The role of women in Prehistoric Baltic societies has so far received relatively little attention. As for the Balts (east Baltic tribes), they have hardly been studied in this respect at all. The paper deals with aspects of warfare involving east Baltic women, fragmentary as they might be, based on archaeological data and written source material. The authors analyse archaeological data, asking if it might help to reveal whether there were any female warriors in ancient Baltic societies (this can be done by analysing grave goods and anthropological features of human remains found in graves). Investigations of female remains sometimes also reveal traces of violent traumas, potentially related to or even directly caused by war. The article also analyses Medieval written sources describing the role of east Baltic women in military conflicts. Although they are very scarce and do not provide clear answers, some rare and unique cases featuring female activity in military society reveal the importance of their role in tribal decision-making.
Although war refugees are mostly a subject of research involving war and military conflict in the 20th and 21st centuries, forced migration also accompanied many earlier military conflicts. This article focuses on war refugees during the Deluge period in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, when the Commonwealth was simultaneously at war with Muscovy (1654–1667) and Sweden (1665–1660). At that time, the idea of offering temporary shelter for refugees was increasingly recognised, and relief for refugees gradually became a concern of the nascent modern state. In the Commonwealth, the Cossack uprising and the aforementioned wars of the mid-17th century made the issue of war refugees particularly relevant. The article first clarifies the terms that were used to refer to migration and war refugees (zbieg, advenus, profugus, exul and wygnaniec). Later, it examines whether state institutions in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania (GDL), a constituent part of the Commonwealth, attempted to deal with refugees’ problems. Finally, on the basis of scarce and fragmentary sources, the author makes an attempt to trace the fate of women refugees from different parts of the GDL in Žemaitija (Samogitia) in 1654–1667, and their behavioural strategies, and to answer the question to what extent the decisions of the women refugees were independent, or dependent on the will of their spouse or their family.
The rebellion that broke out in the Northwest Province (Severo-Zapadnyi Krai) of the Russian Empire in January 1863 and spread over the former lands of the Commonwealth of the Two Nations is not a new topic for historians. The involvement of women in the insurrection of 1863 has also been studied for a long time, with the first research appearing even before the Second World War. So far, Polish, Belarusian, and to some extent Lithuanian, researchers have raised questions about the forms and methods of women’s protests in this insurrection, and the changes in their social role, and analysed women’s memories and images of women. This article is the first to address memoirs of the January insurrection written by women from the former Grand Duchy of Lithuania who observed the events of the insurrection in these lands. The women’s memoirs are analysed here as a whole, in order to reveal some common features. In contrast to previous studies that have looked at women’s memoirs of the rebellion in order to answer questions about the course of the rebellion, the theme of deportations, or women’s ability to balance social activities and family responsibilities during the insurrection, this paper raises the more general question of what women did and did not write about in their memoirs about the insurrection between 1863 and 1864, and why.
The Great War had a devastating impact on some Lithuanian immigrant families living in Great Britain. In 1917, after Britain and Russia signed a military agreement, the mobilisation was announced of foreign men living in Britain who were former subjects of the Russian tsar. The Lithuanians had to decide quickly whether to join the British army or return to Russia and fight on the Russian side. For disadvantaged immigrant families, the mobilisation of men and the loss of the main breadwinner were a major misfortune, and the British government had to provide benefits to the families of the mobilised soldiers. After the war, only a few of the Lithuanian men who had been transported to Russia were able to return to Britain to rejoin their families. The repatriation of these families to Lithuania was organised through the efforts of the British government and the Lithuanian Embassy in London. This article uses historiography and the Lithuanian weekly newspaper Išeivių draugas, published in Scotland from 1914, to describe the Lithuanian community during the Great War, and to analyse how the outbreak of the war, and in particular the Convention of 1917, affected the families of Lithuanian immigrants. The author focuses on the situation of Lithuanian women, their activities during the war, and their concern for the fate of their mobilised men and their families.
The Lithuanian Taryba (Council of Lithuania), which was formed in September 1917, was the first body to concern itself with the foreign representation of modern Lithuania. After the peace treaty was concluded in Brest-Litovsk between Germany and the Bolshevik Russian government, and after Lithuania’s independence was recognised by the Kaiser (both in March 1918), the Taryba took up caring for war refugees and other issues. This involved dealing with former territories of European Russia to the east of the Ober Ost area, part of which had been occupied by Germany in early 1918, while in another part the Bolsheviks and the White Russians were competing for power in the emerging Russian civil war. The Taryba appointed authorised representatives for these purposes. The article examines how the Lithuanian Taryba and the German military authorities in the Ober Ost perceived the concept of an authorised representative, and explores the appointment, the responsibilities and the activities of two representatives of the Taryba, Teresė Prapuolenytė and Veronika Janulaitytė Alseikienė. The author examines whether their social status and education played any role in granting these women the power to represent the Lithuanian Taryba abroad.
As the First World War drew to an end, a number of political actors in the east Baltic Sea region declared the independence of new states. This independence had to be defended by their governments in armed conflicts. The army loyal to the Lithuanian government was engaged in active hostilities until the end of 1920. So far, the historiography on these military actions has concentrated on the tactical-operational actions of the armies, and biographical studies of their military leaders. The participation of women in the Lithuanian war of independence and violence by combatants against civilians, including women, have been studied in a rather fragmentary way. This article fills this research gap, by analysing the collective initiatives of women that emerged in Lithuanian society between 1918 and 1920 to provide public relief to the Lithuanian armed forces that were engaged in military operations. By perceiving these initiatives as a response to a military threat, the article seeks to identify the internal and external factors that underpinned the determination of women to provide material assistance to the Lithuanian army. By taking a sociological theoretical approach of stimulus-induced social interaction, it provides an analysis of the reasons for the formation and the development of 13 women’s associations, and the nature and the extent of their activities.
Unlike the war veterans or disabled soldiers’ associations that were active in Lithuania in the period between the two world wars, which have already been extensively studied, less is known about associations that provided public relief to the army. One of them supported the notion of women’s involvement in national defence, which was widespread in European society in the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century. Named in 1935 after the mother of Lithuania’s greatest Medieval ruler, it was called the Duchess Birutė Association of Women from Officers’ Families. Based on research into existing sources and literature, the article sets out to analyse the establishment of this association, which was active for 15 years (1925–1940), and to reveal its aims and structure. The author examines the statutes which defined the directions of its activities and financial possibilities, identifies sponsors, and assesses their impact on the operation of the association, before focusing on the activities of the association relating to cooperation with the army, the dissemination of national ideas, and the concepts of family and the role of women.