War, Revolution, and Governance: The Baltic Countries in the Twentieth Century

War, Revolution, and Governance: The Baltic Countries in the Twentieth Century

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Edited by Lazar Fleishman & Amir Weiner

Series: Studies in Russian and Slavic Literatures, Cultures, and History
ISBN: 9781618116208 (hardcover)
Pages: 318 pp.; 6 figs.; 2 tables
Publication Date: June 2018

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The 20th century in the Baltic region had it all. The turbulent century did not spare the small territory and its population, which was visited by practically every calamity the modern era had to offer. At westward edge of the Russian Empire, the region was subjected to the harsh Russification drive of the late imperial era. With diverse religions and nationalities and its geographic buffer between the Empire and the German Reich, it was also the crucible of key battles during and mass refugee crises following World War I. In the interwar period, the rise of the independent Baltic States precipitated myriad political experiments and population politics together with constant maneuvering to preserve their fragile and ultimately short-lived sovereignty. World War II ushered in a period of unprecedented extremes with waves of brutal occupations, deportations, the Holocaust, the subjection of the territory to the communist experiment, and ultimately, the decimation of state sovereignty for the next four decades.

The almost unavoidable outcome of this course of events has been the focus on the region from the point of view of the large powers that sought to dominate and shape it. The rather limited number of foreign scholars who command Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian, fortified this orientation in the writing of the history of the region. The present volume seeks to shift the attention to the local point of view through the writing of Baltic scholars. By no means a comprehensive expose, the essays nevertheless explore key junctures in the history of the three Baltic countries as viewed “from within,” both then and now.


A native of Latvia, Lazar Fleishman has published and edited numerous works on Russian and East European history, literature and culture. He is Professor of Stanford University and has also taught at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, University of California, Berkeley, Harvard, Princeton and other universities in the U.S. and Europe.   

Amir Weiner teaches history at Stanford University. He is the author of Making Sense of War, Landscaping the Human Garden and numerous articles and edited volumes on the impact of World War II on the Soviet polity, the social history of WWII and Soviet frontier politics. His forthcoming book, The KGB: Ruthless Sword, Imperfect Shield, will be published by Yale University Press in 2019.


Table of Contents

Introduction: War, Revolution, and Governance: The Baltic Countries in the Twentieth Century
Lazar Fleishman and Amir Weiner

From Self-Defense to Revolution: Lithuanian Paramilitary Groups in 1918 and 1919
Tomas Balkelis

The Latvian War of Independence 1918-1920 and the United States
Ēriks Jēkabsons

Nation-Building and Gender Issues in Inter-War Latvia: Representations and Reality
Ineta Lipša

The Political System and Ideology of Karlis Ulmanis’s Authoritarian Regime, 15 May 1934 – 17 June 1940
Aivars Stranga

The Rise of the Radical Right, the Demise of Democracy, and the Advent of Authoritarianism in Interwar Estonia
Andres Kasekamp

The Czechoslovak Crisis and the Baltic States, 1938: A Fateful Year for the Baltic States
Magnus Ilmjärv

Government, Society, and Political Crisis in Lithuania, 1938-1940
Artūras Svarauskas

Latvia, Nazi German Occupation, and the Western Allies, 1941–1945
Uldis Neiburgs

Memory of World War II and the Politics of Recognition: An Outline of the Post-1989 Mnemohistory of Estonian “Freedom Fighters”
Ene Kõresaar

Discrediting the Diaspora: The KGB Search for War Criminals in the West
Kristina Burinskaitė

After Stalin: The Kremlin’s “New Nationalities Policy” and Estonia in 1953
Tōnu Tannberg

Doubly Marginalized People: The Hidden Stories of Estonian Society (1940-1960)
Aigi Rahi-Tamm

Women in the Soviet Latvian Nomenklatura (1940–1990)
Daina Bleiere

The Communist Party Second Secretary in the Soviet Republic as the Interpreter of Moscow’s Decisions: The Case of Nikolai Belukha in Soviet Latvia in 1963-1978
Saulius Grybkauskas