Zum institutionellen Aufbau der Nationalhistoriographie in Lettland in der Zwischenkriegszeit

Leo Dribins


The founders of Latvian historiography were German-Baltic historians. The shaping of a national historiography outlined by Latvian historians did not begin until the foundation of the Latvian nation State. In the years of the parliamentary republic (1918-1934) two important centres of historical research were established: the history department at the University of Latvia (L. Arbusow, A. Tentelis, F. Balodis, A. Spekke, A. Švābe and others) and the history department at the Ministry of Education, which prepared textbooks (T. Zeiferts, F. Zālītis, A. Švābe and others).
During K. Ulmanis's authoritarian regime (1934-1940) Latvian historiography was influenced and controlled by the national institute for Latvian history (A. Tentelis, M. Stepermanis, A. Spekke, P. Smits, A. Švābe and others). The government was only willing to support those historical studies which conformed to and confirmed the paradigm of the Latvian people being the leading force of Latvian history from its beginnings. The historians were urged to break with the concepts of German-Baltic historiography. It was only after World War II that a national historiography in a strictly scientific sense could be established by exiled Latvian historians in the Western world.