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Lithuania: Communist Era

The Prelude: from Sovereign State to Imperial Periphery

While Estonians and Latvians gained their independence in 1918, the roots of Lithuania’s statehood go back to the 13th century, when the Grand Duchy of Lithuania was established.[1] Contrary to Estonia and Latvia, where the local Baltic German culture and Protestant religion shaped modern national identity, Lithuanians have been influenced by Polish culture and Catholicism. In 1569, the dynastic union between the Grand Duchy and the Polish Kingdom evolved into a dualistic federation, known as the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth.[2] In 1795, as a result of the Third Partition of Poland by its neighbours, most of the modern Lithuanian territory was annexed by the Russian Empire, with the exception of Suwalkia, the South-Western part of Lithuania, which became part of the Prussian Kingdom.[3]

Push for Self-determination: 1905 Revolution and World War I, 1905-1918

The idea of full independence remained an unrealistic vision among the Lithuanian elite before World War I. Instead, the idea of a federation of peoples replacing the autocratic institutions of Russian monarchy was particularly attractive.[4] In Lithuania, the course of the revolution was relatively peaceful because Lithuanian peasants did not revolt against their landlords, like in the case of Estonia and Latvia.[5] The Revolution broke out with a general strike in Vilnius and other major cities on 11 January 1905 as a response to the Bloody Sunday massacre[6] in St Petersburg.[7] Soon the strike spread to rural areas. At the beginning of the revolution the social demands of workers and peasants dominated over national issues. However, the October Manifesto,[8] which was issued by Tsar Nicholas II on 17 October 1905, marked an important turning point, as it gave a boost to the local struggle for cultural and national freedom.[9] The culmination of the 1905 revolution in Lithuania was the gathering of the All-Lithuanian Assembly in November 21–22, 1905. The Assembly brought together all the major political camps: social democrats, liberals (Lietuvos Demokratu partija), national liberals (Tautiskoji Lietuviu Demokratu partija), and Christian democrats, which shared largely the same patriotic vision.[10] They dealt mostly with national issues, declaring that Lithuania should become an autonomous entity within the Russian Empire.[11]

At that time, the plan for autonomy was opposed by the Russian central government. Yet, after the February Revolution of 1917 and Russia’s defeat in World War I, the national consolidation achieved during the Revolution of 1905 helped to constitute the Lithuanian bid for independence. Nevertheless, the outbreak of World War I was widely greeted with patriotic claims in support of the Tsar.[12] As a result of successful German offensive Lithuania was occupied by Imperial Germany by September 1915. This forced hundreds of thousands of Lithuanians, including many members of the cultural elite, to flee to Russia. The occupied country was exploited to satisfy the growing needs of the German military.[13]

In the late 1916 and at the beginning of 1917, Germans changed their tactics toward Lithuanians, in hope of legitimising their conquests. After the Russian Revolution in 1917, Germans decided to create a regional network of dependent states which would serve as a buffer zone against Russia.[14] Therefore, the Germans finally allowed the organisation of the Lithuanian Conference in Vilnius that took place in September 1917.[15] Lithuanian independence was openly declared as its main objective. The conference convened at the State Council of Lithuania, which was led by Antanas Smetona, and contained representatives of all major political groups.[16] Although the Council of Lithuania declared the country independent on 16 February 1918, the Germans retained their control over Lithuania until the end of World War I.[17] On 3 March, with the peace treaty signed at Brest-Litovsk signifying its exit from the war, Soviet Russia officially renounced all rights to the territory of Lithuania.[18] The German plan was to create a dependent Lithuanian Kingdom, headed by a German prince. However, due to the German Revolution and collapse of the German Army in November 1918, this never realised.[19]

Lithuanian “Wars of Independence”[20] (1918-1920) and border disputes with neighbours, 1920-1923

The Republic of Lithuania emerged as a direct result of the collapse of the Russian and German empires. On 7 November 1918, the Council of Lithuania formed the first Lithuanian government, which was headed by Augustinas Voldemaras.[21] The new state soon found itself in a conflict with Soviet Russia. On the one hand, the Bolsheviks wished to recover the territories lost in Brest-Litovsk, but on the other hand, it was a part of their long-term strategy to import the socialist revolution throughout Europe and rest of the world. The war against Lithuania began on 12 December 1918 when the Soviets tried to take advantage of the German withdrawal and launched an attack against Lithuania.[22] The Red Army soon seized most of the country, including the capital Vilnius on 5 January 1919.[23] On 16 December 1918, the Lithuanian Soviet Socialist Republic was proclaimed but it was fully dependent on Soviet Russia’s military and economic support.[24] Its government was comprised of local Bolsheviks, led by Vincas Mickevicius-Kapsukas. Lithuanian Bolsheviks introduced communist reforms by nationalising land and private property. Nevertheless, the Bolshevik institutions of repression did not carry out their punitive activities in Lithuania. When the Red Army marched into Lithuania, local public life suffered no restrictions and continued as before. Various organisations and newspapers continued their activities; during sermons priests often criticised the misdemeanours of the Bolshevik authorities.[25]

Yet, during the first months of 1919, the situation turned against the Red Army. In April 1919, the Poles intervened in support of the Lithuanians and the Soviets were expelled from Vilnius.[26] In mid-May the Lithuanian army began an offensive against the Red Army in north-eastern Lithuania. By the end of August 1919, the Soviets were expelled from Lithuania.[27] The fighting continued until Lithuania and Soviet Russia signed the Treaty of Moscow on July 12, 1920. With this treaty Soviet government recognised Lithuania’s independence.[28]

During 1919, the relations between Lithuania and Poland worsened as a result of the on-going dispute over Vilnius and its adjacent territories, which were mostly populated by Poles.[29] The Western Powers entrusted Vilnius to Lithuania,[30] this step was also acknowledged by the Bolsheviks with the Treaty of Moscow.[31] However, on 9 October 1920, the Poles led by General Lucian Zeligowski occupied Vilnius. The subsequent dispute over Vilnius damaged relations between Poland and Lithuania throughout the inter-war period.[32] After Lithuania annexed the pre-dominantly German city of Klaipeda, which had been placed under Allied control, the relations with Germany deteriorated as well.[33]

Democratic Lithuania, 1920-1926

The Lithuanian political system, which emerged after the Wars of Independence, could be characterised by a strong legislature, a weak executive and a proportional representation system in the parliament.[34] An important feature, which then distinguished Lithuania from Estonia and Latvia, was the strong influence of the Catholic Church in the internal politics. Until 1926, the Christian Democratic coalitions dominated the country’s political life.[35] The most influential opposition to Catholic Church’s excessive influence arose from the movement called the Lithuanian Nationalist Union. It had nationalist, anti-Polish and anti-communist views and was led by Antanas Smetona.[36] Throughout the period of liberal democracy, leftist groups like the Social Democrats and underground Communist Party had a moderate support as they lacked the strong social base in overwhelmingly agrarian Lithuania.[37]

Lithuania under the Authoritarian Regime, 1926-1940

Lithuania was the first Baltic State which became authoritarian. Political life in Lithuania during its first years of independence was unstable and the frequent shifts of government resulted in a perception of permanent internal crisis. In 1926, an authoritarian right wing regime lead by Antanas Smetona came to power. Smetona claimed that the abandoning of liberalism is the only way to save the country from falling to the extremist hands and prevent an alleged communist coup.[38] However, there was no evidence that the communists were planning a coup. On December 29, 1926 martial law was declared and about 350 Lithuanian communists were arrested and their leaders executed.[39] The National Union and the Christian Democrats formed a new government. But in April 1927, as the relationship between the two parties grew tense, Smetona dissolved the Parliament, and Christian Democratic ministers resigned from the government. The National Union remained the only party in power for next thirteen years. Smetona adopted the title of the “leader of the nation” and started to build his cult of personality. He served as the president till the country’s occupation by the Soviet Union.[40]

The Loss of Independence and the Soviet annexation, 1939-1940

The political situation in Europe started to change in the late 1930s. With the rise of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party, Lithuania’s security suffered a setback. The Lithuanian-annexed Klaipeda was under Germany’s territorial claims. In March 1939, Lithuania received an ultimatum from Germany to assign Klaipeda to the Third Reich.[41] Without any international support Lithuania had no other choice but to accept the ultimatum and on March 22, the German Army took over the city.[42]

On 1 September 1939, Germany attacked Poland, which triggered World War II. Hitler felt confident because on 23 August 1939, Germany and the Soviet Union had settled a Non-Aggression Treaty. According to the supplementary secret protocol, Poland would be divided between Soviet Union and Germany; Latvia, Estonia and Finland were to go to the Soviet sphere, while Lithuania fell into the German domain of influence.[43] After the Red Army had invaded Eastern Poland, German-Soviet Boundary and Friendship Treaty was signed on 28 September 1939. According to the treaty, Lithuania was transferred to the Soviet sphere of influence for exchange of a larger piece of Poland to Germany.[44]

Only a day after the Boundary and Friendship Treaty was concluded in Moscow, the Soviet Union informed Lithuania that it wishes to negotiate about the future relations between the two countries.[45] When the Minister of Foreign Affairs Juozas Urbsys arrived to Moscow on October 3, Stalin personally informed him about the Soviet-German spheres of influence. Accompanied by threats from Soviet leaders and the amassment of the Red Army to the frontier, Lithuanians were forced to sign the Mutual Assistance Treaty on 10 October 1939.[46] This allowed the Soviet Union to establish four military bases on Lithuanian territory with up to 20,000 military personnel.[47]

In May 1940, the German Army launched an offensive on the Western Front, which culminated with the fall of France in June 1940. At the same time Moscow started to accuse its Baltic neighbours in hostility towards the Soviet Union. Lithuania, which was falsely accused in kidnapping Soviet soldiers, was the first Baltic State presented with an ultimatum, on June 14, 1940.[48] It demanded the entry of an unrestricted number of Soviet soldiers and the formation of a new government. President Smetona’s protests were ignored by the Soviets. Smetona tried to convince the army and the members of the government to organise a resistance to the Red Army but his appeals were overruled as the fight against the Red Army was regarded to be hopeless. On the same day, Smetona and his family fled to Germany.[49]

On 15 June 1940, 300,000 Soviet soldiers occupied the country[50] and the High representative of the Soviet government, Vladimir Dekanozov, arrived to Vilnius with the task to coordinate the takeover. Dekanozov installed himself in the Soviet embassy and restructured the Lithuanian government, appointing journalist Justas Paleckis to the position of the prime minister. On 17 June, this puppet government was approved by Antanas Merkys, the previous prime minister, who was acting as the president after Smetona´s departure.[51] The members of the Paleckis government were either leftists, who had demonstrated friendliness towards the Soviet Union; or opportunists.[52]

The main task of the new political leaders was the organisation of elections to the new parliament which would legalise the Soviet annexation and portray the takeover as the will of the “working people”.[53] It was important for the Soviet Union that all decisions leading to the incorporation appeared lawfully adopted by Lithuanians.[54] On July 1, the Paleckis’s Government dissolved the parliament and announced elections to the new People's Parliament to be held on July 14-15. Only the local communists were permitted to present their candidates for the elections and opposition groups were either arrested or disqualified.[55] The polls were rigged, with the official results showing a voter turnout of about 95 per cent and almost 100 per cent support to the communist list.[56] During its first session on July 21, the new parliament proclaimed the creation of the Lithuanian Soviet Socialist Republic and petitioned the Soviet Union to accept this new republic into the Union.[57] The petition was accepted on August 3 and Lithuania became the 14th republic of the Soviet Union.[58] The Western Democracies did not recognise the incorporation as a legitimate act.[59]

Sovietisation of Lithuania, 1940-1941

As a result of the Soviet conquest and political manoeuvring, independent Lithuania ceased to exist. This also marked the beginning of the rapid sovietisation in all domains of life. Lithuanian legislation was replaced with Soviet laws and a new constitution. The school system was restructured in the spirit of Marxism-Leninism. Private businesses and large industrial enterprises were nationalised.[60] The new parliament introduced agrarian reforms that assigned up to 10 hectares of land to the landless and smallholders.[61] The Soviet government closed all non-communist organizations and newspapers. The new regime immediately launched an anti-religious campaign in order to reduce the significance of the Catholic Church. The publication of all religious literature was banned and withdrawn from libraries, the teaching of religion in schools was abolished, and religious education outside schools was restricted. The new regime also replaced the crucifixes in the classroom with the portraits of Lenin and Stalin.[62] It is argued that these steps were more politically than ideologically motivated since the new regime hoped to create a controlled church structure modelled after the Russian Orthodox Church.[63]

Soviet Repressions and the June Deportation, 1940-1941

The first arrests took place after the communist takeover and were meant to oppress resistance to the new regime.  On 7 July 1940, the head of the Communist Party of Lithuania, Antanas Snieckus, ordered the arrests of most representatives of all nationally minded political and social organizations belonging to the country’s social and political elite. Former ministers, editors of the press, heads of political organisations, and the most active members of the National Guard were arrested by the communist-controlled security forces.[64] In total about 12,000 people accused of various political crimes, were arrested during 1940-41. Most of them were never released from prison.[65]

On June 14 1941, the Soviet security forces, assisted by local communists, began a large-scale deportation of the so called Anti-Soviet elements. After the NKVD operative group broke into the homes of the deportees, the latter were explained that under the ruling of the government they would be taken to “other parts of the Soviet Union”. Those who tried to escape were shot.[66] Within three days, the NKVD placed about 18,000 men, women and children into deportation trains that were sent to remote areas of the Soviet Union. As a result, regions like Siberia were provided with free labour force.[67] According to recent estimates, 35,000 Lithuanian citizens lost their lives because of the Stalinist repressions in 1940-1941.[68]

German Occupation and the Holocaust, 1941-1944

On 22 June 1941, the German invasion ended the Soviet rule in Lithuania. As Lithuanians had been taken aback by the Soviet mass repressions, they greeted the German troops often as liberators. On the following day, an Anti-Soviet uprising began in Vilnius and Kaunas, which soon spread to other parts of Lithuania. A force estimated to 100,000 men revolted against the Soviet regime.[69] The rebels took control of many strategic objects and proclaimed the formation of the Lithuanian Provisional Government.[70] However, the Nazi regime had no intention to restore Lithuanian independence. Still, at first Germans tolerated Lithuanian attempts to establish their own administrative institutions and left a number of civilian issues to the responsibility of the Lithuanians. Nonetheless, on 25 July 1941, Germans established their own civilian administration in occupied Lithuania, the General Commissariat of Lithuania.[71] On 5 August 1941, the Provisional Government resigned as a protest against this move.[72]

The German occupation in Lithuania resulted in the near total destruction of Lithuanian Jews, of whom more than 90 per cent were killed in the Holocaust. The majority died during the summer and autumn of 1941. The mass killings were carried out by German special paramilitary death squads of SS assisted by local auxiliaries.[73] The reason why some Lithuanians took part in these atrocities was that the Jewish population was often seen as the supporter of the Soviet regime in Lithuania during 1940-1941. This image was exploited by Nazi propaganda in order to spark hatred towards the Jewish community.[74] Despite that, many Lithuanians risked their lives sheltering the Jews.[75] Between the summer of 1941 and July 1944, approximately 200,000 Lithuanian Jews lost their lives in the Holocaust.[76]

The German occupation had devastating effects on Lithuania. The politics of the occupying regime, especially the exploitation of Lithuanian economy provoked resentment. In 1943, German officials attempted to form a Waffen-SS Legion from Lithuanians as had happened in Estonia and Latvia. Due to close cooperation between Lithuanian resistance groups, the mobilization was boycotted by the local population. This resulted in the formation of a Lithuanian volunteer force under Lithuanian command in 1944. It was soon liquidated because Germans suspected that Lithuanians were going to use these units for their own national goals.[77]

The Return of the Red Army and the Post-war Resistance to the Soviet Regime, 1944-1953

In June 1944, the Red Army started one the largest offensive operations in World War II and broke through the front in Belarus. As German resistance almost completely collapsed, the Soviets captured Vilnius in mid-July and Kaunas, the second-largest city, on 1 August. About 60,000 Lithuanians fled to the West where they were placed into refugee camps after the war's end. As Lithuania was immediately reoccupied by the Soviet Union most of them emigrated to the United States.[78]

After the beginning of the new Soviet occupation, Lithuania underwent one of the most violent periods in its history. During 1944-1953, the population suffered heavy losses due to mass deportations and the intense Anti-Soviet partisan war. The primary political purpose of the partisans was the restoration of Lithuania’s independence.[79] Organised resistance in Lithuania lasted for eight years. During the first half the Lithuanian partisans formed a considerable underground army and fought open battles against the Soviet forces. The Soviet government engaged up to 100,000 soldiers to fight the Lithuanian partisans.[80] According to recent estimates, 30,000 partisans and their supporters were killed between 1944 and 1953.[81]

The membership of the resistance movement declined in 1950-1953. In order to suppress the resistance, a new wave of mass deportations was carried out in Lithuania. In 1944-1952, about 105,000 Lithuanians were sent to remote resettlements or labour camps.[82] These measures were accompanied with rushed collectivization[84] of Lithuanian agriculture, which eventually played an important role in the defeat of the resistance. It was impossible to keep up the fight without the support of the local peasant population.[84]

The Soviet Rule in Lithuania, 1950s to 1980s

For the following decades Lithuania remained under communist rule. The Lithuanian Communist Party was headed by Antanas Snieckus from 1940 to 1974. Snieckus became an effective intermediary between Moscow and Lithuania. He preserved good relations with Moscow and was often able to adopt directives from Moscow with more discretion than other Soviet republics.[85] During the Soviet period Lithuanians were given high positions in the local administration, even though numerous Russians were appointed to a variety of Party and government positions. The task of the latter was to ensure that the directives from Moscow were carried out.[86]

The post-war Soviet period coincided with the industrialisation and urbanisation of Lithuania. This led to rapid socioeconomic changes in the country. The percentage of agricultural workers fell by more than a half, more specifically to about 30 per cent of the total labour force between 1939 and 1970. During the same period, the number of urban population doubled and increased to 68 per cent by 1989. At the same time the proportion of ethnic Lithuanians in the cities dropped to 69 per cent, which was lower than the national rate of about 80 per cent. The growing number of Russian immigrants led Lithuanians to believe that their national identity was in jeopardy. Yet, the changes in the demographic situation did not become comparable to Latvia and Estonia, where the percentage of the natives dropped to 52 and 62 per cent respectively.[87]

In general, Lithuania and its Baltic neighbours achieved the highest standards of living in the Soviet Union. However, the extensive and reckless exploitation of natural resources resulted in heavy pollution of inland water bodies, as untreated industrial waste flowed directly to rivers. Another major source of pollution was agriculture where intense use of chemical fertilizers was common. Air pollution was also a serious threat to people’s health - for instance in Vilnius, the concentration of the hazardous air pollutants was 24 per cent above normal.[88]

The death of Joseph Stalin in 1953 brought changes in both political and social spheres of life. Although active forms of dissidence were rare, the KGB continued to fulfil the objectives of its repressive predecessor NKVD. Until the collapse of the Soviet Union, the KGB concentrated its activities mostly on three groups: religious minorities, national minorities and the intelligentsia belonging to the dissident movement.[89] Lithuanians suffered severely under the brutality of the Stalinist regime. However, there were comparatively few political arrests in the 1960s and 1970s. In order to deal with the Lithuanian dissidents and the Catholic clergy that maintained relations with the Vatican, the KGB mostly used “soft, preventive measures”. Discrediting, compromising and psychological coercion were common. In some cases, the Soviet secret police used more drastic methods to oppress anti-Soviet resistance. At least 15 cases are known in Lithuania, where local dissidents, who either participated in the human rights movement or criticised the Soviet regime, were confined into mental institutions.[90] Furthermore, many local dissidents were imprisoned owing to fabricated criminal accusations. The idea was to create a public image that the arrests have nothing to do with personal and political beliefs.[91] In some cases the KGB resorted to physical violence. In the 1980s, three Catholic priests Leonas Shapoka, Bronius Lauriniavicius and Juozas Zdebskis, who were involved in the dissident movement, were murdered under suspicious circumstances, most likely by the KGB.[92]

Lithuania regaining its independence (1988-1991) and contemporary Lithuania

Towards the end of the 1980s, the reform process known as perestroika began in the Soviet Union. Its aim was to modernise the Soviet political and economic system. This led to greater freedom and as a result various groups in Lithuania assembled in order to fight for their country’s independence. The Lithuanian dissident movement had been intense throughout the Soviet period, and it enjoyed the broad support of the working-class.[93] By the eve of Perestroika the local Communist Party could not ignore the broad demands for self-determination. In 1988, the Reform Movement of Lithuania (Sajudis) was formed and it presented a program of democratic and national rights, which quickly gave them nationwide popularity.[94] On 22 August 1989, a commission of the Lithuanian Supreme Soviet announced that the admission of Lithuania to the Soviet Union should be annulled because it occurred under conditions of military occupation and fraudulent elections.[95] The next day, 50 years after the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, in order to draw the world's attention to the fate of the Baltic nations; more than million Balts linked hands in a human chain that stretched from Tallinn to Vilnius.[96]

In 1990, the reformists won the elections to the Lithuanian Supreme Soviet. On 11 March 1990, the newly elected parliament, fulfilling its electoral mandate from the people of Lithuania, proclaimed the restitution of the country’s independence.[97] In January 1991, the Soviets launched a military intervention, to stop Lithuania’s secession. On 10 January 1991 Soviet military and the special forces of KGB seized the main publishing house and other premises in Vilnius and attempted to suppress the elected government. Three days later the Soviet Army took over the Vilnius Television Tower, killing 14 protesters and injuring another 700. The National Salvation Committee, comprised by some local little-known communists, attempted to claim the power, but the Soviet forces were pulled back, mainly because of the pressure from the Russian democrats.[98]

Following these tragic events, more than 90 per cent of Lithuanians voted in support of independence on national referendum, which was held by the new parliament on 9 February.[99] The international governments recognised Lithuanian independence after the failure of the communist hard-line coup in Moscow on 18-22 August 1991.[100] On 6 September 1991, Lithuania’s independence was recognized by the Soviet Union.[101] On 17 September as an indication of international recognition to Lithuania’s independence, the country was admitted to the United Nations.[102]

As the old economic system collapsed, Lithuania suffered in 1991-1994 from similar social and economic problems as the other post-Communist states, including a momentary deterioration of living standards. During the 1990s, Lithuania went through a rapid transition from a planned economy to a free market one. Yet, it did not mean that all Lithuanian people were satisfied with the newly-achieved civil liberties and market economy. Although the everyday life under a communist regime consisted in the deficit of most basic consumer goods and poverty, life had been predictable. This kind of nostalgia was one of the main reasons why the renamed Communists (Democratic Labour Party) won a majority in parliamentary elections in 1992. However, the Democratic Labour Party continued the reforms, which slowly stabilised the country’s situation.[103] The economic reforms and liberalisation implemented at the beginning of 1990’s later proved to produce one of the highest annual economic growth rates in Europe, earning Lithuania and its Baltic neighbours, who were experiencing similar success, the label “Baltic Tigers”.[104]

Since the second half of the 1990’s, the main objective of Lithuania’s foreign policy was to gain full membership of NATO and the European Union. Lithuania was invited to join the European Union in October 2002, and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization a month later; it became a member of both in 2004.[105]


[1] L. Eriksonas, National heroes and national identities: Scotland, Norway, and Lithuania (Brussel: P.I.E.-Peter Lang, 2004 ), 244-245.

[2] Z. Kiaupa, J. Kiaupiene, A. Kuncevicius, The history of Lithuania before 1795 (Vilnius: Lietuvos Istorijos institutas, 2004), 238.

[3] Op. cit, 166.

[4] L. Sabaliunas, Lithuanian social democracy in perspective, 1893-1914 (Durham: Duke University Press, 1990), 29.

[5] See: T. Raun,  ‘The Revolution of 1905 in the Baltic Provinces and Finland’ in Slavic Review, 43/3, (1984), 453-467.

[6] In January 9, 1905 the Russian Army opened fire at the peaceful demonstrators, which resulted the death or injury of 1,000 participants and bystanders.

[7] Sabaliunas, Lithuanian social democracy in perspective, 48.

[8] October Manifesto granted broad civil liberties, for instance freedom of relligion, speech, meeting and association. It also permitted gave an opportunity to receive education native tongues.

[9] Balkelis, The making of modern Lithuania, 52.

[10] Op. cit, 80.

[11] E.  Motieka, Didysis Vilniaus Seimas (Vilnius: Lietuvos Istorijos institutas, 2005), 272.

[12] Vincas Kapsukas, Lietuvos ‘gelbe·tojai’ karo metu (Voronezas: Lietuvos reikalu komisariatas, 1918), 6.

[13] T. Balkelis, The making of modern Lithuania (London: Routledge, 2009), 102.

[14] L. Johnson, Central Europe: enemies, neigbours, friends (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002), 180.

[15] A. Lane, Lithuania stepping Westward (London: Routledge, 2002), 48.

[16] A. Senn, The Emergence of Modern Lithuania (New York: Colombia Univeristy Press, 1959), 26.

[17] Balkelis, The making of modern Lithuania, 102.

[18] N. Ferguson, The War of the World. Twentieth-Century Conflict and the Descent of the West (New York: The Penguin Press, 2006), 144.

[19] J. Bultje, Looking at Lithuania (London: The Evans Group, 2006), 9.

[20] Post-World War conflicts with Polish, Soviet and White Russian Armies are described in the Lithuanian historiography as „independence wars“.

[21] S. Suziedelis, Historical Dictionary of Lithuania (London: Scarecrow Press, 2011), 237.

[22] G. Kohn, The Dictionary of Wars (New York: Checkmark Books, 2007), 305.

[23] K. Alishauskas,  ´Lietuvos kariuomene (1918–1944)´.  Lietuviu enciklopedija. XV. (Boston: Lietuviu enciklopedijos leidykla, 1972), 94.

[24] C. Jurgela, Lithuania: The Outpost of Freedom (Sacramento: Valkyrie Press, 1975), 161.

[25] Data from Lithuanian historian Ceslovas Lauriniavicius.

[26] Kohn, The Dictionary of Wars, 305.

[27] V. Lescius, Lietuvos kariuomene nepriklausomybes kovose 1918–1920 (Vilnius:Vilniusus Universitetas, 2004), 151–152.

[28] Kohn, The Dictionary of Wars, 305.

[29] A. Edintas, A.E. Senn, and V. Žalys, ed. E.R. Tuskenis, Lithuania in European Politics: The Years of the First Republic, 1918-1940 (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1999), 220-1.

[30] Ibid.

[31] A.P. Gureckas, 'Lithuania's Boundaries and Territorial Claims between Lithuania and Neighboring States', in New York Law School Journal of International and Comparative Law 12 (1991), 111.

[32] K. O’Connor, The history of the Baltic States (Boston: Greenwood Publishing Group, 2003), 82.

[33] M. Housden, 'Securing the Lives of Ordinary People: Baltic Perspectives on the Work of the League of Nations', in M. Housden and D.J. Smith (eds), Forgotten Pages in Baltic History: Diversity and Inclusion (Amsterdam and New York: Rodopi, 2011), 107-8.

[34] O’Connor, The history of the Baltic States, 91.

[35] Op. cit, 92.

[36] Ibid.

[37] Ibid.

[38] A. Plakans, A Concise History of the Baltic States (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011), 320.

[39] G. Kulikauskas, 1926 m. valstybes perversmas,

[40] Suziedelis, Historical Dictionary of Lithuania, 277.

[41] Plakans, A Concise History of the Baltic States, 335.

[42] O’Connor, The history of the Baltic States, 108-109.

[43] Modern History Sourcebook: The Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, 1939,

[44] Text of the German-Soviet Boundary and Friendship Treaty:

[45] S. Naujokaitis, ´Lithuania and Soviet Union 1939-1940: The Fateful Year´, Lithuanian Quarterly Journal of Arts and Sciences, 34/2, (1989), 8.

[46] Op. cit, 17.

[47] Plakans, A Concise History of the Baltic States, 339.

[48] Edintas, Senn, Žalys, Lithuania in European Politics: The Years of the First Republic, 175.

[49] Op. cit, 182..

[50] Z. Kiaupa, A. Mäesalu, A. Pajur, G. Straube, The History of the Baltic Countries, 167.

[51] Plakans, A Concise History of the Baltic States (Tallinn: Avita, 2002), 343.

[52] Suziedelis, Historical Dictionary of Lithuania, 21-22.

[53] Ibid.

[54] O’Connor, The History of the Baltic States, 168-169.

[55] Edintas,  Senn, Žalys, Lithuania in European Politics: The Years of the First Republic, 1918-1940, 186-187.

[56] Op. cit, 22.

[57] Ibid.

[58] A. Senn, Lithuania 1940: revolution from above (New York: Rodopi, 2007), 217.

[59] M. Ilmjarv, Silent submission. Formation of foreign policy of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. Period from mid-1920’s to annexation in 1940 (Stockholm: Acta Universitatis Stockholmiensis, 2004),  522-542.

[60] Plakans, A Concise History of the Baltic States, 347.

[61] Ibid.

[62] R. Petersen, Resistance and rebellion: lessons from Eastern Europe (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006), 95.

[63] Senn, Lithuania 1940: revolution from above, 188.

[64] Op. cit, 217.

[65] J. Sedaitis, V. Vardys, Lithuania-The Rebel Nation (Boulder: Westview Press, 1997), 54.

[66] A. Anushauskas, Deportations of 14-18 June 1941,

[67] Ibid.

[68] R. J. Miziunas, R. Taagepera, Baltic Years of Dependence 1940-1990 (London: C Hurst & Co Publishers Ltd, 1992), 329.

[69] Suziedelis, Historical Dictionary of Lithuania, 22.

[70] V. Vardys, Lithuania under the Soviets: portrait of a nation, 1940-65 (New York: F. A. Praeger, 1967), 87.

[71] Suziedelis, Historical Dictionary of Lithuania, 23.

[72] Ibid.

[73] K. Miller-Korpi. The Holocaust in the Baltics.

[74] D. Porat, ´The Holocaust in Lithuania: Some Unique Aspects´ in David Cesarani (ed.), The Final Solution: Origins and Implementation (London: Routledge, 1994), 161–162.

[75] Op. cit, 165-166.

[76] A. Bubnys. The Vanished World of Lithuanian Jews, 205–206.

[77] Suziedelis, Historical Dictionary of Lithuania, 24.

[78] Op. cit, 25.

[79] S. Vardys, ´The Partisan Movement in Postwar Lithuania´, Slavic Review, 15,/1, (1969), 522.

[80] A. Stashaitis, ´Lithuania’s Struggle Against Soviet Occupation 1944-1953´, Baltic Defence Review, 3, (2000), 117.

[81] Ibid.

[82] Op. cit, 123.

[83] The „collectivisation“ means the replacement of individual peasant farms with collective farms.

[84] Vardys, ´The Partisan Movement in Postwar Lithuania´, 522.

[85] J. Keep, Last of the Empires: a History of the Soviet Union (New York: Oxford University Press, 160.

[86] T. Lane, Lithuania Stepping Westward (London, Routledge, 2002), 84.

[87] Op. cit, 74.

[88] Op. cit, 80.

[89] S. Courtois, N. Werth, J. L. Panne, A. Paczkowski, K. Bartoshek, J. L. Margolin, The Black Book of Communism. Crimes, Terror, Repression (London: Harvard University Press, 1999), 258.

[90] Birute Burauskaite (ed.), KGB in Lithuania in 1954-1991 (Vilnius: Genocide and Resistance Research Centre of Lithuania, 2010), 42.

[91] Op. cit, 38.

[92] Courtois, Werth, Panne, Paczkowski, Bartoshek, Margolin, The Black Book of Communism, 258.

[93] D. Smith, The Baltic States: Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania (London: Routledge, 2001), 94.

[94] Ibid.

[95] Suziedelis, Historical Dictionary of Lithuania, 30.

[96] Ibid.

[97] A. Ashbourne, Lithuania the Rebirth of a Nation, 1991-1994 (New York: Lexington Books, 1999), 1.

[98] Suziedelis, Historical Dictionary of Lithuania, 30.

[99] Ibid.

[100] Ibid.

[101] J. Eyal and others, Regional Surveys of the World. Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of the Independent States (London: Routledge, 1998), 467.

[102] Ashbourne, Lithuania the Rebirth of a Nation, 1991-1994, 1.

[103] M. Laar, The power of freedom: Central and Eastern Europe after 1945 (Tallinn: Unitas Foundation, 2010), 178-179.

[104] R. Mole, The Baltic States: From Soviet Union to European Union (London: Routledge, 2012), 116-117.

[105] S. Sloan, NATO, the European Union, and the Atlantic community (New York: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2005), 221; 275.


  • June 15, 1940 - Soviet Union invades Lithuania
  • Lithuania lost 780,000 citizens as a result of Communist occupation