Latvian National Foundation, second edition, 1982

Historical Introduction

Part 2Sovietization of the Baltic states was decided as early as 1939

September 17, 1939
Stalin invades Poland to "liberate" Byelorussians and Ukranians
September 28, 1939
Stalin suggests a "trade"; second secret protocol signed
Lithuania handed over to Stalin, putting all three Baltic states in Stalin's hands.
The second world war could now begin. Having thus secured the Kremlin's friendship, Hitler ordered the German army, on September 1, to invade Poland where it advanced rapidly. Fearing that Germany might occupy entire Poland and then denounce the pact of August 23, Stalin ordered the Red Army on September 17, to cross the Soviet-Polish frontier, pleading the liberation of the Byelorussians and Ukrainians from the Polish yoke. Having learned that Germany after the defeat of the Polish army planned to create the State of Little Poland, Stalin suggested the exchange of Lithuania for two Polish voyevodstva (provinces) with the view of immediately "solving the Baltic problem" with Hitler's consent. Thus, the second secret protocol, which was signed on September 28 in Moscow, came into being.
September 28, 1939
That same day...
Under threat of hostile invasion, Estonia forced to sign "mutual assistance pact" with USSR
Now all three Baltic States were practically in the hands of the Soviets. Before signing this protocol, Molotov, on September 22, invited Mr. Selter, Estonian Foreign Minister, to come to Moscow, nominally to conclude a new commercial treaty. Instead, Mr. Selter received the prepared text of a mutual assistance pact with USSR. On September 25, Soviet planes were repeatedly sighted over Estonian territory. When the Estonian Government met on September 26, it ascertained that Molotov's proposal was in fact an ultimatum, because during his conversation with Selter he had repeatedly used the phrase "I beg you not to compel the Soviet Government to apply other, more radical, methods for attaining its aims." Under these circumstances Estonia decided to accept the Russian ultimatum and on September 28 signed the pact of mutual assistance.
  Latvia was next to go to Canossa. As early as October 2 negotiations began in the Kremlin between Latvia's Foreign Minister, Mr. Munters and a Soviet delegation consisting of Stalin, Molotov, Foreign Vice-Commissar Potiomkin and Zotov, Soviet Minister in Riga. Stalin pointed out that France and Great Britain were to blame for the annihilation of such States as Austria, Czechoslovakia and Poland, there being yet other countries for which a similar fate might be in store; that the neutral States would become involved in war, therefore USSR had to take measures in order to provide for her security and to get the Baltic ports at her disposal, - a necessity already recognized by Peter the Great; that, frankly speaking, the distribution of the influence spheres in the Baltic had already taken place and that, as far as Germany was concerned, USSR was at liberty to occupy Latvia at any chosen moment. However, the Soviet Union did not want to apply the crushing policy of Germany which to turn the Czechs into Germans. For USSR, military bases with Soviet garrisons would do and she would leave Latvia's Constitution, her Institutions, government authorities, her foreign and financial policy and her economic system untouched.
October 5, 1939
Latvia forced to sign "mutual assistance pact" with USSR
Lithuania soon follows
After two day discussions, on October 5, Mr. Munters signed a mutual assistance pact similar to that of Estonia, according to which Latvia undertook to lend USSR bases at Liepaja, Ventspils and Pitrags until 1949, to build special airfields for Soviet requirements and to grant the stationing of Red Army garrisons totalling 30,000 men. Eventually, even Lithuania was compelled to accept Moscow's dictation and sign the assistance pact. This pill was sugared to her by the "restitution" of Vilna.
  In form and contents, all three Soviet-Baltic mutual assistance pacts were identical. They were unimpeachable from a juridical point of view, despite the fact that the true purpose of these covenants was not to guard the independence of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, but, in the contrary, to destroy it. Section 5 of the Pact reads as follows: "The carrying into effect of the present pact must in no way affect the sovereign rights of the contracting parties, in particular their political structure, their economic and social system, and their military measures. The areas set aside for the bases and airfields remain the territory of the Latvian Republic."
  Soon after the first agreement between Stalin and Hitler (that of August 23, 1939) the General Staff of the Workers' and Peasants' Red Army (RKKA) issued operative maps of the Baltic States (scale 5 km in 1 cm) which were dated "First edition 1939". The headings of these maps showed the designations: Litovskaya SSR, Latviskaya SSR, i.e. Lithuanian and Latvian Soviet Socialist Republics, printed in big lettering. Thus it appears that the sovietization of the Baltic States was decided as early as 1939, although the assistance pacts guaranteed them their previous sovereignty and USSR's non-interference in internal Baltic matters.
October 11, 1939*
[see text]

Instruction No. 001223 detailing detailed instructions for deporting Latvians is signed
Still more perfidious was another document, whose English translation is to be found in the annex [appendix]. It is a secret and very extensive instruction regarding the procedure for carrying out the deportation of anti-Soviet elements from Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, which was signed on October 11, 1939, under No. 001223, by General Serov, Deputy Commissar of State Security of the USSR. [*According to later sources, the actual date for executing the order was January 21, 1941; however, there appear to be documents which pre-date 1941 and specifically refer to the order.] The district branches of the NKGB** (People's Commissariat of State Security) afterwards always used to refer to this NKVD Instruction No. 001223. A copy of it, meant for application in Latvia, was found among the documents abandoned by the NKVD at Valka when, after the German attack, the Red Army had to retreat from Latvian territory in a hurry in the summer of 1941 (cf. the publication of this document by the Latvian Legation in Washington: Latvian-Russian Relations, 1944, p.227-231, and by K. Pelekis: Genocide, 1949, p.273-278.)

** The Soviet secret police was called NKVD and NKVD-NKGB during l934-1943. Today it is known as the KGB.
October 10, 1939
A day earlier, Lithuania signs mutual assistance pact.
October 11, 1939
Stalin and Molotov celebrate with the Lithuanians, who are ignorant of the devastating and horrific meaning of the phrase "mutual assistance"
Before going into a more detailed analysis of this document, which we shall do at a later time, it is important to fix one's attention to the date on which the instruction was issued. No other day was chosen for this purpose than that on which the Kremlin gave a banquet to the Lithuanian delegation in honour of the signing, on October 10, of the mutual assistance pact. At this dinner Stalin, Molotov and other high Soviet functionaries solemnly declared to faith fully and sacredly observe the signed pact and to guard the sovereignty of Lithuania. Listening to these speeches while enjoying Russian caviar and vodka, the Lithuanian ministers, like their Estonian and Latvian colleagues a week earlier, did not know that they had signed their own and their citizens' death sentence. It was, in fact, the members of the Latvian, Estonian and Lithuanian Governments who became the first victims of the NKVD deportation order No. 001223.
  It would of course be naive to presume that Stalin and Molotov, while toasting Lithuania at the banqueting table on October 11, were ignorant of the instruction which the NKVD had secretly issued on the same day. The NKVD could not take any action abroad before first receiving instructions from the Politbureau and the Commissariat for Foreign Affairs which at that time was directed by Molotov. Moreover, the same V.G. Dekanozov who in his quality of Deputy Commissar of Foreign Affairs in June 1940 staged, at Kaunas, the performance of the incorporation of Lithuania was the Chief of the Foreign Department of the NKVD.
October 30, 1939
Imminent Baltic sovietization prompts German repatriation (Hitler's "call home")
In confidential protocol of September 28th, Ribbentrop and Molotov agreed on "repatriation" of the German minority from the Baltic states to Germany. Knowing that the mutual assistance pacts concluded between the Baltic States and Russia would soon lead to a complete sovietization of the former, Hitler immediately issued respective orders to his ministers at Tallin, Riga and Kaunas. As early as October 6, that is to say, on the day after the pact was signed by Mr. Munters, Herr von Kotze, German Minister in Latvia, called on the Latvian Foreign Minister in a rather excited frame of mind and asked the Latvian Government not to put obstacles in the way for the "repatriation" to Germany of the Latvian citizens of Baltic-German origin. The Latvian German repatriation agreement was signed as early as October 30, and according to this convention towards the end of 1939 and at the beginning of 1940 49,885 German-Baltic Latvians renounced their Latvian citizenship and were repatriated to Germany.
October 5, 1939
Finns refuse discussions with the Kremlin
November 30, 1939
Red Army attacks Finland
March 13, 1940
Failing to conquer Finland, USSR signs peace treaty; Finland forced to cede some lands
It was the merit of Finland that the annexation of the Baltic States did not take place at the end of 1939 already, as it had been calculated and planned by the Politbureau. On October 5, also the Finns were invited to send their Government delegates to Moscow to "discuss mutual problems". However, they refused to accept the dictation of the Kremlin. It was then, on November 30, that the Red Army attacked Finland and the Soviet-Finnish war began. For this act of aggression the Soviet Union was expelled from the League of Nations on December 14, 1939. Finland resisted successfully all Red Army attacks until March 13, 1940 when a Peace Treaty with the Soviet Union was signed. Finland had to cede the Hanko peninsula and parts of Karelia with the city of Vilpuri (Viborg) but remained independent.
...Timeline...Molotov–Ribbentrop PactMolotov-Ribbentrop Pact, 1939. Text of the secret protocol carving up Eastern Europe between Stalin and Hitler. The First Months of the WarThe First Months of the War, Mr. Munters Speaks at the University, 1940. Foreign Minister Vilhelms Munters' speech at the University of Latvia, asking, infamously : "I should like to ask, where now is the sovietisation against which we were warned...?" Letters on Birch Bark In Siberia Written Letters on Birch Bark, UNESCO Latvia. Birch bark was often the only material to write on. Background on deportations, the letters, and a gallery of photos. EXTERNAL SITE Holocaust in Latvia (HAOLUSA.ORG) Prof. Andrew Ezergailis' web site on the Holocaust in LatviaScholarship on the Holocaust in Latvia: essays, letters, reviews. Prof. Ezergailis is the pre-eminent scholar in this field. EXTERNAL SITE Soviet War NewsThe Soviet Union, Finland, and the Baltic States. Soviet Information Bureau. Soviet War News, 1941. In a monograph published after the Winter War and toward the end of its first occupation of the Baltic states, the Soviet Union blames the Finns and Balts for their troubles, only the Soviets have consistently engaged in "neighbourly relations," rebuffed by its neighbors at every turn. A classic study in Stalinist propaganda and a version of history still familiar in official Russian rhetoric. These Names AccuseThese Names Accuse—Nominal List of Latvians Deported to Soviet Russia in 1940-41, second edition with supplementary list. Latvian National Foundation, Stockholm. 1982. (1942) History leading up to and including the Soviet invasion of the Baltics, the first Soviet occupation, and the first mass deportations of 1941. The originally compiled list of names was published in Riga in 1942. Documents, photographs, list of names (in progress). A Shepherd DiedViens Gans Nomira (A Shepherd Died). Margarita Kovaļevska, illustrator. 1942. A miniature booklet of a folk song, published by Tautas Palīdzība (Peoples' Aid) in war-time Latvia and given out for donations to help the orphaned and widowed, illustrated by a popular Latvian pre-war and diaspora artist—and who dated Peters' father while they studied together at the Academy of Art. Behind the Polish-Soviet BreakBehind the Polish-Soviet Break, Alter Brody, introduced by Corliss Lamont. Soviet Russia Today, New York. 1943. After the Poles rightfully blamed the Katyn massacre on the Soviets, the USSR denounced (per Molotov's letter, included) the accusation as a "Hitlerite slanderous fake." Within two weeks the USSR severed relations with the Polish Government-in-Exile. Beyond alleging Polish lies, Alter Brody's monograph goes on to characterize the Polish people as an ungrateful scourge upon history—portending the post-WWII portrayal of anti-Soviet Eastern European nationalists as fascists. Latvia Under German Occupation in 1943Latvia Under German Occupation in 1943. Latvian Legation, Washington, DC. 1944. The Latvian diplomatic corps reports on Latvia's third year under Nazi occupation, recounting still-fresh events. What Latvian Wishes From This War?What Latvian Wishes From This War? Alfreds Bīlmanis. Latvian Legation, Washington DC. 1944. As head of the Latvian Foreign Ministry's press division, Alfreds Bīlmanis (1887-1948) actively promoted independent Latvia's interests abroad. His war-time monograph, subtitled: "Background, Current Situation, Hopes for the Future"—written while there was still hope for Latvia's post-war freedom—dispels still-prevalent misunderstandings regarding the historical inter-relationships of the Baltics, Europe, and Russia. Zedelgem POW Camp 2227Zedelgem POW Camp 2227Latvians whose only "crime" was to fight to free their homeland after multiple invasions are called Nazis and shot as target practice. Today, official Russia and others invested in the "Latvians are Nazis" meme keep the lie alive.
Copyright © 1982, The Latvian National Foundation. The Latvian National Foundation, Box 108, S-101 21 Stockholm, Sweden, retains all rights. Materials from "These Names Accuse" reproduced by express permission. For personal and academic research use only. Republication is prohibited.

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