Lithuania as an independent state (1918-40)
After the outbreak of World War I, German troops occupied Lithuania in March 1915. 1917 Provincial (Taryba, President 1917-19 was with German approval Antanas Smetona) selected, the 11 12 1917 and again on 16 2nd, 1918, the independence of Lithuania announced (on 23 3. 1918 by the German Emperor Wilhelm II. officially confirmed); on July 9, 1918, the Taryba elected Duke Wilhelm von Urach (* 1864, † 1928; from a Catholic branch line of the Württemberg royal family) as Mindaugas II as King of Lithuania. On November 2, 1918, however, the Taryba declared itself a legislative body and passed a provisional constitution; on November 5, 1918 Augustinas Voldemaras (* 1883, † 1942) appointed first prime minister of independent Lithuania. In 1919 Smetona took office as President (until 1922).
After the collapse of the German Empire, a Lithuanian volunteer army had to defend itself against Soviet Russian and Polish attempts at conquest and an invasion by White Guard troops (“Russian Western Army” under Colonel P. M. Bermondt-Awalow). In December 1918, a Soviet republic was proclaimed in Lithuania, which was united with Belarus on February 27, 1919 to form the Lithuanian-Belarusian Soviet Republic (Litbel) (existence until April 1919). On July 12, 1920, Lithuania and the Soviet government signed a peace treaty in Moscow in which the Vilna region was expressly recognized as part of Lithuania. The armistice brokered by the League of Nations with Poland (Treaty of Suwałki, October 7, 1920) was soon followed by the Polish Army under General Lucjan Żeligowski (* 1865, † 1947) broken by the illegal capture of the Wilna area (October 9, 1920). Lithuania was forced to appoint Kaunas as the provisional capital. In January 1923 occupied Lithuanian troops to the Allied condominium Memel (explained Memel) and annexed it to the Lithuanian Republic. Economically, Lithuania remained a purely agricultural country (expropriation of Polish land in 1922).
With the constitution of August 1, 1922, the Taryba was replaced by the Parliament (Seimas). 1922-26 Aleksandras Stulginskis (* 1885, † 1969) was President, he was followed from June to December 1926 by Kazys Grinius (* 1866, † 1950) in office. On September 28, 1926, Lithuania and the Soviet Union signed a non-aggression pact. The parliamentary democracy created in 1918 ended as early as December 1926 due to the numerous domestic and foreign political conflicts caused by the coup d’état by the national conservative “Tautininkai”. Smetona (again President 1926–40) established an authoritarian regime (Prime Minister 1926–29 Voldemaras, 1929–38 Juozas Tūbelis, * 1882, † 1939). Initiated by Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia merged with him on September 12, 1934 to form the Baltic Entente (Baltic Council).
In March 1939, Germany ultimately demanded the return of the Memelland. When the secret additional protocol of the Hitler-Stalin Pact was improved, Lithuania was assigned to the Soviet sphere of interest (by the German-Soviet border and friendship treaty of September 28, 1939). Then, after the Soviet campaign in Poland, an assistance pact was signed (October 10, 1939), in which the Soviet Union returned the Wilna area to Lithuania. Visit petwithsupplies for Lithuania History and Politics.
Regaining independence – Lithuania since 1990
After the introduction of a multi-party system, Sąjūdis received the majority of the seats in the elections for the Supreme Soviet of the Lithuanian SSR on February 24 and March 4, 1990. Thereupon Lithuania declared its state independence on March 11, 1990 as the first Soviet Union republic (renamed the Republic of Lithuania on the basis of its pre-war constitution). The musicologist and chairman of the Sąjūdis Council, V. Landsbergis, was elected President of the Supreme Council, Kazimiera Prunskienė (* 1943) Prime Minister (the latter in office until January 1991).
The Moscow central government responded by imposing an economic embargo (April to July 1990). Provocations by the Soviet Army stationed in Lithuania and numerous bloody border incidents culminated on January 13, 1991 with the storming of the television tower and radio building in Vilnius by Soviet OMON units (special forces; 14 dead). In January 1991 Gediminas Vagnorius (* 1957) became head of government. After the failed Moscow coup in August 1991, Lithuania’s independence was recognized internationally. In September 1991 Lithuania became a member of the UN. Aleksandras Abišala (* 1955) succeeded Prime Minister Vagnorius, who was overthrown in July 1992.on. In the first free parliamentary elections on October 25, 1992 and November 8, 1992, the LDPA won, whose chairman A. M. Brazauskas also won the presidential elections in February 1993. On August 31, 1993, as agreed, the last Russian troops left the country.
Domestically, the Prime Minister Adolfas Šleževičius (* 1948), who had been in office since March 1993, failed on February 8, 1996 due to a banking affair. In the parliamentary elections on October 20 and November 10, 1996, the Fatherland Union (TS) led by V. Landsbergis won; Vagnorius was again prime minister. On January 4, 1998, V. Adamkus, who had only recently returned to Lithuania from the USA, prevailed in the runoff elections for the presidency.
In May 1999, Prime Minister Vagnorius, who had come into conflict with Adamkus, resigned. The next head of government, R. Paksas, was replaced by A. Kubilius (both TS) in November 1999. In the parliamentary elections on October 8, 2000, the social democratic coalition led by Brazauskas (since January 2001 the Lithuanian Social Democratic Party [LSDP]) became the strongest political force; Paksas took over the office of head of government at the head of a center-right coalition(Chairman of the Lithuanian Liberal Union [LLS]). Its cabinet broke apart in June 2001 after months of dispute over planned tax reforms and privatization projects. Thereupon Brazauskas became Prime Minister on July 3, 2001; He formed a center-left government from the LSDP, the social-liberal New Union (NS) and the faction of independent parliamentarians, which, in addition to adhering to reform goals, emphasized greater attention to socio-political requirements.