In June of 1940, Estonia was invaded and occupied by Russian military forces. The nation was incorporated by force into the Soviet Union under the provisions of the 1939 Hitler-Stalin pact – a plan to conquer all of Europe and divide it under spheres of Nazi and Soviet influence. This criminal annexation has never been recognized by the United States and by most Western countries.
Estonia is located on the eastern shore of the Baltic Sea, south of Finland, east of Sweden, north of Latvia, and very definitely west of Russia – both geographically and ideologically.
Of all European countries, only Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania lost their sovereignty during World War Two. Unlike other countries which had communist governments imposed on them, the Baltic countries were absorbed through the use of brutal force. In 1941, 60,000 Estonians were either killed or sent to Soviet concentration camps where they later perished. In 1949, 80,000 Estonians were deported to Siberia.
Between 1939 and 1949, a stunning one-third (350,000 people) of Estonia’s population was lost. Most western countries have never accorded diplomatic recognition to the Soviet incorporation of Estonia. Estonians from throughout the Free World assemble periodically at festivals held to strengthen cultural ties and call attention to their country’s plight.
Freedom loving people everywhere should remember the words of Benjamin Franklin inscribed on Thomas Jefferson’s seal: “Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God.” Let there be hope that someday every nation behind the Iron Curtain will be free. Let us all hope that day will arrive soon.