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Baltic Quest for a Hungarian Path, 1965

Abstract

The Soviet Union annexed the Baltic states in August 1940, an act Western democracies refused to recognize. Under somewhat different circumstances, the Baltic states could have turned, instead, into satellite 'People's Democracies' like Hungary - Communist-ruled but outside the Soviet Union. The annexed Baltic states played a major disruptive role during the demise of the Soviet Union. Might the Soviet Union have survived, had it disgorged the Baltic ferment in good time? The satellite option received mention repeatedly, from as early as June 1940 to as late as 1989. Here the focus is on 1965, when three Estonian refugees proposed a compromise: Washington might encourage Moscow to turn the Baltic states into satellites, the governments of which the USA could then recognize. For the Baltic nations, the main change would have been to curtail the influx of Russians. The reactions to this proposal are reviewed, ending with the question: what do alternate histories tell us about the actual one?. © 2013 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.

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