Lithuania – Crossroads of the Baltic

Lithuania today is a country with fewer than 3 million people, but has a history stretching back thousands of years, with one of the oldest living Indo-European languages, and a heritage of being at the center of a constellation of empires, including that of Kiev-Rus and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. But as the 20th century progressed and the First World War came to a close, the small nation state sat precariously between two weakened but steadily rebuilding rivals – Germany and Russia. As the Second World War erupted in 1939, Lithuania was literally torn apart, as the two great armies rolled through. In some ways the war did not end for the Lithuanian people until 1953, when the last of the Forest Brother partisans submitted to Soviet occupation, and after nearly a third of their population had been forcibly removed to the gulag. When the Iron Curtain fell in 1990, Lithuania aligned itself more closely with the West and enjoyed an economic boom, joining NATO and the EU. As Europe today struggles with its economy and a demographic and migration crisis, however, Lithuania looks for ways to retain its sovereignty while maintaining its vitality.

— Brought to you by —

Very special guest Cathedral Princess @drcathyprince
from the Darwin Digest: https://soundcloud.com/darwin-digest

— Timeline —

-1263-1569- Grand Duchy of Lithuania
-1569-1795- Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth
-1795-1914- Lithuania under Russian domination
-1914-1918- Lithuania under German occupation during WWI
-1918, Februay 16- Lithuanian Declaration of Independence
-1921- refugees from Bolshevism flood across border
-1932- non-aggression pact signed
-1939- Soviet Union demands a mutual assistance pact for nations on the Baltic
-1939, October- Soviet Union demands access to bases, quarters garrisons
-1940, June- Soviets claim being attacked, demand total occupation or annihilation
-1940- puppet government setup monitored closely by NKVD
-1941- 14,000 shipped to Siberia for slave labor
-1941, July – Nazis invade, welcomed by locals tired of Soviet occupation
-1944- Soviets retake Lithuania
-1944-1953- Forest Brothers guerrilla army attempts to expel the Soviet army
-1991- Lithuania receives independence from the USSR
-2004- Lithuania joins NATO and the EU
-2007- Lithuania joins the Schengen Zone

— References —

– True Lithuania – http://www.truelithuania.com/
– Partizanai: Istorija ir Dabartis [Partisans: History and Present] – http://www.partizanai.org/
– Tikros Istorijos – 1941 Birželio Sukilimas [True Stories – The June 1941 Uprising] – http://www.lrt.lt/mediateka/irasas/3261
– The Baltic Tragedy – Nazi and Soviet occupation in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x440cUS4uTU
– Tarpukario nepriklausomos Lietuvos konspektas (1918-1940) [Inter-war Independent Conspiracy of Lithuania (1918-1940)] – http://istorijai.lt/tarpukario-nepriklausomos-lietuvos-konspektas-1918-1940/

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