Steel Division Wiki

Latvia is one of several nations in Steel Division II.

Historical background[]

Long trapped between empires, the history of modern Latvia dates back to the national awakening of the 19th century. Starting among ethnically Latvian intellectuals, this movement saw the emergence of a new national identity, distinct from the Baltic Germans that long dominated in the lands of the Daugava, and fiercely opposed to the harsh russification policies of the Russian Empire. Though harshly repressed by tsarist policies, the nascent Latvian identity was supercharged by the leftist New Current that emerged across future Latvia, culminating in the formation of the Social Democratic Labor Party and the 1905 revolution. Though the tsardom cracked down on all leftist movements, killing hundreds in punitive expeditions spearheaded by Baltic Germans, the notion of an independent Latvia took root. The upheavals of World War I led to the collapse of Imperial Russia in 1917, followed a year later by the surrender of Imperial Germany and its collapse.

The future of Latvia was to be decided on the battlefield, rather than in political cabinets. Competing ideas for the future led to a procession of entities, including the Iskolat Republic, the Latvian Socialist Soviet Republic, the United Baltic Duchy, and eventually a failed attempt to annex nascent Latvia into Soviet Russia that failed in 1920. With the signing of the peace treaty between Latvia and Russia, the West decided to recognize it as an independent state, rather than a riotous Russian province. The newly established democracy survived fourteen years, nearly a decade longer than Poland, but like much of Eastern and Central Europe became a dictatorship in 1934. The government nationalized much of the industry and consolidated economic control. A combination of ambitious policies, dispossessing non-Latvians, and maximizing exportation led to an economic boom - which was hamstrung by the start of World War II, leaving Latvia isolated from its usual export markets.

Latvia was pressured into accepting Soviet troops in 1939, which was followed by annexation in 1940 and a wave of Soviet terror across Latvia, which led to the deportation of 35 thousand Latvians. In 1941, Latvia was occupied by Nazi Germany, scarcely a week after the start of Fall Barbarossa. Assisted by Latvian collaborators, the Nazis succeeded in killing virtually all Latvian Jews and Roma people by the end of 1941. Two divisions of Waffen-SS were also raised from Latvian conscripts and volunteers by the end of 1944, and the Courland Pocket infamously held out against Soviet attacks until after the official German surrender.

Latvia would be integrated into the Soviet Union as a member republic after 1944, with a large partisan movement fighting against Soviet rule to allow thousands to flee to Sweden and Germany. The Latvian national identity was also under constant siege, both from official measures and social dynamics. The need to provide qualified personnel to operate some of the most advanced Soviet factories in Latvia resulted in an influx of ethnic Russians and affected Latvia's position and fate for decades to come.

Division in Steel Division 2[]


All of these units are listed as German in the Armory, but are identified by the Lett. (Lettische or Latvian) prefix and have unique sound clips.