(Regensburger Hefte ...; 11) ISSN 1613-5601

Options With Regard To Foreign Policy Of The Baltic States 1918-1940


At the beginning of the interwar period, the newly established Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania found themselves in an extremely unstable security situation because they were under constant threat from their great neighbours, the Soviet Union and Germany. Therefore, the Baltic republics had to pursue a policy that aimed, above all, at safeguarding their national security and sovereignty. For this reason, their foreign policy was predominantly concerned with security issues, and their first and foremost aims were to accomplish full integration into the international community and to acquire security guarantees. As this survey assumes that the Baltic states were active subjects in international relations, it is taken for granted that they had a certain freedom of action to pursue their goals. During the interwar years, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania endeavoured to accomplish various foreign policy goals that could have increased room for manoeuvre and thus secured national self-determination. They succeeded in some cases, but eventually failed to create a viable security arrangement, although the consolidation of their new independence had been at the top of their agenda. The eventual loss of sovereignty following the failure of this policy was largely due to foreign policy misjudgements and the resulting wrong decisions.