Monday, January 14, 2013

Vintage photos: Interwar Latvian soldiers

Mrs. Marathon Pundit's godmother died last year. When my wife traveled to Latvia after Christmas, she visited her godmother's home in the town of Ogre. A lot of photographs were left behind, which Mrs. Marathon Pundit brought home.

Here's a soldier in a studio shot. Latvia declared its independence from Russia on November 18, 1918. A bizarre three-way war between Baltic Germans and the Red Army lasted until 1920.

The only hint at the identity of any of the men in these photographs are the names "Stanislavs" and "Peteris' brālis," that is Stanislaw and Peter's brother., which was written on the back of this picture, along with the year "1921."

I'm not entirely sure this well-decorated man is wearing a Latvian military uniform. But he looks impressive here, that's for sure.

After a cursory search of Latvian Army images on the internet, I'm guessing that this photograph and the next one were taken in the 1930s.

In 1939 Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union signed the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact which divided eastern Europe into spheres of influence. Latvia was in the USSR sphere and the following year it invaded Latvia, Estonia, and Lithuania. It would take 51 years for the Baltic States to regain their independence.

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