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Guerrilla war in the Baltic states

Guerilla war in the Baltic states
Part of Occupation of the Baltic states
Ants Kaljurand.jpg
Mugshot of Ants Kaljurand, a famous Estonian resistance fighter of the Forest Brothers, taken in the Soviet Union some time before his death in 1951.

Soviet victory

  • Defeat of national partisans

Forest Brothers

Supported by:
 United Kingdom
 Soviet Union
~50,000 partisans (peak) Unknown
Casualties and losses
561 killed, 4,285 injured
1,458 killed, 5,052 injured
21,103 Killed
~20,000 arrested[1][2]
Soviet armed forces and police:
In Lithuania:
12,921 killed[3]
In Latvia:
1,562 killed, 560 wounded[4]
In Estonia:
4,000 pro-Soviet civilians killed by Forest Brothers[5]

The Guerrilla war in the Baltic states or the Forest Brothers resistance movement was the armed struggle against Soviet rule that spanned from 1940 to the mid-1950s.[6] After the occupation of the Baltic territories by the Soviets in 1944, an insurgency started. According to some estimates, 10,000 partisans in Estonia, 10,000 partisans in Latvia and 30,000 partisans in Lithuania and many more supporters were involved. This war continued as an organised struggle until 1956 when the superiority of the Soviet military caused the native population to adopt other forms of resistance. While estimates related to the extent of partisan movement vary, but there seems to be a consensus among researchers that by international standards, the Baltic guerrilla movements were extensive. Proportionally, the partisan movement in the post-war Baltic states was of a similar size as the Viet Cong movement in South Vietnam.[7]

See also


  1. ^ Lietuvos istorijos atlasas. Compiled by Arūnas Latišenka. Briedis. 2001. p. 25
  2. ^ Clodfelter, p. 538
  3. ^ Clodfelter, p. 538
  4. ^ Plakans, Andrejs. The Latvians: A Short History, 155. Hoover Institution Press, Stanford, 1995.
  5. ^ Clodfelter, p. 538
  6. ^ Statiev, Alexander (2010). The Soviet Counterinsurgency in the Western Borderlands. Cambridge University Press.
  7. ^ Ziemele, Ineta (2005). State Continuity and Nationality: The Baltic States and Russia. Martinus Nijhoff Publishers. p. 25. ISBN 90-04-14295-9.
  • Tauras, KV (1962). Guerrilla Warfare on the Amber Coast. New York: Voyages Press.
  • Clodfelter, M. (2017). Warfare and Armed Conflicts: A Statistical Encyclopedia of Casualty and Other Figures, 1492-2015 (4th ed.). McFarland.