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The Second World War and the Baltic States

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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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County Level Operational Groups as Part of the Soviet Strategy to Reoccupy Estonia during the Second World War

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← 192 | 193 → County Level Operational Groups as Part of the Soviet Strategy to Re-occupy Estonia during the Second World War

Ardi Siilaberg

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.

The unexpected...

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