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El Pip

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When even the pro-Russian propaganda history book is attributing this to 'both sides' you can be certain the war was 100% Russia's (Nicholas') fault.

Naturally I am rooting for a Russian defeat as that would be more interesting, I fully expect to be disappointed in that hope.
 
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The Great European War: The War Begins New

HistoryDude

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In truth, the war began with Austrian forces advancing into Ottoman territory. Initially, they managed to defeat many Ottoman armies and occupy large portions of Ottoman Europe, including Thessalia itself.

Russia, for their part, began by repelling an attempted Ottoman invasion into Russian territory. The Ottoman Empire’s Invasion of Georgia was obviously pre-planned, and its existence is one of the primary reasons many historians absolve Nicholas I of the crime of starting the war. These historians, which are especially prominent in Russia itself, argue that the Ottomans were clearly building up an army with which to invade Georgia - they wanted revenge for the Bulgarian War and desired to annex Georgia as a territory. The objective truth of this assertion is unclear. It’s possible that the Ottomans simply had soldiers on their eastern border with Russia as a defensive measure. If that was their purpose, their decision to attack instead of merely defending proved to be their downfall.

Still, the beginning of the war wasn’t all in Russia’s favor. They took a while to gather an army to invade Ottoman Europe with, and Britain began their part of the war by occupying Russian Alyeska, which wouldn’t be recovered by Russian forces until Britain’s surrender in 1849. To add insult to that injury, the first naval battle of the war was an utter humiliation for the Russians.

This battle was the Battle of the Gulf of Riga, and it was an utter humiliation and extreme setback to the Russian forces. The Prussian fleet, with some aid from the British, utterly destroyed most of Russia’s navy on the Baltic Sea. Russia would only recover from that setback years after the Great European War was over. Most of the firsthand accounts from Russian soldiers serving on that fleet paint a vivid and disturbing picture. They generally agree that the Russians were taken by surprise - it was a dark December night, and they didn’t initially realize that they were under attack at all. Even despite this, they managed to hold on until past noon the next morning. Unfortunately, all that did was allow the naval crewmen to give us delightful descriptions and imagery of the Battle. One crewman wrote that “some of our ships were blood red, and I knew that most of that was from the blood of my countrymen”, while another wrote that, “the ships that were sunk immediately were lucky. Most of the ships were boarded and, on some, we lost them room by room”.

Needless to say, the Battle of the Gulf of Riga was a disaster. Nicholas I was furious, ordering that most of the surviving crewmen be brought to him in chains to be punished for their failure. All that did was cause mass defections to the Prussian fleet, lead to the creation of a new fleet not associated with any side of the war, and harm his approval rating. Still, Nicholas had many good reasons to be enraged. The Battle allowed the Prussians to land soldiers in any Russian province surrounding the Baltic Sea, which forced Nicholas to withdraw many of his soldiers from his borders with the Ottoman Empire to defend his own lands.

Even with these reinforcements giving hope to the Russian people, most of 1846 was a dark year. The reinforcements would take a long time to arrive to relieve the Russian towns and cities, and many surrendered. Many militias, made up of patriotic Russians, formed, but the success of these in defeating the invasion was extremely limited. Most of the militias starved to death, and the Prussian forces advanced ever closer to both St. Petersburg and Moscow. Many of the Tsar’s advisors advised him to attempt to negotiate a compromise peace, but Nicholas refused. Still, it seemed as though he would have no choice - most of the Russian forces in Anatolia were running rampant and uncontrolled, and the Prussians were getting close to forcing a peace settlement. Whether or not that peace settlement could be enforced was a different matter entirely, of course, but that meant nothing. It seemed as if the hour of Russia’s humiliation was at hand.
 
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HistoryDude

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Game play has begun? Ottomans, punching bag in Vicky, but heavy puncher in EU. Thank you
Yeah, in Victoria, the Ottomans really don't have an easy time. On the other hand, they are allied with Britain, which was extremely annoying.

When even the pro-Russian propaganda history book is attributing this to 'both sides' you can be certain the war was 100% Russia's (Nicholas') fault.

Naturally I am rooting for a Russian defeat as that would be more interesting, I fully expect to be disappointed in that hope.
It wasn't 100% Russia's fault - the British Parliament wouldn't compromise over Thessalia either. Still, Russia was very much not appearing to be open to a diplomatic settlement in game.

Russia won't be defeated, but they will undergo their fair share of hardships, as this update shows.
 
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The Great European War: The Twin Miracles, The Salvation of Russia New

HistoryDude

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The Prussians spent most of 1846 rampaging over northern Russia. Some Prussian commanders even began setting up private fiefdoms, and the people of Russia began to lose hope. This wasn’t helped by the Russian Skirmishes, where many Russian armies attempted to confront the mighty Prussian army but were defeated.

After the Russian Skirmishes failed, the few Russian forces decided to change their strategy. Directly confronting the mighty Prussian army hadn’t worked, so they should adopt guerrilla warfare tactics. Small forces would strike at the Prussian army and whittle down their numbers, while the majority of the Russian forces would strike at the cities that the Prussians had occupied. This way, the Prussians would have to siege the same cities many times. It wouldn’t get rid of the Prussian army, but it would buy time for the Russian armies to arrive from the Ottoman Empire and relieve their loyal citizens.

This strategy failed in the long run. The Prussians could afford to split their armies, and they did - many Prussian generals led groups of Prussian troops to hold their occupied Russian territory. The main Prussian army was still very large, and it had enough men to fight off a respectable Russian army. Some Prussian generals even set up puppet governments in their occupied Russian lands - this is how the Confederation of Baltica and Duchy of Novgorod were created.

To make matters even worse for the Russians, they had lost St. Petersburg to Prussia, and the royal family had been forced to flee to Moscow. Even Moscow itself was being besieged by Prussia.

In this darkest hour of Russia, a miracle occurred. A man named Anton Yugorov, who was leading forces near the Ottoman border, united many different Russian armies on the Ottoman border and even in the Ottoman Empire itself. He convinced his compatriots that the Ottomans could wait and were weak enough that they could probably be held back by the Bulgarian Tsars and Austria.

Yugorov’s mighty army went north, but he was unsure if it was mighty enough to face the main Prussian army in battle. To gain a more decisive numerical advantage, Yugorov attacked the various occupied Russian cities. The purpose of this was not to recapture those cities but to gain new recruits from them. This plan succeeded wonderfully - the many small forces that had previously been attacking the occupied cities now joined Yugorov’s army.

Yugorov swept over northern Russia, recapturing many cities and dramatically expanding his army. This worried the Prussians enough that their main army abandoned their Siege of Moscow and joined as many of the smaller armies as they could.

The Battle of Suwalki occurred in October 1846, and it was a fierce battle. Neither the Prussians nor the Russians wanted to give a single inch of ground. In the end, Yugorov defeated the Prussians and sent them retreating back towards their new “puppet states” (Novgorod and Baltica) in disarray. This victory gave Yugorov and his soldiers a major morale boost and encouraged new recruits to join them.

The second miracle was at sea. After a few years of fighting in Russia (see the Great Reclamation, below), the Russian army was able to focus on the Ottomans. They were making good progress at attacking them, but they faced a problem. The Ottoman Empire was allied with the United Kingdom, and Britain was willing to defend the Turks through any means.

In December 1847, the vast majority of the British navy, which had just recaptured Gibraltar from Spain, arrived in the Sea of Marmara. There, they were joined by a few Ottoman ships. The joint navies advanced towards the Black Sea when a Russian fleet intercepted them. For two months, the two navies fought. The Russians were prepared for this battle, and they won when their reinforcements arrived through the Sea of Marmara. The Prussian fleet abandoned the Baltic in early 1847, which allowed Russia to sneak a small fleet through the North Sea, above Britain, down the Atlantic, and across the Mediterranean. This small fleet then flanked the joint fleet. The Battle of the Gulf of Varna gave Russia control of the seas around the Ottoman Empire, which they exploited to block British reinforcements from reaching the Ottomans.
 
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HistoryDude

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When has Russia ever taken the easy road? Britain/Ottoman? France/Otto seems more historical. Thank you and good luck against the Prussian StormTroopers.
Russia does indeed a difficult path ahead. Actually, the British did frequently intervene on behalf of the Ottomans in this time period in OTL in order to ensure that the European Balance of Power was maintained.
 
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El Pip

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The Great European War: The Prussian Front New

HistoryDude

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Yegorov knew that the Prussians would attempt to regroup. He knew that the Battle of Suwalki wouldn’t necessarily be decisive against them. That battle hadn’t even driven them out of Russia itself, much less knocked them out of the war. Their puppet regimes in rightful Russian territory still existed, and they even retained much of the loyalty of their subjects, who had either despaired of the Russians ever rescuing their former land and were opportunistic enough to attempt to ingratiate themselves with the invaders or were disloyal to Russia in the first place.

Yegorov decided to attack Novgorod first - it was less firmly established than Baltica, as it had few genuine loyalists. Novgorod’s government - aside from the Prussian general who ruled as Duke - was composed of opportunists, and they would jump ship as soon as it looked like Russia was about to reclaim the city. Novgorod was relatively easy to reclaim for Russia, and the Prussians decided against a confrontation in that city, instead retreating toward Baltica and their own lands.

Yegorov then had a choice - he could either attack the Prussian armies in Poland (which used to be Russian but was under Prussian occupation), or he could attack Baltica, bringing it back under Russia’s sway. He briefly considered doing both options at once before deciding that such a strategy would make the destruction of both armies far more likely. In the end, he decided to move through Poland, chasing the Prussians across that nation.

Eventually, by early 1848, the Russians had crossed into what had been Prussian territory before the war. The Prussian army continued their retreat until November, when they reached a place that they felt would be good to make their stand. This place was in Prussia itself, and it was the center of that region. The Battle of Königsberg raged for two months, as the Prussian army desperately tried to stop the Russian advance. In the end, though, their efforts were in vain. Only a small fraction remained of the soldiers who had invaded Russia, and they decided to retreat as 1849 dawned.

Very little stood in the way of Yegorov’s army and Berlin itself. Yegorov planned to leave Prussia and attempt to liberate Baltica, reasoning that Berlin could wait, and the sheer panic of having Russians inside Prussian territory might make the King of Prussia more amenable toward peace.

As it turned out, though, there was no need to liberate (or, as some historians now prefer, reconquer) Baltica - that had been done already. The Prussian generals in Baltica had joined in the retreat into Prussian territory, and, without these armies, problems with the Confederation had emerged almost immediately. There remained many Russian loyalists in it, and many of its former fiercest supporters were mere opportunists. To add to the confusion, the different Baltic ethnic groups didn’t always get along.

As it had turned out, as soon as news of Königsberg reached Baltica, the opportunists had joined the loyalists and attacked the temporary center of government in Riga. The Battle of Riga had been quick, and the new army of loyalists quickly swept over the area. To make matters worse, internal infighting amongst the Baltican armies had hampered any possible response.

The Collapse of Baltica had left Yegorov open to launch a full attack on Berlin. This bold move took the Prussians completely by surprise, and Berlin was barely defended. By the time 1850 arrived, Berlin had fallen into Russian hands, and most of the Prussian Royal Family had been taken captive.

To the King of Prussia’s credit, as soon as he learned of this, he led the vast majority of all Prussian forces out of Austria and united them under his command on the road to Berlin. By January 1850, he had a massive army with which to attack Yegorov’s army, and that’s exactly what he did. However, in the end, Yegorov managed to defeat him using many varied tactics, including trickery and aiming for the enemy leaders. This resulted in the near total destruction of the Prussian army and the capture of the Prussian king.

Russia could now dictate whatever terms they liked to Prussia… and everyone knew it.
 
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Stomp the Storm Troopers. Sink the British Rubber Duckys. Thank You
Prussia didn't have a great time after that update...

Booo. And things were going so well until this point.
It is not yet time for Russia to collapse... although the Russians won't be invincible. They do better overall in the early years of the AAR, which is pretty historically accurate.
 
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El Pip

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Russia could now dictate whatever terms they liked to Prussia… and everyone knew it.
I am now braced for Nicholas to impose a short sighted and vindictive treaty which leaves Prussia humiliated and desperate for revenge, but isn't harsh enough to actually stop them rebuilding.
It is not yet time for Russia to collapse... although the Russians won't be invincible.
Well that is a relief.
They do better overall in the early years of the AAR, which is pretty historically accurate.
Good to have something to look forward to. :)
 
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I am now braced for Nicholas to impose a short sighted and vindictive treaty which leaves Prussia humiliated and desperate for revenge, but isn't harsh enough to actually stop them rebuilding.

Well that is a relief.

Good to have something to look forward to. :)

You'll love the update a week from tomorrow (3 updates from now). Russia has... trying times ahead. I don't think the treaty was that bad, but it's going to be covered 2 updates from now, so... you'll see what it is.
Congratulations on placing Prussia on the posterity's forgotten path. How much of Germany has Prussia united? Thank you for allowing us to ride with General Yegorov.

I wouldn't be so sure about that. Prussia has united a decent amount of Germany, but I'm not actually sure that it's annexed anything since the Napoleonic Wars. I wasn't paying that much attention, though, and it has been drawing many states into its Sphere.
 
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The Great European War: The Ottoman Front New

HistoryDude

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The Ottoman Empire was a state that had a lot of stake in the conflict. They were defending territory from Greece, even if that territory had originally been Greek. They had also recently been defeated and humiliated by Russia, and many of the Turks longed for revenge. They had raised large armies to defend Greece and to attack Russia.

They intended to invade Russia through Georgia, which had historically worked, if only temporarily. They suspected that Russia didn’t keep armies on their border in Georgia… and they were right. Their attack on Georgia took the Russian government by complete surprise, and Russia was unable to respond to it at first. However, neither the Georgians themselves nor the actual Russians wanted to live under Ottoman rule, and militias were quickly raised to defend that area. The Ottoman Empire was the sick man of Europe, and they were also fighting on two other fronts. The militias were enough to keep them at bay.

Still, they weren’t enough to launch a counteroffensive. To make matters worse, this was during the beginning of the war, before Yegorov’s Miracle. All other Russian forces were preoccupied by attempting to defend against Prussia. There would be no aid coming to the Caucasus. Until Yegorov entered the scene, this remained the situation - no land could be reclaimed for Russia, but the Ottomans couldn’t advance further. There was only a prolonged stalemate.

By 1848, all of that had changed. Yegorov was advancing into Prussia, and his mighty army was being partially broken up, and the Russian people were emboldened. Tens of thousands had come to volunteer for military service. Yegorov still had a massive army, but the reinforcements allowed the stalemate on the Caucasian Front to finally be broken. The Ottoman forces were driven out of Georgia entirely, and they fled. The Russians followed.

The Ottomans continued their retreat until they reached Trabzon, where they made a stand. The Battle of Trabzon raged for ten days in July 1848, and the Ottomans were firmly defeated. Some continued to retreat to fight another day, but others gave up hope - they deserted, rejoining some civilian communities under false names or forming bandit armies that lived off the land. Those would be a problem for the Ottomans even after the war was over.

The Russians didn’t care about the issues their enemies were having, though. They continued their advance across the Black Sea coast of Anatolia unopposed. The Battle of the Gulf of Varna prevented aid from reaching the Ottoman army’s survivors, which retreated from Anatolia entirely and moved to defend Edirne.

Meanwhile, the Russians and their Bulgarian allies, who remained grateful to Russia for their newfound freedom, held the Ottomans back in Europe, even during Russia’s darkest hour. After Yegorov’s Miracle, they received reinforcements and marched on Thrace. The Ottoman armies in Europe retreated to Edirne. In November and December of 1848, these Ottoman armies - those who had defended Anatolia and Thrace - fought against the combined Russo-Bulgarian force, which defeated them. The battle was long and difficult, but the Ottomans were ultimately scattered and Edirne was captured by Russia.

The dawn of 1849 saw the two Russian armies finally come into contact with one another. They then formed a plan - they would take Istanbul, which would allow them to take the Ottoman Sultan, the Ottomans governors, and the famed Janissaries prisoner. Still, they knew that this would be no easy task, so they decided that the attack would be a pincer movement. The Russian force from the Caucasus would attack from the Anatolian side, while the Russo-Bulgarian army would attack from the European side.

The siege was long, and a few Russians even abandoned it. The capital of the Ottoman Empire was not what it was during the Byzantine Empire’s heyday, but it was still mighty and difficult to take. The Russian armies were on the verge of abandoning the siege in June, but they changed their minds when the Russian fleet that had won the Battle of the Gulf of Varna approached from the Sea of Marmara to aid them.

Even after this aid arrived, the siege lasted for months. Still, the ending was never in doubt after that moment. In November 1849, the Russian armies entered Istanbul. This was the final straw, and Britain agreed to negotiate peace with Russia like their Prussian and Ottoman allies had. For all intents and purposes, the First European War was over, but a peace still needed to be negotiated.
 
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HistoryDude

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Did Britain do much on ground? Congrats on mighty victory, O Mighty Tsar.

Not really. They couldn't - the naval defeat meant that there was nowhere to land soldiers. They left the northern front to Prussia, which was a mistake. To be fair, they did take most of Alaska.

They also lost Gibraltar, though.
 
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El Pip

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Bulgarian allies, who remained grateful to Russia for their newfound freedom
Foolish, foolish Bulgars. I suspect this "freedom" will not last long, they've merely traded one distant overlord for another.
 
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HistoryDude

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Foolish, foolish Bulgars. I suspect this "freedom" will not last long, they've merely traded one distant overlord for another.

This was a pre-established freedom. I created Bulgaria from a previous war against the Ottomans - that isn't covered yet because we are still going by topic.

Strictly speaking, the Bulgars aren't my vassals, but we are allies.
 
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The Great European War: Losing the Peace New

HistoryDude

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Russia and their allies could now dictate any terms they liked to the Ottomans, the Prussians, and the British. By 1849, they had all been defeated in battle or withdrawn from the European continent in defeat.

The victorious powers decided to hold a conference in Krakow over what terms they would offer to their defeated foes. The Krakow Conference made a few decisions. Spain wanted Gibraltar back from Britain, while Greece wanted Thessalia from the Ottoman Empire. These were terms that none of the members of the victorious coalition had a problem with. Both were agreed to quickly. After that agreement was made, disagreements arose. Austria wanted to humiliate Prussia, while Russia was interested in imposing harsh terms on both Britain and the Ottoman Empire. In the end, no new agreements were made, but a second conference was scheduled for January 1850.

This conference was where the terms of the peace were decided. The Kaunas Conference was solely a negotiation between Austria and Russia, as both Greece and Spain were satisfied by the concessions they had received from the Krakow Conference.

Russia wanted to limit Prussia’s punishment to simply paying reparations while annexing vast swathes of the Ottoman Empire and Britain. They wanted to annex all of the Black Sea coast of Anatolia, Wallachia, and Moldavia. They also wanted to give Bulgaria all of Thrace excluding Constantinople, which would be annexed directly. In addition, Greece would annex all of Thessaly, Macedonia, and Epirus. They also proposed giving the rest of Ottoman Europe to Austria.

Their proposed terms for Britain were even worse. They wanted to force Britain to grant independence to Quebec and their Maritime colonies and to give up all claims to the Oregon Country. Russia itself would annex all British lands with a latitude higher than 60 degrees. Additionally, Britain would be forced to terminate all treaties with any Indian state and cede the lands that the British East India Company controlled directly to Russia. To complete the humiliation, Britain would be forced to take responsibility for the war and pay massive reparations.

Austria, for their part, wanted Croatia from the Ottoman Empire, but their main focus was on Prussia. They wanted to utterly dismember Prussia - Austria would annex all of Prussia’s gains from the Partitions of Poland, Pomerania, and East Prussia itself. Prussia’s Rhineland territories would be made into an independent nation, while all of their treaties with every other German state would be annulled. All of Prussian Saxony would be returned to Saxony. To top all of this off, the entire German Confederation would pay tribute to the Austrian Emperor, who was now also to be crowned as Emperor of Germany.

To be clear, both Tsar Nicholas of Russia (as well as his entirely conservative Duma, which had illegally seized power by this point) and Emperor Ferdinand of Austria were being ridiculously unreasonable. Neither of these proposed treaties would’ve ever been accepted by Britain and most of the European powers. There were a few of the states of the German Confederation that didn’t even participate in the war, so that treaty would’ve been refused even if Britain had caved.

At Kaunas, Russia managed to convince Austria that an independent Rhineland was under extreme threat, so France should be allowed to annex it. France occupied that region during the war, so this provision made sense. The Russian diplomats also convinced the Austrians that the creation of a German state would make whoever formed that state the instant enemy of most of the rest of Europe, so that clause was dropped.

In turn, Austria convinced the Russians that Britain would never agree to such extreme terms. They would fight on instead - indeed, they would fight until they had no territory on the British Isles, in their colonies, and no support from the rest of the world. Britain wouldn’t give up any territory that wasn’t lost to them already. Tsar Nicholas agreed to roll back his terms to extreme reparations and the blame for the war, which would destroy Britain’s prestige.

The truthfulness of Austria’s assertion has been hotly debated. The “Sixty Clause” would likely have been accepted, actually, as Britain didn’t see much worth in their far northern American territories. However, it was scrapped because, well, Russia didn’t either. The humiliating terms concerning the rest of Canada and India would almost definitely have been refused, however.

The Austrian diplomats then convinced the Russian ones that the Bulgarians didn’t want Thrace, and it was likely that Greece would ally with Britain very soon after peace was made. The fact that Greece did ally with Britain almost immediately after the war ended suggests that Austria likely had spies in either British or Greek diplomatic channels. Regardless, Tsar Nicholas agreed to get rid of the clauses giving Greece and Bulgaria additional territory.

Tsar Nicholas didn’t want to grant Austria Croatia, either - he saw that as a land that many Slavs lived in, and he held the view that Slavs should be the only rulers of Slavs. He was something of a Pan-Slavist as well, so he wanted Croatia for himself but not immediately, as that would only embolden the new Duma, which he saw as too expansionist. He agreed to not demand northern Anatolia if Austria didn’t demand Croatia, and the Austrian Emperor agreed.

Nicholas then convinced Austria to not annex Prussian territory, which would spare them from additional revolts. Considering that Austria had a high risk of revolt anyway - as the Hungarian War of Independence would prove - this clause was agreed to.

It’s worth noting that the original terms were proposed at the Krakow Conference by diplomats acting on behalf of the Militarist Russian Duma, while the Tsar personally negotiated at Kaunas. The Tsar was far less expansionist than the Duma, which would come back to bite him. The Duma’s terms might very well have prevented most of the conflicts Russia was involved in after the Great European War.

Still, the Duma managed to slip an additional clause in the ultimate Treaty of Trabzon - that Britain could raise no armies and had to halve their military forces for self-defense for five years. In addition to that clause, the Treaty of Trabzon gave Greece Thessalia, it gave Spain Gibraltar, and it gave France the Prussian Rhineland. The UK also had to pay 25% of their taxes to the victorious coalition for five years and was blamed for the war. Prussia paid a lump sum of around 10 million thaler. These were the terms that ended the Great European War.
 
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