17 January 1918

Finnish Civil War: The first serious battles take place between the Red Guards and the White Guard.

The Finnish Civil War took place between January and May 1918 in Finland, a country located in Northern Europe. The conflict emerged in the aftermath of World War I and the Russian Revolution of 1917. Finland had been a part of the Russian Empire, but as the empire collapsed and the Bolsheviks came to power in Russia, Finland sought to assert its independence.

The war was primarily fought between the “Reds” (socialists and communists) and the “Whites” (conservatives, nationalists, and non-socialists). The Red Guards, representing the working-class and socialist factions, sought to establish a socialist state, while the White Guards, backed by the conservative Senate and led by General Carl Gustaf Mannerheim, aimed to maintain Finland as an independent, capitalist nation.

Declaration of Independence (December 1917): On December 6, 1917, Finland declared its independence from Russia.

Political Tensions: The political atmosphere in Finland was tense, with ideological divisions deepening between the Red and White factions.

Outbreak of War (January 1918): The conflict started on January 27, 1918, when the Red Guards rebelled against the Finnish Senate, leading to the outbreak of the civil war.

Foreign Intervention: Both sides sought support from external powers. The Whites received assistance from Germany, while the Reds had some backing from Bolshevik Russia.

Battle of Tampere: One of the decisive battles of the war was the Battle of Tampere in March 1918, where the White Guards captured the city, a stronghold of the Reds.

End of the War (May 1918): The Whites eventually emerged victorious, and the war officially ended on May 15, 1918. The defeat of the Reds resulted in mass imprisonments, executions, and reprisals against perceived supporters of the socialist cause.

Aftermath: The aftermath of the Finnish Civil War had profound and long-lasting effects on Finnish society. The nation experienced political repression, economic challenges, and societal divisions. The wounds of the civil war continued to influence Finnish politics and society for decades.

27 November 1918

The Makhnovshchina is established.

The Makhnovshchina, also known as the Makhnovist movement or the Free Territory, was an anarchist and anti-Bolshevik revolutionary insurrection that took place in Ukraine during the Russian Civil War (1918-1922). It was led by Nestor Makhno, a Ukrainian anarchist and military commander.

Nestor Makhno and his followers, known as the Makhnovists or Black Army, were initially aligned with the Bolsheviks against the common enemies of the White Army (anti-Bolshevik forces) and foreign interventionists. However, tensions soon arose between the Makhnovists and the Bolsheviks, primarily due to differences in their political ideologies and strategies.

The Makhnovists advocated for a free, stateless society based on anarchist principles, emphasizing the decentralization of power and the organization of society through voluntary cooperation. They opposed the centralization of authority and the establishment of a new state, which put them at odds with the Bolshevik government led by Vladimir Lenin.

The conflict between the Makhnovists and the Bolsheviks escalated, leading to a series of confrontations and betrayals. Ultimately, the Red Army, under Bolshevik control, turned against the Makhnovists, viewing them as a threat to the Bolshevik vision of a centralized socialist state. The Makhnovshchina was eventually suppressed, and Nestor Makhno and many of his followers went into exile.

The Makhnovshchina remains a complex and debated episode in the history of the Russian Civil War, as it reflects the ideological and strategic divergences within the broader revolutionary movements of the time.

17 August 1918

Bolshevik revolutionary leader Moisei Uritsky is assassinated.

Moisei Solomonovich Uritsky was a prominent Bolshevik revolutionary leader who played a significant role during the early days of the Russian Revolution and the subsequent Russian Civil War. He was born on April 14, 1873, in the town of Romny, which is now part of Ukraine.

Uritsky became involved in revolutionary activities at a young age and joined the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party (RSDLP), which later split into the Bolshevik and Menshevik factions. He sided with the Bolsheviks and was known for his fervent dedication to the party’s cause.

During the October Revolution of 1917, which led to the Bolsheviks’ rise to power, Uritsky played a crucial role in Petrograd (modern-day Saint Petersburg), which was a key center of revolutionary activity. He was appointed as the head of the Cheka (All-Russian Extraordinary Commission for Combating Counter-Revolution and Sabotage), the Bolshevik secret police and security agency.

However, Uritsky’s time in power was short-lived. On August 30, 1918, he was assassinated by Leonid Kannegisser, a young man who opposed Bolshevik rule and held Uritsky responsible for the repressive actions of the Cheka. Kannegisser managed to infiltrate Uritsky’s office in Petrograd and shot him, before being apprehended and subsequently executed.

Uritsky’s assassination was a significant event during a period of intense turmoil in Russia. It further highlighted the deepening divide between the Bolsheviks and their opponents, both within and outside the party. Uritsky’s death also contributed to the Bolsheviks’ growing concern about internal security and the need to suppress perceived threats to their rule.

Following Uritsky’s assassination, Felix Dzerzhinsky took over as the head of the Cheka. Dzerzhinsky continued Uritsky’s work of establishing a strong and feared security apparatus, which played a key role in maintaining Bolshevik control during the early years of the Soviet regime.

21 March 1918

World War I: The first phase of the German Spring Offensive, Operation Michael, begins.

Operation Michael, also known as the Spring Offensive, was a major German military campaign during World War I that took place from March to July 1918. It was the last attempt by the German army to achieve a decisive victory on the Western Front before the arrival of American troops and marked the high point of Germany’s military power during the war.

The operation began on March 21, 1918, with a massive artillery bombardment of the Allied lines. This was followed by an assault by three German armies, which succeeded in breaking through the Allied front and advancing towards the English Channel. However, the German advance was ultimately halted due to supply problems, the exhaustion of the troops, and the arrival of reinforcements from the Allied powers.

Despite early successes, Operation Michael was ultimately a failure for Germany, as it did not achieve its strategic objectives and resulted in heavy casualties on both sides. The operation marked the beginning of a series of offensives and counteroffensives that ultimately led to Germany’s defeat in the war.

15 March 1918

Finnish Civil War: The battle of Tampere begins

The Finnish Civil War was fought from January to May 1918, and it ended with the victory of the White Guard over the Red Guard. The White Guard was composed of conservative and nationalist groups who wanted to maintain Finland’s independence and were supported by Germany. The Red Guard, on the other hand, was composed of socialist groups who wanted a revolution and were supported by the Soviet Union.

After a series of battles and sieges, the White Guard captured Helsinki on May 12, 1918, which effectively ended the war. The Red Guard surrendered and their leaders were subsequently imprisoned, executed, or sent into exile. The victory of the White Guard led to the establishment of a conservative government in Finland, which remained in power until the end of World War II.

24 February 1918

Estonian Declaration of Independence.

The Estonian Declaration of Independence was proclaimed on February 24, 1918, by the Estonian Provincial Assembly in Tallinn, Estonia. The declaration marked the end of over two centuries of foreign rule and established Estonia as an independent republic.

The declaration was a response to the political chaos that emerged after the Russian Revolution of 1917. In the aftermath of the revolution, Estonia was briefly occupied by both German and Soviet forces, but in late 1917, the Estonian Provincial Assembly declared itself the supreme authority in the region.

The declaration itself was written by a committee of Estonian leaders, including Konstantin Päts, Jüri Vilms, and Konstantin Konik. It declared Estonia to be an independent democratic republic with a government elected by the people.

The declaration was not immediately recognized by foreign powers, and Estonia had to fight for its independence in the Estonian War of Independence, which lasted from 1918 to 1920. The war was ultimately successful, and Estonia was recognized as an independent state by the Soviet Union in the Treaty of Tartu in 1920.

The Estonian Declaration of Independence remains an important symbol of Estonian national identity and is celebrated as a national holiday in Estonia every February 24th.