THE RESETTLEMENT OF GERMANS FROM THE BALTIC STATES IN 1939-1941
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The resettlement of the German minority from the Baltic states, i. e. Estonia and Latvia, to the German Reich, or more precisely to Polish lands recently incorporated into Germany, was carried out in the autumn of 1939 and at the beginning of 1941 upon the initiative and under the pressure of the government of the Third Reich. Numerous Germans decided to leave fearing the Soviet threat in the wake of ultimatum demands of installing Red Army bases in Estonia and Latvia. The perspective of settling down comfortably in the homesteads of the exiled Poles, promised by the Nazi authorities, appeared to be highly encouraging. The urged departures and accompanying panic became the cause of Soviet-German diplomatic tension, overcome with considerable difficulties. The German side managed to impose upon the governments of Estonia and Latvia convenient conditions for evacuation, both as regards large portable property and foreseen compensation. Altogether, 13 500 persons left Estonia in the autumn of 1939, followed by 7 100 at the beginning of 1941, while the number of resettlers from Latvia totalled 52 500 and 11 000, respectively. The departure of the Baltic Germans created a precedence for further resettlements of the German minority from other parts of Central-Eastern Europe. We may accept, therefore, that the resettlements, today described as deportation, were initiated by Hitler's policy.
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