The Case of Latvia, 1840s to 1980s

This study analyzes political writings of the Latvian intellectuals who pursued the ideas of national identity and liberation, over a period of nearly one hundred and fifty years. In addition to providing a better general understanding of intellectuals’ behavior and influence, it illuminates the largely neglected subject of the differences between the political, social, and cultural influence of Western and Eastern European intellectuals.


“One cannot help but be struck by the intellectual honesty of the author, who is unsparing in her critical analysis of the often provincial, intolerant, and undemocratic strains within Latvian Nationalist thought. . . . At the same time, the author acknowledges the dedication of these educated men and women to national liberation and to the cultivation of cultural identity in often difficult circumstances.” - Dr. Nils Muižnieks, The Advanced Social and Political Research Institute, Faculty of Social Sciences, The University of Latvia, R?ga, Latvia

“Without doubt, this thoroughly documented and well researched book is an original and significant contribution to scholarship. It combines new historical information with important sociological and political analysis by a native of the area discussed.” - Dr. Paul Hollander, Professor of Sociology, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

“Providing the reader with a fresh outlook, based on a solid source base, the author offers an appealing examination of why, as was the case of many of the East Central European countries squeezed between colossal Russia and almighty Germany, nationalism at times seemed a synonym to liberation, and national culture safeguarding.” - Dr. Anna A. Mazurkiewicz, Professor of History, University of Gdansk, Poland

Table of Contents

Foreword by Dr. Nils Muižnieks
1 What is nationalism and who are intellectuals?
2 A nation of their own: the Young Latvians of the nineteenth century
3 Imperfect democracy for the perfect people, 1920-1934
4 Perfect leader for the imperfect people, 1934-1940
5 Nationalist intellectuals under the Soviet and Nazi occupations (1940-1944) and in exile in the United States (1951-1989)
6 Conclusions
7 Bibliography
8 Index