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The Context of Early Socialization: Estonia between the Two Wars

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Part of the Political Evolution and Institutional Change book series (PEIC)

Abstract

An exotic and bohemian setting to a western journalist, to others a country of almost “European” standing—this was the young Estonian republic in which the individuals of the political generation that constitutes the empirical case in this book grew up.1 This chapter is an attempt to portray the state and society in which their early socialization took place, with a particular focus on exploring the predominating cultural themes that could have influenced these individuals in an enduring manner. I seek to describe basic cultural features of interwar Estonia through the eyes of my interviewees in order to have some knowledge about the country that was left behind: Estonia between the two wars.

Keywords

Political Culture Institutional Pressure Interwar Period Cultural Theme Social Distinction 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 1.
    Estonia and the other Baltic states attracted the interest of contemporary journalists and “travellers” who wanted to see for themselves these small states at the crossroads of East and West. MacCallum Scott was a British journalist who visited Estonia’s capital Tallinn in 1925 and was struck by the city’s wild atmosphere as compared to the orderly Finnish capital Helsinki. About Tallinn (Reval) he wrote that “(t)he crazy walls, the unplanned, crooked streets, the anachronisms, the mediaeval smells, the antiquarian lumber of Reval are repugnant to Helsingfors, which is as spick and span as a motor-car.” See MacCallum A. Scott, 1925, Beyond the Baltic, London: Thornton Butterworth Limited, 248.Google Scholar
  2. Other journalists who wrote about the region were Hampden J. Jackson, Estonia (1948), London: George Allen & Unwin Ltd. and The Baltic 1940, Oxford: Clarendon Press. Owen Rutter published The New Baltic States and Their Future. An Account of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, London: Methuen & Co, Ltd. in 1925.Google Scholar
  3. Cf. the later description of Estonia by Alfred Bilmanis (1944) in “Grandeur and Decline of the German Baits,” The Slavonic and East European Review, vol. 22, no. 4: 50–80.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 2.
    See Ants Oras, 1949, Slagskugga över Balticum, Stockholm: Natur och Kultur, 16;Google Scholar
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  7. 4.
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  10. 13.
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  16. 38.
    Erik Nerep, 2001, “Från en union till en annan—Estlands rättsliga dilemma,” i Bernitz, Ulf, Sverker Gustavsson, Lars Oxelheim (eds.), Europaperspektiv 2001. Östutvidgning, majoritetsbeslut och flexibel integration, Göteborg: Santerús förlag, 62.Google Scholar
  17. 50.
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  21. 67.
    The ethnic relations in post-Communist Estonia (and also Latvia) have attracted consideable interest. See, e.g., Juan L. Linz and Alfred Stepan, 1996, Problems of Democratic Transition and Consolidation, Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press, Chapter 20;Google Scholar
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  27. 78.
    Cf., e.g., Jonas Linde, 2004, Doubting Democrats? A Comparative Analysis of Support for Democracy in Central and Eastern Europe, Örebro: Örebro Studies in Political Science 10, Chapters five and six.Google Scholar
  28. 79.
    For an extensive study on the political impact of the Veterans during the 1930s see Andres Kasekamp, 2000, The Radical Right in Interwar Estonia, London: Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 84.
    Lennart Weibull and Sören Holmberg, 1997, “Two Young Democracies and an Old One,” in Lauristin and Vihalemm (eds.), Return to the Western World.Google Scholar
  30. 90.
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  31. 91.
    Rein Ruutsoo, 2002, Civil Society and Nation Building in Estonia and the Baltic States. Impact of Traditions on Mobilization and Transition 1986–2000—Historical and Sociological Study, Rovaniemi: Acta Universitatis Lapponiensis, 59.Google Scholar
  32. 92.
    Georg Von Rauch, 1970, The Baltic States. The Years of Independence. Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania 1917–1940, London: Hurst and Company, 156.Google Scholar
  33. 93.
    Von Rauch, 1970, The Baltic States;Google Scholar
  34. David J. Smith, 2003,“Estonian Independence and European Integration,” The Baltic States Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, London: Routledge, 19–20.Google Scholar
  35. 94.
    The literature on the breakdown of democracies in Europe in the period between the two world wars is huge. A book that takes up the question of why some democracies survived during these troublesome years while others succumbed is Gerard Alexander, 2002, The Sources of Democratic Consolidation, Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar
  36. 99.
    Bo Rothstein, 2003, Sociala fällor och tillitens problem, Stockholm: SNS förlag.Google Scholar

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© Li Bennich-Björkman 2007

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