Security policy of the Baltic states and its determining factors
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War Studies University
Online publication date: 2018-12-20
Publication date: 2018-12-30
Security and Defence Quarterly 2018;22(5):46–70
The history of the nations living in today’s Baltic States is marked by fighting against stronger neighbours: Russia, Poland, Sweden, Denmark and the German settlers in their territories. Unlike Lithuanians, Estonians and Latvians failed to create their own statehood before the 20 th century. The Lithuanians created their own state, a powerful one, which then became a part of an even wider state organism – the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. As a result, the security policy of Lithuania was identical to that of the First Republic of Poland. Although there were tribes living within the area of current Estonia and Latvia for many centuries up to the outbreak of World War I, the lands of Latvia and Estonia had been changing owners and had been under the rule of almost all neighbouring countries. As a result of the positive outcome of the First World War, but also thanks to their efforts, the Baltic States regained independence in order to lose it after only 20 years, as a consequence of another war. After restoring independence with the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Baltic States realised that even acting together they were unable to defend themselves against a potential aggressor. As a result, they decided to follow in the footsteps of other countries of the former Eastern Bloc (e.g. Poland and Slovakia) and to integrate with Western European structures such as NATO and the EU. Following NATO inclusion, the security strategies of the Baltic States have been revised in line with the changes in their surrounding geopolitical environment.
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