German soldiers are cheerfully greeted as liberators by Latvian women in Riga, who pass flowers to the soldiers and wave the Latvian flag. Although Latvia had declared a strict policy of neutrality at the onset of the war, on 17 June 1940 the Soviet Union invaded and annexed the country. The ensuing months under the Soviet occupation would become known in Latvian as Baigais Gads, or the “Year of Horror”; mass arrests, disappearances, and deportations by the Soviets culminated in an intense bitterness towards the Soviet Union. When the Germans arrived in July 1941, many Latvians initially viewed them as liberators; although some began fierce resistance movements against both the Germans and Soviets, hoping to restore their pre-war sovereignty. Riga, Latvia. 10 July 1941.