Resistance and Rebellion: Lessons from Eastern Europe

By Roger D. Petersen | Go to book overview

3.
Lithuania, 1940–1941

Lithuania experienced three successive occupations during the 1940s. The study of each case over the next four chapters generates opportunities for productive comparison by providing differences among individuals and regions, changes over time, and dissimilarities across the three Baltic states. In each chapter, the sequence of mechanisms outlined in the previous chapter is employed as a guide for analysis.

The Lithuanian cases also provide some intriguing puzzles. Perhaps the most puzzling aspect of Lithuanian rebellion behavior is described in minute detail in Chapter 7's review of the second Soviet occupation. In the latter half of the 1940s, a battle between Lithuanian partisans and Soviet NKVD troops devastated the Lithuanian countryside. It was a classic confrontation in many ways. The Soviets controlled the villages in the day, threatening the local population with the wrath of Soviet power if they were caught aiding the partisans. At night, partisans made their own appeals to the local citizens. Despite the mismatch in power, the partisans' hopeless rebellion continued for years largely because many Lithuanian communities developed organizations (+2) that aided the partisans. The costs to these village-based supporters were extremely high: the Soviets “pacified” these uncooperative people by deporting tens of thousands of them to Siberia. Whole villages were removed from the face of the earth; only one in eight Lithuanian deportees would ever return to his or her native land.

This postwar resistance had its roots in the first Soviet occupation of 1940–1941. This case presents a particularly clear illustration of the community dynamics of rebellion. During the first Soviet occupation, underground groups sprung up in localities across the country. The diversity of their names reflected the fact that they had no single political foundation: Committee to Help Lithuania, Punitive Detachment of Lithuanian Fascists, Lithuanian Activist Union, Lithuanian Independence Party, Committee for

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Resistance and Rebellion: Lessons from Eastern Europe
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Contents *
  • Figures and Tables xi
  • Preface xiii
  • 1 - Introduction 1
  • 2 - Mechanisms and Process 32
  • 3 - Lithuania, 1940–1941 80
  • 4 - Rebellion in an Urban Community: the Role of Leadership and Centralization 134
  • 5 - The German Occupation of Lithuania 153
  • 6 - Postwar Lithuania 170
  • 7 - More Cases, More Comparisons 205
  • 8 - Resistance in the Perestroika Period 236
  • 9 - Fanatics and First Actors 272
  • 10 - Conclusions 296
  • Bibliography 305
  • Index 317
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