Latvian National Awakening
The Latvian National Awakening refers to three distinct but ideologically related National revival
Romantic nationalism
Romantic nationalism is the form of nationalism in which the state derives its political legitimacy as an organic consequence of the unity of those it governs...

  • the First Awakening refers to the national revival
    Romantic nationalism
    Romantic nationalism is the form of nationalism in which the state derives its political legitimacy as an organic consequence of the unity of those it governs...

     led by the Young Latvians
    Young Latvians
    Young Latvians is the term most often applied to the intellectuals of the first Latvian National Awakening , active from the 1850s to the 1880s. "Jaunlatvieši" is also sometimes translated as "New Latvians," but "Young Latvians" is the more accurate term because it was modeled on the Young Germany...

     from the 1850s to the 1880s,
  • the Second Awakening to the movement that led to the proclamation of Latvian independence in 1918, and
  • the Third Awakening to the movement that led to the restoration of Latvia
    Latvia , officially the Republic of Latvia , is a country in the Baltic region of Northern Europe. It is bordered to the north by Estonia , to the south by Lithuania , to the east by the Russian Federation , to the southeast by Belarus and shares maritime borders to the west with Sweden...

    's independence in the "Singing Revolution
    Singing Revolution
    The Singing Revolution is a commonly used name for events between 1987 and 1991 that led to the restoration of the independence of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania...

    " of 1987–1991.

Application of the term

Though the term "Awakening" was introduced by the Young Latvians themselves, its application was influenced by the nationalist ideologue Ernests Blanks
Ernests Blanks
Ernests Blanks , publicist, the first to publicly advocate for Latvia's independence in 1917.Ernests Blanks was editorial writer of Dzimtenes Atbalss . At a time when others discussed Latvia's and, the other Baltic countries, autonomy, Ernests Blanks dared to demand sovereignty for Latvia. Already...

 and later by the academician Jānis Stradiņš; Stradiņš was the first person to use the term "Third Awakening" (at the expanded plenum of the Writers' Union of the Latvian SSR in June 1988), opposing those who had begun to call the national revival in the period of glasnost
Glasnost was the policy of maximal publicity, openness, and transparency in the activities of all government institutions in the Soviet Union, together with freedom of information, introduced by Mikhail Gorbachev in the second half of the 1980s...

 the Second Awakening (the first being that of the Young Latvians).

Blanks sought to distinguish between the New Current
New Current
The New Current in the history of Latvia was a broad leftist social and political movement that followed the First Latvian National Awakening and culminated in the 1905 Revolution...

 (in Latvian: Jaunā strāva) — a broad and radical socio-economic, political, and cultural movement that lasted from the late 1880s until the 1905 Revolution, led by Rainis
Rainis was the pseudonym of Jānis Pliekšāns was a Latvian poet, playwright, translator, and politician. Rainis' works include the classic plays Uguns un nakts and Indulis un Ārija , and a highly regarded translation of Goethe's Faust...

 and influenced by Marxism
Marxism is an economic and sociopolitical worldview and method of socioeconomic inquiry that centers upon a materialist interpretation of history, a dialectical view of social change, and an analysis and critique of the development of capitalism. Marxism was pioneered in the early to mid 19th...

 — from the more nationalistic direction taken in 1903 by Ernests Rolavs and Miķelis Valters
Mikelis Valters
Miķelis Valters was a prominent Latvian politician, diplomat, writer, and editor....

; to Blanks, the 1890s "could be stricken completely from the history of national thought." He saw Rolavs' and Valters' nationalist Latvian Social Democratic Union
Latvian Social Democratic Union
The Latvian Social Democratic Union was a socialist political group with roots dating to 1892 in Liepāja. Founded in exile the autumn of 1900 and led by Miķelis Valters and Ernests Rolavs. The group was an outgrowth of the New Current, but soon developed a more radical and nationalistic position...

 (in Latvian: Sociāldemokratu savienība; sometimes abbreviated SDS) — a radical socialist group critical of the cosmopolitanism
Cosmopolitanism is the ideology that all human ethnic groups belong to a single community based on a shared morality. This is contrasted with communitarian and particularistic theories, especially the ideas of patriotism and nationalism...

 of the Latvian Social Democratic Workers' Party
Latvian Social Democratic Workers' Party
The Latvian Social Democratic Workers' Party is a centre-left, social democratic party in Latvia. It has a long history but is not represented in the current parliament of Latvia.-History:...

 (Latvijas sociāldemokrātiskā strādnieku partija; LSDSP) — as the direct ideological descendants of the Young Latvians. It was the SDS (and especially Valters) that first began to formulate demands for Latvia's political autonomy.

Stradiņš based his view of the national revival in the 1980s on Blanks, considering the Second Awakening similarly: he viewed the organization of the Latvian riflemen
Latvian Riflemen
This article is about Latvian military formations in World War I and Russian Civil War. For Red Army military formations in World War II see Latvian Riflemen Soviet Divisions....

, the activities of the Latvian émigrés in Switzerland, the Latvian refugees' relief committee in Russia, the proclamation of independence and the battles for independence as coming under the heading of the Second Awakening. Less frequently, some have seen the New Current and the 1905 Revolution — and sometimes even the Khrushchev Thaw
Khrushchev Thaw
The Khrushchev Thaw refers to the period from the mid 1950s to the early 1960s, when repression and censorship in the Soviet Union were partially reversed and millions of Soviet political prisoners were released from Gulag labor camps, due to Nikita Khrushchev's policies of de-Stalinization and...

— as National Awakenings.
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