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Encyclopedia > Freedom wars of Lithuania

Freedom wars refers to the three wars Lithuania had to fight defending its independence from the opposing forces at the end of World War I. Since 1795 Lithuania was part of the Russian Empire. During the World War I it was occupied by the German forces. On February 16, 1918 Council of Lithuania declared independence which Germany supported in hopes to create a network of satellite countries, the Mitteleuropa. However, in November 1918 Germany lost the war and control over Lithuania. The first national government led by Augustinas Voldemaras was formed. However, in December Lithuania was invaded by the Bolsheviks. By the end of August Bolsheviks were pushed from the country. But a new enemy from the north, the Bermontians, attacked in June. A decisive victory was reached in November and by the end of the year they were also pushed from Lithuania. Combatants Allies: Serbia, Russia, France, Romania, Belgium, British Empire, United States, Italy, and others Central Powers: Germany, Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria, Ottoman Empire Casualties Military dead: 5 million Civilian deaths: 3 million Total of dead: 8 million Military dead: 4 million Civilian deaths: 3 million Total dead: 7 million The First... Imperial Russia is the term used to cover the period of Russian history from the expansion of Russia under Peter the Great, through the expansion of the Russian Empire from the Baltic to the Pacific Ocean, to the deposal of Nicholas II of Russia, the last tsar, at the start... Mitteleuropa (Middle-Europe) is a German term approximately equal to Central Europe. ... Augustinas Voldemaras (April 16, 1883_December 16, 1942 was a Lithuanian nationalist who served as the countrys first prime minister 1918, and again from 1926 to 1929. ... Bermontians were Russian troops who were at first taken as POWs by Germany in World War I and then released on the promise that they would help fighting against the communists in the Russian civil war. ...

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Forming the army

Lithuania did not have any army prior to 1918. The first law on organizing the army was passed on November 23, 1918. The process was very slow because of lack of funding, guns and ammunition, and experienced military commanders. Sensing a grave danger from the Bolsheviks, on December 20 Antanas Smetona together with Augustinas Voldemaras went to Germany to ask for help. Six days later a proclamation to Lithuanian men was issued asking to volunteer in the army. The volunteers were promised free land. The Entente sent a division of German volunteers, about 10,000 men who were paid 4 marks per day. On March 5, 1919 a mobilization was declared for men born 1887-1889. At the end of summer, the Lithuanian army had about 8,000 men. During the fights 1700 Lithuanian volunteers died, more than 2600 were injured, and 800 were Missing In Action. Antanas Smetona Antanas Smetona (August 10, 1874 - January 9, 1944) was probably the most important Lithuanian political figure during the period between World War I and World War II. He was the first president of Lithuania from April 4, 1919 to June 19, 1920. ... Entente, meaning a diplomatic understanding, may refer to a number of agreements: The Entente Cordiale, 1904 between France and the United Kingdom. ... The Deutsche Mark (DEM, DM) or German mark was the official currency of West and, from 1990 onwards, unified Germany. ... Mobilization or mobilisation is the act of assembling and making both troops and supplies ready for war. ... MIA is a three-letter acronym that is most commonly used to designate a combatant who is Missing In Action, and has not yet returned or otherwise been accounted for as either dead (KIA) or a prisoner of war (POW). ...


War against the Bolsheviks

Bolsheviks attacked Lithuania from the east trying to prevent establishment of independence and spread the global proletarian revolution. Such actions succeeded in some other states, such as Georgia, Belarus or Ukraine, which were also briefly independent but fallen under the USSR rule soon after civil war in Russia had ended. However in Lithuania they were not so successful. Bolshevik Party Meeting. ... World revolution is a Marxist concept of a violent overthrow of capitalism that would take place in all countries, although not necessarily simultaneously. ... The Russian Civil War was fought from 1918 to 1922. ...


On December 8, 1918 a temporary revolutionary government in Vilnius was formed solely from Communist Party of Lithuania members. Vincas Mickevičius-Kapsukas became the chairman. The following day a workers' soviet was formed which declared its control over Vilnius. However, at the same time Voldemaras' government and Polish committee declared the same. Germans left Vilnius on December 31, 1918. The Red Army advanced and on January 5, 1919 took Vilnius. It advanced further to the west. Location Ethnographic region DzÅ«kija County Vilnius County Municipality Vilnius city municipality Elderate Number of elderates 20 Coordinates General information Capital of Lithuania Vilnius County Vilnius city municipality Vilnius district municipality Population (rank) 540,318 in 2005 (1st) First mentioned 1323 Granted city rights 1387 Vilnius ( (help· info), Belarusian: , Polish... Communist Party of Lithuania (Lithuanian: ) - communist party in Lithuania, established in early October 1918. ... V. Mickevicius- Kapsukas Vincas Mickevičius-Kapsukas (Budvečiai, 7 April (Old Style 23 March) 1880 - Moscow, 17 December 1935) was a Lithuanian politician, one of the founders and later leader of the Lithuanian Communist Party. ... A soviet (Russian: сове́т) originally was a workers local council in late Imperial Russia. ... The short forms Red Army and RKKA refer to the Workers and Peasants Red Army, (in Russian: Рабоче-Крестьянская Красная Армия - Raboche-Krestyanskaya Krasnaya Armiya), the armed forces first organized by the Bolsheviks during the Russian Civil War in 1918. ...


The paid German volunteers arrived to Lithuania and took positions along the Hrodna-Kaišiadorys-Kaunas line and stopped the Red Army. On February 10 the first battle between newly formed Lithuanian army and the Bolsheviks took place near Kėdainiai. On February 27, 1919 Lithuanian-Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic (Litbel) was declared. In March Lithuanian army under the leadership of general Silvestras Žukauskis started to push the Red Army back. In May they recaptured Panevėžys and Ukmergė, in June - Utena. At the end of August, Bolsheviks were defeated near Zarasai and the front stabilized. The Litbel ceased to exist. However, Vilnius, historic capital of Lithuania, remained under Polish control. Hrodna (or Grodna, Horadnia, Harodnia) (Belarusian: ; Russian: ; Polish: ; Lithuanian: ; Yiddish: ; German: ) is a city in Belarus. ... Location Ethnographic region AukÅ¡taitija County Kaunas County Municipality Kaunas city municipality Elderate Number of elderates 11 Coordinates 54°54′N 23°56′E General information Capital of Kaunas County Kaunas district municipality Kaunas city municipality Population (rank) 361,274 in 2005 (2nd) First mentioned 1361 Granted city rights 1408... St. ... V. Mickevicius- Kapsukas Lithuanian-Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic (LBSSR, Litbel) existed within the territories of modern Belarus and Lithuania for a brief period during 1919, before the area was annexed to Poland. ... Location Ethnographic region AukÅ¡taitija County Panevėžys County Municipality Panevėžys city municipality Elderate Number of elderates Coordinates 55°44′N 24°21′E General information Capital of Panevėžys County Panevėžys city municipality Panevėžys district municipality Panevėžys rural elderate Population (rank) 115,604 in 2005... Location Ethnographic region AukÅ¡taitija County Vilnius County Municipality UkmergÄ— district municipality Elderate UkmergÄ— town elderate Number of elderates Coordinates General information Capital of UkmergÄ— district municipality UkmergÄ— town elderate Population (rank) 28,759 in 2001 (15th) First mentioned 1333 Granted city rights 1486 UkmergÄ— ( (help· info), previously VilkmergÄ—, Polish...


On June 12, 1920 Lithuania signed a peace treaty with Russian SFSR. Russia recognized Lithuania's independence and its right to Vilnius region. State motto: Пролетарии всех стран, соединяйтесь! (Workers of the world, unite!) Official language None (Russian in practice) Capital Moscow (last) Chairman of the Supreme Council Boris Yeltsin Established In the USSR:  - Since  - Until November 7, 1917 December 30, 1922 December 12, 1991 Area  - Total  - % water Ranked 1st in former Soviet Union 17,075,200... Territory of Central Lithuania (green) as compared with other Lithuanian claims on neighbouring countries Vilnius region (Lithuanian Vilniaus kraÅ¡tas) refers to a part of historical Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth that was disputed between Poland and Lithuania between Polish-Bolshevik War and World War II. Although a part of Poland in...


War against the Bermontians

Bermontians were Russian troops who were at first taken as POWs by Germany in World War I and then released on the promise that they would help fighting against the bolsheviks in the Russian civil war. Led by Pavel Bermondt-Avalov, they received support, guns, and ammunition from Germany. At first they were located mostly in Latvia, but in June, 1919 they crossed the Lithuanian-Latvian border and took over Kuršėnai town. Bermontians were Russian troops who were at first taken as POWs by Germany in World War I and then released on the promise that they would help fighting against the communists in the Russian civil war. ... Bermontians were Russian troops who were at first taken as POWs by Germany in World War I and then released on the promise that they would help fighting against the communists in the Russian civil war. ... Geneva Convention definition A prisoner of war (POW) is a soldier, sailor, airman, or marine who is imprisoned by an enemy power during or immediately after an armed conflict. ... Combatants Allies: Serbia, Russia, France, Romania, Belgium, British Empire, United States, Italy, and others Central Powers: Germany, Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria, Ottoman Empire Casualties Military dead: 5 million Civilian deaths: 3 million Total of dead: 8 million Military dead: 4 million Civilian deaths: 3 million Total dead: 7 million The First... Bolshevik Party Meeting. ... The Russian Civil War was fought from 1918 to 1922. ... Pavel Rafalovich Bermondt-Avalov (1884-1973) was an Ussuri Cossack and warlord who led the Bermontians, a group of adventurers who captured Riga in October 1919 and attempted to set up a pro-German government there. ...


Bermondt thought that the communists would be crushed in the Russian civil war and there was no need to help fighting them. Instead he thought he could annex the Baltic states, and, once the communists were destroyed, join them to Russia, getting some high position or local ruler's title in exchange. By October, Bermontians managed to take considerable territories in western Lithuania (Samogitia) with Šiauliai, Biržai, Radviliškis cities. In Latvia, they managed to take the capital Riga. Baltic states and the Baltic Sea The Baltic states or the Baltic countries is a term which nowadays refers to three countries in Northern Europe: Estonia Latvia Lithuania Prior to World War II, Finland was sometimes considered, particularly by the Soviet Union, a fourth Baltic state. ... Note: this article is about the ethnographic region of Lithuania. ... Location Ethnographic region Samogitia County Å iauliai County Municipality Å iauliai city municipality Elderate Number of elderates 2 Coordinates 55°56′N 23°19′E General information Capital of Å iauliai County Å iauliai city municipality Å iauliai district municipality Population (rank) 129,075 in 2005 (4th) First mentioned 1236 Granted city rights 1589 Å iauliai... Location Ethnographic region AukÅ¡taitija County Panevėžys County Municipality Biržai district municipality Elderate Number of elderates Coordinates 56°12′N 24°45′E General information Capital of Biržai district municipality Biržai town elderate Population (rank) 15,262 in 2001 (23rd) First mentioned 1455 Granted city rights... RadviliÅ¡kis in a town in RadviliÅ¡kis district in Å iauliai County in Lithuania. ... Riga (Latvian: RÄ«ga), the capital of Latvia, is situated on the Baltic Sea coast on the mouth of the River Daugava, at . ...


Bermontians, once they annexed a town, banned the local languages and enforced the Russian language. They also robbed the local people who started to form local partisan groups. In October 1919, Lithuania collected enough forces and started attack the Bermontians. On November 21-22, the major victory was achieved near Radviliškis, a major railway center. Lithuanians collected significant spoils of war, including 30 planes and 10 cannons. On December 15, Bermontians were completely pushed from Lithuania. As for Latvia received help from Estonia, according to some explanations, in exchange for Latvia ceding the island of Ruhnu and its territorial waters to Estonia. Look up partisan on Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... RadviliÅ¡kis in a town in RadviliÅ¡kis district in Å iauliai County in Lithuania. ... Ruhnu (Swedish: Runö) is an island situated in the Gulf of Riga in the Baltic Sea. ...


War against Poland

Main article: Polish-Lithuanian War

In June 1920 Russian army took Vilnius and shortly after the defeat in the Battle of Warsaw, the withdrawing Red Army handed the city over to Lithuania according to the peace treaty signed on June 12. Trying to avoid a possible armed conflict between Poland and Lithuania, negotiations started. On October 8, treaty of Suwałki was signed. However, the very next day Polish troops attacked eastern Lithuania and overtook the Vilnius region and the Suvalkai region breaking the treaty. At the time Lithuanian forces were larger than the invading forces, however overall Poland was stronger, therefore Lithuania did not attack the invading forces. This led to an occupation of the Vilnius region and the Suvalkai region and move of government to the temporary capital Kaunas. Combatants Poland Lithuania and Soviet Union Commanders Adam Nieniewski  ? Strength  ? ca. ... The Battle of Warsaw (sometimes referred to as the Miracle at the Vistula, Polish Cud nad WisÅ‚Ä…) was the decisive battle of the Polish-Soviet War, the war that began soon after the end of World War I in 1918 and lasted until the Treaty of Riga in 1921. ... Territory of Central Lithuania (green) as compared with other Lithuanian claims on neighbouring countries Vilnius region (Lithuanian Vilniaus kraÅ¡tas) refers to a part of historical Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth that was disputed between Poland and Lithuania between Polish-Bolshevik War and World War II. Although a part of Poland in... Suvalkai region (Lithuanian Suvalkų kraÅ¡tas) is the Lithuanian name of the region of the city of SuwaÅ‚ki in north-eastern Poland. ... Territory of Central Lithuania (green) as compared with other Lithuanian claims on neighbouring countries Vilnius region (Lithuanian Vilniaus kraÅ¡tas) refers to a part of historical Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth that was disputed between Poland and Lithuania between Polish-Bolshevik War and World War II. Although a part of Poland in... Suvalkai region (Lithuanian Suvalkų kraÅ¡tas) is the Lithuanian name of the region of the city of SuwaÅ‚ki in north-eastern Poland. ... Temporary capital (Lithuanian Laikinoji sostinė) was the official designation of the city of Kaunas in Lithuania during the interwar period. ... Location Ethnographic region AukÅ¡taitija County Kaunas County Municipality Kaunas city municipality Elderate Number of elderates 11 Coordinates 54°54′N 23°56′E General information Capital of Kaunas County Kaunas district municipality Kaunas city municipality Population (rank) 361,274 in 2005 (2nd) First mentioned 1361 Granted city rights 1408...


See also

The Forest Brothers (also: Brothers of the Forest, Forest Brethren; in Estonian: metsavennad, in Latvian meža brāļi) were Estonian, Latvian, and Lithuanian guerillas who fought against the Soviet rule during the Soviet invasion and occupation of the three Baltic nations during, and after, World War II. At the...

References

  • Gimtoji istorija, Nuo 7 iki 12 klasės (Lietuvos istorijos vadovėlis), CD, 2002, ISBN 9986-9216-7-8
  • Jonas Rudokas, Bermontianos žlugimas, Veidas, November 25, 2004, No. 48
  • Z. Butkus, Kartu su Latvija ir Estija ar atskirai?, Atgimimas, December 12, 1988, No. 10 (10)

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