Volume 32

Acta Historica Universitatis Klaipedensis, vol. 32Transfers of Power and the Armed Forces in Poland and Lithuania, 1919–1941

Acta Historica Universitatis Klaipedensis, Vol. XXXII

Editors: Vytautas Jokubauskas, Vasilijus Safronovas

Klaipėda, 2016

The present volume of Acta Historica Universitatis Klaipedensis offers discussions on the recurring issue of the influence of the armed forces on political processes in Poland and Lithuania, two states that had just emerged in East-Central Europe after the First World War. Papers published in Lithuanian and English focus on the use of troops in domestic political conflicts, and their independent role in promoting those conflicts. Polish and Lithuanian authors propose a typology for the transfer of power in Western culture, analyse cases of the takeover of power aided by the military, and relations between the army and the political authorities in Poland and Lithuania, in addition to studying the role of the armed forces in situations of the non-recognition of the legal authorities by the public.

Editors’ note


Typology of the Transfer of Power

Gintautas MAŽEIKIS
Revoliucijos morfologija ir idėjos trajektorijos
EN title: The Morphology of Revolution and Trajectories of the Idea

Abstract and Full Text
The paper presents a morphological classification of revolutions in Western culture, and focuses on the transformation of the revolution into a political idea, the gravitation of the concept of revolution from implications of ‘returning to the essence’ towards ‘a breakthrough to the essence in the future’, the differences between national, class and social revolutions, and ultimately, concepts of revolution of everyday life and hybrid revolution. In the context of the changes in the idea of revolution, the question is raised as to how the concept of revolution, having experienced numerous differences in notional content, can be applied to armed and unarmed attempts at the transfer of power in Lithuania in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Key words: revolution, uprising, rebirth, morphology, ideology.


The Army in Cases of the Transfer of Power

Waldemar REZMER
The Coup in Poland in January 1919

Abstract and Full Text
The paper examines a little-known unsuccessful attempt at a military coup in Poland in January 1919. The idea attracted notable members of the Polish National Committee, including Stanisław Grabski, and members of other right-wing organisations. Colonel Marian Januszajtis-Żegota took up the leadership at the military level, and Eustachy Sapieha at the political level. The coup was directed against the government led by the socialist Jędrzej Edward Moraczewski. The paper shows the political context of the uprising, the process, and the circumstances of its failure.

Key words: coup, Poland, army, Moraczewski’s government, Colonel Marian Januszajtis-Źegota.


1926 m. Józefo Piłsudskio valstybės perversmo kariniai aspektai
EN title: Military Aspects of Józef Piłsudski’s Coup of 1926

Abstract and Full Text
In May 1926, a coup took place in the Republic of Poland, which resulted in Józef Piłsudski, head of state (Naczelnik Państwa) in the period 1918–1922, taking over actual power in the country. Among other things, those three days in the streets of Warsaw stood out by the fact that during them Polish soldiers confronted each other: some military units partly supported President Stanisław Wojciechowski and the constitutional government of Wincent Witos, while others backed the plans of the first marshal of Poland, who could already boast a rather ‘whitewashed’ image among the population. Piłsudski’s plans were initially limited to the idea of forcing the resignation of the Cabinet, but finally turned into a broader campaign for the takeover of power, during which 379 people died and over 900 were wounded. The paper covers the sequence of events on 12–14 May, and focuses specifically on the role of army officers and units at different stages in the coup.

Key words: coup, army, Poland, Józef Piłsudski, Stanisław Wojciechowski.


Pulkininkas prieš vyriausybę: plk. Vinco Grigaliūno-Glovackio ir Mykolo Sleževičiaus vyriausybių santykiai 1919 ir 1926 m.
EN title: A Colonel against the Cabinet: Relations between Colonel Grigaliūnas Glovackis and the Sleževičius Governments of 1919 and 1926

Abstract and Full Text
The paper presents an analysis of the relationships between Colonel Vincas Grigaliūnas Glovackis, commander of the 2nd Infantry Regiment and one of the major participants in the coup in 1926, and the cabinets led by Mykolas Sleževičius in 1919 and 1926. The author of the research looks into Colonel Grigaliūnas Glovackis’ dissatisfaction with the policies of the second and fourth Sleževičius governments, the defiance of government orders by the 2nd Infantry Regiment, and the involvement of Colonel Grigaliūnas Glovackis in the conflict between the Cabinet of Ministers and the State Council in 1919. The paper reveals the colonel’s political pro-activeness and his links with politicians representing the Christian Democrats and the Nationalists. The research concludes that the 1926 coup could have been caused not only by the officers dissatisfaction with the reforms by the coalition government of Popular Peasants and Social Democrats, but also by the conflicts between politically engaged officers and politicians that started as early as the wars of independence.

Key words: Lithuanian army, State Council, Cabinet of Ministers, coup, relations between officers and politicians.


The Armed Forces in Situations of Public Non-Recognition of the Legal Authorities

Vidiniai neramumai Lietuvos Respublikoje 1919–1940 metais
EN title: Internal Disturbances in the Republic of Lithuania, 1919–1940

Abstract and Full Text
During the interwar period in Europe, internal disturbances were not an uncommon form of domestic tension and conflict. This paper looks into the concept and characteristics of domestic disturbances in Lithuania in the period 1918 to 1940. The aim is to show the opportunities for organising such disturbances and the legal regulation of their control, including the use of the army to quell them. The legal regulation of the possibilities to use the army during the disturbances, and the situational circumstances of using troops in such cases in Lithuania, are compared with similar cases in other East-Central European countries, such as Estonia, Latvia and Poland.

Key words: internal disturbances, uprising, coup, putsch, military law and justice.


Tautiniai incidentai Klaipėdos krašte: Lietuvos šaulių ir karių susidūrimai su vietiniais gyventojais
EN title: Nationally Motivated Incidents in the Territory of Memel: Lithuanian Riflemen and Soldiers in Clashes with the Local Population

Abstract and Full Text
Based on archival materials, the paper analyses individual cases of nationally motivated incidents in the autonomous Territory of Memel, or Klaipėda region, in the period 1923 to 1939. After Lithuania annexed the region in 1923, incidents between the pro-German local population and members of the Lithuanian Riflemen’s Union and soldiers in the Lithuanian army were inspired by the clash of interests between Lithuania and Germany. Lithuanisation and the strengthening of the pro-Lithuanian element in the Klaipėda region were manifested in different forms, including the establishment of different organisations and societies based on the example of Lithuania. The organisations did not always enjoy the support of local Lithuanians; moreover, they caused dissatisfaction among the Germans. One such organisation was the 20th Klaipėda territorial unit of the Lithuanian Riflemen’s Union, established in the region in the first half of 1923. The paper focuses on incidents involving the riflemen Bišofas and Pėteraitis in 1924. It also analyses the increasing number of incidents from the beginning of the 1930s which involved soldiers in the Lithuanian army deployed in the Klaipėda region (the 7th Infantry Samogitian Duke Butigeidis Regiment, and the 3rd Cavalry Regiment). Incidents that involved riflemen in the last years of the region’s autonomy are examined, and the gravitation by local Lithuanians towards Germany, expressed by their withdrawal from Lithuanian organisations and joining German ones, is discussed.

Key words: Territory of Memel (Klaipėda region), Lithuanian-German relations, army, Lithuanian Riflemen’s Union, incidents between civilians and the armed forces.


1941 m. Birželio sukilimas: fenomeno pažinimo ir vertinimo problemos
EN title: The Uprising of June 1941: On the Cognition and Evaluation of the Phenomenon

Abstract and Full Text
The paper focuses on evaluations of the June 1941 uprising in historiography, and analyses aspects of its social preconditions, genesis, aims, and the composition of its participants. Particular attention is paid to an analysis of the relationship between the uprising and previous and concurrent processes in the development of Lithuanian society, and with other Second World War phenomena (collaboration with the Germans, and the Holocaust). The author argues that the uprising was the result not merely of geopolitical or ideological choices, but also of complex social processes. The preconditions for it were created by the character of the socio-political development of society in the period of the independent republic, and a direct reason was the changes in social and economic life implemented during the Soviet occupation and the repressions by the regime. Interrelationships of the membership in different professional groups and political and social organisations were factors that mobilised the insurgents.

Key words: uprising, social movement, Lithuanian society, Soviet occupation, Nazi occupation, Holocaust.


Book Reviews

Russian Culture in War and Revolution, 1914–22. Book 1. Popular Culture, the Arts, and Institutions; Book 2. Political Culture, Identities, Mentalities, and Memory (Russia’s Great War and Revolution, vol. 1). Ed. by Murray FRAME, Boris KOLONITSKII, Steven G. MARKS and Melissa K. STOCKDALE. Bloomington, IN: Slavica Publishers, 2014. – xxiv+426 [+42] and xviii+370 [+56] pp. ISBN 978-0-89357-423-9; 978-0-89357-424-6

Wielka Wojna poza linią frontu. Redakcja naukowa Daniel GRINBERG, Jan SNOPKO, Grzegorz ZACKIEWICZ. Białystok: Instytut Historii i Nauk Politycznych Uniwersytetu w Białymstoku, 2013. – 396 s. ISBN 978-83-87881-16-0

Lietuvos karai: Lietuvos XIX–XX a. nacionalinių karų sisteminė-kiekybinė analizė. Sud. Gediminas VITKUS. Vilnius: Eugrimas, 2014. – 304 p. ISBN 978-609-437-250-6 = Wars of Lithuania. A Systematic Quantitative Analysis of Lithuania’s Wars in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries. Ed. by Gediminas VITKUS. Vilnius: Eugrimas, 2014. – 320 pp. ISBN 978-609-437-275-9

ČERNEVIČIŪTĖ, Sigita; KAUBRYS, Saulius. Kartuvių kilpa, kulka ir dujų kamera: mirties bausmė Lietuvoje 1918–1940 metais: monografija. Vilnius: Gimtasis žodis, 2014. – 251, [2] p. ISBN 978-9955-16- 529-3

ZIZAS, Rimantas. Sovietiniai partizanai Lietuvoje 1941–1944 m. Vilnius: Lietuvos istorijos instituto leidykla, 2014. – 607 p. ISBN 978-9955-847-88-5