Timeline: WW I Central Powers Victory

March 8-12, 1917

The February Revolution begins in Russia. Frustrated over a lack of food, harsh living conditions, and the war effort, a revolution is launched. Eventually, this leads to the abdication of Tsar Nicholas II, signalling the end of the Romanov Dynasty, which had ruled Russia since Michael I took powers in 1613.

March 15, 1917

Under immense pressure, Tsar Nicholas II abdicates his throne. A Provisional Government is established.

The Provisional Government was led by Prince Georgy L'vov. His chief goal was to end Russian involvement in World War I. The war was very unpopular among the Russian people after millions of Russians had been slaughtered in World War I on the Eastern Front fighting German, Austo-Hungarian, Ottoman, and Bulgarian forces in World War I.

L'vov realizes that Germany will likely demand immense territorial concessions in order to end the war, but he feels like he must end the war at all costs in order to prevent another revolution. Also, he hopes that ending the war may help to improve the Russian economy.

April 1, 1917
Brest-Litovsk, Russia

Russia, Germany, Austria-Hungary, the Ottoman Empire, and Bulgaria sign the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, ending Russian involvement in World War I. Russia loses territory as a result of the treaty, but the main goal of the Russian Provisional Government was accomplished as the war on the eastern front was essentially ended.

As a result of the treaty, Russia ceded Poland and the Baltic States to Germany. A German occupational force was to move into and occupy these territories.

Also, all former Ottoman territories conquered by the Russians were returned to Ottoman control as a result of the treaty.

Independence is granted to Finland, Belorussia, and the Ukraine. As a result, the nations of Finland, Belarus, and Ukraine are established. This is strategically important to Germany and Austria-Hungary as it gives the two nations a buffer zone against Russia in case of future wars.

April 2, 1917
Poland/Baltic States

German occupational troops begin to move into the ceded territories. However, the force is small as it is not expected that the Russians will be attempting any further invasion attempts with severe domestic problems of their own. The occupation force is basically intended to keep the populace under German control and to keep nationalistic revolts from emerging and spreading.

April 15, 1917
Eastern Front

With the battle on the Eastern Front won, Germany can now almost exclusively focus its efforts on the Western Front. This frees thousands the troops, artillery, supplies, and resources that were being used in the Eastern Front. These fresh supplies and troops could be a gamechanger on the Western Front, which has ground into a stalemate. With new troops and supplies at their disposal, Germany could make one final push towards Paris.

Also, this frees up millions of Austro-Hungarian troops which can be used to fight on other fronts.

April 20, 1917

With its primary ally out of the war, Romania requests of an armistice and is granted one. Romania signs an armistice with the Central Powers on April 20, 1917, ending Romanian involvement in World War I. This is relief for Austro-Hungarian and Bulgarian troops which have been fighting the Romanians for several years. Romania is returned to its pre-war borders.

As a result of the armistice, Bulgaria and Austria-Hungary will be able to focus on other fronts.

April 28, 1917

The leaders of the Central Powers nations (Germany, Austria-Hungary, the Ottoman Empire, and Bulgaria) meet in Warsaw to discuss further plans in World War I. It is decided that Germany will focus most of its efforts on the Western Front against the British and French. This meeting of Wilhelm II, Karl I, Mehmed V, and Ferdinand I is known as the Warsaw Conference.

Austria-Hungary will focus on defeating the Italians in Southern Europe. The plan is to make a push to break past the Piave River. From there, the Austro-Hungarians will attempt to invade Northern Italy and eventually work their way to Rome in the coming months or years. Germany will play a support role on the Italian front, though the vast majority of Germany's resources will go to the Western Front.

Bulgaria will move into more of a support role. The Bulgarians will send a few divisions to fight in the Italian Campaign and will also send some troops to help defend the Ottomans against attacks from the south. The Ottoman Empire was being torn apart as a result of Arab revolts and British invasion as the Ottomans had lost most of their influence on the Arabian Peninsula by 1917.

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