Baltic noblemen were efficient managers of their estates, often having been trained in natural sciences or agronomy at Tartu University.
Rising national and cultural enthusiasm among the Baltic Germans was interrupted with the outbreak of World War I. Although almost all Baltic Germans of military age served as Russian officers, the Russian authorities became increasingly suspicious of possible collaboration between Baltic Germans and the enemy.
An autonomous Baltic German state consisting of the three provinces in union with Prussia or the dukedom of Mecklenburg was proposed, but the German authorities were divided and no formal ties were established before the defeat of Germany in November 1918.
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