World War One marked a historic turning point for Latvia, and the interwar period was awash with assessments of the country’s perceived demographic crisis and the declining proportion of ethnic Latvians in Latvia. The ‘Institute for the Study of Living Strength’ was set up to battle this moral panic in Spring 1938, and comprised three departments – anthropology, population density, and eugenics. In this fascinating conference paper, Juris Salaks introduces the Institute’s hereditary and public health agendas, and its attempts to engage with the wider Latvian public unto its dissolution in 1940.
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