The German occupation and the beginning of the Estonian War of Independence

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25. February 1918

In Estonia, the German occupation lasted from February to November, in 1918. During this time, the privileges were restored to the Baltic-Germans, and Estonia was denied to become independent. Instead, plans were made to create a Baltic Dukedom, lead by the Germans. But, after Germany had capitulated on November 11, 1918, power returned to Estonians. Soon, however, rose the necessity to defend the restored independence, as the Soviet Union annulled the Peace Treaty of Brest-Litovsk. The Soviet Union had decided to recapture, at the least, all the former territories of the Russian Empire, but, if possible, start the world revolution. Estonia was among the first to get on its way.

Already on the night of November 22, the Red Army attacked Narva. These attacs were repulsed by the Germans, who were still stationed in the city. The War of Independence started on November 28, 1918: for several hours, the Bolshevik attacks were fend off, but after the German army left their positions, also the Estonians had to fall back. On the next day, the Red Army marched into Narva. This was followed by the announcement of The Commune of the Working People in Estonia, by Estonian Bolsheviks. This Commune was supposed to be part of the Soviet Russia, owning inner autonomy. In December, the Red Army had captured half of Estonia and came to only 30 km from Tallinn. The situation in Estonia was grave, there was lack of soldiers, the morale was low and desertion a frequent thing. But, on the first days of 1919, a breakthrough came.

Source: M.Laur, A. Pajur, T. Tannberg "Eesti ajalugu II" Tallinn 1995 "Avita"

 


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