50 Years of Terror Tyranny and Oppression 1940–1991
Home      Appendix I – Latvian War of Independence
Appendix I –
Latvian War of Independence
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 11 August 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.  
        November 1918: After World War I most of Latvia was occupied by German forces [Orange]
  • 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 neighborhood 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 organizes 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.
  • 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 armored trains and the Royal Navy launches its counterattack.
  • 11 November: The Latvian Army supported by the Estonian armored 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.  
          6 March 1919: After Soviet attack most of Latvia is under control of the Bolsheviks [Pink]
     16 April 1919: In March the united German and Latvian forces [Orange and Yellow] launches
     counterattack, taking most of Courland
     22 June 1919: The 3rd Estonian Division [Purple] confronted German forces at Cēsis in the
     beginning of June and gained victory on 23 June
     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.