Soviet Policy toward the Baltic States, 1918-1940

Soviet Policy toward the Baltic States, 1918-1940

Soviet Policy toward the Baltic States, 1918-1940

Soviet Policy toward the Baltic States, 1918-1940

Excerpt

It so happened that shortly before the present volume there appeared an exhaustive bibliography of American publications on East Central Europe 1945-1957, edited by Professor Robert F. Byrnes. He could point out the general progress which had been achieved in that long-neglected field, but he had to admit at the same time that not all countries of that area received the same attention. And it clearly appears that the three Baltic Republics, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, still are very insufficiently studied, since out of 2810 items in the bibliography only 104 deal with these three states.

Were it only for that reason, any new contributions to their better knowledge must be highly welcomed, particularly if it is a result of painstaking scholarly research. The book of Albert N. Tarulis is much more than that. Its very topic is of the greatest possible significance indeed. No other case would be more instructive for a better understanding of Soviet Russia's aggressive imperialism than the study of her policy toward the Baltic States from the proclamation of national self-determination of the small Baltic nation when in 1940 they were forced to enter the Soviet Union. This tragic story is described by Dr. Tarulis in the light of the primary sources and is particularly impressive if we remember what happened in the postwar period when, instead of being liberated after the occupation of Hitler's Germany, the unhappy Baltic peoples were once more conquered by the Red Army to suffer a ruthless oppression to the present day.

Concentrating on the danger which from the dawn of their independence threatened them from their big eastern neighbor, the author could not fail to show at the same time the threat, coming also from the German side, a threat which, in view of her geopolitical situation, was especially serious for Lithuania, as evidenced in the critical year of 1939. His book, therefore, contains a great deal of information about German policy also, taken from the official German documents, which in addition to those on Soviet foreign policy, are so frequently quoted in the numerous footnotes.

As far as Lithuania is concerned, Dr. Tarulis also had to touch upon her relations with Poland. There was indeed in the interwar period a most regrettable conflict between these two countries, both of which were threatened by the same two enemies. But the author, who . . .

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