The Soviet Union and Nazi Germany sign a non-aggression treaty.
1 September 1939
Germany attacks Poland – World War II begins; Latvia declares neutrality.
17 September 1939
USSR attacks Poland.
5 October 1939
As a result of military and political pressure, Latvia signs a “bilateral assistance” agreement with the USSR, allowing military army bases to be placed on Latvian territory.
30 October 1939
Nazi Germany signs an agreement with the Latvian government to transfer ethnic Germans living in Latvia to Germany.
15 June 1940
USSR attacks several border guard posts on the eastern border of Latvia.
16 June 1940
USSR presents Latvia with an ultimatum demanding Latvia allow unlimited Soviet troops to enter Latvian territory.
17 June 1940
USSR occupies Latvia.
20 June 1940
A new government, created by Moscow and led by Augusts Kirhenšteins, is installed in Latvia.
14-15 July 1940
Rigged, non-democratic elections, which contravene Latvian election laws and the Latvian Constitution, take place; only one party participates – Latvijas Darba Tautas bloks [Latvian Workers’ Bloc].
21 July 1940
The illegally elected Parliament declares Latvia a Soviet Socialist Republic and requests that the USSR admit it to its Union. Kārlis Ulmanis steps down as president; he is arrested and deported to Russia the following day.
5 August 1940
Latvia is admitted to the USSR.
13 August 1940
The All-Union Communist Party (bolshevik) (AUCP(b)) Central Committee ratifies the constitution of the Latvian SSR.
The Soviet Russian Criminal Code officially becomes law in Latvia.
14 May 1941
The Soviet government and the AUCP(b) begins planning mass deportations and repressions of Latvian citizens by adopting the secret decision "On the deportation of foreign elements from the Baltic republics, Western Ukraine, and Moldavia ".
13-14 June 1941
The Soviet Union deports 15 443 inhabitants of Latvia.
Nazi German occupation
22 June 1941
Nazi Germany attacks the Soviet Union. Hostilities begin on Latvian territory along with Nazi occupation.
16 July 1941
Berlin creates the administrative region Ostland – Latvia is one of the four regions that make up Ostland.
The first mass annihilation of Jews begins – the largest actions take place in Riga, Daugavpils, and Liepāja, as well as in other smaller towns.
30 November 1941
Killing of Jews in the Riga Ghetto begins. In total, 70 000 Latvian Jews were killed. Thanks to the efforts of local citizens, 400 Latvian Jews were saved.
5 December 1941
The German army is defeated at Moscow.
7 March 1942
Nazi occupiers create the Landesselbstverwaltung – local administrative rule.
29 January 1943
Nazi occupiers adopt regulations for the arrest of Latvia’s Roma population and their incarceration in concentration camps.
11 February 1943
Orders are passed for the creation of a “voluntary” Latvian legion under the auspices of the SS; mobilization is often involuntary.
13 August 1943
Representatives of the four largest parties from the last Latvian Parliament found the Latvian Central Council (Latvijas Centrālā Padome – LCP) in Riga, which calls for the renewal of Latvian independence. Konstantīns Čakste is named head of the LCP.
28 November 1943
USA president Franklin Roosevelt, Great Britain’s prime minister Winston Churchill, and Soviet leader Joseph Stalin meet at the Teheran Conference. Stalin succeeds in gaining permission to have a free hand in the Baltic States and Eastern Europe after the war.
22 March 1944
189 Latvian politicians submit a resolution to the Nazi occupiers for the renewal of Latvian independence, which is denied.
18 July 1944
The Soviet army defeats German troops and crosses the Latvian border at Šķaune in Ludza county. The second Soviet occupation begins.
End of July – beginning of August 1944
German occupiers allow General Jānis Kurelis and the chief of his headquarters, Captain Kristaps Upelnieks, to create a separate military unit. It cooperates with the LCP in the hopes of becoming the nucleus of the army of independent Latvia.
8 September 1944
The last LCP meeting to occur on Latvian soil takes place at which a declaration for the renewal of Latvian independence is adopted.
20 November 1944
Unable to control troops under the command of Kurelis, German SD units arrest all military personal at his headquarters. Eight officers are convicted and shot. The remaining military personnel are imprisoned in concentration camps.
5 February 1945
Leaders of the USA, GB, and the USSR meet at Yalta. During discussions, Soviet demands are met, and the Soviets occupy Latvia once again.
Soviet occupation Stalinist terror
8 May 1945
WWII ends on Latvian territory; German forces in Kurzeme surrender, including the 19th Latvian Legionnaire division.
3 October 1945
The first meeting of members of the LCP who have escaped to Germany takes place in Lustenau, Austria. Latvian citizens in exile continue the struggle for Latvian statehood.
6 October 1945
Latvian SSR Supreme Council members accept Moscow’s decision to annex the city of Abrene and six neighbouring townships to the Russian SSR.
10 February 1946
Latvian SSR Supreme Council elections take place.
17 February 1947
In order to weaken communist rule in Eastern Europe, the USA begins transmission of the Voice of America, which is listened to in Latvian territory illegally.
29 January 1949
USSR Council of Ministers decide to deport members of the National Partisans and their supporters, as well as wealthy farmers (kulaks) from Latvia to Siberia.
25 March 1949
Soviet occupiers carry out the second mass deportation of Latvian inhabitants to Siberia – in total 42 322 people.
As a result of repressive Soviet occupation politics, the number of collective farms (kolkhozes) triples, creating 3857 kolkhozes.
17 January 1953
Latvian SSR Supreme Council adopts the decree creating a new Latvian SSR flag.
5 March 1953
Soviet occupation “Thaw”
12 September 1953
Nikita Khrushchev becomes First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union Central Committee (CPSU CC).
14 May 1955
Creation of the Warsaw Pact.
25 February 1956
At the CPSU 20th Congress, Khrushchev openly speaks of crimes committed by Stalin and condemns the Stalin “personality cult”.
23 August 1956
The uprising by the people in Hungary is put down by Soviet forces.
Soviet occupation “Stagnation”
7–8 July 1959
Latvian CP plenum condemns the national communists.
13 August 1961
The GDR closes the border to West Berlin; building of the Berlin Wall begins.
10 October 1964
Khrushchev is forced to resign as First Secretary of the CPSU CK; Leonid Brezhnev takes his place.
The Hydroelectric Station at Pļaviņas begins operation.
27 May 1968
Calls for ending censorship and freeing political prisoners in Czechoslovakia initiates the “Prague Spring” demonstrations.
20 August 1968
Soviet troops put down the “Prague Spring”.
25 December 1979
Soviet forces invade Afghanistan.
10 November 1982
Leonid Brezhnev dies; Yuri Andropov becomes First Secretary of the CPSU CK.
9 February 1984
Yuri Andropov dies. Konstantin Chernenko becomes First Secretary of the CPSU CK.
10 March 1985
Konstantin Chernenko dies.
11 March 1985
Mikhail Gorbachev becomes the leader of the CPSU CK and the Soviet Union.
Soviet occupation “Perestroika”
10 July 1986
The first Latvian human rights organization Helsinki-86 is founded in Liepāja.
Widespread public support for the environmental protection of the Daugava River begins.
28 February 1987
The Environment Protection Club (Vides aizsardzības klubs – VAK) is founded.
14 June 1987
Helsinki-86 invites people to lay flowers at the Freedom Monument to commemorate the deportations in 1941.
23 August 1987
A protest takes place by the Freedom Monument to commemorate the signing of the Hitler-Stalin pact.
27 April 1988
VAK organizes protests against the proposed construction of a metro in Riga.
1–2 June 1988
The Latvian Creative Society organizes a plenum. Journalist, Art Academy professor, and member of the Supreme Council Mavriks Vulfsons publicly declares that Latvia was occupied in 1940.
10 July 1988
The Latvian National Independence Movement (Latvijas Nacionālās Neatkarības kustība – LNNK) is founded.
16 July 1988
VAK organizes a protest in Mežaparks at which the Latvian national flag is flown.
8-9 October 1988
Latvian National Front (Latvijas tautas fronte – LTF) founding congress. Dainis Īvāns is elected leader.
The pro-communist supporters of Moscow Interfront organize protests – they oppose proposed policies to stop migration to Latvia from other Soviet republics and to give the Latvian language official national status.
5 May 1989
Latvian SSR SC adopts a law granting Latvian national language status.
23 August 1989
The Baltic Way – a human chain over 660 km long is formed through all three Baltic countries to commemorate the 1939 Hitler- Stalin Pact.
9 November 1989
The Berlin Wall falls.
18 November 1989
Mass demonstrations for an independent Latvia on the banks of the Daugava with over 500,000 participants.
18 March 1990
Latvian SSR parliamentary elections.
4 May 1990
Latvian SSR SC adopts the resolution for the restoration of Latvian independence.
2 January 1991
Soviet special forces OMON occupy the press building in Riga; there are armed attacks by OMON against other strategic government sites.
13–27 January 1991
Residents of Latvia create barricades in Riga to protect key locations from forces loyal to Moscow.
3 March 1991
Inhabitants of Latvia participate in a referendum on declaring an independent democratic state – two-thirds vote for restoring independence.
12 June 1991
Boris Yeltsin is elected president of Russia.
19 August 1991
Radical communist attempt a coup in Moscow – the August Putsch.
21 August 1991
Republic of Latvia Supreme Council declares the Republic of Latvia as an independent democratic state.
22 August 1991
Iceland is the first nation to recognize Latvian independence.
24 August 1991
The Russian Federation officially recognizes Latvian independence.
17 September 1991
Latvia joins the United Nations.
30 December 1991
The Soviet Union officially ceases to exist.
14 February 1994
Latvia joins the NATO program “Partnership for Peace”.
12 March 1999
The first post-Soviet nations join NATO – Czech Republic, Poland, and Hungary.
Prague summit. NATO leaders decide to invite Latvia to begin negotiations for admittance.
20 September 2003
Referendum on joining the European Union.
29 March 2004
Latvia becomes a member of NATO.
1 May 2004
Latvia becomes a member of the European Union along with 10 other nations.