Cooperation among Resistance Movements of the Baltic States and their Contacts with Western Intelligence Services (1941–1945)

Uldis Neiburgs This article is based on material from the US Foreign Service and British Secret Intelligence Service, wartime documents of Latvian embassies in Washington, London and Stockholm, testimonies of members of resistance movements and other historical sources. Its aim is to describe the lesser known foreign contacts and the international cooperation of these resistance movements. The national resistance movement in Nazi-occupied Latvia cooperated with similar resistance movements in Estonia, Lithuania and Poland and maintained contacts with various political circles in Scandinavia. Baltic politicians organized illegal organizations – the Supreme Committee for Liberation of Lithuania, the Central Council of Latvia (CCL), and the National Committee of the Estonian Republic. These political organizations played a significant role in establishing contacts with Baltic diplomats in the West, arranged boats to take refugees illegally across the Baltic Sea, and provided objective information to the Western Allies about the situation in the Nazi-occupied Baltic states. Keeping contacts among the resistance movements of all three Baltic States was difficult and did not succeed because German security organizations gradually discovered and restricted them. Unfortunately, the German occupation of Latvia and the presence of the Nazi German army there together with the second Soviet occupation of Latvia after Red Army’s swift offensive in the summer of 1944 were the determining factors that suspended the desperate efforts of CCL to regain independence of Latvia. Hoping to encourage the support of the Western Allies such as, US and Great Britain and of the Scandinavian countries for the restoration of independence of the Baltic states, all three Baltic resistance movements kept close contacts with former ambassadors of these countries in Stockholm, who in turn sought liaisons with British (SIS) and American (OSS) secret services, supplying them with information on the situation in the German-occupied territory in the Baltics. As a result Western secret services received many valuable documents on the developments in the Nazi-occupied territories from the Baltic resistance movements. Irrespective of this, the USA and UK were not ready to give anything tangible in return, having acquiesced to the Baltic States remaining part of the USSR after World War II.