Latvia's Position in the International Security System of the 1930s

Latvia's Position in the International Security System of the 1930s
After World War I, the goal of the Versailles Peace Treaty, signed in 1918, was to consolidate peace, democracy and security in Europe. The League of Nations was founded to promote this. Paragraph 16 of its constitution stipulated that, in the case of aggression against any of its member states, other member states were obliged to oppose the aggression. Latvia, as a member of the League of Nations, implemented peaceful foreign policies and counted on the support of Western democracies – Great Britain and France – and the collective security principles as declared by the League of Nations to safeguard its independence.

However, in the 1920s and 1930s, the League of Nations was unable to fulfil its initially intended functions and to avert aggression and war. As a result, many of its member states did not engage in the principles of collective security and sought other means to ensure their individual sovereignty.

In 1938 Latvia adopted a law regarding its neutrality and thus hoped that its additional non-aggression agreements with the USSR and Germany in 1939 would protect its independence. Both of these totalitarian states developed and implemented aggressive foreign policy plans in Europe. Germany withdrew from the League of Nations in October 1933. The USSR was expelled in December 1939, as a consequence of its aggression towards Finland.