Primary Documents - 1918

Douglas Haig's famous "Backs to the Wall" Special Order which urged British resolve in the face of the sweeping German Spring Offensive of 1918 This page of the Primary Documents section of the website collects together archive source documents originating in 1918.

This, the final year of the war, saw the Allies triumph over the Central Powers, and the collapse of monarchies throughout Europe.

Included among the following documents is the text of U.S. President Wilson's famed Fourteen Points outlining the basis for peace.  Also available is the text of the annexationist Treaty of Brest-Litovsk which Germany imposed against Russia; and Kaiser Wilhelm II's abdication proclamation.

The list presented below - with each entry accompanied by a brief summary of its significance -  is sorted by date, with earlier documents listed first.

Document Description
ArticlePresident Wilson's Fourteen Points January - U.S. President's formula for peace
ArticleUkraine's Call for Inclusion at Brest-Litovsk January - Vinichenko's plea for seat at peace conference
ArticleRussian Announcement on Brest-Litovsk January - Government announcement protesting terms
ArticleCount Hertling on the Fourteen Points January - German Chancellor's conciliatory response
ArticleUkraine-Central Powers Peace Treaty February - Text of peace treaty agreed by Ukraine
ArticleKuhlman on the Ukraine Peace Treaty February - Reaction of Brest-Litovsk Conference chairman
ArticleSeveryuk on the Ukraine Peace Treaty February - Reaction of Ukraine government
ArticleRussian Withdrawal from Brest-Litovsk February - Leon Trotsky's announcement of Russia's act
ArticleWilson's Clarification of the 14 Points February - U.S. President's explanation of certain clauses
ArticleKarl I on the Ukraine Peace Treaty February - Reaction of Austro-Hungarian Emperor
ArticleDouglas Haig's Cambrai Despatch February - British Commander-in-Chief's report
ArticleLenin on Need to Accept Brest-Litovsk February - Lenin's appeal in support of Brest-Litovsk peace
ArticleCount Hertling on Wilson's 11 Feb Speech February - German Chancellor's follow-up re: 14 Points
ArticleArthur Balfour on Count Hertling's Speech February - British Foreign Secretary's critique of Hertling
ArticleDe Broqueville on Count Hertling's Speech February - Belgian Prime Minister's position re: peace
ArticleTreaty of Brest-Litovsk March - Germany's treaty with Russia
ArticleCount Hertling on Brest-Litovsk Treaty March - German Chancellor's speech to Reichstag
ArticleU.S. Railway Control Act March - U.S. law giving government control of railways
ArticleHindenburg on the Spring Offensive March - German Chief of Staff's account of the offensive
ArticleLudendorff on the Spring Offensive March - Ludendorff's official report
ArticlePershing's Offer to Subordinate U.S. Forces March - U.S. C-in-C's address to Ferdinand Foch
ArticleLloyd George on Co-ordination of Forces March - British Prime Minister on rationale for decision
ArticleArz v. Straussenberg on the German Army April - Austro-Hungarian C-in-C's official statement
ArticleCount Czernin on Brest-Litovsk Treaty April - Austro-Hungarian Foreign Minister's view
ArticleU.S. Ambassador to Paris on the Paris Gun April - William G Sharp's account of its early use
ArticleFoch's Appointment as Allied Commander April - Official Allied documentation appointing Foch
ArticleLloyd George on Allied Army Co-operation April - British Prime Minister's repeated appeal
ArticleHindenburg on the Lys Offensive April - German Chief of Staff's account of the offensive
ArticleDouglas Haig's Special Order of the Day April - Commander-in-Chief's 'Backs to the Walls' call
ArticleBritish Report on Zeebrugge Raid April - Admiralty statement trumpeting raid's success
ArticleGerman Report on Zeebrugge Raid April - Alfred von Tirpitz's official report
ArticleSir Arthur Currie on the Lys Offensive April - Canadian Corps Commander's appeal for courage
ArticleTreaty of Bucharest May - Germany's treaty with Romania
ArticleBritish Report on Ostend Raid May - Admiralty account of raid upon Ostend
ArticleU.S. Espionage Act May - Modification of act initially passed in June 1917
ArticlePershing on the Battle of Cantigny May - U.S. C-in-C's surprise at German approach to battle
ArticleFrench Military Report on Belleau Wood June - Brief French military report praising U.S. forces
ArticleBritish Press Report on the Paris Gun June - Account of its use and significance
ArticlePershing on the Allied Call for Extra Troops June - U.S. C-in-C's account of European calls for troops
ArticleAllied Prime Ministers' Call for U.S. Troops June - Urgent appeal issued by France, Italy and Britain
ArticlePershing on the Battle of Belleau Wood June - U.S. C-in-C's brief summary of crucial U.S. battle
ArticleJosephus Daniels on Belleau Wood June - U.S. Secretary of the Navy's account
ArticleBritish Press Report on Belleau Wood June - British press report praising U.S. efforts
ArticleConrad on Battle of Piave River June - Austro-Hungarian commander's pre-battle address
ArticleFrench Report on Battle of Piave River June - Official French observer's report
ArticleGerman Report on Battle of Piave River June - Official German observer's report
ArticleG. M. Trevelyan on Battle of Piave River June - Account by head of British Red Cross in Italy
ArticleLord Cavan on Battle of Piave River June - Official report by British commander in Italy
ArticleFerdinand Foch on Allied Prospects July - Allied Supreme Commander's optimism for victory
ArticleGouraud on Second Battle of the Marne July - French General's appeal to his forces at onset
ArticleMasaryk on Czech Fighting in Russia July - Tomas Masaryk on rationale for fighting in Russia
ArticleWegener on Second Battle of the Marne July - Semi-official German press statement
ArticleLudendorff on Second Battle of the Marne August - German strategist's view of Allied counterattack
ArticleMangin on Second Battle of the Marne August - French General's praise of U.S. efforts
ArticleHindenburg on the Battle of Amiens August - German Chief of Staff's post-war reflections
ArticleDegoutte on Second Battle of the Marne August - French General's praise of U.S. role
ArticlePershing on Second Battle of the Marne August - U.S. C-in-C's summary of U.S. participation
ArticleArdenne on Second Battle of the Marne August - Semi-official German statement on outcome
ArticlePershing's Marne Special Order of the Day August - U.S. Commander's praise of U.S. conduct
ArticlePhilip Gibbs on the Battle of Amiens August - Official British journalist's newspaper account
ArticleMangin on Allied Attacks at the Marne August - French General's view of battle's turning point
ArticleRosner on Allied Attacks at the Marne August - News reporter's account of Kaiser's reaction
ArticleRobert Lansing on Post-War Czech State September - U.S. Secretary of State's statement
ArticleCrown Prince Wilhelm on U.S. Troops September - Wilhelm's views on U.S. troops
ArticlePaul von Hindenburg on Allied Propaganda September - German Chief of Staff's warning to soldiers
ArticleCrown Prince Wilhelm on Battle of St Mihiel September - Account from Wilhelm's post-war memoirs
ArticleMax von Gallwitz on Battle of St Mihiel September - Local German commander's account
ArticleSir Edmund Allenby on Battle of Megiddo September - British Commander-in-Chief's report
ArticleGeorge Milne's Vardar Order of the Day September - British commander's praise of Greek troops
ArticleBulgaria's Request for a Ceasefire September - Government request pending an armistice
ArticleMaurice on the Battle of the Canal du Nord September - British General's summary of battle
ArticleColonel Frantzis on Vardar Offensive September - Summary by Greek Military Attaché in London
Articled'Esperey to Venizelos on Vardar Offensive September - Telegram to Greek Prime Minister
ArticleAllied Armistice Terms with Bulgaria September - Terms dictating surrender of Bulgaria
Articled'Esperey on the Vardar Offensive September - Commander-in-Chief's official report
ArticleGeorge Milne on the Vardar Offensive September - British regional commander's official report
ArticleVenizelos Celebrates Bulgaria's Defeat September - Statement issued to Greek Army commanders
ArticleTsar Ferdinand's Abdication Proclamation September - Bulgarian Tsar's forced abdication
ArticleW. T. Massey on Allenby's Progress September - Account of Allenby's victory at Megiddo
ArticleGeorg von der Marwitz on Meuse-Argonne September - Address by local German commander
ArticleHigh Command's Peace Recommendation October - German military's address to Reichstag
ArticleHindenburg's Call for Negotiated Peace October - Army Chief of Staff's urgent call
ArticleKaiser's Appeal to the German Army (1) October - Wilhelm II's appeal for renewed vigour
ArticleKaiser's Appeal to the German Army (2) October - Wilhelm II's statement of urgency
ArticleCzecho-Slovak Declaration of Independence October - Provisional Government's declaration
ArticleKaiser's Call for Representative Government October - Kaiser's proclamation to Chancellor
ArticleGaston Bodart on the Fall of Turkey October - Official German observer's account
ArticleLiebknecht's Call for German Revolution November - German revolutionary's appeal
ArticleArmando Diaz on Austria-Hungary's Defeat November - Italian Army Chief of Staff's proclamation
ArticleTrevelyan on Austria-Hungary's Defeat November - Account by head of British Red Cross
ArticleHindenburg's Request for Armistice November - Telegram series between Hindenburg and Foch
ArticleFrench Eyewitness to Armistice November - French Captain's account of armistice
ArticleBritish Eyewitness to Armistice November - British account of German delegate's arrival
ArticleFoch's Telegram Urging Coordinated Action November - Telegram from Allied Supreme Commander
Articlevon Baden Announces Kaiser's Abdication November - German Chancellor's announcement
ArticleKaiser Wilhelm on Reason for Seeking Exile November - Kaiser's rationale in letter to Crown Prince
ArticleOwen on Surrender of Gallipoli Peninsula November - War journalist's account
ArticleWard Price on Surrender of Constantinople November - Official British observer's account
ArticleEbert on Post-Imperial Government November - Ebert's appeal for public calm
ArticleAllied Armistice Terms with Germany November - Allied demands from Germany
ArticleEmperor Karl I's Abdication Proclamation November - Austro-Hungarian Emperor's abdication
ArticleWilson's Armistice Address to Congress November - U.S. President's summary to U.S. Congress
ArticleCount von Moltke on Kaiser's Abdication November - Account by member of Kaiser's personal staff
ArticleCrown Prince's Request to Stay with Army November - Crown Prince Wilhelm's request to Ebert
ArticleRegency Council's Appointment of Pilsudski November - Polish governing body's appointment
ArticleRegency Council's Decree of Dissolution November - Polish governing body's announcement
ArticleJosef Pilsudski on Post-war Plans in Poland November - Newly appointed Polish leader's statement
ArticleCrown Prince on the German Revolution November - Crown Prince's letter to von Hindenburg
ArticleYugoslav Committee on Greater Serbia November - Ante Trumbic-led council's aspirations
ArticlePrince Alexander on Greater Serbia November - Serbian Regent's reply to Yugoslav Committee
ArticleKaiser Wilhelm II's Abdication Proclamation November - German Kaiser's reluctant abdication
ArticleOfficial Report of the U.S. Navy November - U.S. Naval Secretary's account of war role
ArticleReport of the U.S. Navy's Transport Division November - Charles C. Gill's account of troop transports
ArticleMontenegrin Skupshtina's Decree December - Declaration of new Greater Serbian state
ArticleGibbs on Allied Occupation of the Rhineland December - British war journalist's account
ArticleSultan Mehmed VI's Proclamation December - Sultan's regret for illegal Turkish acts
ArticleFrench Citation on Battle of Belleau Wood December - Official recognition for U.S. efforts
ArticleMasaryk's Address on Re-entering Prague December - Czecho-Slovak President's emotional speech

A "biff" was a Bristol fighter plane.

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Primary Docs