„Memelenderių“ daryba, arba ideologinis 1939 metų Klaipėdos krašto aneksijos parengimas | The Making of “Memelländer”: How the 1939 Klaipėda Region Annexation was Ideologically Prepared?
Volume 21 (2010): Klaipėdos krašto aneksija 1939 m.: politiniai, ideologiniai, socialiniai ir kariniai aspektai = The 1939 Annexation of Klaipėda Region: Political, Ideological, Social and Military Issues, pp. 32–68
Pub. online: 17 December 2010 Type: Article Open Access
17 December 2010
17 December 2010
The article examines the impact of the identity-making processes on the ideological preparation of the annexation of Klaipeda Region in 1939. As early as in 1919-1920, efforts were made to unite local inhabitants of Klaipeda Region on the basis of their common past, shared traditions, and belonging to the German culture. For that purpose, a new identity concept “Memelländer” was designed. In 1938, its content was partially geared to another concept of “Memeldeutsche”. The paper analyzes and compares the meanings attributed to both of those concepts and supported within the public communication space, as well as the ceremonies and rites which were to unite local inhabitants on the basis of those meanings. It examines which institutions and groups of people made efforts to maintain them and why. By analysing the possibilities of the impact of those meanings, a new interpretation of Memelländer is proposed. It is based on the view that the concept of “Memelländer” (and subsequently, “Memeldeutsche”) should be treated as situational rather than a stable expression of the identity of Klaipeda Region’s local inhabitants.