Beginning of the German-Soviet war

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22. June 1941

Although in June 1941, Soviet propaganda still claimed that Germany and Soviet Russia stood as good friends, it was more than likely that both sides were frantically preparing for a war.

In the early morning of June 22, 1941, Germany launched its successful assault and by July 7, first German troops had reached Estonia.

At that time, fierce battles were fought between the Red Army and the Forest Brothers, a campaign that was later called the Summer War.

All over Estonia, the Forest Brothers reinstated independence-era local governmental units, probably with a goal to achieve national autonomy again.
On June 26, Soviet power had formed death squadrons, that were there not only to fight enemy diversions, but also carry out the "scorched land tactics", meaning they destroyed anything tactically significant.

Thus, their actions were accompanied by brutality and terror, which the Forest Brothers managed to stop in different parts of Estonia.

Mass deportation from the islands in Western-Estonia could not, however, be stopped.
By the end of June, Germans had occupied half of Estonia, Northern-Estonia remained in the hands of the Soviet army. Thus, obligatory mobilization was carried out, drafting 33,000 young men to the Red Army.

Soon, most of them were sent to work camps, and almost 1/3 died there. Numerous other Estonian soldiers crossed over to German side.
Initially, the Germans were seen as liberators from the Soviet terror, but soon it became apparent, that one occupation had changed into another.

Source: Eesti ajalugu. VI: Vabadussõjast taasiseseisvumiseni. Lk-d 196-227.

Image source: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/62/Stamp_Russia_occ_Ostland_1941_1pf.jpg


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Legend

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