In January 1919, the Army of Soviet Latvia (ASL) emerged out of Red Army units fighting on future Latvian territory. Until its dissolution in early June 1919, units of the ASL participated in a war that covered areas claimed by both the Latvian and Lithuanian governments. The article aims to reevaluate the campaign in northern Lithuania in the first half of 1919. Until today, the fighting on the left flank of the ASL has been seen as a secondary front, and therefore usually overlooked. The article explores the plans of the ASL, the forces involved, and the actual warfare. Attention is also paid to events behind the front line, and the activities of the Soviet Latvian authorities in Lithuania.
The article analyses issues related to the participation of national minorities in the Estonian War of Independence of 1918–1920. Due to the low numbers of national minorities, they were not treated as a serious problem in the Republic of Estonia during the war, but the question of their involvement was important in the principle of the strategy of active defence. This article is based on a doctoral thesis that was defended at Tallinn University in June 2018. The involvement of national minorities in the national units of the Estonian national army in the Estonian War of Independence is investigated from a cultural studies approach. The article aims to show the attitude of national minorities towards the Estonian state and the army, and to evaluate their role in the struggle by the Estonian army in the War of Independence.
Combat readiness is the state of the armed forces and their ability to carry out combat duties. Combat training was performed in the Lithuanian army during all the period of the existence of the independent state. However, at the beginning of the 1930s, a qualitative change in combat training could be noticed, and it was implemented even faster after the military modernisation of the army started in 1934–1935. Since the main indicator showing combat readiness is army exercises, this article aims to evaluate the Lithuanian army’s combat readiness after the 1934–1935 reorganisation. In order to achieve this aim, the joint field exercise that was executed at the Gaižiūnai training ground in the summer, and the strategic-scale training exercises carried out in the autumn, a large army field exercise, are analysed. The article discusses how the army evaluated the training, the skills, and the abilities of the armed forces necessary for the execution of combat tasks that were revealed during the exercise.
On 17 March 1938, Warsaw delivered an ultimatum to Kaunas. After the 18 years of non-existent official diplomatic relations with Poland due to the occupation of Vilnius in 1920, Lithuania was forced to renew them. The acceptance of the ultimatum in Lithuania heavily influenced the prestige of the authoritarian regime, but opened a new stage in relations between Lithuania and Poland on the eve of the Second World War. In addition to the envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary to Lithuania Franciszek Charwat, Poland appointed Leon Mitkiewicz (1896–1972) as its military attaché to the diplomatic mission in Kaunas. Having scrupulously documented his life and service, Mitkiewicz observed Lithuania both before and after his appointment. He also conducted numerous political-military analyses, trying to assess the direction of international and geopolitical events. The article gives an overview of Mitkiewicz’s notes on Polish-Lithuanian relations, and Lithuania and its war potential both before and after the 1938 ultimatum.
This paper discusses recent quantitative research on defence spending in interwar Lithuania, and provides a comparison between the burden of defence spending in Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Finland and Poland in 1924, 1938 and 1939, which are the only years with available data on the total expenditure in Lithuania. Although contemporary mainstream economic science does not consider the military sector as unproductive (it ‘produces’ security services), it still sees it as a burden to the economy, because defence spending decreases private consumption, along with private and public civil investment. Two indicators of this burden are discussed: the share of defence spending in total state spending, and the ratio of defence spending to gross national income (GNI) or gross domestic product (GDP). In recent research on defence spending in interwar Lithuania, only the size and changes in nominal expenditure have so far been measured, without taking into consideration changes in the purchasing power of the litas. The main findings of the application of the second indicator include the fact that among the Baltic countries (including Finland), the Latvian economy was most heavily burdened by defence spending in 1924–1925. On the eve of the Second World War, however, Lithuania became the leader.
On 13 August 1949, in Užpelkiai Forest in northern Lithuania, on the border of the Grinkiškis and Baisogala rural districts in Radviliškis County, a battle by Lithuanian partisans that had a significant impact on the history of the Prisikėlimas (Resurrection) district took place. The leaders of the Lietuvos Laisvės Kovos Sąjūdis (Movement for the Struggle for Lithuania’s Freedom) operated in this district. Based on the approach of modern conflict archaeology, the authors of the article, helped by volunteers, determined the location of the Battle of Užpelkiai Forest (in the Grinkiškis rural district, Radviliškis County), and collected a lot of new archaeological and historical data, in order to reconstruct the progress of the attack by MGB (Ministry of State Security) troops and the partisan defence. By referring to complex research results, the article gives the surnames and duties in the organisation of all the partisans who participated, as well as the circumstances and progress of the battle. It shows the importance of the Battle of Užpelkiai Forest to the Lietuvos Laisvės Kovos Sąjūdis in 1949–1950. The case study of field research into the battle in the partisan war shows how complex historical and archaeological research complements the picture of the partisan war with facts and artefacts, clarifies or denies old interpretations, and leads us to new ones.