Baltic Defence College hosts 5th Annual Baltic Military History Conference

On 3-4 October 2013 the Baltic Defence College held its annual military history conference in Tartu. This year the conference was more international than ever before. Twenty six conference papers were presented on various aspects of Baltic regional military history ranging in time from the 16th to 20th Centuries and covering topics that included the diplomacy of the Livonian Wars to military intelligence to diplomacy in the midst of conflict to campaigns of the First and Second World Wars.

Group photo of the participants of the 5th Annual Baltic Military History Conference

This year the conference featured scholarly papers from academics from all three Baltic States, from Sweden and Finland, Denmark, and Poland as well as papers from French, Italian, Russian and American scholars. There was a panel led by the noted scholar of the 16th Century, Dr. Alexandr Filjushkin of Saint Petersburg University, on aspects of the Livonian War and three graduate students of Saint Petersburg presented research on the strategic and diplomatic aspects of that war. Dr. Jean Avenel, of the University of Paris and chairman of the French military History Commission, presented a paper on the activities of the French military commission in the Baltic region after World War I. Noted American aviation scholar, Dr. Richard Hallion, provided an analysis of the aviation cooperation between the Germans and Russians in the 1920s. Dr. Russell Hart, chairman of the history Department of Hawaii Pacific University, provided an analysis of the 1944-45 Courland campaign. Faculty of the Baltic Defence College presented papers to include Dr. Eric Sibul on Estonian-Japanese military relations in the interwar period and Dr. James Corum presenting a paper on the German joint operations in Courland in 1915.

Dr James Corum, Dean of BALTDEFCOL and organizer of the conference, giving presentation on German joint operations in Courland in 1915
First Commandant of Baltic Defence College, BG (ret) Michael Clemmesen from Denmark, provided an analysis of the British policy and actions in Latvia during crisis of April 1919.

The conference was well attended drawing papers and participants from Tartu University and also from the Estonian National Defence Academy. The scope and breadth of the conference as well as the quality of the discussion shows that interest and scholarship concerning the military history of the Baltic region is growing with several relatively unexplored aspects of regional history-- to include the complexities of post World War I diplomacy, the military intelligence pictures of the mid-size powers, and the wartime innovations of the great powers in Baltic region -- all receiving serious attention.

The Baltic Military History Conference is part of the Baltic Defence College program to deepen academic cooperation among Baltic and international universities and scholars and to further the study of military affairs and security in the Baltic region.

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