Roosevelt, Churchill, and the Baltic Question: Allied by K. Piirimäe

By K. Piirimäe

In 1940, the USSR occupied and annexed Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, resulting in calls by way of many who the Soviets had violated foreign legislations. This e-book examines British, US, and Soviet rules towards the Baltic states, putting the genuine value of the Baltic query in its right geopolitical context.

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Extra resources for Roosevelt, Churchill, and the Baltic Question: Allied Relations during the Second World War

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57 The Estonian foreign minister Ants Piip probably had such plans too, but none was put 18 Ro o sevelt, Churchill , Baltic Question into practice. 58 A further difficulty for the Baltic diplomats was that from September 1939 to June 1940 they had been inadequately informed of their own governments’ policies. 59 In the summer of 1940, again he had to angle for pieces of information from newspapers. 60 By that time the information was long outdated. Neither in 1939 nor in 1940 did he receive instructions to ask for foreign help, and it was entirely up to him to interpret the events in the Baltic and to take measures to defend Estonia’s rights after that state had disappeared.

42 From a larger historical perspective, the 20-year period of independence was probably too short to make a lasting impression on someone as historically conscious as Churchill. But his positive attitude to the Soviet “protectorate” in the eastern Baltic had also to do with his new job in the admiralty, and particularly with his ideas about drawing the Scandinavian countries to the Allied side and using the Baltic Sea to menace Germany from the North. Shortly after entering Chamberlain’s government, he presented his plan “Catharine,” which centered on the idea of sending the Royal Navy to the Baltic to cut German iron ore supplies from Scandinavia and to menace Germany’s northern coast.

Pusta had made his name in Europe as a disciple of the late French prime minister Aristide Briand and supporter of his plan for the European Federal Union. Pusta had fallen out of favor with the authoritarian regime of Konstantin Päts and served a short prison term in 1935 before being assigned as a counselor to the Estonian Legation in Paris in 1939. He arrived in the United States in 1940 after the French defeat and the closing of the Estonian legation by the authorities of Vichy France. Pusta has been characterized as a most able diplomat T he S oviet Annex ation 15 who resolutely refused to accept the constraints of working for a small and relatively poor country.

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