Primary Documents - Emperor Karl I on the Ukraine Brest-Litovsk Peace Settlement, 14 February 1918

Emperor Karl I of Austria-Hungary Reproduced below is the text of an address given by Austro-Hungarian Karl I to news of the peace treaty agreed at Brest-Litovsk between Ukraine and the Central Powers.

Click here to read the reaction of the Chairman of the Brest-Litovsk Conference, Richard von Kühlmann, to news of the peace treaty.  Click here to read the response by Alexander Severyuk - speaking for the Ukraine - to von Kühlmann's address.  Click here to read the terms of the peace treaty.

Emperor Karl I on the Brest-Litovsk Peace Treaty, 14 February 1918

To My Peoples:

Thanks to God's gracious aid, we have concluded peace with Ukrainia.  Our victorious arms and the sincere peace policy which we pursued with indefatigable perseverance have shown the first fruit of a defensive war waged for our preservation.

In common with my hard-tried peoples, I trust that after the first conclusion of peace, which is so gratifying an event for us, a general peace will soon be granted suffering humanity.

Under the impression of this peace with Ukrainia, our glance turns with full sympathy to that aspiring young people in whose heart first among our opponents the feeling of neighbourly love has become operative, and which, after bravery exhibited in numerous battles, also possessed sufficient resoluteness to give expression by deed before the whole world to its better conviction.

It thus has been the first to leave the camp of our enemies in order, in the interest of the speediest possible attainment of a new and great common aim, to unite its efforts with our strength.

Having from the first moment I mounted the throne of my exalted forefathers felt myself one with my peoples in the rocklike resolve to fight out the struggle forced upon us until an honourable peace was reached, I feel myself so much the more one with them in this hour in which the first step has now been taken for the realization of this aim.

With admiration for and affectionate recognition of the almost superhuman endurance and incomparable self-sacrifice of my heroic troops, as well as of those at home who daily show no less self-sacrifice, I look forward with full confidence to the near and happier future.

May the Almighty bless us further with strength and endurance, that, not only for ourselves and our faithful allies, but also for entire humanity, we may attain a final peace!

Source: Source Records of the Great War, Vol. VI, ed. Charles F. Horne, National Alumni 1923

A "Bangalore Torpedo" was an explosive tube used to clear a path through a wire entanglement.

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