Two divisions were to be formed on the Latvian soil during the Second World War. They were to form the core of the Latvian Legion which was created in order to prevent a new Soviet occupation. The 15th -- Latvian 1st Division and 19th -- Latvian 2nd Division along with the other Latvian military units it had a combat strength up to 165,000 men at its peak.
The Latvian Legion was an unique battlegroup what was built on what stood on patriotism and high fighting moral. The legionaries continued the fight till the bitter end -- some dedicated their entire life fighting against the Soviet occupation.
The Western countries yielded to the pressure of the Soviet Union and did not object to Latvia and other Baltic States remaining part of the Soviet Union. Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia found themselves the only occupied states, whose independence was not restored after the Second World War. Only in 1991 it became possible to eliminate this historical injustice and the Baltic States regained their national independence.
In the end, the Latvians were vindicated - they were cleared of any war crimes in 1950 by the US Congress statement which recognized the difference of the Baltic SS Legions from the German SS. Not many surviving members of the Latvian Legion are left today in Latvia. But each year the veterans, meet to remember their suffering and sacrifices. They see themselves as Latvian patriots who believed that they were fighting for the restoration of a free Latvia. For this reason, March 16th, the anniversary of a major Latvian Legion battle in Russia, was chosen as a day of solemn remembrance.