Attempt to restore the independence; Tallinn is captured

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22. September 1944

Despite the swift advance of the Russians, Estonian national forces tired to restore the independence.

On September 18, 1944, Jüri Uluots, serving as vice-president, appointed Otto Tief's government as the Government of the Republic of Estonia.

Units lead by admiral Pitka, (also known as Pitka's Boys) seized the power in several places in the town and stopped the Germans from destroying several strategical objects. The government however, was unable to rally all the national units to Tallinn to organize its defence; also German resistance was met in several locations. Latter were especially upset after Estonian tricolor was hoisted to the Tall Hermann flag tower.

On the evening of September 21, Red Army initiated an air assault, on the following morning, after the first Russian units had reached Tallinn, members of the government, including Tief, fled to Western Estonia. On September 22, 1944, Soviet forces entered Tallinn, and soon Estonian tricolor was swapped with the red flag. (see image)
In the following days, Red Army captured also Western Estonia, where the national forces had seized most of the power to their own hands. Viljandi and Pärnu fell on September 23, Paldiski and Haapsalu on 24. On Sept 26 Virtsu port was captured, and the Soviet rule was established in all of mainland Estonia.

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

Image sources:   

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