Volume 28

Acta Historica Universitatis Klaipedensis, Vol. XXVIIIParamilitarism in the Eastern Baltics, 1918–1940: Cases Studies and Comparisons

Acta Historica Universitatis Klaipedensis, Vol. XXVIII

Editors: Vytautas Jokubauskas, Vasilijus Safronovas, Vygantas Vareikis

Klaipėda, 2014


In this volume of Acta Historica Universitatis Klaipedensis, Lithuanian, Latvian, Estonian and Polish historians analyse the expression of paramilitarism in the eastern Baltic region during the interwar period. The phenomenon of paramilitarism is presented in several sections. The question is asked how the idea for the formation of voluntary defence organisations arrived in the region. The organisational stage of paramilitary units in Lithuania and Latvia is analysed. The papers seek to show the role of Lithuanian, Latvian and Estonian paramilitary organisations in spreading nationalist ideology, serving the interests of authoritarian regimes, and supporting ideological images. Most of the papers are devoted to the organisational structure of the Lithuanian Riflemen’s Union, the Estonian Kaitseliit and the Polish Związek Strzelecki, as well as to an analysis of their roles in the defence systems of their respective countries.


Editor’s Word
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INTRODUCTION
(author of introduction Vygantas Vareikis)
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1. IDEOLOGICAL ORIGINS OF PARAMILITARISM

Vygantas VAREIKIS
Bandymas apčiuopti šaknis: ideologinės Lietuvos šaulių sąjungos ištakos
EN title: Trying to Grasp the Roots: The Ideological Origins of the Lithuanian Riflemen’s Union

Abstract and Full Text
For the first time in Lithuanian historiography, this paper examines the theories of guerrilla warfare formulated by Polish military theorists, such as Karol Bogumił Stolzman, Piotr Wysocki, Henryk Kamieński and Ludwik Adam Mierosławski, and analyses the links between Polish paramilitarism and the origins of the Lithuanian Riflemen’s Union, and the formation of the ideological views of the Lithuanian Riflemen’s Union, given the experience of similar organisations in East-Central Europe (Sokol, Suojeuskunta), and the links between the Lithuanian Riflemen’s Union and the paramilitary movements formed in the 19th and early 20th centuries.
Key Words: paramilitarism, Lithuanian Riflemen’s Union, Sokol, Suojeluskunta, ideology.

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2. AN ORGANIZATIONAL STAGE OF PARAMILITARISM

Tomas BALKELIS
From Defence to Revolution: Lithuanian Paramilitary Groups in 1918 and 1919

Abstract and Full Text
The article explores various linkages between the violence of the Great War and the postwar conflict in independent Lithuania. The author focuses on several key Lithuanian paramilitary groups that emerged as a result of the collapse of the German occupying regime, the Bolshevik advance, and the ensuing power struggle in 1918 and 1919. It explores their grassroots origins, their motivation to fight, and their role in processes of forming a community, and state and nation-building. The author argues that these armed paramilitary formations contributed to the militarisation of the country’s civilian life. Having emerged in the contested peripheral regions of Lithuania, they were led by veterans of the Great War acting as independent warlords. Besides providing security for local people, these formations occasionally engaged in terror against civilians who were perceived as harmful elements that had to be purged from local communities. These paramilitary formations also showed a degree of operational freedom, by controlling certain peripheral regions for considerable periods of time. But the state was able to share its monopoly on legal violence with them only for as long as its own survival required the mobilisation of all economic and human resources for the war.
Key Words: paramilitarism, revolution, nation-building, terror, war veterans, refugees.

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Ēriks JĒKABSONS
Latvijos ginkluotųjų pajėgų partizanų daliniai 1919 metais
EN title: From Guerrillas to Soldiers: The Activities of Guerrilla Units of the Latvian Army in 1919

Abstract and Full Text
On the basis of documents in the Latvian State Archives, this paper discusses the armed struggle against the Soviet authorities in Vidzeme, in northern Latgala, and Sela, which took place during the Latvian Wars of Independence, and was joined voluntarily by the local population in an organised way. The discussion tells about the armed guerrilla groups that operated in Vidzeme and northern Latgala in 1919, and formed a serious obstacle to the establishment of Soviet power, the participation of ethnic minorities in guerrilla groups, and the features of the guerrilla fighting. The collaboration between Latvian guerrillas and Lithuanian troops, and their role in the expulsion of Soviet Latvian troops from the country, is analysed.
Key Words: paramilitarism, guerrilla struggle, Latvian Army, Latvian Wars of Independence.

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3. PARAMILITARY ORGANIZATION AS A SOCIAL FORMATION AND A STATE INSTRUMENT. THE CASE OF THE LITHUANIAN RIFLEMEN’S UNION

Vytautas JOKUBAUSKAS
Lietuvos šauliai tarpukariu: lietuviai, katalikai, visuomenės elitas
EN title: Lithuanian Riflemen in the Interwar Period: Lithuanians, Catholics, the Elite of Society

Abstract and Full Text
During the struggle for Lithuania’s independence, defence and guerrilla units started forming in the countryside, and fought against the Bermontian and Soviet forces and gangs of marauders. In 1919, intellectuals and public servants from Kaunas formed a sports-military guerrilla organisation, and called it the Lithuanian Riflemen’s Union (LRU). The organisation accepted not only new members, but also people who had already fought with guerrilla units in northeast Lithuania. Therefore, the ranks of the LRU grew rapidly, and the new paramilitary organisation played an important role in the struggle for Lithuania’s statehood. The LRU was active throughout the interwar period, until 11 July 1940, when, after the Soviet occupation, it was officially disbanded. This paper deals with issues of the scope and structure of the LRU, which until now have hardly been dealt with in historiography. The paper has three objectives: 1) it tries to establish changes in the numbers of riflemen in the interwar period, as well as the numbers of people who belonged to the LRU in different periods, and their total number throughout the interwar period; 2) the ethnic, religious and social composition of the Riflemen’s Union is analysed, with the aim of developing ‘a social portrait of a rifleman’; and 3) the internal structure of the Union is addressed: the numbers of reserve and combatant riflemen.
Key Words: paramilitarism, Lithuanian Riflemen’s Union, paramilitary organisational structure, social composition, ethnic composition.

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Mindaugas NEFAS
Lietuvos šaulių sąjungos ryšiai su išeivija JAV: Antano Žmuidzinavičiaus atvejis
EN title: Relations between the Lithuanian Riflemen’s Union and the Lithuanian Diaspora in the USA: The Case of Antanas Žmuidzinavičius

Abstract and Full Text
The paper analyses the relations between the Lithuanian Riflemen’s Union (LRU) and the diaspora in the USA, established at the very beginning of the LRU’s activity. It aims to show the plans for collaboration with Lithuanian Americans, the specifics of fundraising, and the aim of the riflemen to improve their material status by means of financial support from Lithuanian Americans. The controversial fundraising mission to America by the painter Antanas Žmuidzinavičius, the LRU’s representative, in 1922 and 1923, is investigated. On the basis of unpublished archive documents, the paper addresses the circumstances of the organisation and implementation of Žmuidzinavičius’ mission, the suspicions about its transparency, and the investigation into it.
Key Words: paramilitarism, Lithuanian Riflemen’s Union, relations between Lithuania and the diaspora, fundraising actions, transparency investigations.

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Jonas VAIČENONIS
Lietuvos šaulių sąjungos integracijos į valstybės gynybos sistemą XX a. 3–4-uoju dešimtmečiais proceso bruožai
EN title: On the Integration of the Lithuanian Riflemen’s Union into the National Defence System in the 1920s and 1930s

Abstract and Full Text
This article discusses the process of the integration of the Lithuanian Riflemen’s Union (LRU) into the state’s defence system in the 1920s and 1930s. The key features and boundaries of the process are outlined, on the basis of archival materials and research literature. An analysis of relations between the military authorities and the LRU reveals individual characteristics of the relationship between the riflemen and the army. The regional context of the process is evaluated within the limitations of the sources available, by presenting the situations of similar paramilitary organisations in Latvia, Estonia, Finland and Poland during the period in question.
Key Words: paramilitarism, Lithuanian Riflemen’s Union, Ministry of Defence, Lithuanian army, military defence of Lithuania.

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Simonas STRELCOVAS
Šaulių naudojimo krašto gynybai vizija, remiantis 1940 m. nurodymais ir planais
EN title: The Vision of the Use of the Lithuanian Riflemen for National Defence on the Basis of Instructions and Plans of 1940

Abstract and Full Text
The beginning of the war in 1939 changed the geopolitical situation in the Baltic region. After Poland had lost its sovereignty and the Soviet Union approached the borders of Lithuania, the country’s defence concept also changed. Reforms of the army that had started in Lithuania as early as 1935 fundamentally changed the approach to the defence of the country. The vision was declared that every citizen was a defender of his country. After the reinforcement of border control, mobilisation plans were drawn up, and the Riflemen’s Union was included in Lithuania’s defence plans. In 1939, after the Mutual Assistance Treaty had been signed with the Soviet Union, 20,000 Soviet soldiers entered Lithuania. Given the new geopolitical circumstances, a detailed restructuring of the concept of national defence was undertaken. This paper looks into the directives for mobilisation drawn up in the spring of 1940, the mobilisation plan for the Riflemen’s Union, and the plans for the use of the riflemen for national defence.
Key Words: paramilitarism, Lithuanian Riflemen’s Union, border guard, Lithuanian army, military defence of Lithuania.

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4. PARAMILITARY ORGANIZATION AS A SOCIAL FORMATION AND A STATE INSTRUMENT. OTHER CASES

Waldemar REZMER
Lenkijos šaulių sąjungos struktūra 1919–1939 metais
EN title: The Organisational Structure of the Polish Riflemen’s Union (1919–1939)

Abstract and Full Text
The Riflemen’s Union (Związek Strzelecki) was a paramilitary organisation in the Second Polish Republic which oversaw the military training of young pre-military age people. Simultaneously, it was a civic education movement. The activities of the organisation covered all of Poland, and it also had structural subdivisions in Polish communities outside the country. The article discusses the circumstances of the foundation of the organisation, its relationship with the Polish army, the main features of its activities, organisational structure and principles of management, the staff, the composition of members, and the dynamics of their numbers.
Key Words: paramilitarism, Związek Strzelecki, paramilitary organisational structure, Polish army, military training.

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Urmas SALO
Kaitseliit vaidmuo Estijos gynybos sistemoje 1918–1940 metais
EN title: The Role of Kaitseliit in the Estonian Defence System from 1918 to 1940

Abstract and Full Text
The paper deals with the role of the Kaitseliit (Defence League) voluntary defence organisation in Estonia’s defence in the years of the Estonian War of Independence (also known as the Liberation War) and in peacetime until 1940, with attention focused mainly on the 1930s. An overview is provided of the historiography, the formation of Kaitseliit in 1918, its role in the Liberation War, the period of decreasing activity of the organisation after the war, and the restoration and development of Kaitseliit in the 1920s and 1930s. The author reviews the objectives of the organisation, issues of its membership, structure, management and armament, as well as the use of Kaitseliit and its units in Estonian military defence and internal training. The paper also attempts to answer the question how the role of Kaitseliit in Estonian national defence developed.
Key Words: paramilitarism, Kaitseliit, paramilitary organisational structure, military defence of Estonia, military training.

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5. PARAMILITARISM, NATIONALISM, AND RELATIONSHIP WITH THE ‘OTHERS’

Hektoras VITKUS
Sąjungininkai ir (ar) priešai: tautinių mažumų įvaizdžiai Lietuvos šaulių sąjungos, Latvijos Aizsargi ir Estijos Kaitseliit ideologijose
EN title: Allies and/or Foes: The Image of Ethnic Minorities in the Ideologies of the Lithuanian Riflemen’s Union, the Latvian Aizsargi, and Estonian Kaitseliit

Abstract and Full Text
This paper deals with concepts of images of ethnic minorities in the ideologies of the Lithuanian Riflemen’s Union, the Latvian Aizsargi, and the Estonian Kaitseliit, with the aim of identifying factors that predetermined qualitative changes in these images in the different periods of activity of these paramilitary organisations. In addition, possible functions of the images of ethnic minorities in the ideologies of the Lithuanian, Latvian and Estonian riflemen are analysed. The study is based on the presumption that, in the ideologies of the Lithuanian Riflemen’s Union, the Latvian Aizsargi and the Estonian Kaitseliit, the formation of the images of ethnic minorities in the different periods of activity of these organisations (the struggles for independence, the formation of the parliamentary system, authoritarian coups and presidential power, and national political crises) was predetermined by the practice of attaching ethnic groups to the relative camps of allies or foes, and by the policy of dividing ethnic minorities into groups of ‘reliable’ and ‘unreliable’.
Key Words: paramilitarism, Lithuanian Riflemen’s Union, Aizsargi, Kaitseliit, ideology, images of ethnic minorities.

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BOOK REVIEWS

Vasilijus SAFRONOVAS
A Very Promising Title … but Non-Complying Content
KOCH, Jörg. Von Helden und Opfern. Kulturgeschichte des deutschen Kriegsgedenkens. Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 2013. – 204 S. ISBN 978-3-534-73116-9
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Valdas RAKUTIS
Lietuvos husarų istorijai skirtas leidinys
AIRINI, Vidmantas. Pro Deo et Patria: Lietuvos Didžiosios Kunigaikštystės husarai 1500–1673. Abiejų Tautų Respublikos husarų ginkluotė Vytauto Didžiojo karo muziejaus rinkiniuose. Kaunas, 2013. – 240 p. ISBN 978-9986-418-87-0
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Vytautas JOKUBAUSKAS
Trijų autorių per trejus metus parašytos trys naujos trijų Lietuvos kariuomenės dalinių istorijos
SURGAILIS, Gintautas. Pirmasis pėstininkų didžiojo Lietuvos kunigaikščio Gedimino pulkas. Vilnius: Vytauto Didžiojo karo muziejus; Generolo Jono Žemaičio Lietuvos karo akademija, 2011. – 304 p. ISBN 978-609-412-011-4
RAKUTIS, Valdas; VAIČENONIS, Jonas. Lietuvos Didžiojo Kunigaikščio Algirdo mechanizuotojo pėstininkų bataliono istorija: Lietuvos pėstija XIV–XXI a. pr. (II pulko ir Algirdo MPB istorija). Vilnius: Generolo Jono Žemaičio Lietuvos karo akademija, 2012. – 194 p. ISBN 978-609-8074-00-0
SURGAILIS, Gintautas. Trečiasis pėstininkų didžiojo Lietuvos kunigaikščio Vytauto pulkas. Vilnius: Generolo Jono Žemaičio Lietuvos karo akademija, 2013. – 192 p. ISBN 978-609-8074-13-0
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Darius JUODIS
Pavykusi ar nepavykusi mobilizacija į Raudonąją armiją?
TININIS, Vytautas. Prievartinė mobilizacija į Raudonąją armiją. Vilnius: Lietuvos gyventojų genocido ir rezistencijos tyrimo centras, 2014. – 310, [1] p., [16] iliustr. lap. ISBN 978-609-8037-36-4
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Hektoras VITKUS
Kitoks požiūris į Pirmąjį pasaulinį karą Lietuvoje
WESTERHOFF, Christian. Zwangsarbeit im Ersten Weltkrieg. Deutsche Arbeitskräftepolitik im besetzten Polen und Litauen 1914–1918 (Studien zur Historischen Migrationsforschung, Bd. 25). Paderborn: Ferdinand Schöningh Verlag, 2012. – 377 S. ISBN 978-3-506-77335-7
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Vasilijus SAFRONOVAS
The First World War Agent Juozas Gabrys, Newly Speaking to an International Audience after a Hundred Years
Auf Wache für die Nation. Erinnerungen. Der Weltkriegsagent Juozas Gabrys berichtet (1911-1918). Hrsg. von Eberhard DEMM, Christina NIKOLAJEW, unter Mitwirkung von Nathalie CHAMBA. Frankfurt a. M.: Peter Lang, 2013. – 399 S. ISBN 978-3-631-64451-5
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Vygantas VAREIKIS
An Attempt by Thirteen Authors to Answer the Question what Lithuanian Jews were (and are)
Lietuvos žydai: istorinė studija. Sud. Vladas SIRUTAVIČIUS, Darius STALIŪNAS, Jurgita ŠIAUČIŪNAITĖ-VERBICKIENĖ. Vilnius: Baltos lankos, 2012. – 568 p. ISBN 978-9955-23-634-4
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DISCUSSIONS

Vygantas VAREIKIS, Vytautas JOKUBAUSKAS
Research into Military History: Its Status and Prospects in Lithuania
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