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Ultimate Freedom – No Choice

The Culture of Authoritarianism in Latvia, 1934–1940

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Deniss Hanovs and Valdis Tēraudkalns

The Republic of Latvia is a fascinating mirror of the development of European democratic culture and reflects both the rise of democracy in Eastern Europe after the end of World War I and its deterioration into authoritarianism in the early 1930s.
The regime, which lasted for only six years (1934-1940), was shaped by the controversial figure of Prime Minister and Leader of the People (Vadonis) Karlis Ulmanis.
This new, archive-based study illustrates the development of authoritarianism in the region, shows controversies and similarities and places the regime's leader in the international context of European authoritarian culture. The book shows how mass culture and technologies, ancient drama and European modernism were combined to reinforce the idea of legitimacy of a new non-democratic regime.