The Road to Independence

The weakening of the Russian Empire in the early 20th century and the coming of a fortuitous moment during the maelstrom of the First World War gave Estonia the opportunity to declare its independence.

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Postcard Celebrating The War of Independence, the Museum of Occupations

The War of Independence (19181920)—fighting in the name of independence

The War of Independence lasted 402 days and ended with victory for Estonia. After the War of Independence, Estonia’s borders were established, and Estonia received international recognition as an independent state.

Rest now fallen into eagles,

your flight ended in the battle.

But for us, blood brothers,

the memory of you is everlasting.

Estonian men! Estonian women!,

Praise their glory!

For it was for you that they fell,

defending Estonia’s freedom.



Draft of the 1918 Independence Manifesto, National Archives of Estonia

Today is the most important day in seven hundred years in the history of the Estonian people,” said the now-departed Jaan Poska, our first foreign minister and head of the peace delegation, to his colleagues on February 2, 1920, at the signing of peace treaty, and quietly, as if to himself, he continued: “For the first time today Estonia determines her destiny by signing an agreement with a foreign state.


(Rein Eliaser’s memories)