World War I devastated the territory of what became the state of Latvia, and on 18 November 1918, in Riga, the People’s Council of Latvia proclaimed the independence of the new country. A freely elected Constituent assembly convened in May 1920, and adopted a liberal constitution in February 1922.
On 5 October 1939, after the conclusion of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact and the German invasion of Poland,Latvia was forced to accept a “mutual assistance” pact with the Soviet Union, which led eventually to the Soviet Union incorporating Latvia on 5 August 1940, as The Latvian Soviet Socialist Republic. On 21 June 1941 German troops attacked Soviet forces in Operation Barbarossa and Latvia was under the control of German forces by early July. Soviet troops reentered and ‘liberated’ Latvia from the Nazi German forces in October 1944. Latvia then remained under Soviet control until full independence was restored to The Republic of Latvia on 21 August 1991.