Chapter 2 – Marxism-Leninism Communist Roots of the Cold War to the Eve of the Second World War—1848 to 1939

the Czech forces falling back under heavy Red Army pressure. Other small Western Allied forces were sent to Sevastopol in the Crimea and from Persia to the Caspian Sea, but these encountered obstacles and did not advance far.
Central Power Defeats and Dissolution—Fall 1918. During the summer of 1918, the infusion of fresh American troops broke the back of attempted large-scale German offensives on the Western Front. Following a peace resolution by the major parties in the German Reichstag in July and a conference of the German supreme military command in August that endorsed the proposal of an armistice, the German government in October offered an armistice to the Allies based on Wilson’s Fourteen Points of January 1918. American reply notes called for an end to German submarine warfare, the evacuation of occupied territories, and democratic (non-military) German negotiators. Meanwhile on October 4, the Austro-Hungarian Empire’s government in Vienna accepted the same armistice conditions offered to Germany and on October 20, Woodrow Wilson called for recognition of the new independence claims by peoples within the empire. A new German-Austrian national assembly met in Vienna on October 21 as the imperial monarchy (of Charles I) dissolved itself and former territories of the empire celebrated their independence. On November 3, the former empire’s forces accepted an armistice negotiated with the U.K. and France with the Western Allies. Following major Allied breakthroughs on war fronts in Macedonia and Palestine respectively, the two other Central Powers, Bulgaria and Turkey, accepted armistices on September 30 and October 30, respectively.
German Revolutions, Armistice, and More Revolutions—November 1918–19. As the Central Powers’ international fronts collapsed, revolution began in Germany, starting with the German fleet in late October 1918 as leftist/Communist revolutionary actions spread. On November 7, a revolutionary government was proclaimed in Munich, Bavaria. On November 8, German armistice negotiations began with the Allies, and on November 9, 1918, the German parliament in Berlin announced the abdication and exile (to Holland) of the German emperor, Kaiser Wilhelm II, and the proclamation of a republic with a transfer of government powers to the chairman of the Socialist Party, Friedrich Ebert. November 10 saw the formation of a new council of people’s deputies and an executive council of workers’ and soldiers’ deputies. On November 11, representatives of the new German Republic, with its capital to be in Weimar, signed a formal armistice with the Western powers.
U.S. and Allied Aims at Versailles—April 1919. Woodrow Wilson’s Fourteen Points of January 8, 1918 reviewed above, included a call for an “association of nations”—the League of Nations—to maintain world peace and assure territorial integrity and independence of states on the basis of democracy, self-determination, and justice. At the Versailles peace conference that followed the November 1918 armistice, Wilson and the other victorious Western Allies signed two major agreements, which they hoped would confirm a new international order comparable to that established by the major European powers at the Congress of Vienna in 1815. At that time, victory had been achieved over Napoleon and France after two decades of warfare, and the agreements and understandings worked out in Vienna kept the peace between major powers for several decades.
League of Nations—April 1919. As part of the peace settlements negotiated at Versailles, the Allies, and those they had defeated (but not the Soviet Union) signed the League of Nations Covenant on April 28, 1919. The League’s international responsibilities and mechanisms were to promote the peaceful resolution of conflicts. Formally established on January 10, 1920, the League’s key constituent parts included a Secretariat, a General Assembly (with each member nation receiving one vote and a Council of four to six permanent members, later nine, all in Geneva), and a permanent International Court at The Hague in The Netherlands. The fact that the League’s secretary-general and court lacked serious enforcement power, its Council required unanimous decisions, and its General Assembly had little power meant that these mechanisms could not effectively take on the totalitarian threats they were about to face.
The Versailles Treaty and U.S. Senate Rejection—July 1919–March 1920. On June 28, 1919, the Western Allies signed the Versailles Peace Treaty that formally ended the Great War. The Treaty relied on the League of Nations and principles of peace, territorial adjustments, and self-determination notably for peoples, areas, and nations in Central and Eastern Europe previously under German, Austro-Hungarian, or Russian rule. The Treaty also imposed severe financial obligations and territorial losses, as well as strict military limitations on Germany, which Lenin would soon help the military leaders of post-war Germany’s Weimar Republic to evade. To Wilson’s profound disappointment, on March 19, 1920, the U.S. Senate rejected the Versailles Treaty—with reservations and by a vote of 49 to 39—and with it the League of Nations on grounds that these
[Book pg. 35]