Edited By James S. Corum, Olaf Mertelsmann and Kaarel Piirimäe
County Level Operational Groups as Part of the Soviet Strategy to Reoccupy Estonia during the Second World War
← 192 | 193 → County Level Operational Groups as Part of the Soviet Strategy to Re-occupy Estonia during the Second World War
Estonia, the smallest of three Baltic states, shared the same fate as her sister states of Latvia and Lithuania during the Second World War. After the notorious Hitler–Stalin Pact in August 1939 the country was included into the Soviet sphere of influence with the agreement of the German government. The Soviet Union then forced a pact of mutual cooperation on all three Baltic states in 1939 that allowed the establishment of Soviet military bases in the territory of Baltic countries. In June 1940, as the world watched the Wehrmacht conquer Paris, Moscow moved to demand changes of government in Tallinn, Riga and Vilnius. Facing a threat of war Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia submitted to the Soviet demands to allow even more troops to be based on their territories and to change their governments. What followed was a carefully planned political ‘theater’ that took place simultaneously in all three countries and ended with each of them joining the Soviet Union in August 1940. After a year of Soviet rule, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia were swiftly conquered by Nazi Germany as a result of the German–Soviet war that started in June 1941. The Soviets were driven out of the Baltic states only to return in the summer of 1944. The second Soviet occupation lasted until independence was regained in 1991.
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