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|Latvian War of Independence|
|Part of Russian Civil War|
| Latvian Army
merged from the:
| VI Reserve Corps:
merged into the
| Russian SFSR
|Commanders and leaders|
| Janis Balodis
| Rüdiger von der Goltz
| Jukums Vācietis
| At height (January 1920)
271 machine guns and 321 light machine guns
204 machine guns
3 armoured vehicles
5 armoured trains
| At height (June 1919)
20,000 personnel, 100 artillery, 3 armoured trains, 10 armoured 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|
|Early modern period|
The Latvian War of Independence, sometimes called the Latvian War of Liberation (Latvian: 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.
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 Baltic nobility 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 Bermondt-Avalov 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).
- 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: 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 Latvian Socialist Soviet Republic, headed by Pēteris Stučka, is formed in Russia.
- 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.
- 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 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 the Latvian Independent Brigade.
- 16 April: The puppet Latvian Government established by the Baltic nobility organises a coup d'etat in Liepāja, the provisional national government of Latvia takes refuge aboard steamship Saratow.
- 16 May: Estonian Army starts major offensive against 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 Major Alfred Fletcher and opposed by the Estonian 3rd Division commanded by General Ernst Põdder including the 2nd Latvian Cēsis regiment of North Latvian Brigade.
- 23 June: The Estonian force 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 the Estonian armoured trains and the Royal Navy launches its counterattack.
- 11 November: The Latvian Army supported by the Estonian armoured trains and the Royal Navy defeats the West Russian Volunteer Army in Riga.
- 22 November: The Lithuanian Army defeats the remnants of West Russian Volunteer Army in Lithuania near Radviliškis.
16 April 1919: In March the united German and Latvian forces (orange and yellow) launches 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 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.
- 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 (1918–1919)
- "Generalkommando VI Reservekorps". Axis History.
- Latvijas Atbrīvošanas kaŗa vēsture (Latvian)
- "Iseseisvuse aeg 1941–44". Eesti. Üld. 11. Eesti entsüklopeedia. 2002. pp. 296–311.
- Colonel Jaan Maide (1933). Ülevaade Eesti Vabadussõjast (1918–1920) (Overview on Estonian War of Independence) (in Estonian).
- Mangulis, Visvaldis. Latvia in the Wars of the 20th Century. Princeton Junction: Cognition Books, 1983, xxi, 207p.
- "Latvia 1919". 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". Baltic Defence Review. 2/2002.
- General 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.
- General 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.
- 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.
- Claus Grimm: „Vor den Toren Europas – Geschichte der Baltischen Landeswehr” Hamburg 1963
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