What would Latvia and Estonia look like after 100 years of German rule?

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
19,926
SoCal
#1
Had Germany won WWI (by keeping the US neutral and making concessions in the West so that it could keep its territorial gains in the East), and had Germany been able to hold on to Latvia and Estonia for the next 100 years, what would these territories have looked like right now?

Would they have been a backwater just like East Prussia was? Or would they have become much more prosperous than East Prussia?

Also, had Germany tried to actively recruit massive numbers of Jews from Mitteleuropa to settle in Latvia and Estonia between 1918 and 2018 (in the event of a German WWI victory), would a lot of Jews have taken Germany up on this offer? For the record, this would have included getting a nice piece of land in Latvia or Estonia if you would have moved there.

Any thoughts on all of this?
 
Apr 2017
1,387
U.S.A.
#2
Depends, even if Germany won wwi, there probably would have been later wars that could end their ownership of the Baltic states (what about Lithuania?). Assuming Germany keeps these territories without significant interference for this century and continued policies of the time, they would probably have assimilated much of the local population (their were already germans there I real life). Development wise, it probably wouldn't have been much different than what it is now.
 
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May 2015
1,052
The Netherlands
#3
Estonia and Latvia were located outside of the Pale of Settlement and jews were prohibited from settling there during the Russian empire. Under German rule it's not unconceivable that some Central-European jews would move there, although not as farmers, but as traders in the cities. More likely is an influx of German-Russian farmers, whom the Baltic German land owners would be happy to grand a plot of land. Some of this already occured prior to the First World War. Also, Eastern European jews would be much easier to entice to migrate there in large numbers. Especially if the option of Palestine is off the table in the case of Central Power victory.

There are too many variables to say anything meaningful over a 100 year period. Given their strategic location, Germany would invest in ports and infrastructure, but I suspect Estonia and Latvia would remain mostly agricultural.
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
19,926
SoCal
#4
Depends, even if Germany won wwi, there probably would have been later wars that could end their ownership of the Baltic states
Sure--there could be successful independence wars just like there was in Vietnam and Algeria against France in our TL. In turn, this is why it is imperative for Germany to significantly change the demographics of these territories by getting a lot of Germans, Jews, and other non-Balts to settle there.

(what about Lithuania?).
Germany would either annex it or have it become a nominally independent German satellite state.

Latvia and Estonia appear to be more receptive for Lebensraum since they are more sparsely populated, though:

http://www.bpsettlement.co/wp-conte...pe-of-world-map-with-population-distribut.png



Assuming Germany keeps these territories without significant interference for this century and continued policies of the time, they would probably have assimilated much of the local population (their were already germans there I real life).
Germany had very limited success in assimilating non-Germans, though. This is why the Memelland retained a significant Lithuanian percentage and why Posen, Upper Silesia, and Masuria remained Polish-majority even after more than a century of German rule.

Development wise, it probably wouldn't have been much different than what it is now.
A lack of Communist rule for half a century would significantly help Latvia, Estonia, and the rest of Eastern Europe, no?
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
19,926
SoCal
#5
Estonia and Latvia were located outside of the Pale of Settlement and jews were prohibited from settling there during the Russian empire.
Yes--except for Courland and possibly Riga.

Under German rule it's not unconceivable that some Central-European jews would move there, although not as farmers, but as traders in the cities.
Do you have any guesses as to the number of Jews--both Central European and Eastern European--who would be willing to move there in this scenario?

More likely is an influx of German-Russian farmers, whom the Baltic German land owners would be happy to grand a plot of land. Some of this already occured prior to the First World War.
To my knowledge, though, relatively few Germans moved to Latvia and Estonia from other parts of Russia in the pre-World War I years. Maybe a couple dozen thousand at the very most--at least, that's what I seem to recall reading in an old magazine article.

Also, Eastern European jews would be much easier to entice to migrate there in large numbers. Especially if the option of Palestine is off the table in the case of Central Power victory.
Do you have any guesses as to the number of Eastern European Jews who would be willing to move to Latvia and Estonia in this scenario?

Also, one would think that, even if Palestine is an available destination, it might seem less attractive since there's not going to be major European investment in it like there is going to be for Latvia and Estonia.

There are too many variables to say anything meaningful over a 100 year period. Given their strategic location, Germany would invest in ports and infrastructure, but I suspect Estonia and Latvia would remain mostly agricultural.
Are Latvia and Estonia mostly agricultural nowadays?

Also, what about encouraging settlement in Riga by building a canal connecting the Dneiper and Daugava Rivers? :

https://lizardpoint.com/geography/images/maps/europe-rivers-lvl2-labeled.gif



Finally, do you think that it would be desirable for Germany to get Poles, Lithuanians, Ukrainians, and/or Belarusians to move to Latvia and Estonia en masse in this scenario? Or would the Poles, Lithuanians, and Belarusians be a potential long-term security risk for Germany?
 

stevev

Ad Honorem
Apr 2017
3,321
Las Vegas, NV USA
#6
They were ruled by the Teutonic Knights for at least 100 years I believe. Under later Swedish and Russian rule they retained elements of German influence . It they became part of Germany during WWI and remained so to the present day, German speakers would likely have replaced Estonian and Latvian speakers as it did native Prussian earlier. Essentially its culture would be German with the kind of local characteristics that one sees in other parts of Germany.

I'm not sure why Germany would encourage massive numbers of Jews to live in these territories, especially considering the antisemitism that predated Hitler.
 
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Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
19,926
SoCal
#7
They were ruled by the Teutonic Knights for at least 100 years I believe. Under later Swedish and Russian rule they retained elements of German influence . It they became part of Germany during WWI and remained so to the present day, German speakers would likely have replaced Estonian and Latvian speakers as it did native Prussian earlier. Essentially its culture would be German with the kind of local characteristics that one sees in other parts of Germany.
I think that it was too late to Germanize the Balts by the start of the 20th century. After all, the Balts were already mostly literate by that point in time.

Encouraging Baltic-German intermarriage is certainly possible, though.

I'm not sure why Germany would encourage massive numbers of Jews to live in these territories, especially considering the antisemitism that predated Hitler.
Well, other than the Germans themselves, Jews were arguably the most Germanized people in Eastern Europe. Their language, Yiddish, is essentially German but with the Hebrew alphabet.

It's a huge shame that German anti-Semites couldn't see this. :(
 

stevev

Ad Honorem
Apr 2017
3,321
Las Vegas, NV USA
#8
I think that it was too late to Germanize the Balts by the start of the 20th century. After all, the Balts were already mostly literate by that point in time.
Yes. I meant that German would be taught in all the schools such that virtually the entire population could eventually speak, read and write German. They would be German citizens after all. I expect they would also retain Estonian unless the German government suppressed.
 
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