In 1918, World War I, Russia sign the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk in March ending their participation in the war and allowing Germany to concentrate on the Western Front. The same month, Germany launch the Spring Offensive which ultimately breaks the stalemate on the Western Front. It is initially a major success. However, they are unable to move supplies and reinforcements fast enough to maintain their advance. The Allies then launch their 100 Days Offensive, which forces Germany to retreat through the territory they had gained. The 100 Days Offensive will ultimately end with the surrender of Germany and victory for the Allies on November 11, 1918. Elsewhere, the Vardar Offensive forces Bulgaria to sue for peace in September; the Ottoman Empire surrenders in October; and Austria-Hungary, after being handed a crushing defeat by the Italians at the Second Battle of the Piave, surrender in November. Here is a timeline of events in World War I which took place in 1918.
18: Last offensive on the Eastern Front begins
As negotiations are going on between the Central Powers and Russia, Central Powers demand the territory that they had occupied during the 1914–1916 period, including Poland, Lithuania and western Latvia. The Bolsheviks decide not to accept these terms and instead withdraw from the negotiations. This results in the breakdown of ceasefire and the last offensive on the Eastern Front. The Central powers thus launch Operation Faustschlag.
3: Treaty of Brest-Litovsk is signed
Operation Faustschlag or Operation Fist Punch ends with the Central Powers capturing huge territories in the Baltics, Belarus and Ukraine, forcing the Bolshevik government of Russia to sign the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk.
4: Spanish Flu breaks out
Private Albert Gitchell at Camp Funston, Fort Riley, Kansas becomes the first recorded case of H1N1 virus, which will be later called the Spanish Flu. The flu has broken out since January and will infect 500 million people over the world and take 50 to 100 million lives till December 1920.
21: Spring Offensive: Operation Michael
Germans launch their Spring Offensive with Operation Michael to break through the Allied lines and push the British Expeditionary Force to the sea. Primarily planned by General Erik Ludendorff the Spring Offensive is an all-out attack to get a decisive win on the Western Front.
7 – 29: Spring Offensive: Operation Georgette
Operation Michael ends at the Allied communication center near Amiens, where the Allies manage to halt the German advance; the German armies have suffered many casualties and are unable to maintain supplies to the advancing troops. Operation Georgette is hence launched with the objective of capturing Ypres. Georgette has similar goals, planning and execution as Michael.
22 – 29: Ottomans invasion of east Armenia
The Ottoman invasion of east Armenia fails when they lose in the Battle of Sardarabad. The battle is currently seen as not only stopping the Ottoman advance into the rest of Armenia, but also preventing complete destruction of the Armenian nation.
27: Spring Offensive: Operation Blücher-Yorck
A massive surprise attack is launched by the Germans at the Aisne and success means German armies reaching within striking distance of Paris. The defense of the Aisne area rests in the hands of General Denis Auguste Duchêne, commander of the French Sixth Army and the British IX Corps who have been posted there to rest and refit after surviving the “Michael” battle. Despite French and British resistance on the flanks, German troops advanced to the Marne River and Paris seems a realistic objective.
9 – 12: Spring Offensive: Operation Gneisenau
General Ludendorff aims to extend Blücher-Yorck westward with Operation Gneisenau, intending to draw yet more Allied reserves south, widen the German salient and link with the German salient at Amiens. After a 9 mile impressive advance, a surprise French attack on June 11 halts the German advance.
15 – 23: Second Battle of the Piave
With the Russian exit from World War I, the Austro-Hungarian focus on the Italian front and launch a major frontal assault on the Piave in an attempt to force the Italians into an armistice. The Second Battle of Piave results in an emphatic Italian triumph and a big blow to Austria-Hungary.
15: Second Battle of the Marne
The Germans launch what would be their last offensive on the Western Front. The Second Battle of Marne ends when the French launch their own counterattack supported by several hundred tanks on the 6th of August.
8: 100 Days offensive begins
The German defeat at Marne marks the beginning of the 100 Days Offensive. Beginning with the Battle of Amiens, the Allies push the Germans back; who abandon the territory they gained from the Spring Offensive and retreat to the Hindenburg line.
15 – 29: Vardar Offensive and Bulgaria signs Armistice of Salonica
The Vardar Offensive in southern Balkans shatters Bulgarian resistance there. The Germans and Austro-Hungarians are in no position to help. The war has gone on for too long for Bulgaria and disorder is rife within the country. Mutinous soldiers demand an end to the war in times of food shortages and discontent. As the Allied forces cross the Bulgarian border and advance, Bulgarian leaders sue for peace.
18: Battle for the Hindenburg line begins
As the Allies advance in their 100 Days Offensive they face main German defenses anchored on the Hindenburg Line, a series of defensive fortifications stretching from Cerny on the Aisne river to Arras.
17: Hindenburg Line is broken
After close to a month of fighting, the Hindenburg line is broken. Through October, the German armies retreat through the territory gained in 1914.
30: The Ottoman Empire signs Armistice of Mudros
With the defeat of Bulgaria in its north, the Ottomans suddenly face the challenge of having to defend Constantinople against an overland European siege. They have been successful in the Caucasus campaign but have been pushed back in Syria. Grand Vizier Talaat Pasha visits Germany and Bulgaria in September and is convinced now that the war is not winnable. The Ottomans soon sue for peace.
3: Austria-Hungary signs Armistice of Villa Giusti
By the end of October 1918, the Austro-Hungarian army on the Italian front is so fatigued that its commanders are forced to seek a ceasefire. The armistice is signed in the Villa Giusti, outside Padua in the Veneto, northern Italy, and takes effect 24 hours later.
9: Kaiser William II abdicates in Germany
Uprisings in Berlin and other places, and mutiny among the ranks in the armed forces force Kaiser William II to abdicate. The November Revolution in Germany leads to the replacement of the German federal constitutional monarchy with a democratic parliamentary republic.
11: Germany signs the Armistice of Compiègne
Germany signs armistice in a railroad carriage at Compiègne, France. It comes into force at 11:11 a.m. Paris time on November 11, 1918, (“the eleventh minute of the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month”) marking a victory for the Allies and the formal end of all fighting in World War I.