The Baltic States consist of the nations of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. The three countries were independent from 1918 until 1940. Then, the Soviet Union took them over and made them part of that country. In 1991, each of the three Baltic States broke away from the Soviet Union and became an independent nation again.
Before 1918, the Baltic States had been ruled by the Danes, Swedes, Poles, Germans, and Russians. But Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania each kept its own language, literature, and traditions.The three countries were part of the Russian czar’s empire when World War I began in 1914. In 1917, the Russian Revolution ended the czar’s rule. The Baltic States demanded their independence. They became free of Russian rule in 1918.
In 1922, the Soviet Union was formed under Russia’s leadership. In 1939, the Soviet Union demanded military bases in the Baltic States. The three countries allowed the bases. Soviet forces occupied the three nations in 1940 and made them a part of the Soviet Union. German troops invaded the Baltic States in 1941, during World War II. However, the Germans were driven out by the Soviets in 1944 and 1945. Until 1991, the region remained a part of the Soviet Union. In September 1991, all three countries became independent. In December of that year, the Soviet Union was dissolved.
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