Baltic Independence

By the end of February 1918, two of the three Baltic nations known today would have declared their independence.  One was Estonia.  On display is the cover of a book containing diplomatic documents relating to the move for independence, with pieces chiefly in French but some also in German, Italian, and English.  On the Eastern front line of World War 1, Estonia’s independence was eroded even as it was declared, through full German occupation of the country.  The previous exhibit, the map, shows something of the German-occupied reality of mid-1918.  Two Baltic entities are shown: the Principality of Esthonia, Livonia, and Kurland, and the Principality of Lithuania.

This book, only 62 pages long, provides an interesting glimpse into the workings of Estonia’s politicians and foreign delegations to achieve recognition for the country.  Its latest contents date from September 1918, by which point the outcome of World War 1 was very clear and the possibility of actual independence increasingly real. In November 1918, the German defeat would see Estonian statehood declared more fully, and war with Soviet Russia would commence.

Lithuania would also declare independence in February. Latvia would follow suit in November.

Pour l’Esthonie indépendante (1918) Ub.7.150

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