School of Nation. The Concept and Praxis of the Soldier’s Education in the Estonian National Army in the Interwar Period (1920–1940)

Igor Kopõtin


Estonia was a post-imperial country where the question of how to develop a citizen loyal tothe new nation-state arose after the First World War. Seen by some as being composed of the‘best part of the Estonian nation’, the army was considered to be a good tool for the effectivetraining of citizens. In order to fulfil the idea of the army as a ‘school of nation’, the crucialissues were the creation of its own military traditions, language policy, and the education ofpersonnel. The leadership of the army tried to eliminate the influence of the former ImperialRussian army, invented new military traditions in the national spirit, and actively cultivated nationalistideas. The article analyses the education of Estonian military personnel in this regard,discussing how nationalism, language policy, cultural training and history lessons helped toembody the vision of the army as the school of nation.

Key words: Estonian army, nationalism, military education, cultural training, language policy.

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