Twilight of Empire: The Brest-Litovsk Conference and the Remaking of East-Central Europe, 1917–1918
Twilight of Empire is the first book in English to examine the Brest-Litovsk Peace Conference during the later stages of World War I with the use of extensive archival sources. Two separate peace treaties were signed at Brest-Litovsk – the first between the Central Powers and Ukraine and the second between the Central Powers and Bolshevik Russia.
Borislav Chernev, through an insightful and in-depth analysis of primary sources and archival material, argues that although its duration was short lived, the Brest-Litovsk settlement significantly affected the post-Imperial transformation of East Central Europe. The conference became a focal point for the interrelated processes of peacemaking, revolution, imperial collapse, and nation-state creation in the multi-ethnic, entangled spaces of East Central Europe. Chernev’s analysis expands beyond the traditional focus on the German-Russian relationship, paying special attention to the policies of Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria, and Ukraine. The transformations initiated by the Brest-Litovsk conferences ushered in the twilight of empire as the Habsburg, Hohenzollern, and Ottoman Empires all shared the fate of their Romanov counterpart at the end of World War I.
- World Rights
- Page Count: 322 pages
- Dimensions: 6.2in x 0.6in x 9.1in
"For decades, historians have looked at the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk mostly as a symbol of harsh terms imposed on the Bolshevik government by the ruthless German militarized regime. Chernev successfully demonstrates that the alliance of the Central Powers was much less German-dominated than has previously been believed…Chernev has demonstrated convincingly that the Brest-Litovsk moment should be seen as an important stage in the history of decolonization."
Ab Imperio, no. 2, 2018
"Borislav Chernev’s Twilight of Empire is a solid addition to…World War 1 historiography, bringing an impressive variety of language, archives, and sources to the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk…There is very little to improve on in Twilight of Empire…This is a fantastic discussion of the conference incorporating perspectives from all the major players. Highly recommended."
Region: Regional Studies of Russia, Eastern Europe, and Central Asia, Volume 7, #1, Jan. 2018
‘This book is of high scholarly value and an important contribution to the history of international relations and revolutionary upheavals in East Central Europe at the end of First World War.
Slavonic and East European Review vol 96:02:2018
‘This book offers a new way of thinking about the relationships that exist between and among nations and non-historic groups throughout the region, and most importantly provides direction for future research on the topic…. Twilight of Empire should be read by all parties interested in this critical moment in the history of Eastern Europe.’
John W. Steinberg
The Russian Review vol 77:02:2018
‘Essential. All levels/Libraries.’
Choice Magazine vol 55:07:2018
"Chernev’s study contributes in important ways to a rethinking of "the end of the war" on the Eastern Front and how Brest-Litovsk prepared the ground for future conflict."
Robert Blobaum, West Virginia University
Central European History Dec. 2017
"…this is an excellent, well-written, and well-researched book. It should be recommended to all historian of the Great War, of the peace settlements, and of East-Central Europe in the twentieth century."
Christoph Mick, University of Warwick
Journal of Modern History, March 2019
"This is a thoughtful, well-researched and well written work, a credit both to the author and the publisher…The book goes beyond the headlines in detailing the positions adopted by the two main protagonists at the [Brest-Litovsk] talks: Bolshevik Russia and Imperial Germany."
Steven J. Main, Russian Military Studies Office, UK
Europe-Asia Studies, vol 71 no 4, May 2019
"The book Twilight of Empire is the work of a young, linguistically gifted, and quite promising historian. It is a well-researched and well-written monograph."
J-Guy Lalande, St. Francis Xavier University
East/West: Journal of Ukrainian Studies
"Twilight of Empire represents a milestone study in the diplomatic and political history of East-Central Europe, taking a close look at the first and largely forgotten peace treaty of World War I and the circumstances that surrounded its conclusion not only at the peace conference but also internationally and domestically. This approach allowed Chernev to delve into the depth of imperial decay of the major powers in East-Central Europe and explore the origins of the national self-determination concept. From this perspective, Twilight of Empire offers a timely and balanced analysis of the rather overlooked first peace of the Great War that had repercussions throughout the entire short and violent twentieth century."
H Net Reviews
"Twilight of Empire is a serious contribution to scholarship on World War I. Borislav Chernev skilfully maps the transition from imperial to post-imperial politics in East Central Europe."
Maciej Górny, Deutsches Historisches Institut Warschau
Author InformationBorislav Chernev is Lecturer in Modern European History at the University of Exeter.
Table of contents
List of Illustrations
Note on Transliteration and Place Names
Introduction: A Forgotten Peace
Chapter 1: Ostpolitik Meets World Revolution
Chapter 2: Peacemaking and Self-Determination at Brest-Litovsk
Chapter 3: The Great January Strike as a Prelude to Revolution in Austria
Chapter 4: The Brest-Litovsk System and Modern Ukrainian Statehood
Chapter 5: Brest-Litovsk and the Elusive Bulgarian "Dream of Byzantium"
Chapter 6: The Second Treaty of Brest-Litovsk and After
Conclusion: Brest-Litovsk and Europe’s Twentieth Century
Prizes2018 ASEEES Marshall Shulman Book Prize - Commended in 2018
Subjects and Courses