The exhibition of historical records “We want to be free, we will be free!” is dedicated to the formation of the State of Latvia in the context of showing neighbouring countries Lithuania and Estonia, as well as Poland and Finland, which were founded or reinstated after World War One and also celebrate their centenaries in 2017–2018.
After the First World War and the collapse of superpowers weakened by the war and in line with the principle of the self-determination of nations and the will of peoples in the Central and Eastern Europe, a number of new nation states were formed or restored. The readiness of the new countries to successfully take advantage of the resulting foreign and domestic conditions was a logical conclusion of the historical process of sovereignization.
The exhibition presents facts and documents about the Latvian people's path to the establishment of an independent State, the founding of the State of Latvia (18 November 1918), its defence and development during the first years of existence of the State.
The exhibition provides a unique opportunity to get acquainted with the facts and documents stored in foreign repositories on the processes of establishing (or restoring) the State in Lithuania (16 February 1918), Estonia (24 February 1918), Poland (11 November 1918) and Finland (6 December 1917).
The proclamation of the Newly Independent States took place in a difficult international and domestic context. Each of them was still facing military, political and diplomatic struggles for national independence and international recognition. In spite of the difficulties, the work of building nations carried on: first governments were established, parliaments were elected, international recognition of de iure was achieved, international relations established and strengthened, and mutual cooperation developed.
The exhibition was organized by the National Archives of Latvia in cooperation with the Central State Archives of Lithuania, the National Archives of Estonia, the Institute of National Remembrance Warsaw Branch Office, and the National Archives of Finland.
Courtesy of National Archives of Latvia, Central State Archives of Lithuania, Lithuanian State Historical Archives, the National Archives of Estonia, Tallinn City Archives, Finnish National Archives, the Institute of National Remembrance Warsaw Branch Office, National Library of Latvia, National History Museum of Latvia, Museum of Cultural History of Latgale, Valka Local History Museum, Finnish Jaeger Battalion traditions keeping society, Helsinki City Museum, and a diverse and rich array of documentary testimonies.
Created and done by: National Archives of Latvia
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