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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 Reception of German War Propaganda in Estonia, 1941–1944


Kari Alenius

During the German occupation of Estonia (1941–1944) the dissemination of war propaganda was one of the primary German means of strengthening their position in the country. By the use of propaganda the German holders of power tried to overcome the opposition of the Estonians and make them loyal to German rule and willing to promote German war endeavors. On the basis of the extant historical documents it is evident that German propaganda efforts were successful to a certain degree, but in many cases German efforts were distrusted and rejected by the local people.

At the center of this study are not the contents of the continuous German propaganda effort and specific campaigns as such, but a focus on the reception of propaganda by the Estonians. This study aims to explain why certain elements of German war propaganda proved successful among the Estonians while other elements were not. Different social groups can be distinguished here, and not all Estonians were united in their opinion. In a similar manner the course of war strongly influenced the effectiveness of propaganda. In this analysis the main attention will be given to the Estonian reception of propaganda that was common in its nature, such as the end result of the war, the future of Estonia, and the larger economic, socio-political and cultural questions.


The source material of this study consists of the surveillance reports of the German Sicherheitspolizei (Security Police, Sipo)...

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