New permanent exhibition about the history of Estonian national defence is open 17.11

On 16th of November, on the 104th Anniversary of the Estonian Defence Forces new permanent exhibition "Oma Vägi. Eesti riigikaitse 1920-1940 ja alates 1991" (Nation's Own Force: Estonian National Defence 1920–1940 and from 1991) was opened at the Estonian War Museum. 
Estonia has had to build its national defence forces twice: Estonian armed forces were formed from 1917 to 1920 as national units, as well as in the War of Independence, and were then restored after the Soviet occupation. On both occasions, the people and the defence morale were there, but the skills and knowledge in organising national defence were lacking.

Exhibition curator Sandra Niinepuu says that accommodating two very different eras in the one space was a challenge in itself. "A comparative approach is interesting, as then you notice how, formally speaking, plenty has changed, but in essence both the basic principles of national defense and the life of a soldier have remained the same."

"For instance a film clip from 1992 will be running next to a display case containing contemporary Estonian Defense Forces (EDF) equipment from 2022," she continued, adding that the acting chief of staff of the Kalev battaltion, one Riho Terras – now an MEP – presents the equipment in the 1992 video.

The exhibition treats the differing challenges facing two different eras, "before" and "after" World War Two in parallel, and provides an overview of the development and nature of military service and reserve forces, uniforms, equipment and armament, military education and training, cooperation with allies, the Estonian defense industry and, of course, a soldier's daily life.

Also not overlooked is a dark chapter in the history of Estonian national defense, namely the Soviet occupation and the resulting liquidation of the defense forces of the formerly-independent state, which ended for many Estonian officers with imprisonment, deportation to Siberia and in many cases, death.

The exhibition is open on Museum opening times Wed-Sun 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.