What Latvia Wishes From This War?Dr. Alfreds Bīlmanis, 1944

"What Latvia Wishes From This War" was written during World War II while Latvia was under its second (Nazi Germany) occupation. The irony and memory of Latvia's being occupied twice during World War I by both the Germans and Russians was still fresh in the minds of the Baltic peoples, who still held out for the restoration of their freedom.

The early promise of international organizations formed in the wake of WWI proved, ultimately, a disappointment. As Bīlmanis notes (referring to a speech by Roosevelt), these lacked any means for enforcement. And so, when the Soviet Union attacked Finland, the League of Nations expelled it for its aggresssion against another sovereign state, but that was all. And once Hitler invaded the Soviet Union, all of Stalin's trespasses against the peoples of Eastern Europe were quickly forgotten. Even influential journalists like Walter Lippmann could forsee a future where the Baltics rejoined Russia.

Bīlmanis proves all too precient in his analysis, forseeing the post-war fate of not only the Baltics:

On May 26, 1942, the U.S.S.R., in signing the alliance treaty with Great Britain, again promised non-aggrandizment and non-interference, but actually it maintains in Moscow the pro-Soviet puppet governments created for the Baltic countries, waiting for reinstatement and for continuing the interrupted bolshevization . . .

but of Eastern Europe pressed into Soviet servitude (our emphasis):

The mouthpiece of the Moscow rulers, the Moscow publication "War and Working Class" reveals (on June 19, 1943, as related by the Associated Press) that even a United States of Europe would be refused by the U.S.S.R. And in no case could an Eastern European Federation be created. Only the U.S.S.R. has a right to exist and endeavor to work for its security, which is conditioned by a complete subjugation of the small nations on Russia's western border. Thus between the German and Russian frontiers lie peoples subject to Soviet colonization.

Bīlmanis could not have anticipated the degree to which stated public policy was being rendered impotent by practiced private diplomacy. The Baltics and Eastern Europe had already been given over to Stalin even while its peoples still held out hope for freedom. This secret bifurcation sealed the fate of the Baltics and Eastern Europe—the 100,000,000 who survived the war would soon find themselves under Soviet rule for the next half century.


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...Timeline...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. Skalbe's Collected WorksSkalbe — Kopoti Raksti (Collected Works), Pirmais Sējums (Volume One), Kārlis Skalbe. Auseklis, Stuttgart. 1947. Authorized by UNRRA. Excerpted and translated poetry. Exiles' Calendar 1947Latviesu Trimdinieka Kalendars 1947 (The Latvian Exile's Calendar 1947). Complete facsimile (Latvian) and poetry translations; published in the D.P. camps, 1947 Fischbach Song FestivalDziesmu Diena Fišbachā (Fischbach Song Festival), Kārlis Puriņš. Viktors Puriņš. 1948. Latvians in the Displaced Persons camps of Fischbach and Märzfeld in Nuremberg and environs gather to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the First Latvian Song Festival. Album of 24 pictures, with foreword by composer and Fischbach DP camp elder Jēkabs Poruks. European Unification and LatviaEiropas apvienošanās kustība un mēs (The European unification movement and us), Modris Gulbis, 1948. The necessity of a European Union to the welfare of the European continent and to Latvia
"What Latvia Wishes From This War?" was published by the Latvian Legation, Washington, D.C. in 1944. We believe this publication to be a work of the Latvian government and accordingly in the public domain.

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