NATO’s Video on the Forest Brothers

We and the news media are so entrapped by the doings in Washington that we miss stuff going on in the rest of the world. That’s not without reason; having an unqualified boor as president of the most powerful nation on earth provides a great deal of scary copy. But the other side is an opportunity cost. There is stuff going on besides the Trump-manufactured crises. Other nations have their own ideas as to what is important, although they are affected by the crazy too.

The Baltic States – Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania – are members of the EU and NATO. They were absorbed into the Soviet Union after World War II, but most nations of the world continued to recognize them as independent states. They were instrumental in breaking up the Soviet Union in 1991.

After World War II, resistance fighters continued in all three states. They were called the Forest Brothers and were widely supported by the population. Their activity continued through the 1980s. The last Forest Brother in Estonia drowned himself in 1978 rather than be taken by the Soviets.

I figured when Russia seized Crimea that Baltic young people were consulting their grandparents and that stocks of guns, ammunition, and food were being hidden away. Earlier in July, NATO released a video about the Forest Brothers, with interviews from two people who were involved. Here’s a longer history of the Forest Brothers, and a bit more. And here’s the video.

 

 

And open thread!






54 replies
  1. 1
    Yarrow says:

    OJ Simpson was granted parole.

  2. 2
    Peale says:

    @Yarrow: But the public got to learn about prison masturbation policies. It was a win all around.

  3. 3
  4. 4
    Yarrow says:

    @Peale: I bet Trump and others in his administration are thankful for OJ taking all the media attention today.

  5. 5
    Mike in NC says:

    We did a great Baltic Sea cruise in 2014, and when we got to Estonia the tour guide in Tallinn explained how the country had a long history of being dominated by bigger neighbors who expected the Estonians to adopt their national religions: Polish Catholicism, Russian Orthodoxy, German and Swedish Protestantism, etc. Consequently, most Estonians do not go to church.

  6. 6
    Waratah says:

    Thank you for the video Cheryl very interesting. The French resistance has had widespread coverage. I do not think I have heard of the Forest Brothers before.

  7. 7
    Yarrow says:

    I figured when Russia seized Crimea that Baltic young people were consulting their grandparents and that stocks of guns, ammunition, and food were being hidden away.

    Is there any info about this happening? Maybe too dangerous to talk about it now.

  8. 8
    rikyrah says:

    Trump’s Incoherence On Display in New York Times Interview
    by Nancy LeTourneau
    July 20, 2017 11:26 AM

    Last night the New York Times published an article about the interview they conducted with Donald Trump. There were three big takeaways that are the subject of a lot of discussion today. Trump said:

    1. He wouldn’t have hired Jeff Sessions as Attorney General if he knew he was going to recuse himself from involvement in the Russia investigation.

    2. James Comey shared the Steele dossier with him as a form of blackmail.

    3. Mueller’s investigation would cross a red line if they looked into his family’s finances beyond any relationship to Russia.

    These are all important stories. But the Times also published a partial transcript of the interview. I found that even more disturbing because, once again, we hear a President of the United States being practically incoherent. As an example, I’ll provide a lengthy quote from when Peter Baker asked Trump about the email exchange between Don Jr. and Rob Goldstone. He specifically asked about the part where Goldstone said that the information to be shared was “part of Russia and its government’s support of Mr. Trump.” Here is how the president responded:

  9. 9
    rikyrah says:

    Bloomberg: Special counsel’s probe is “examining a broad range of transactions” involving Trump’s businesses https://t.co/va9WB8t773
    — Mark Berman (@markberman) July 20, 2017

    More detail: the Mueller probe has absorbed the @PreetBharara money laundering investigation. Also @SecretaryRoss might want to lawyer up. https://t.co/5eDuqIuz2R
    — Joy Reid (@JoyAnnReid) July 20, 2017

  10. 10
    Immanentize says:

    @Yarrow: And I wonder if many in the Crimea are doing the same?

  11. 11
    Arclite says:

    Speaking of Trump-Manufactured Crises, I bet Trump could shoot Mueller and still have 38% approval.

  12. 12
    Shell says:

    @rikyrah: And didn’t he say something about people paying $12 a year for health insurance?

  13. 13

    @Waratah: Most of the World War II history that Americans know is of the Western Front. The land between Germany and Russia experienced the war quite differently. I learned a lot that I had no idea of when I went to Estonia. Timothy Snyder’s Bloodlands is about Ukraine, but the experience was very similar in the Baltic States.

    @Yarrow: I doubt that much has been said publicly about it.

  14. 14
    Immanentize says:

    When I was growing up, my parents were friends with a Latvian couple who fled the country post-war. The woman, Vida, had a brother that stayed in Latvia to fight the Russians. Also too, in my little home town city in upstate NY, we were also family friends with a fellow who was a post-war, anti-soviet fighter in (then) Czechoslovakia. The whole post-WWII, ant-soviet armed resistance history is fascinating. Thanks, Cheryl, for reminding us.

  15. 15
    hueyplong says:

    @Arclite: Depending on how Fox plays it, that approval could simply go up. Death to the Deep State, and all that.

  16. 16
    gvg says:

    @rikyrah: I think if Trump fires Sessions now, it will also be considered as obstructing justice. Pretty ironic. I’s amazing that he can’t seem to understand that his own words keep causing him problems. He could get away with a lot more if he could just think ahead and keep his mouth shut.

    Why were so many people willing to elect an idiot? I should be grateful, but I just can’t understand it.

  17. 17
    rikyrah says:

    This Man Has Our Nuclear Codes
    by Martin Longman
    July 20, 2017 12:40 PM

    It took me several tries to complete the task of reading the president’s interview with the New York Times because the man is so stupid and so morally repellent that I found it necessary to take breaks to protect myself from the psychic pain of absorbing what he had to say. The man is a pathogen and our country has a compromised immune system.

    I could pick almost anything to highlight from the interview to make my point, but I am going to go with the part that should have been the easiest for him. In the middle of the president erroneously explaining that the F.B.I. only began reporting to the Department of Justice during the Nixon administration “as a courtesy,” Ivanka showed up unannounced with her daughter Arabella who just turned six on July 17th. The president invited his granddaughter to show off her impressive knowledge of Chinese.

    How could this go wrong?

    ……………………………

    Trump manages to take a feel-good moment and turn it into an opportunity to assert the genetic superiority of his family. His granddaughter speaks Chinese which is cute and praiseworthy. That’s great, but family protective services should show up to shield her from the racist influence of her grandfather.

    Literally everything about the interview is obnoxious and grating. Trump demonstrates an inability to understand historical facts that extends from what happened moments before in a meeting with Republican senators to the causes of Napoleon’s defeat during his invasion of Russia. Every story he tells is not just wrong but hit-yourself-in-the-head-with-a-hammer wrong.

    ………………………………………………………………..

    What shines through it all, though, is his unapologetic intention to obstruct justice. He didn’t want Sessions to bow out of his appointment because he was compromised. He didn’t want Sessions to testify truthfully. He wanted Sessions to kill the investigation and he recused himself instead. For that, he cannot be forgiven.

    This is all more evidence that Trump is providing against himself in the obstruction case. And he seems blissfully unaware of it, which is maybe the most disturbing thing of all.

    The man has the nuclear codes and is responsible for handling our foreign affairs, including North Korea’s efforts to put nuclear weapons on ICBM’s that can reach the American shore.

  18. 18
    rikyrah says:

    @Shell:

    @rikyrah: And didn’t he say something about people paying $12 a year for health insurance?

    Wasn’t that at the meeting with the Senators?
    He said it..I just don’t know where.

  19. 19
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @gvg:

    Why were so many people willing to elect an idiot?

    You already know.

  20. 20
    Immanentize says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: How is Mrs. Hillbilly doing? Better? More in pain and stiff? Both?

  21. 21
    Waratah says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: I was born in Australia and educated in Australian public schools. I was amazed how little world history was taught to my children. I only have a high school education so took a GED test at a university to see if they would accept me. The professor told me I knew more American history than the American students.

  22. 22

    @Waratah: The variation between students is high in the United States.

  23. 23
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷 says:

    @rikyrah:

    More detail: the Mueller probe has absorbed the @PreetBharara money laundering investigation. Also @SecretaryRoss might want to lawyer up.

    Make it so. Same asshole who complimented Saudi Arabia for its lack of protesters:

    http://money.cnn.com/2017/05/2.....index.html

  24. 24
    Immanentize says:

    @rikyrah: He said it in the Times interview. Here is a link to a TPM article discussing the statement

  25. 25
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Immanentize: She’s OK, still slow, can’t bend over.

  26. 26
    gene108 says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:

    Most of the World War II history that Americans know is of the Western Front. The land between Germany and Russia experienced the war quite differently. I learned a lot that I had no idea of when I went to Estonia. Timothy Snyder’s Bloodlands is about Ukraine, but the experience was very similar in the Baltic States.

    Most of the War in Europe was fought between the USSR and Germany.

  27. 27
    Miss Bianca says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: Bloodlands was one of the hardest reads I ever got thru’.

  28. 28
    TenguPhule says:

    @gene108:

    Most of the War in Europe was fought between the USSR and Germany.

    This will certainly come as a surprise to France.

  29. 29
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    So my current hobby is testing the idiocy of the Right by seeing if I can get them to start using the word “Austerlitz” (one of Napolean’s battles) for “Auschwitz” everytime they lose the arguement and go full Goodwin.

  30. 30

    @Miss Bianca: Yes. I have to admit that I didn’t read it. The reviews made it clear that the content was what I had heard from Estonian friends whose relatives had experienced it. I just didn’t think I could bear that again. But it’s a way for people who don’t have those contacts to learn that history.

  31. 31
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Butthurt Jordan Trombone (fka XTPD):

    I dunno, it all made perfect sense to me: you can’t build an egalitarian society based on dominance and submission. White dudebros love it, but liberal white women and people of color are naturally suspicious of white dudebros telling them that they need to be submissive for their own good.

  32. 32
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Immanentize: Crimea has a different and difficult history. The people with the greatest claim to being “natives” are the Crimean Tatars, who have been suppressed since picking the wrong side in WWII. Many people in present-day Ukraine, Poland and Belarus sided with the Germans on the “enemy of my enemy is my friend” theory. This generally didn’t work out well; as Cheryl said, read Bloodlands. But the Tatars fared particularly badly, being largely deported by Stalin in 1942-43. During the “Maidan” uprising and its aftermath, they were strongly on the side of the current Ukrainian government, as Ukraine has long allowed the Tatars in Crimea (generally children and grandchildren of the deportees) a pretty large degree of autonomy. Once Putin annexed Crimea, this was once again shown to have been a poor choice on their part. Much of the non-Tatar population of Crimea is, as it has been for decades, predominantly ethnically Russian, so they were either ambivalent about or supportive of the annexation, at least at that time. With the closing of the land border and the refusal of Ukrainians to vacation there, the Crimean economy is now circling the drain, pretty much.

  33. 33
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Miss Bianca: I recommend his subsequent book, Black Earth, as it shows how those events could have come to pass. It is particularly enlightening with what we’ve seen since last November.

  34. 34
    Mnemosyne says:

    @TenguPhule:

    Not really — France was a conquered territory, so there wasn’t much outright fighting, just some guerrilla activity, until D-Day.

    Russia and Eastern Europe was pretty much a continuous battleground starting with the invasion of Poland in 1938.

  35. 35

    @Gin & Tonic:

    Many people in present-day Ukraine, Poland and Belarus sided with the Germans on the “enemy of my enemy is my friend” theory.

    This was also true in the Baltics, but it goes beyond this. The Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact allowed the Soviets to occupy these areas in 1940. They conscripted people, or it may have seemed the prudent thing for some to do to join up. Then in 1941, the Nazis broke the pact and invaded. Again, they conscripted. There are stories of brothers having to fight on different sides, against each other. Additionally, the Soviets deported people to Kazakhstan and Siberia. The Nazis and Soviets both killed those they felt were collaborating with the other side.

    The choices people faced ranged from dreadful to impossible, often life-threatening.

  36. 36
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @TenguPhule: French civilian and military deaths in WWII amounted to 500,000-600,000. German and USSR civilian and military deaths in WWII (combined) totaled over 30,000,000. Add 5,000,000 Poles, 1,000,000 Yugoslavians, 400,000 each Austrians and Czechs, need I go on? Not to minimize the half-million dead French, but get some perspective, dude.

  37. 37
    Miss Bianca says:

    @Gin & Tonic: yeah, I figured I’d have to get around to reading that one too. It’s going to go on the pile underneath “The Death of Expertise” and “Algorithms to Live By”. Fun times!

  38. 38
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Miss Bianca: I’ve read that, I’ve read Bloodlands, I’ve read Robert Conquest’s Harvest of Sorrow, and yet I’m currently finding it almost impossible to continue with Jasper Becker’s Hungry Ghosts, about the Great Leap Forward..

  39. 39
    Steeplejack says:

    @Butthurt Jordan Trombone (fka XTPD):

    I checked out halfway through the first sentence:

    On a recent episode of the popular podcast Chapo Trap House [. . .].

    Maybe I need to get out more, podcast-wise.

  40. 40
    The Golux says:

    @Gin & Tonic: Indeed. The US lost a little over 400,000 on two fronts, and almost no civilians, while the USSR lost over 11 million, plus at least that many civilians, a total equaling about 15% of the population,

  41. 41
    TenguPhule says:

    @The Golux:

    while the USSR lost over 11 million, plus at least that many civilians, a total equaling about 15% of the population,

    To be fair, Stalin contributed heavily to this total by killing his own soldiers.

  42. 42
    J R in WV says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    I missed it – what happened to Mrs OzarkH ??

    Hope she improves rapidly, take care you all !!

  43. 43
    StringOnAStick says:

    @TenguPhule: And also killing his own people. I read a book about 3 Americans who wanted to kayak/float the last river where this hadn’t been done from the headwaters to the sea, so of course it was a river that originated in Siberia and ended in the Arctic. At one point in their travels through Siberia they realized that every hummock, every bit of land around them in a braided river plain was made of human bones from all the people deported to Siberia and dumped in the wilds to starve and freeze to death.

  44. 44
    Origuy says:

    A friend of mine just came back from a family visit in Russia with his daughter. He’s been outspoken against Putin and warned about Trump’s connections before the election. He posted on Facebook, “Grandma [his mother] wants the grandkids to go to a military academy, so they are best equipped to fight NATO. Ukraine is fascists who every day plot to take over Mother Russia. There never were any tanks, those peace-loving Donbasskies fought bloodthirsty fascist ATO with their bare hands. The Boeing crashed itself. ” I gather it was a stressful visit.

  45. 45
    MoxieM says:

    Seriously, one of those parts of the world where hating never goes out of style. The 5th Panzer division Wiking SS was made up of volunteers from Estonia, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Sweden and so on. Blergh. And many of the Latvians and Lithuanians came to it willingly. I had a Lithuanian refugee neighbor about a zillion years ago (WWII vintage). My Jewish (American, but also WWII vintage) neighbor on the other side who continually called him a Nazi, and that was when he was being nice.

  46. 46
    J R in WV says:

    Hey, anyone know the type and caliber of that weapon on the slide opener for the NATO Video?

    Interesting looking vintage European machinery…?

  47. 47
    liberal says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:

    Timothy Snyder’s Bloodlands

    LOL. Please stick to your day job.

  48. 48
    liberal says:

    @TenguPhule: True. To also be fair, at least 5/6 of the Wehrmacht’s casualties were inflicted by the USSR. They did the brunt of the fighting.

  49. 49
    liberal says:

    @Gin & Tonic: Agreed. I thought I’d heard that e.g. the Polish resistance did more than the French, which is overestimated and romanticized.

  50. 50
    gorram says:

    @MoxieM: Glad someone else brought this up – the Forest Brothers, especially in Estonia and Latvia, were direct outgrowths from Nazi collaborator organizations. Since Snyder’s “Black Earth” has already come up as well, it’s worth noting a pretty big part of his thesis in that is that those organizations specifically led to the Holocaust as we know it because rounding up your Jewish neighbors was a winning strategy to distract from your collaboration with either (or both!) invading powers.

  51. 51
    gorram says:

    @liberal: The trick with that is that Polish collaboration arguably was vastly more horrifyingly worse, particularly from the crimes against humanity rather than war criminality perspective.

  52. 52
    MoxieM says:

    @gorram: Perhaps not up to scholarly historiographic standards–in fact, I would bet against it–but I am fond of Daniel Mendelsohn’s Six Among Six Million for a close up and direct take on the intimacy of the abused and the abusers, the persecuted and the persecutors, and how tangled the relationships really were in the Pale of settlement and surrounding areas, up into the Baltics I would guess. It mainly takes the Germans out of the equation as faceless Genocidaires, but the Polish/Ukrainian/Jewish/whoever relationships are very plain.

  53. 53
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Origuy:
    “The Boeing crashed itself”? As in MH17? Is that what they’re telling the people in Russia? Dear God.

  54. 54
    Doug says:

    @TenguPhule: Of the casualties sustained by the Wehrmacht, three-fourths were inflicted by the Red Army.

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