Treaty of Brest Litovsk signed

By Benalla Ensign

Romania remained neutral until 1916.

Then the Allies suggested a secret treaty that offered Austro-Hungarian lands to Romania.

In return, its troops were required to launch a large-scale attack on Austro-Hungary.

Romania agreed.

Romania’s army was the worst in all Europe.

Some indication of this might be gained from the first Romanian order after it signed the treaty.

The order banned all soldiers below the rank of major from using make-up.

Within months, Germany and Austro-Hungary had captured most of the country.

By this week, 100 years ago, Romania had surrendered.

Total Romanian casualties amounted to about 747000 out of a population of about 10 million.

The Bolsheviks signed the Treaty of Brest Litovsk this week.

It had taken two months of negotiations and was brutally harsh.

In a miscalculation by Hindenberg and Ludendorff, the military dictators now running Germany, Germany demanded and got the Baltic States, Ukraine, the Southern Caucasus and Poland.

Thus, they received quarter of the Russian population, two thirds of Russian industry and 90 per cent of its coal mines.

Arriving for the final negotiations, Leon Trotsky told the Bolshevik negotiators not to bother reading the treaty.

They should just sign it.

When the Germans lost the war, he said, it would be set aside. It was.

The Treaty gave the peace that the Bolsheviks had promised Russia.

It also gave them time to deal with their Civil War.

Later, when the Germans complained about the terms of the Versailles Treaty, they were reminded that they had insisted on much tougher terms in this treaty.

The treaty convinced many in Allied countries, now utterly war-weary, of the absolute need to crush Germany.

Meanwhile, Cock’s Pioneer Gold and Tin Mines, operating a dredge in the river flats of the Ovens and King rivers, declared a half year profit of $24000 with two dividends per share, each of 10 cents.

In the previous year, the dredge had moved 280000 cubic metres of earth.

It had recovered 126kg of gold and 60 tonnes of tin concentrates.

Last Friday, Benalla High School held its swimming carnival in the Broken River.

Proceeds from admission were devoted to the creation of a school honour board.

Shepparton Fruit Preserving Company’s canning factory was completed this week.

The state government provided $20000 toward building the vast factory. It measured 76 metres by 31 metres. A storeroom half that size adjoined the factory.

Benalla’s townspeople subscribed $28 towards the upkeep of a motor car for Lieutenant Fredman, Indi recruiting officer, to visit outlying areas in the electorate.

The shire councils of Mansfield, Yackandandah, Chiltern and Beechworth refused to make any contribution — again.

A Chiltern councillor suggested that the officer buy a bicycle if he was that keen.

— John Barry, ANZAC Commemorative Working Party, Coo-ee — Honouring our WWI Heroes