Latvian red riflemen I WW1 & Nepriklausomybės karai

Latviešu sarkanie strēlnieki 1919. gada 1. maija parādē Rīgā pie bijušā Pētera I pieminekļa (tagad laukums pie Brīvības pieminekļa). Avots: Wikipedia.

The term "red riflemen" originated during the Russian Civil War in 1918, linking Latvian rifle units with the "Red Guards", the Russian "Red Army" and the general term "red", which was attributed to supporters of the Bolsheviks (later communists).

With the outbreak of World War I, the territory of Latvia was gradually occupied by German troops, and a large refugee movement began. In the summer of 1915, the Russian army suffered heavy defeats, Kurzeme, Zemgale and part of Selia came under German occupation. The Latvian initiative to form national units was one of the few straws that the persecuted Russian army could cling to. On August 10, 1915, the press published an invitation to the Latvian people on the establishment of national military units, written by writers K. Skalbe and A. Ķeniņš and signed by members of the Russian State Duma Jānis Goldmanis and Jānis Zālītis. A total of about 8,000 volunteers applied, and there were up to 25,000 men in Latvian rifle battalions throughout World War I.

In 1917, the ideas of greatness spread rapidly among Latvians who had been desperate by the war. The slogans of the Bolsheviks about peace, land and bread were very popular in the war-torn Latvian society. The influence of the Bolsheviks also increased among the riflemen, who suffered pointless and heavy losses in last winter's battles.

In the autumn of 1917, taking advantage of the decline in the combat capabilities of the Russian army, the Germans occupied Riga, and in February 1918, the whole of Vidzeme and Latgale. Many riflemen surrendered to the Germans or simply deserted from the units to stay in Vidzeme. The Bolsheviks and the most loyal riflemen fled to Russia. On April 13, 1918, a division of the Latvian Rifle Councils was established in Moscow.

Latvian red rifle units were used to guard the Russian Soviet government and senior officials, foreign embassies, maintain order in Russia's largest cities, suppress farmers 'and workers' riots, and fight against Bolshevik political opponents during the Russian Civil War of 1918-1920.

With the conclusion of a peace treaty between Russia and Latvia, in the summer of 1921, 11,395 former "red" Latvian riflemen returned from Soviet Russia. Part of the commanding staff remained in Soviet Russia and had successful military careers. 1937-1938. As a result of Stalin 's great repression in 2006, most former riflemen were killed.

Daugiau informacijos šaltinių

1. The blizzard of souls. Digital Museum. Available:, -scale / event / 128 / strelnieki-returns-majup-from-russia / [viewed: 08.05.2021].

2. Šiliņš J. "Latvian Red Riflemen". National Encyclopedia. Available:šu-sarkanie-strēlnieki [accessed 08.05.2021].

3. Vējiņš J. Latvia - in the course of destiny 1918 - 1991, Press House, 2007.


Susiję objektai

Latvian Riflemen Monument in Riga

It is located in the center of Riga, in the Latvian Riflemen's Square near the Latvian Occupation Museum.

The monument to the Latvian archers was opened in 1971 at the Latvian Archers Square next to the former Latvian Red Archers Museum (tag: Occupation Museum). During the Soviet era, the topic was viewed through a narrow prism of the communist regime's ideology. The place served to represent Riga and create an idealized story, strengthening the myth of Latvians as fighters of the Soviet power.

Light infantry units in the Russian army were called archers. In World War 1, Latvian riflemen formations were created to fight against the German army in the homeland. They were motivated, dangerous and disciplined fighting units. The high level of education and German language skills were useful for reconnaissance and surprise attacks. When the Russian Empire collapsed and Germany completely occupied the territory of Latvia, a very large number of Latvian residents went to Russia, where they continued to face the agitation of bigots. Initially, support for Lenin's ideas and participation in the Russian Civil War grew. Disappointment followed later, and most Latvian soldiers turned away from leftist ideas and returned to Latvia. The soldiers who remained in Russia were mostly killed in "Stalin's purges" (1936-1938). Latvian archers had great merits in the creation of the Latvian state and its army.

Today you can see the monument and the adjacent Museum of Occupation.

General Karl Gopper Memorial Room in the Muscat Hometown

Located in Plāņi Parish on the bank of the Vija River.

The memorial room of General Karl Gopper in his native house "Muscat" can be seen.

The Muscat farm was run by the general's brother, August Goppers, because the talented warlord was busy with major events and world wars. In 1920, the general returned to Latvia, to his native home. But many responsible duties connected him with Riga. August continued to operate in Muscat. In 1940, General Gopper was arrested and shot on March 25, 1941, in a check cellar. In 1944, the Gopper family went to Kurzeme as refugees with three horse-drawn carriages. The war divided the family, Alexander Gopper's daughters - Biruta, Elza and Anna - remained in Latvia. They were not allowed to return to Muscat. The houses were large and carefully maintained. Three four newcomer families were accommodated in separate rooms. A horse farm was set up in the big barn. A fire broke out in 1980 due to mutual scabies. The barn and the big barn burned down. Fortunately, the fire did not spread to the house, the flames were repelled by large trees planted by our ancestors.

In 1991, after the miraculous Awakening, the Latvian state was reborn for the second time. In 1992, the family of General Gopper's brother Augustus regained Muscat as an ancestral sanctity. For ten years, all the cheeses worked hard to save the houses from destruction, to restore and build the ruined buildings to make the entire Muscat farm beautiful. The houses have been restored to their old appearance, there is also a memorial room for General Karl Gopper. The memorial room can be visited in advance by calling +371 29396870, +371 29254285.

Excursion to the monument to the soldiers who died in the First World War in the park of Spāre manor

Located in the territory of the Spāre manor complex.

During the First World War, the Russian Army Field Infirmary was located in Spāre Manor. The 24 soldiers who died there, including Latvian riflemen, were buried in the nearby cemetery. The monument was unveiled on October 6, 1935.

Rows of lindens were planted on both sides of the road during the memorial site (starting from the road). In 1935, all the improvement works in the area were carried out by the students of Spāre under the guidance of the school administrator Kārlis and Alvīne Skalbergs.
The pupils of Spāre Primary School in Amata Region are also involved in the cleaning of the memorial site. The land guards of Cēsis 27. KB provide great support in these works.
A torchlight procession to the memorial to the fallen in World War I, which is being held on 11 November, has become a tradition. This event is always crowded by the guards of Cēsis 27. KB, there is always a chaplain with them. Festive halls are an integral part of the event.

In the territory of the Spāre manor complex, an excursion to the monument to the soldiers who fell in the First World War (45 min.) Is offered by prior arrangement by calling +371 26558464.

Monument to the soldiers who died in the First World War and the Latvian War of Independence

Located on Baznīcas Street opposite St. Anne's Church.

A monument to the soldiers who died in the First World War and the Latvian War of Independence can be seen.

On May 1, 1923, a "Hero's Grove" was planted opposite the Mazsalaca Lutheran Church, where an oak tree was dedicated to each fallen. According to Likert, a total of 97 oaks were planted - 23 for the fallen in the War of Independence and 74 for the fallen in the First World War. However, the press at the time mentioned that 106 oaks had been planted.

On August 21, 1927, a concrete monument built by architect Pauls Kundziņš was unveiled in the Heroes' Square, in the construction of which the sculptor Vilhelms Treijs also participated.

The monument is located next to the church of St. Anne in Mazsalaca, which was built in a specially designated place to slide (58.6 m), the beautiful tower can be seen from afar. The church is well preserved, as it was neither destroyed nor adapted for any other use during the Soviet era.

Cesis Brothers Cemetery

Located in Cēsis Lejas Cemetery, Lenču Street 15, Cēsis.

One of the most important memorial sites of the First World War and the War of Independence in Cēsis is the Brothers' Cemetery in the Lower Cemetery.
The cemetery is the monument of the Brethren's Cemetery, built in 1927 by the artist and thinker of Cēsis Augustus Julla (1872-1958), dedicated to the soldiers buried in the Brothers' Cemetery from 1915 to 1920.

About 200 soldiers are buried in the Brothers Cemetery of Cēsis Lower Cemetery. Among them, an unknown number of Latvian riflemen and Russian soldiers killed in the First World War, as well as soldiers of German (10), Polish and other nationalities. During the Latvian Liberation War, 22 fallen soldiers of the 5th (2nd) Cēsis Infantry Regiment, as well as 11 freedom fighters who fell in other Latvian army units, were buried in these cemeteries. 2 Estonians, 15 victims of Bolsheviks and also Latvian Red Riflemen are buried in the Brothers' Cemetery.

Susijusi istorija

Memories of Anšlavs Eglītis about the Latvian War of Independence and the events of 1919 in Aluksne

On March 27, 1919, the 1st Valmiera Infantry Regiment, together with the Estonian bodyguard Tallinn (then Rēvele) and Tērbata battalions, as well as three armed trains from the banks of the Melnupe, began the liberation of Latvia from the Bolsheviks.

About General Karl Gopper

General K. Goppers (1876-1941) was an outstanding soldier and an outstanding man. He stood out as a successful commander who took over the command of the battalion and regiments, heroically leading his riflemen in battles for the freedom of Latvia during the First World War (1914-1919). He has participated in battles in Tīreļpurvs, Ložmetējkalns, and defended Riga.

Memories of the beginning of the establishment of the War Museum

The narrator describes the conditions under which the War Museum was established. Problems and collection work are mentioned.

Rescue the Nega River Bridge from blasting

By the time the Germans retreated in 1944, many important sites had been blown up and it was very difficult to prevent, but there are also stories of miraculous events where the courage of the locals and the tolerance of a soldier allow salmon to survive in places important to the locals. One of the stories is also about a discussion between a housewife and a German soldier who saved an entire bridge from being blown up.