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Accession Negotiations in Practice: the Case of the Baltic States

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Chapter Summary

During the First World War and the wars of independence, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania suffered from significant material and human damage. The existence of territorial disputes between Lithuania and both Poland and Germany undermined the initial efforts of co-operation in the Baltic Sea region. Lithuania turned to authoritarian rule already in 1926, whereas in Estonia and Latvia the era of liberal democracy came to an end in 1934. Political instability, economic recession and threat perceptions may be identified as the main factors facilitating the rise of authoritarian leadership in the three Baltic republics. The territorial conflict over Lithuania's Klaipeda region and the presence of Baltic Germans in Estonia and Latvia formed a potential occasion for the incorporation of the Baltic States into a German Wirtschaftsraum, in accordance to Hitler's ideas written down in Mein Kampf.

Keywords: authoritarian rule; Estonia; First World War; Latvia; Lithuania; wars of independence



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