National Committee of the Republic of Estonia

​During the German occupation in 1941-1944, the Estonian politicians and their supporters who had escaped deportation, gathered in groups, discussed Estonia’s future options, expressed views about the German occupation powers and informed Estonian representatives abroad. The turning point was a general mobilisation in February 1944, supported by Jüri Uluots, the lawful Prime Minister of the Republic of Estonia. Representatives of former Estonian political parties cooperated and formed the National Committee of the Republic of Estonia as a proxy parliament. The first meeting took place on 14 February, and the second on 23 March 1944. Kaarel Liidak was elected chairman, and the members included Ernst Kull, Oskar Mänd, Oskar Gustavson, Juhan Reigo and Juhan Kaarlimäe. The Committee supported mobilisation.

The Committee’s activities were paralysed by the arrest of hundreds of nationalists by the German security police SD in April. Some members were arrested, while others went underground. At the same time, Uluots called the constitutional Electoral Committee, which appointed him the Prime Minister as Acting President.

The National Committee became active again in July. Otto Tief joined, and became the contact person between the Committee and Uluots. On 1 August the Committee issued a declaration, stipulating its task: „to administer state power until the constitutional bodies of Estonia take over, and especially to organise the defence of the Estonian state and people”. The declaration was also reported in the foreign press. The Committee insisted that Uluots form a government. In August, the Committee elected Tief as its head. At the 25 August meeting, Uluots declared the members of the initial government; those who were not members of the Committee, were quickly co-opted. After the Germans decided to withdraw from Estonia, on 18 September 1944, Uluots appointed the government headed by Tief. On 20 September 1944, the National Committee ceased to exist.

The Estonian National Committee restored unanimity among the representatives of Estonian democratic parties, whose cooperation guaranteed legal continuity in the form of Tief’s government.

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