Latvian War of Independence
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|Latvian War of Independence|
|Part of Soviet westward offensive of 1918–19|
merged into the
| Russian SFSR
|Commanders and leaders|
| Jānis Balodis
| Rüdiger von der Goltz
| Jukums Vācietis
At height (January 1920)
2 torpedo boats, 2 gunboats
| At height (June 1919)
20,000 personnel, 100 artillery, 3 armored trains, 10 armored vehicles, 18 airplanes, 469 machine guns
|5,600-6,300 personnel, 55 machine-guns, 42 artillery, 3 armoured trains|
|Casualties and losses|
Estonia: 300 dead, 800 wounded
| 840 killed
Part of a series on the
|History of Latvia|
The Latvian War of Independence (Latvian: Latvijas brīvības cīņas, literally, "Struggles for Latvia's freedom"), sometimes called the Latvian War of Liberation (Latvian: Latvijas atbrīvošanas karš, "War of Latvian Liberation"), was a series of military conflicts in Latvia between 5 December 1918, after the newly proclaimed Republic of Latvia was invaded by Soviet Russia, and the signing of the Latvian-Soviet Riga Peace Treaty on 11 August 1920.
The war involved Latvia (its provisional government supported by Estonia, Poland and the Western Allies—particularly the navy of United Kingdom) against the Russian SFSR and the Bolsheviks' short-lived Latvian Socialist Soviet Republic. Germany and the Baltic nobility added another level of intrigue, initially being nominally allied to the Nationalist/Allied force but attempting to jockey for German domination of Latvia. Eventually tensions flared up after a German coup against the Latvian government, leading to open war.
Following a cease-fire, the Germans developed a ploy, nominally dissolving into the West Russian Volunteer Army led by Gen. Pavel Bermont-Avalov. This 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 Bermondt-Avalov and von der Goltz were more interested in eliminating the nationalists than fighting the Bolsheviks.
- 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 recognizes de facto independence of Latvia.
- 17 November: The first legislative institution of Latvia, the People' Council (Tautas Padome) and the provisional government are 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.
- 28 November: The Regency Council of the United Baltic Duchy dissolved.
- 1 December: The Red Army invades Latvia.
- 17 December: The government of the Latvian Socialist Soviet Republic, headed by Pēteris Stučka, is formed in Russia.
- 5 January: The first armed unit of Latvia—the 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 neighborhood of Liepāja.
- 18 February: Agreement is signed between Estonia and Latvia, starting formation of North Latvian Brigade led by Jorģis Zemitāns on Estonian territory.
- 3 March: United German and Latvian forces commence counterattack against the forces of Soviet Latvia.
- 6 March: Oskars Kalpaks, commander of all Latvian forces subordinated to German headquarters, is killed by 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 the Latvian Independent Brigade.
- 16 April: The puppet Latvian Government established by the Baltic nobility organizes a coup d'etat in Liepāja, the provisional national government of Latvia takes refuge aboard steamship Saratow.
- 16 May: The Estonian Army starts a major offensive against the Soviets in north Latvia.
- 22 May: The Baltische Landeswehr captures Riga.
- 23 May: The Latvian Independent Brigade marches into Riga.
- 3 June: The Baltische Landeswehr reaches Cēsis.
- 6 June: The Landeswehr's North Latvian campaign begins, commanded by Maj. Alfred Fletcher.
- 23 June: The Estonian 3rd Division commanded by Gen. Ernst Põdder, including the 2nd Latvian Cēsis regiment of the North Latvian Brigade defeats the Landeswehr.
- 3 July: Estonia, Latvia and the pro-German Provisional Government of Latvia sign the Ceasefire of Strazdumuiža.
- 6 July: The North Latvian Brigade enters Riga.
- 5 October: The German mission secretly leaves Riga for Jelgava, where an attack is prepared by the German-established West Russian Volunteer Army on Riga.
- 8 October: The West Russian Volunteer Army attacks Riga, taking the Pārdaugava district.
- 3 November: The Latvian Army, supported by Estonian armored trains and the Royal Navy, launches its counterattack.
- 11 November: The Latvian Army, supported by Estonian armored trains and the Royal Navy, defeats the West Russian Volunteer Army in Riga.
- 22 November: The Lithuanian Army defeats the remnants of the West Russian Volunteer Army in Lithuania near Radviliškis.
16 April 1919: In March the united German and Latvian forces (orange and yellow) launch counterattack, taking most of Courland
11 November 1919: Latvian army has taken most of Vidzeme and is attacking the West Russian Volunteer Army, which is forced to retreat.
- 3 January: United forces of Latvia and Poland launch attack on Bolsheviks in Latgale and take Daugavpils.
- 13 January: Government of the Latvian SSR resigns.
- 1 February: Latvia signs cease-fire with Russia.
- 17–18 April: Election of Constitutional Assembly of Latvia.
- 1 May: First session of Constitutional Assembly.
- 15 July: Latvia signs cease-fire with Germany.
- 11 August: Latvian-Soviet Riga Peace Treaty is signed.
- Aftermath of World War I
- Freikorps in the Baltic
- West Russian Volunteer Army
- Estonian War of Independence
- Lithuanian Wars of Independence
- United Baltic Duchy
- Ober Ost
- British campaign in the Baltic (1918–1919)
- "Generalkommando VI Reservekorps". Axis History.
- Latvijas Atbrīvošanas kaŗa vēsture (Latvian)
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- "Latvia 1919" (PDF). pygmy-wars.50megs.com.
- Latvijas Brīvības cīņas, page 15 (Latvian)
- Eesti Vabadussõda Estonica.org (Estonian)
- Hans von Rimscha, Hellmuth Weiss (1977). Von den baltischen Provinzen zu den baltischen Staaten 1918-1920. J. G. Herder-Institut. p. 61.
- Kaevats, Ülo: Eesti Entsüklopeedia 5, page 396. Valgus, 1990, ISBN 5-89900-009-0
- (Latvian)Freibergs J. (1998, 2001) Jaunāko laiku vēsture 20. gadsimts Zvaigzne ABC ISBN 9984-17-049-7
- LtCol Andrew Parrott. "The Baltic States from 1914 to 1923: The First World War and the Wars of Independence" (PDF). Baltic Defence Review. 2/2002.
- Gen. Fürst Awaloff (1925). Im Kampf gegen den Bolschewismus. Erinnerungen von General Fürst Awaloff, Oberbefehlshaber der Deutsch-Russischen Westarmee im Baltikum. Verlag von J.J. Augustin, Glückstadt und Hamburg.
- Gen. Graf Rüdiger von der Goltz (1920). Meine Sendung in Finland und im Baltikum. Verlag von K.F. Koehler, Leipzig.
- BischoffJosef, Die letzte Front. Geschichte der Eiserne Division im Baltikum 1919, Berlin 1935.
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- 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.
- Claus Grimm: „Vor den Toren Europas – Geschichte der Baltischen Landeswehr” Hamburg 1963