Latvian War of Independence

Latvian War of Independence

Infobox Military Conflict
conflict=Latvian War of Independence
date=5 December, 1918 - 11 August, 1920
casus= Proclamation of Republic of Latvia (18 November, 1918)
result=Riga Peace Treaty
Independence of Latvia
combatant1=flagicon|Latvia Latvia
flagicon|Estonia Estonia
flagicon|Poland Poland
flagicon|United Kingdom United Kingdom
flagicon|France France
combatant2=flag|Russian SFSR|1918
flag|Latvian Socialist Soviet Republic|name=Latvian SSR
combatant3=flagicon|Russian Empire White Movement
flagicon|United Baltic Duchy Baltische Landeswehr
commander1=flagicon|Latvia Oskars Kalpaks flagicon|Latvia Jānis Balodis flagicon|Latvia Jorģis Zemitāns flagicon|Estonia Johan Laidoner flagicon|Poland Edward Rydz-Śmigły flagicon|UK Harold Alexander
commander2=flagicon|Latvian Socialist Soviet Republic Jukums Vācietis
commander3=flagicon|Russian Empire Pavel Bermont-Avalov flagicon|United Baltic Duchy Rüdiger von der Goltz
strength1=Latvia: 39 000 Infantry 33 Cannons 173 Machine guns 2 airplanes 1 Armoured train 3 Armoured vehicles
strength3=Bermont: 51 000 Infantry 100 Cannons 600 Machine guns 120 airplanes 3 Armoured trains 10 Armoured vehicles
casualties1=3400 dead 3800 wounded
The Latvian War of Independence, sometimes called the Latvian War of Liberation ( _lv. Latvijas brīvības cīņas, literally, the "Struggles for Latvia's freedom," or "Latvijas atbrīvošanas karš," "War of Latvian Liberation"), was a series of military conflicts in Latvia between 5 December, 1918, after the Republic of Latvia proclaimed its independence, and the signing of the Treaty of Riga between the Republic of Latvia and the Russian SFSR on August 11 1920. [Lv iconFreibergs J. (1998, 2001) "Jaunako laiku vesture 20. gadsimts" Zvaigzne ABC ISBN 9984-17-049-7]

The war involved Latvia (its provisional government was supported by Estonia, Poland, and the Western Allies, particularly the United Kingdom) against the Russian SFSR and the Bolsheviks' short-lived Latvian Socialist Soviet Republic. Germany and the United Baltic Duchy added a new level of intrigue, initially being nominally allied to the Nationalist/Allied force, but attempting to jockey for German domination of Latvia. Eventually, the tensions flared up after a German coup against the Latvian government and led to open war. Following a ceasefire, the Germans developed a ploy, nominally dissolving into the West Russian Volunteer Army led by general Pavel Bermont-Avalov. The West Russian Volunteer Army included Germans and former Russian prisoners of war nominally allied with the White Army in the Russian Civil War, but both Bermont and Von Der Goltz were more interested in eliminating the nationalists than fighting the Bolsheviks. Certain episodes of the Latvian Independence War are therefore also considered by Polish historians to be a part of the Polish-Soviet War (particularly the Battle of Daugavpils).Fact|date=February 2007



* 11 November: The German Empire and Allies of World War I sign the armistice, which marks the end of World War I; Soviet Russia launches attack on German forces. The British Empire recognises "de facto" independence of Latvia.
* 17 November: First legislative institution of Latvia, the People’s Council of Latvia and the provisional government is established. Jānis Čakste becomes the chairman of the People’s Council, while Kārlis Ulmanis becomes prime minister.
* 18 November: Republic of Latvia is proclaimed in Riga.
* 1 December: The Red Army enters Latvia.
* 4 December: The government of Latvian Socialist Soviet Republic, headed by Pēteris Stučka, is formed in Russia.

November 1918: After World War I most of Latvia was occupied by German forces (orange)


* 5 January: The first armed unit of Latvia, 1st Latvian Independent Battalion, under command of Oskars Kalpaks is formed. The provisional government retreats from Jelgava to Liepāja.
* 31 January: Most of Latvia is under the control of the Red Army, the Latvian government and German forces control the neighbourhood of Liepāja.
* 3 March: United German and Latvian forces commence counterattack against the forces of Soviet Latvia.
* 6 March: The commander in chief of the Latvian Army Oskars Kalpaks falls from German friendly fire. He is replaced by Jānis Balodis.
* 10 March: Saldus comes under Latvian control.
* 21 March: 1st Latvian Independent Battalion is reformed into a brigade.
* 16 April: Germans organises a coup d'etat in Liepāja, the provisional government of Latvia takes refuge aboard steamship "Saratow".
* 22 May: German forces capture Riga.
* 23 May: Latvian Independent Brigade marches into Riga.
* 3 June: German forces reach Cēsis.
* 6 June: Battle of Cēsis, between German forces and joint forces of Estonia and the Latvian Northern Army begins, fighting continues until 3 July.
* 22 June: Estonian Army and Northern Latvian Army defeat German forces at Cēsis.
* 3 July: Ceasefire of Strazdumuiža is signed.
* 6 July: Northern Latvian Army led by Jorģis Zemitāns enters Riga.
* 5 October: German mission secretly leaves Riga for Jelgava, where Bermontian attack on Riga is prepared.
* 8 October: Bermontians attacks Riga, taking Pārdaugava.
* 3 November: Latvian Army launches counter attack against Bermontians.
* 11 November: Latvian Army defeats Bermontians at Riga.
* 22 November: Lithuanian Army defeats remnants of Bermontians in Lithuania near Radviliškis.

6 March 1919: After Soviet attack most of Latvia is under control of the Bolsheviks (pink)
16 April 1919: In March the united German and Latvian forces (orange and yellow) launches counter attack, taking most of Courland
22 June 1919: United Estonian and Latvian forces (purple) confronted German forces at Cēsis in the beginning of June and gained victory on 22 June
11 November 1919: Latvian army has taken most of Vidzeme and is attacking the Bermontians, who are forced to retreat


* 3 January: United forces of Latvia and Poland launch attack on Bolsheviks in Latgale and take Daugaupils.
* 13 January: Government of the Latvian SSR resigns.
* 1 February: Latvia signs ceasefire with Russia.
* 17 - 18 April: Election of Constitutional Assembly of Latvia.
* 1 May: First session of Constitutional Assembly.
* 15 July: Latvia signs ceasefire with Germany.
* 11 August: Latvian-Soviet Riga Peace Treaty is signed.


*BischoffJosef, Die letzte Front. Geschichte der Eiserne Division im Baltikum 1919, Berlin 1935.
* Darstellungen aus den Nachkriegskämpfen deutscher Truppen und Freikorps, Bd 2: Der Feldzug im Baltikum bis zur zweiten Einnahme von Riga. Januar bis Mai 1919, Berlin 1937; Bd 3: Die Kämpfe im Baltikum nach der zweiten Einnahme von Riga. Juni bis Dezember 1919, Berlin 1938.
* Die baltische Landeswehr im Befreiungskampf gegen den Bolschevismus. Ein Gedenkbuch, herausgegeben vom baltischen Landeswehrein, Riga 1929.
*Kiewisz Leon, Sprawy łotewskie w bałtyckiej polityce Niemiec 1914-1919, Poznań 1970.
* Łossowski Piotr, Między wojną a pokojem. Niemieckie zamysły wojenne na wschodzie w obliczu traktatu wersalskiego. Marzec-kwiecień 1919, Warszawa 1976.
* Paluszyński Tomasz, Walka o niepodległość Łotwy 1914-1920, Warszawa 1999.
* Von den baltische Provinzen zu den baltischen Staaten. Beiträge zur Entstehungsgeschichte der Republiken Estland und Lettland, Bd I (1917-1918), Bd II (1919-1920), Marburg 1971, 1977.

ee also

*Aftermath of World War I
*Freikorps in the Baltic
*Estonian War of Independence
*Lithuanian Wars of Independence
*United Baltic Duchy
*Ober Ost
*British Campaign in the Baltic 1918-19


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