimov, A. L. Narochnitsky, Academician E. Tarle, Professor V. M. Khvostov) )

In this historical plot we can see:

1. The overthrow of the emperor of France, Napoleon III (September 4, 1870),
2. The creation of a "republican" Versailles government,
3. The creation of a "revolutionary" "proletarian" Paris Commune,
4. The conclusion of the peace treaty by the post-imperial (Versailles) government with the  Germany (May 10, 1871).

The years 1870-1871 and 1917-1918 are separated by a historical period of approximately 46 years.

In Russia in 1917-1918 we observe:

1. The deprivation of authority (in fact - the overthrow) of Emperor Nicholas II (February 1917),
2. The creation of a "republican" "interim" government,
3. The creation of a “people's” government - the Petrograd Soviet, who after October 1917 turned out into the Council of People's Commissars (plus the Congress of Soviets, plus the All-Russian Central Executive Committee) - the "revolutionary" "proletarian" government,
4. Conclusion by the post-imperial ("Soviet") government of the peace treaty with Germany (Brest Peace, March 3, 1918).

Apparently, the historical experience and management skills of the Prussian (German) military-diplomatic and bureaucratic elite played a role in the events of 1917 - 1918 on the Eastern Front and in Russia.

The second line of events.

If you look at the historical circumstances from the outside and without emotions, it should be recognized that the Paris Peace Treaty (1856), which ended the Crimean War of 1853 - 1856, and the Portsmouth Peace Treaty (1905), which ended the Russo-Japanese War of 1904 - 1905, did not lead to catastrophic consequences for Russia.

At the same time, both the Paris Peace Treaty (1856) and the Portsmouth Peace Treaty (1905) helped to gain experience both the ruling elite of Russia and the broad layers of the Russian population.

During the active anti-war propaganda, the Bolsheviks emphasized the “negative” qualities of the war itself (as such).

Moreover, the slogan “the transformation the imperialist war into a civil war” in general supposedly diverted the attention of the audience from the question of the possible outcome of the war for Russia (will be victory? will be defeat? - the question supposedly dissolves into “transformation”).

This slogan ("the transformation of imperialist war into civil war") sounded, however, in a certain historical context.

Taking into account the results of the Crimean War of 1853 - 1856 and the Russo-Japanese War of 1904 - 1905, in certain circumstances, a certain part of the population deciphered this slogan with a correction of the meaning: “Why are there unnecessary victims needed? if the war ends in defeat anyway? and peace will be without victory? ”

Thus, the Brest Peace (1918) can be regarded as the result of two historical lines.

One of the lines leads from the events of 1870-1871, the second line leads from the events of 1853-1856 (through 1904-1905).

Both of them are merging in the historical accent of 1917-1918 years.

The experience of the German (Prussian) elite was the result of European events. Outside of this experience there were the actions of Ermak Timofeevich, Stroganovs, Peter Ivanovich Beketov, Ivan Yuryevich Moskvitin, Semyon Dezhnev, Erofei Pavlovich Khabarov ... of Witte, of Garin-Mikhailovsky (if we conditionally assume the figures of Witte and Garin-Mikhailovsky as symbols - the personal incarnations - of construction of Great Siberian railway track (1891 - 1905-1916); emperors Alexander III and Nicholas II also contributed).

In 1869, the creation of the First Transcontinental Railway in the United States was completed (the construction of the road fell on the presidential terms of Abraham Lincoln - he signed (1862) the so-called the Pacific Railroad Act  on the construction of the Transcontinental Railway, which was to connect California with the eastern states, of Andrew Johnson, Ulysses Grant). This road connected the eastern states with the Pacific coast and made it possible to move from New York to San Francisco Bay in just six days.

By 1918, the geopolitical position of Europe had changed.

In 1918 - 1919:

The emperor of Germany was overthrown.
In Germany, a "republican" government was created.
The post-imperial government of Germany made peace with the allies.

In 1945-1947, the state of Prussia was liquidated.

People came to power in whose worldview global thinking prevailed over “European”. Gradually, a new historical experience was formed.

October 10, 2019 11:25

Translation from Russian into English: October 11, 2019 11:23.
Владимир Владимирович Залесский «Наполеон III, Бисмарк и Брестский мир. Очерк».