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Behind the Iron Curtain

Soviet Estonia in the Era of the Cold War


Edited By Tõnu Tannberg

During the Cold War, Estonia lay behind the Iron Curtain. Even in the grip of Soviet rule, the country underwent many important developments. This volume brings together fourteen papers on the political, economic, and cultural history of Estonia during the Cold War. Their topics range from international relations and the border regime to tourism and the media. The papers are based on extensive archival research and make use of many previously unexamined documents. The resulting book offers new insights into the history of Estonia and of the Cold War on a local level.
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Cold War-Era Germany and Eastern Europe in the Reports by Karl Selter, Ludvig Jakobsen, and Elmar Reisenberg to the Estonian Consulate General in New York


← 276 | 277 →Vahur Made

Abstract: The article expands the examination that has been conducted to date of Estonian expatriates’ foreign policy struggle. It considers the activity of Karl Selter, Ludvig Jakobsen, and Elmar Reisenberg, who represented Estonians in West Germany during the Cold War. Their views on international and European politics are analyzed. While major European countries served as models and sources of support in the interwar period, the USA and NATO were seen as Estonia’s primary allies during the Cold War.

The status of Karl Selter, Ludvig Jakobsen, and Elmar Reisenberg, the men who represented Estonians in West Germany during the Cold War years, has been interpreted in different ways. From the standpoint of Johannes Kaiv and Ernst Jaakson, Estonia’s consuls general in New York, as well as of Estonia’s other foreign representatives who operated in exile during the Cold War, these three men were “Estonia’s representatives in Germany”1—Selter in 1952–58, Jakobsen in 1958–61, and Reisenberg in 1963–88.

The biographical encyclopedia of Estonia’s foreign service refers to Selter, Jakobsen, and Reisenberg each as “unofficial representative to the government of the Federal Republic of Germany.” The encyclopedia also mentions that the authorities of the German Federal Republic, primarily the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Bonn, agreed to recognize the three men as the “protectors of the interests of citizens of the Republic of Estonia.”2

Tiit Matsulevitš, who was the first to take up the office of...

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