Additional treatie is signed to expand the bases

to map

15. May 1940

After the base forces had marched in, the Soviet Union began to use the prolongation tactics to regulate further administration of the bases.

At the same time, USSR intensified their pressure on Estonia with presenting new demands: in November and December 1939, Estonian government refused to agree the families of the officers serving in the bases to move to Estonia, 5000 people all together. In February 1940, a project of building permanent buildings to house the land forces was presented, in February and March additional land for the bases were demanded on Osmusaare, Saaremaa and Hiiumaa Islands.

On February 2, 1940, a Soviet ship gunned down an Estonian plane above Tallinn Bay, which the people ironically called as a "salute to the Peace Treaty of Tartu".

Constructions began in the bases right away: large stone barracks, schools, houses and other all imaginable supporting facilities were built, clearly indicating that Soviet army plans to stay forever. In relation to the construction works, Moscow requested 10,000 workers to be allowed to the bases, which was agreed to in February and March 1940. In addition, 10,000 workers had to be hired from local areas. At the same time, Soviet economic representation rented, leased and bought numerous storehouses, office rooms and houses, which all were given to the Red Army.

The number of Soviet soldiers continued to grow, in April 1940 31648 soldiers served among the base forces.

In 1940, German launched its spring campaign in Northern and Western Europe, occupying Denmark, Norway, Holland, Belgium and Luxemburg without any significant resistance, and then invaded France. The USSR decided to increase their pressure on the Baltic States. Imposing new contracts onto Estonia to increase the area of the bases was one example of this.

The Red Army gained additional 42 territories, more than 30,000 ha in size. New agreements annulled all the previous deals made in the fall of 1939; among other things all the people living near the bases had to be relocated.

Estonian government tried to calm themselves and the public down, hoping that after every new compliance, Moscow will drop further demands. In reality, the independence of the Republic of Estonia was destroyed, a development that was clearly shown by the fact that in November and December 1939, Soviet planes, which took off from bases in Estonia, bombed Finnish towns.

Source: Eesti ajalugu. VI, Vabadussõjast taasiseseisvumiseni. Tartu: Ilmamaa, 2005
Eesti ajaloo atlas. Tallinn: Avita, 2006.                                                                                                   
Image source: M.Laur, A. Pajur, T. Tannberg, Eesti Ajalugu II, Avita 1995, lk 78


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