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  • Russians’ and Latvians’ Views about Legionnaires as Fascists in Latvia and Their Power Struggles


    Essays3 Politics

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ID number:124597
Published: 21.01.2006.
Language: English
Level: College/University
Literature: n/a
References: Not used

During the WW II some of Latvian soldiers were fighting on Nazi German’s “SS” side, some- on the Soviet Union’s side. It wasn’t their choice- both sides just mobilized armies from occupied territories, and people were forced to take part in military actions. But now, 60 years after the war and 45 of them spent in the occupation of the Soviet Union Russians who call themselves antifascists, still claim to blame also Latvian legionnaires for every “SS” crime and call them fascists, ignoring their own guilt for the crimes of the war. And here many questions rise. And the main of them is- can Latvian legionnaires really be considered and regarded as fascists? Why can not the 16th March, the Commemoration day, which is very important for all former legionnaires and their supporters and followers, be just peacefully commemorated, but derives intense struggle- not physical, but definitely morally hard, between former legionnaires and supporters of Socialism, and their followers, and reinforce new “waves” of offence and attacks from Russia about promoting fascism in Latvia. The aim of the research paper is to investigate the differences in opinions about Latvian legionnaires and 16th March- their Commemoration day.
The correspondence of Latvian legionnaires to the definition of fascism is very ambiguous. One of the most important things here is that Latvian legionnaires served in the Nazi SS. It was Nazi Germany and Hitler that time. And fascist Italy and Mussolini that time. But Russians still call Latvian legionnaires fascists. Fascism is the principles and organisation of totalitarian national socialistic movement in Italy 1922 – 1943. By universally recognized conceptions Latvian legionnaires couldn’t belong to fascists, because they were serving in the ranks of Nazi formations, not fascist formations. On the other hand- German Nazism is very similar ideology and political regime to higher mentioned Italian movement and partly conforms to that definition. But it does not mean that it automatically corresponds also to Latvian legionnaires. People, who were assessed as National Socialists and fascists and had done crimes against humanity in the WW II, afterwards were sentenced in the International military tribunal of Nuernberg and punished. Latvian legionnaires weren’t among them, because Latvian legionnaires were officially “admitted in SS as volunteers” (but in reality- forced to do that, because Hitler had proclaimed total mobilization) and they had not done those awful crimes. Latvian legionnaires were only one unit of SS, but weren’t responsible for executing most important and most dreadful targets.

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