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The Second World War and the Baltic States


Edited By James S. Corum, Olaf Mertelsmann and Kaarel Piirimäe

This volume places the history of the Second World War and the Baltic states into a multidisciplinary and international perspective. It includes contributions from the fields of diplomacy, strategy, military operations, intelligence and propaganda. It presents not only a multi-layered interpretation of a region affected by total war, but also reveals a great deal about the nature of that conflict. It discusses the attitudes of the great powers towards small states, the nature of military operations around the advent of mechanization and close air support, and techniques of population control and of steering opinion in the era of ideological regimes. Contributions on these topics add to our understanding of the Second World War as a pivotal event in the history of Europe in the 20 th century.
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The study of history is important to the military profession as history provides a foundation in reality and the best means to critically examine strategies, doctrines and concepts. Through the study of history we can understand the complex nature of conflict, which includes not only the military sphere, but also the spheres of diplomacy, intelligence, economics as well as the relationship between the people and the military. Military officers also need a thorough understanding of the forces that shaped their own country and region.

Of course, understanding the history of conflict is also important for political leaders, diplomats, academics and for the general public. As an academic institution, as well as a military one, the Estonian National Defence College has a duty to further good historical scholarship, not only for the officers we educate, but also for the wider public. For this reason we have sponsored this work, The Second World War and the Baltic States, in the framework of the research project “The Military History of Estonia in the Context of the Development of Warfare in the Wider World”.

In The Second World War and the Baltic States it is our goal to fill a big gap in the history of World War II. The Baltic states have been long overlooked as a major theater of operations in the major histories of the war, largely because access to archives and documents and witnesses to the wartime events were largely shut off during the...

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