Journal:Acta Historica Universitatis Klaipedensis
Volume 38 (2019): Creating Modern Nation-States in the Eastern Baltic = Šiuolaikinių tautinių valstybių kūrimas rytiniame Baltijos jūros regione, pp. 23–47
In geo-political terms, Lithuania was never a maritime state. In 1916, however, its politicians formulated a clear claim to obtain access to the sea and have a commercial port for the first time. The claim appeared in a memorandum attributed to Antanas Smetona, but signed by 12 politicians and presented to the German military authorities of the Ober Ost. So far, historians have not questioned the intellectual origins of the claim. Discussing the emergence of the issue of Lithuania’s sea access, the article seeks to identify the reasons for the ventilation of this issue in the Lithuanian-language press, and to show how it arose and how it manifested itself in political practice. The main argument is that the origin of the idea of Lithuania as a maritime state should be associated with the period of the First World War, whereas Lithuania’s claim for access to the sea cannot be explained solely by the idea of uniting Prussian and Russian areas inhabited by Lithuanian speakers.