The creation of the Peoples Force

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16. November 1918

The German Revolution in November 1918 caused the collapse of the Kaiser's power and was the final proof of Germany's loss in World War I. This enabled Soviet Russia to cancel the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk and pursue the previously owned territories of the Russian Empire, which Germany had captured. This also included Estonia.

On November 16, 1918, the Provisional Government decided to create the Peoples Force out of volunteers. They intended to recruit 25,000, aged 21-35.

They hoped to form a division, which would consist of six infantry-, one cavalry- and one artillery regiment. The army was already facing supply difficulties, but the biggest problem was the failure of the voluntary mobilization: only 2200 men had been gathered.

The failure of the mobilization was due to the spreading lack of confidence and people's tediousness of war.

Also, a part of Estonian population had Bolshevistic tendencies. Even the authorities were not unified, but despite that it was decided that the independence of Estonia was to be defended at any cost.

To form a proper defensive force, an forced mobilization was declared on December 1.



Source: Eesti ajalugu. VI, Vabadussõjast taasiseseisvumiseni. Tartu: Ilmamaa, 2005
Eesti ajaloo atlas. Tallinn: Avita, 2006.

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