General invasion of the Red Army

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06. December 1918

After Narva had been captured, Red Army stayed put for less than a week. The new general assault began in Viru front on December 6, 1918.

Small units of the Peoples Force were defeated everywhere without big battles. On December 8 Jõhvi fell, on December 24 an important railroad junction between Tapa and Jõgeva was lost, and on January 1, 1919, Aegviidu was captured.

The situation was far worse in Southern Estonia. The German forces present there made a deal with the Bolsheviks, giving them Võru on December 8, and Valga on December 17 without any resistance.

The local Bolsheviks managed to organize riots in Tartu, so the army commanders were forced to abandon the city. On December 21, the Red Army entered Tartu. Single Bolsheviks units continued towards Western Estonia, taking Mõisaküla on December 27, and Tõrva on January 1, 1919.

By New Year's Eve nearly half of Estonia was captured, and the Red Army directly threatened Tallinn, Paide, Põltsamaa, Viljandi and Pärnu.

The situation seemed extremely hopeless for the young republic. The Red Army had a great advantage in numbers and technology, and the Peoples Force's morale was extremely low. Soldiers were massively deserting from the front. Sighting an enemy or hearing a single gunshot caused them to retreat. It also took time for the local officers to adapt to the war. The wealthier citizens tried to escape, or enjoy the life to the maximum by staying at bars and restaurants.

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

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