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The background of the occupation of the Baltic states covers the period before the first Soviet occupation on 14 June 1940, stretching from independence in 1918 to the Soviet ultimatums in 1939–1940. The Baltic states gained their independence during and after the Russian revolutions of 1917; Lenin's government allowed them to secede. They managed to sign non-aggression treaties in the 1920s and 1930s. Despite the treaties, the Baltic states were forcibly incorporated into the Soviet Union in 1940 in the aftermath of the German–Soviet pact of 1939.
The Baltic states, also known as the Baltic countries, Baltic republics, Baltic nations or simply the Baltics, is a geopolitical term, typically used to group the three sovereign states in Northern Europe on the eastern coast of the Baltic Sea: Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. The term is not used in the context of cultural areas, national identity, or language, because while the majority of people in Latvia and Lithuania are Baltic people, the majority in Estonia are Finnic. The three countries do not form an official union, but engage in intergovernmental and parliamentary cooperation. The most important areas of cooperation between the three countries are foreign and security policy, defence, energy and transportation.
The Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, officially known as the Treaty of Non-aggression between Germany and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, was a neutrality pact between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union signed in Moscow on 23 August 1939 by foreign ministers Joachim von Ribbentrop and Vyacheslav Molotov, respectively.
The Russian Empire acquired the Baltic areas as autonomous Duchies administered by Baltic German nobility via the Treaty of Nystad in 1721 and Courland in 1795.In 1914, World War I broke out and by 1915 German armies had occupied Lithuania and Courland incorporating the areas into Ober Ost. As the Russian Empire began to collapse, independence movements sprung up on many regions. After the 1917 October Revolution in Russia, Baltic political leaders attempted to establish the independent states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania; however, German control continued throughout the area until early 1918. Later in 1918, the area was drawn into the Russian Civil War and proclamations of independence were issued in Lithuania on 16 February, in Estonia on 24 February and in Latvia on 18 November 1918.
The Russian Empire, also known as Imperial Russia or simply Russia, was an empire that extended across Eurasia and North America from 1721, following the end of the Great Northern War, until the Republic was proclaimed by the Provisional Government that took power after the February Revolution of 1917.
The Treaty of Nystad was the last peace treaty of the Great Northern War of 1700–1721. It was concluded between the Tsardom of Russia and the Swedish Empire on 10 September [O.S. 30 August] 1721 in the then Swedish town of Nystad. Sweden had settled with the other parties in Stockholm and in Frederiksborg (1720).
The Duchy of Courland and Semigallia was a duchy in the Baltic region that existed from 1561 to 1569 as a vassal state of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and from 1569 to 1726 to the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, incorporated into the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth by Sejm in 1726, On 28 March 1795, it was annexed by the Russian Empire in the Third Partition of Poland.
Between years of 1918–1920, the bolsheviks tried to establish Soviet republics in the Baltic area. In November 1918 the Red Army conquered Narva. They proclaimed the Commune of the Working People of Estonia, but it was able to function only for six weeks.In December, the Latvian communists controlled Riga and proclaimed the Latvian Socialist Soviet Republic. In May 1919, the communist control ended when the city was taken by combined German, Latvian and White Russian troops.
The Republics of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics or Union Republics were the ethnically based proto-states of the Soviet Union. For most of its history, the USSR was a highly centralized state; the decentralization reforms during the era of Perestroika ("Restructuring") and Glasnost ("Openness") conducted by Mikhail Gorbachev are cited as one of the factors which led to the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991.
The Workers' and Peasants' Red Army, frequently shortened to Red Army was the army and the air force of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic, and, after 1922, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. The army was established immediately after the 1917 October Revolution. The Bolsheviks raised an army to oppose the military confederations of their adversaries during the Russian Civil War. Beginning in February 1946, the Red Army, along with the Soviet Navy, embodied the main component of the Soviet Armed Forces; taking the official name of "Soviet Army", until its dissolution in December 1991. The former official name Red Army continued to be used as a nickname by both sides throughout the Cold War.
Narva is the third largest city in Estonia. It is located in Ida-Viru County, at the eastern extreme point of Estonia, at the Russian border, on the Narva River which drains Lake Peipus.
By 1920, German troops had withdrawn and the Russian Civil War was in its final phase. Consequently, the Baltic states signed peace treaties with Soviet Russia. Estonia signed the Treaty of Tartu on 2 February, Lithuania signed the Soviet–Lithuanian Peace Treaty on 12 July and Latvia signed the Latvian–Soviet Peace Treaty on 15 August 1920.In 1920, all three Baltic states adopted constitutions including universal suffrage, a multi-party system and parliamentary with a president. However, the communists were prohibited from participation in politics.
The Tartu Peace Treaty or Treaty of Tartu is a peace treaty between Estonia and Soviet Russia signed on 2 February 1920, ending the Estonian War of Independence. The terms of the treaty stated that "Russia unreservedly recognises" the independence of the Republic of Estonia de jure and renounced in perpetuity all rights to the territory of Estonia. Ratifications of the treaty were exchanged in Moscow on 30 March 1920. It was registered in League of Nations Treaty Series on 12 July 1922.
The Soviet–Lithuanian Peace Treaty, also known as the Moscow Peace Treaty, was signed between Lithuania and Soviet Russia on July 12, 1920. In exchange for Lithuania's neutrality and permission to freely move its troops in the recognized territory during its war against Poland, Soviet Russia recognized the sovereignty of Lithuania. The treaty was a major milestone in Lithuania's struggle for international recognition. It also recognized Lithuania's eastern borders. Interwar Lithuania officially maintained that its de jure borders were those delineated by the treaty despite the fact that a large territory, the Vilnius Region, was in fact controlled by Poland.
The Latvian–Soviet Peace Treaty, also known as the Treaty of Riga, was signed on 11 August 1920 by representatives of the Republic of Latvia and Soviet Russia. It officially ended the Latvian War of Independence.
The Bolsheviks could not prevent the independence of the Baltic states, but the West had to be persuaded to accept it. By 1921 Lithuania, and by 1922 Estonia and Latvia, all obtained de jure international recognition.All three states joined the League of Nations in 1921. The Baltic states begin to build a regional alliance system with their neighbours in Scandinavia and eastern Europe. In the south, Poland was reconstituted with consolidation of territories from Germany and Russia. Furthermore, in summer 1920, Lithuania cooperated with Bolsheviks trying to seize Vilnius, which poisoned Lithuanian relations with their neighbours. In the north, Finland had also been under Russian control from 1809 until its independence in 1918, but the Finns looked to Scandinavia rather than towards the Baltic states. In the west, Sweden followed a policy of neutrality, but during the 1920s, it took a more active regional role.
The Western world, also known as the West, refers to various nations depending on the context, most often including at least parts of Europe, Australasia, and the Americas, with the status of Latin America disputed by some. There are many accepted definitions, all closely interrelated. The Western world is also known as the Occident, in contrast to the Orient, or Eastern world.
In law and government, de jure describes practices that are legally recognised, regardless whether the practice exists in reality. In contrast, de facto describes situations that exist in reality, even if not legally recognised. The terms are often used to contrast different scenarios: for a colloquial example, "I know that, de jure, this is supposed to be a parking lot, but now that the flood has left four feet of water here, it's a de facto swimming pool". To further explain, even if the signs around the flooded parking lot say "Parking Lot" it is "in fact" a swimming pool.
The League of Nations, abbreviated as LN or LoN, was an intergovernmental organisation founded on 10 January 1920 as a result of the Paris Peace Conference that ended the First World War. It was the first worldwide intergovernmental organisation whose principal mission was to maintain world peace. Its primary goals, as stated in its Covenant, included preventing wars through collective security and disarmament and settling international disputes through negotiation and arbitration. Other issues in this and related treaties included labour conditions, just treatment of native inhabitants, human and drug trafficking, the arms trade, global health, prisoners of war, and protection of minorities in Europe. At its greatest extent from 28 September 1934 to 23 February 1935, it had 58 members.
Between 1917 and 1934, the Baltic states worked to improve security, and unsuccessfully attempted to build a regional bloc stretching from Scandinavia to Romania.The Estonians and Latvians concluded a military convention in 1923, which Lithuania joined in 1934. Further, the Estonians and Latvians held a joint military exercise in 1931, but it was not repeated and collaboration remained a dead letter thereafter. However, the Finns and the Estonians had secret military exercises in the early 1930s, reconstructing the tsarist naval batteries. Finally in 1934, the three Baltic states reached the Baltic Entente agreement.
Romania is a country located at the crossroads of Central, Eastern, and Southeastern Europe. It borders the Black Sea to the southeast, Bulgaria to the south, Ukraine to the north, Hungary to the west, Serbia to the southwest, and Moldova to the east. It has a predominantly temperate-continental climate. With a total area of 238,397 square kilometres (92,046 sq mi), Romania is the 12th largest country and also the 7th most populous member state of the European Union, having almost 20 million inhabitants. Its capital and largest city is Bucharest, and other major urban areas include Cluj-Napoca, Timișoara, Iași, Constanța, Craiova, and Brașov.
A military exercise or war game is the employment of military resources in training for military operations, either exploring the effects of warfare or testing strategies without actual combat. This also serves the purpose of ensuring the combat readiness of garrisoned or deployable forces prior to deployment from a home base.
Peter the Great's naval fortress or the Tallinn-Porkkala defence station was a Russian fortification line, which aimed to block access to the Russian capital Saint Petersburg via the sea. The plans for the fortress included heavy coastal artillery pieces along the northern and southern shores of the Gulf of Finland. The emphasis was put on the defences of the gulf's narrowest point, between Porkkala, and Tallinn,. This was a strategic point, as the two fortresses of Mäkiluoto and Naissaar were only 36 kilometres apart. The coastal artillery had a range of about 25 kilometres and could thus "close" the gap between the shores, trapping enemy ships in a crossfire. Furthermore, a new major naval base was constructed in Tallinn.
In spite of the Vilnius issue, the Baltic states were open to the Polish option. The Warsaw Accord was signed in March 1922 by Finland, Poland, Estonia and Latvia, but the Finnish parliament failed to ratify it.
The April 1922 Genoa Conference between Germany, the Soviet Union, and the Allied powers was an attempt to reconstruct Europe. Soon the Germans and the Soviets agreed on the Rapallo Treaty which provided mutual liquidation of war debts and the recognition of the Soviet state. It was also a begin of the direct economic co-operation between these two giants. The Baltic leaders had lost their chance of planned international consortium to trade with the Soviets.Next, the Locarno Conference in 1925 gave a framework for European security. The Locarno treaties guaranteed Germany's western borders, but left open questions about Germany's eastern borders. The Germans and Soviets agreed to the Treaty of Berlin in 1926 as the Soviets feared the West could use Germany in its anti-Bolshevik crusade. The Baltic states were warned to not become military outposts of Great Britain against the Soviet Union.
Germany developed positive relationship with the Baltic states, especially with Latvia. Latvia represented itself as a bridge to an improved relationship with the Soviet Union. Latvia managed to sign a trade agreement with Germany in 1926 and with the Soviet Union in 1927.Similarly, Lithuania signed a trade agreement with Germany in May 1926. Lithuania was the key to improved relationship with the Soviet Union. In exchange for Soviet recognition of Lithuania's claim to Vilnius, the countries signed a non-aggression pact in September 1926.
The situation appeared to be stable for the Baltic states. The Soviet Union was not a significant threat as Joseph Stalin 's rise to power was underway, and the state retreated to the Socialism in one country ideology. The Soviets signed non-aggression treaties with their neighbor states between 1926–1933, including Finland, Latvia, Estonia and Poland.
The early 1930s saw the international community became unstable. First, the stock markets collapsed in 1929, causing an economic slump. Second, economic woes and fear of Communism saw the rise of totalitarian regimes in Japan, Germany and Italy. Economic crises destabilized the internal politics of the Baltic states, causing the rise of authoritarian regimes.Antanas Smetona and Augustinas Voldemaras had already taken power in a coup d'état in 1926; both Estonia and Latvia followed the example in 1934. The Elder of State Konstantin Päts took power in Estonia, and shortly afterward Prime Minister Kārlis Ulmanis took power in Latvia. Furthermore, because of the Great Depression, the Baltic states' two leading trading partners, Britain and Germany, limited their imports from the Baltic region.
Adolf Hitler's rise to power in Germany increased Soviet fears, and made the Baltic position between these two giants difficult.The Germans responded to the banking crisis of 1931 by introducing the policy of Grossraum wirtschaft . It was a clearing agreement where states exchanged material goods instead of money. This increased German trade with the Baltic states and it integrated their economy with Germany, but it never dominated their trade as effectively as in the Balkans. In January 1934, the Germans and the Poles signed a non-aggression pact.
In March 1934, the Soviet commissar for foreign affairs Maxim Litvinov proposed to the German ambassador in Moscow Rudolf Nadolny, a German-Soviet guarantee for the Baltic states which were "previously a part of the former Russian empire". Hitler vetoed the proposed deal and Nadolny resigned. Next, the Soviets turned to the "Eastern Locarno" plan, which was originally proposed by French foreign minister Louis Barthou. The proposed plan would have allowed Soviet troops to enter the Baltic states in the name of mutual assistance.External threats led to the Baltic Entente of September 1934, in which the Baltic states concluded a collective foreign policy, though it had no formal military provisions.
Germany increased the scope of its power and authority with the Anglo-German Naval Agreement in 1935 and the remilitarization of the Rhineland in 1936. In response, Baltic chiefs of staff were invited to the May Day celebration in Moscow in 1936. During their visit an Estonian officer was warned about German influence and offered a military alliance with the Soviet Union. Leningrad Bolshevik party leader Andrei Zhdanov made a speech to the eighth Soviet congress in November 1936, in which he warned border states against acting on behalf of the fascist powers and hinted at an intervention by the Red Army on the other side of the border.
Next, Germany annexed Austria in March 1938. A few days after this Poland delivered an ultimatum, demanding that Lithuania sign a peace treaty with Poland. Without support from their Baltic neighbours, the Lithuanians had to accede to the ultimatum. In September, the Germans occupied Czechoslovakia. Next, the Germans aimed to regain the Polish Corridor and Klaipėda in Lithuania.On 20 March 1939, the Germans demanded Klaipėda from Lithuania. Two days later the Lithuanians agreed, losing 30 percent of their industrial capacity and their only major sea port. The dismemberment of Czechoslovakia caused France and Great Britain to guarantee Polish integrity on 30 March.
The Soviet Union remained conciliatory with Baltic states in 1937–1938. Moscow had welcomed the Baltic Entente earlier and Soviet marshal Alexander Yegorov visited all three Baltic capitals in 1937.However, during the same period the Soviet Union built defences on the borders of Finland, Estonia and Latvia, and committed airspace infringements. In early 1939, the Germans and Soviets started secret meetings toward an agreement. The British had abandoned the idea of naval intervention in the Baltic with the Anglo-German Naval Agreement in 1935. However, British politicians made visits to the area, and exported armaments. In 1939, the British and French tried to arrange a "guarantee" of the Baltic states to the Soviet Union. The Baltic states would have preferred to remain neutral, but the only security systems on offer were German or Soviet. In June 1939, Estonia and Latvia yielded to German pressure and signed non-aggression pacts.
In late June, the German general Franz Halder visited Estonia and Finland, and later Admiral Wilhelm Canaris visited Estonia. The visits were merely political demonstration, but the Soviets saw them as unfriendly. Germany and the West raced for Soviet favours. The French were prepared to hand over the Baltic states to the Soviets in order to purchase an agreement but the British refused.The French and British went on to hold military conversations in Moscow in August 1939. The Soviets demanded that the Western powers occupy bases in Finland and the Baltic states and then hand them over to the Red Army. Soon afterward, German foreign minister Joachim von Ribbentrop traveled to Moscow to negotiate the final stage of a new pact, later known as Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact. In its secret protocol, the Germans and Soviets divided Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Bessarabia between their spheres of influence. After the German invasion of Poland on 1 September, a second secret protocol of 28 September consigned Lithuania to the Soviet sphere of interest.
On August 23, 1939 the Soviet Union asserted its control over the Baltic states with the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, which declared them as Soviet sphere of influence. On September 16, the Soviets and Japanese governments signed a cease-fire agreement. Next, the Soviets invaded Poland on 17 September, concluding operations on 6 October. After occupying eastern Poland, the Soviets pressured Finland and the Baltic states to conclude mutual assistance treaties. The Soviets questioned the neutrality of Estonia following the escape of a Polish submarine on 18 September. A week later, on 24 September, the Estonian foreign minister Karl Selter was given an ultimatum in Moscow. The Soviets demanded the conclusion of a treaty of mutual assistance which included the establishment of military bases in Estonia.
In early 1939, the Leningrad Military District had already allocated 17 divisions, about 10% of the Soviet Army, to the Baltic states. Mobilizations followed shortly. The 8th Army was dispatched to Pskov on 14 September 1939, and the mobilized 7th Army placed under the Leningrad Military District. Invasion preparations were by now nearing completion. On 26 September the Leningrad Military District was ordered to "start concentrating troops on the Estonian-Latvian border and to finish that operation on 29 September." The order noted, "for the time of starting the attack a separate directive will be issued."On 24 September, warships of the Soviet Navy appeared off Estonian ports and Soviet bombers began threatening patrols over Tallinn and the nearby countryside. The USSR then entered the airspace of all three Baltic states, flying massive intelligence gathering operations on 25 September.
After four days of negotiations, the Estonians had no choice but to accept naval, air and army bases on two Estonian islands and at the port of Paldiski. Soviet troop numbers in Estonia were put at 25,000. The mutual assistance treaty was signed on 28 September and the Soviets made similar treaties with Latvia on 5 October and Lithuania on 10 October. The latter treaty transferred Vilnius district to Lithuania.Finland was invited to enter similar negotiations on 5 October. Unlike the Baltics, the Finnish-Soviet negotiations lasted weeks without result. The Soviets invaded Finland on 30 November. The Finns were able to resist the Soviets for over three months; the nation lost over ten percent of its land area, though it retained its sovereignty.
In December 1939, Latvian communists were called to consultation in Moscow. Their activities included, among others, collecting information on those who held opinions hostile to the Soviets. In May 1940, the Soviets turned to the idea of direct military intervention, but still intended to use a puppet regime.Their model was the Finnish Democratic Republic, a puppet regime set up by the Soviets on the first day of the Winter War. The Soviets organised a press campaign against the allegedly pro-Allied sympathies of the Baltic governments. In May, the Germans invaded France; the country was overrun and occupied a month later. In late May and early June, the Baltic states were accused of military collaboration against the Soviet Union. On 15 June, Lithuanian government had no choice but to agree to the Soviet ultimatum and permit the entry of an unspecified number of Soviet troops. Prime minister Antanas Smetona proposed armed resistance to the Soviets, but the government refused, proposing their own candidate to lead the regime. However, the Soviets refused and sent Vladimir Dekanozov to take charge of affairs while the Red Army occupied the state.
On 16 June, Latvia and Estonia also received ultimatums. The Red Army occupied the two remaining Baltic states shortly thereafter. The Soviets installed Andrey Vyshinsky as leader of Latvia and Andrei Zhdanov in Estonia. New Baltic state governments were formed on 18 and 21 June along popular front lines. They were confirmed in office by rigged elections on 14–15 July.A few days afterward, on 18 July, "demonstrators" in major Baltic cities called for incorporation into the Soviet Union. Three days later, all three parliaments declared their states to be Soviet republics and applied for membership. Lithuania was incorporated into the Soviet Union on 3 August, Latvia on 5 August, and Estonia on 9 August. The voting bills were later used to determine for the *Soviet deportations from Estonia
The occupation of the Baltic states involved the military occupation of the three Baltic states—Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania—by the Soviet Union under the auspices of the 1939 Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact in June 1940. They were then incorporated into the Soviet Union as constituent republics in August 1940, though most Western powers never recognised their incorporation. On 22 June 1941, Nazi Germany attacked the Soviet Union and within weeks occupied the Baltic territories. In July 1941, the Third Reich incorporated the Baltic territory into its Reichskommissariat Ostland. As a result of the Red Army's Baltic Offensive of 1944, the Soviet Union recaptured most of the Baltic states and trapped the remaining German forces in the Courland pocket until their formal surrender in May 1945. The Soviet "annexation occupation" or occupation sui generis of the Baltic states lasted until August 1991, when the three countries regained their independence.
German–Soviet Union relations date to the aftermath of the First World War. The Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, dictated by Germany ended hostilities between Russia and Germany; it was signed on March 3, 1918. A few months later, the German ambassador to Moscow, Wilhelm von Mirbach, was shot dead by Russian Left Socialist-Revolutionaries in an attempt to incite a new war between Russia and Germany. The entire Soviet embassy under Adolph Joffe was deported from Germany on November 6, 1918, for their active support of the German Revolution. Karl Radek also illegally supported communist subversive activities in Weimar Germany in 1919.
The occupation of the Baltic states by Nazi Germany occurred during Operation Barbarossa from 1941 to 1944. Initially, many Estonians, Latvians, and Lithuanians considered the Germans as liberators from the Soviet Union. The Balts hoped for the restoration of independence, but instead the Germans established a provisional government. During the occupation the Germans carried out discrimination, mass deportations and mass killings generating Baltic resistance movements.
State continuity of the Baltic states describes the continuity of the Baltic states as legal entities under international law while under Soviet rule and German occupation from 1940 to 1991. The prevailing opinion accepts the Baltic thesis of illegal occupation and the actions of the USSR are regarded as contrary to international law in general and to the bilateral treaties between the USSR and the Baltic states in particular.
The Soviet occupation of Latvia in 1940 refers, according to the European Court of Human Rights, the Government of Latvia, the United States Department of State, and the European Union, to the military occupation of the Republic of Latvia by the Soviet Union ostensibly under the provisions of the 1939 Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact with Nazi Germany.
German–Estonian Non-Aggression Pact was signed in Berlin on June 7, 1939, by the Estonian and German Ministers of Foreign Affairs Karl Selter and Joachim von Ribbentrop. German–Latvian Non-Aggression Pact was also signed on the same day. Ratifications of the German-Estonian pact were exchanged in Berlin on July 24, 1939 and it became effective on the same day. It was registered in League of Nations Treaty Series on August 12, 1939. The pact was intended for a period of ten years.
The German–Latvian Non-Aggression Pact was signed in Berlin on June 7, 1939.
The German–Soviet Border and Commercial Agreement, signed on January 10, 1941, was a broad agreement settling border disputes and continuing raw materials and war machine trade between the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany. The agreement continued the countries' relationship that started in 1939 with the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact containing secret protocols dividing Eastern Europe between the Soviet Union and Germany, and the subsequent invasions by Germany and the Soviet Union of that territory. The German–Soviet Border and Commercial Agreement contained additional secret protocols settling a dispute regarding land in Lithuania previously split between the countries. The agreement continued Nazi–Soviet economic relations that had been expanded by the 1939 German–Soviet Commercial Agreement and the larger 1940 German–Soviet Commercial Agreement.
Relevant events began regarding the Baltic states and the Soviet Union when, following Bolshevist Russia's conflict with the Baltic states—Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia—several peace treaties were signed with Russia and its successor, the Soviet Union. In the late 1920s and early 1930s, the Soviet Union and all three Baltic States further signed non-aggression treaties. The Soviet Union also confirmed that it would adhere to the Kellogg–Briand Pact with regard to its neighbors, including Estonia and Latvia, and entered into a convention defining "aggression" that included all three Baltic countries.
The Welles Declaration was a diplomatic statement issued on July 23, 1940 by Sumner Welles, the United States' acting Secretary of State, condemning the June 1940 occupation by the Soviet Union of the three Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, and refusing to recognize their annexation as Soviet Republics. It was an application of the 1932 Stimson Doctrine of non-recognition of international territorial changes that were executed by force. It was consistent with U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt's attitude towards territorial expansion.
The Soviet Union issued an ultimatum to Lithuania before midnight of June 14, 1940. The Soviets, using a formal pretext, demanded to allow an unspecified number of Soviet soldiers to enter the Lithuanian territory and to form a new pro-Soviet government. The ultimatum and subsequent incorporation of Lithuania into the Soviet Union stemmed from the division of Eastern Europe into the German and Russian spheres of influence in the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact of August 1939. Lithuania, along with Latvia and Estonia, fell into the Russian sphere. According to the Soviet–Lithuanian Mutual Assistance Treaty of October 1939, Lithuania agreed to allow some 20,000 of Soviets troops to be stationed at several bases within Lithuania in exchange for a portion of the Vilnius Region. Further Soviet actions to establish its dominance in its sphere of influence were delayed by the Winter War with Finland and resumed in spring 1940 when Germany was making rapid advances in western Europe. Despite the threat to the independence, Lithuanian authorities did little to plan for contingencies and were unprepared for the ultimatum.
Timeline of the occupation of the Baltic States lists key events in the military occupation of the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania by the Soviet Union and by Nazi Germany during World War II.
The timeline of the Winter War is a chronology of events leading up to, culminating in, and resulting from the Winter War. The war began when the Soviet Union attacked Finland on 30 November 1939 and it ended 13 March 1940.
The timeline of the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact is a chronology of events, including Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact negotiations, leading up to, culminating in, and resulting from the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact. The Treaty of Non-aggression between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union was signed in the early hours of August 24, 1939, but was dated August 23.
This Baltic states were under Soviet rule from the end of World War II in 1945, from Sovietization onwards until independence was regained in 1991. The Baltic states were occupied and annexed, becoming the Soviet socialist republics of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. After their annexation by Nazi Germany, the USSR reoccupied the Baltic territories in 1944 and maintained control there until the Baltic states regained their independence nearly 50 years later in the aftermath of the Soviet coup of 1991.
The Soviet annexation of the Baltic states covers the period from the Soviet–Baltic mutual assistance pacts in 1939, to their invasion and annexation in 1940, to the mass deportations of 1941.
The Soviet Union occupied most of the territory of the Baltic states in its 1944 Baltic Offensive during World War II. The Red Army regained control over the three Baltic capitals and encircled retreating Wehrmacht and Latvian forces in the Courland Pocket where they held out until the final German surrender at the end of the war. The German forces were deported and the leaders of Latvian collaborating forces were executed as traitors. After the war, the Soviet Union reestablished control over the Baltic territories in line with its forcible annexations as communist republics in 1940.
The Soviet–Estonian Mutual Assistance Treaty, also known as the Bases Treaty was a bilateral treaty signed in Moscow on 28 September 1939. The treaty obliged both parties to respect each other's sovereignty and independence, and allowed the Soviet government to establish military bases in Estonia. These bases facilitated the Soviet takeover of the country in June 1940.
The Soviet–Latvian Mutual Assistance Treaty was a bilateral treaty signed in Moscow on October 5, 1939. The treaty obliged both parties to respect each other's sovereignty and independence, while in practice allowed the Soviet government to establish military bases in Latvia, which facilitated the Soviet invasion of that country in June 1940.
The Warsaw Accord was signed on 17 March 1922 by Finland, Poland, Estonia and Latvia, but the Finnish parliament failed to ratify it and therefore it never entered into force. It was a Polish-led effort to create a regional political and economic alliance as an alternative to both Germany and the Soviet Russia.