Four Baltic Proposals for European Unification in World War II

Pauli Heikkilä (University of Tartu)

During World War II, the general trend in post-war planning by the Western allies was to create a permanent system for European international politics.  This meant federations for the entire continent or, less ambitiously, on a regional basis.  The work of governmental offices was supported also by exile politicians. This paper will present four Baltic proposals for European (and Baltic) reconstruction and compare them with each other and with the overall plans in general.

The best-known proposal, by the Lithuanian Kazys Pakštas, was outlined in his book Baltoscandian Confederation, published by the Lithuanian Cultural Institute in Chicago in 1942.  The Latvian legation in Washington, D.C., had a similar intention when in 1943 they published Alfred Bīlmanis’ Baltic States in Post-War Europe.  Behind closed doors, Estonian Alexander Warma handed his plans for consolidating European peace to an American official in Helsinki in December 1942.  Lastly, Jānis Volmārs finished his book on European customs union in Göttingen as late as 1949, but as his premises apply explicitly to the situation preceding the war, it is justified to include his book here.

A comparison of these proposals shows that the plans differed not only in their concept of the Baltic but also how it was related to the expected forthcoming European federation.  They also disagreed on the tasks and duties of their proposed union.  However, the proposals agreed on maintaining peace and stated that the purpose of a Baltic union was to assist in avoiding the conflicts of the greater powers.

Keyword: Heikkila

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