Occupation and annexation of the Republic of Estonia

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1939

On August 23, 1939, the Soviet foreign minister Vyacheslav Molotov and German foreign minister Joachim von Ribbentrop signed a Treaty of Non-Aggression between the Soviet Union and Germany in Moscow. With its secret protocol they divided Poland; Finland, Estonia, Latvia and later Lithuania found themselves under Soviet scope. Germany got the chance to start a war against Poland, which set off the WW II on September 1, 1939. On September 17, the Soviet Union attacked Poland.

In the middle of September, Polish submarine "Orzel" entered Tallinn Bay. By the neutrality law, it was interned; but as the Estonian military felt sympathetic towards the Polish, this action was prolonged and the submarine managed to escape on the next night. Soviet leaders accused the Estonian government of breaking neutrality and helping the escape along. Estonia tried to rebut this, but the Soviet Union created new incidents on the Estonian border and demanded the establishment of its military bases in Estonia. Estonian government decided to agree to this, and the treaty was signed on September 28, 1939. The Red Army started to march in on October 2.

At first, the relations with the Soviet Union were more or less normal. Problems rose, when the Soviet Union bombers used Estonian bases to bomb Finland during the Winter War. Due to political reasons, Estonian government could not interfere.

 

The situation tensed up in June 1940, when Germany conquered Paris. Also the Soviet Union decided to widen its grasp, and demanded additional troops to be allowed to all three Baltic States, on the basis of alleged violation of the treaty. In the case of Estonia this happened on June 14, and already two days later, tens of thousands of soldiers marched into Estonian territory. This was basically an occupation, soon came demands to change the government. On June 21, Johannes Vares-Barbarus' "puppet-government" was set to place, which got its instructions from Moscow. Soon, elections took place, but only candidates approved by Moscow could participate. On July 21, the new Riigikogu (Parliament) passed the decision to name Estonia into Socialist Republic and ask for its acceptance into the USSR. This happened on August 6, and ended the first independence of Estonia.

 


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