Freedom Bought With A High Price
Latvia’s independence was a process developing over many years, but the culmination of it was during the World War I.
In 1915, the Latvians organized the first Latvian Riflemen battalion to fend off the invasion of the German army.
In total, about 60 000 troops were drafted and fought to retain Latvia’s borders and key areas.
2nd Regiment of Riga Latvian Riflemen,
Photo — The Latvian War Museum
True Perseverance In Our Blood
In October of 1916 a special distinction of the Latvian endurance was formed by the 2nd Riga Latvian Riflemen regiment, as they defended their position on Death Island.
The German army used the first Gas weapon attack in the Latvian territory to drive the defenders of freedom out of their positions. Nevertheless, the Latvians held their ground for 8 days.
A Latvian Rifleman in shooting training,
Photo — sargs.lv
The Christmas battles — Fighting in -35°C
One of the most defining pages in the history of Latvian was written in the swamp of Tīrelis during the Christmas time in 1916. The goal of this massive battle operation was to capture the key city of Jelgava.
The courage showed by the Latvian Riflemen was moving. After the war, the German army officer Emil Harold wrote: “In the Christmas Battle the Russians had bear hunters, Siberians, and twice as dangerous — Latvian Rifleman. The Latvians made hard sacrifice and it shows in the many graves near Babīte. The Latvian riflemen were the main reason the front was broken.”
2nd Regiment of the Latvian Riflemen oath before the Christmas battles,
Photo — sargs.lv
A Flag That Captures More Than Words
In 1917, the hope for a sovereign nation and free Latvia was still alive. During this time many companies of the battalions captured and expressed their identity through slogans and flags.
“Bez Cīņas Nav Uzvaras” ("No Victory Without A Fight") was the slogan designed for the 3rd Company of the 2nd Regiment of the Latvian Riflemen by Ansis Cīrulis (1883-1942).
Ansis Cīrulis was one the first Eastern European designers — greatly contributed to the shaping of Latvia’s national identity. His heritage is characterized by letters with asymmetric widths, sliced cuts and various intrinsic features.
Historical Words in Contemporary Take
Today, the 1917 historical flag slogan is available in a new design that is based on the historical handwriting of Ansis Cirulis. The design prints and the T-shirts made of 100% organic cotton are available in our online shop.
We Share Endurance
Today, each one of us faces a different challenges and battles. Not the same kind as the Latvian army did one hundred years ago. However, they still require boldness, faith and strong character to endure.
In the presence of our battles, we should remember the words “Bez Cīņas Nav Uzvaras” (“No Victory Without A Fight”). The words that remind us of the past and gives hope for the future. Be courageous to face whatever comes in your way and endure the fight without quitting.