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The Baltic States and the Great Powers: Foreign Relations, 1938-1940

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This is the first complete account of the diplomatic relations and military steps leading to Estonia's, Latvia's, and Lithuania's forcible absorption into the USSR in 1940. David Crowe - making use of recently opened archival sources - traces the Baltic states' relations with the Soviet Union, Germany, Poland, Great Britain, France, and with one another from 1917-1940. He starts with an overview of 1917-1936 and then offers a detailed description of the diplomatic maneuvering that marked Europe's collective slide...
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Overview

This is the first complete account of the diplomatic relations and military steps leading to Estonia's, Latvia's, and Lithuania's forcible absorption into the USSR in 1940. David Crowe - making use of recently opened archival sources - traces the Baltic states' relations with the Soviet Union, Germany, Poland, Great Britain, France, and with one another from 1917-1940. He starts with an overview of 1917-1936 and then offers a detailed description of the diplomatic maneuvering that marked Europe's collective slide toward war. Crowe covers the Sudeten and Memel crises involving German communities in 1938, the German-Soviet Pact in August 1939, the mutual assistance pacts between the Baltic states and the USSR, the Baltic German migration, Soviet use of Estonia's military installations during their assault on Finland, and the subsequent Soviet occupation of the Baltic states. The story ends with the election of new, Soviet-sponsored legislatures that sought admission into the USSR as Soviet republics in 1940 - a step that most Western countries never recognized and one that the Baltic states finally reversed when they regained their independence fifty-one years later in August 1991.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780813304816
  • Publisher: Westview Press
  • Publication date: 1/19/1993
  • Pages: 264
  • Lexile: 1660L (what's this?)

Meet the Author

David M. Crowe is President Emeritus of the Association for the Study of Nationalities at Columbia University and a member of the Education Committee of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. He is currently a Fellow at the Center for Slavic, Eurasian, and East European Studies at the University of North at Carolina at Chapel Hill. His award-winning books include A History of the Gypsies of Eastern Europe and Russia and The Baltic States and the Great Powers: Foreign Relations, 1938-1940. He teaches at Elon University.

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Preface and Acknowledgments
A Note on Currency
1 Seeds of Discord: 1918-1938 1
Emergence of Baltic Independence 1
The Search for International Identity 4
Seeds of Baltic Unity 7
Failed Baltic Security Efforts 9
Era of "Drift" in Baltic Foreign Policy 11
Baltic Concerns over Germany 12
Baltic Fears and Adolph Hitler 14
Baltic Diplomatic Shifts and Fear of Germany 16
Renewed Search for Baltic Unity and Security 19
Emergence of the Baltic Entente 23
Polish-Lithuanian Crisis 28
2 The Third Reich and the German Minorities Question (March 1938-March 1939) 30
German Ties with Latvia 30
Germany, Lithuania, and Memel 31
Germany and Estonia 33
Germany and Latvia 35
The German Threat and the Memel Crisis 36
Campaign for the December 11 Elections in Memel 39
Nazi Election Victory and the Fate of Memel 44
Estonia and Latvia: Fears over Memel 46
Backgrouud to Anschluss 49
The Memel Anschluss 52
3 The Anglo-Soviet-French and German-Soviet Discussions of 1939 55
Allied Search for Security 55
Discussions for an Anglo-Soviet-French Alliance 60
German Proposals to the Baltic States 61
Renewed Anglo-Soviet-French Discussions 68
Baltic Concerns over the Anglo-Soviet-French Discussions 70
Anglo-Soviet-French Talks Resume in Moscow 73
Hitler Enters the Picture 77
Baltic State Reaction to the New German-Soviet Accord 81
4 Stalin, Molotov, and the Forced Mutual Assistance Negotiations (September-October 1939) 84
Germany Pressures Lithuania to Seize Vilnius 84
Moscow Forces Estonia to Enter into Mutual Assistance Talks 88
Latvia Faced with Soviet Demands 95
Stalin Offers Lithuania Vilnius and Demands a Mutual Assistance Treaty 99
Vilnius Is Transferred to Lithuania 104
5 The Third Reich and the Baltic German Exodus (September 1939-January 1944) 118
The Nazi Decision to Transfer the Baltic Germans 118
Exodus of the German Community in Estonia 121
Transfer of the Baltic Germans in Latvia 124
Belated Emigration: The Remaining Germans in the Baltic States 130
Baltic German Efforts to Return Home 131
6 The Winter War and the Polish Refugee Crisis (November 1939-May 1940) 134
The Winter War and the Baltic States 135
Lithuania's Difficulties with Vilnius and the Polish Refugee Problem 141
Baltic Concerns over the USSR 146
7 The Soviet Conquest and the Absorption of the Baltic States (May 1940-August 1940) 150
Moscow Charges Baltic States with Organizing an Anti-Soviet Military Alliance 153
Soviet Union Demands the Right to Occupy Lithuania 155
Stalin's Attention Turns to Latvia 158
The German Reaction to the Soviet Occupation of the Baltic States 162
Dekanozov and the Sovietization of the Baltic States 163
Vyshinsky Takes Control of Latvia 167
Zhdanov in Estonia 169
July 1-15 Soviet-style Elections in the Baltic States 171
New Baltic Legislatures Ask for Admission into the USSR 173
Epilogue: The Bitter Road to Independence (August 1940-0ctober 1991) 176
Years of Dependence, 1940-1985 176
Gorbachev's Revolution and the Road to Baltic Independence 179
Acronyms 185
Notes 186
References 239
About the Book and Author 252
Index 253
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