Forest Brothers: The Account of an Anti-Soviet Lithuanian Freedom Fighter, 1944-1948

Forest Brothers: The Account of an Anti-Soviet Lithuanian Freedom Fighter, 1944-1948

Forest Brothers: The Account of an Anti-Soviet Lithuanian Freedom Fighter, 1944-1948

Forest Brothers: The Account of an Anti-Soviet Lithuanian Freedom Fighter, 1944-1948

Excerpt

By 1945 World War II had ended, but in Lithuania the war against the Soviet Union had only just begun. One of the bloodiest battles of the Lithuanian armed resistance, the battle of Kalniškės, was fought only days after VE day.

Lithuanian farmers, school teachers, university professors, university and high school students, and a small number of remaining non-commissioned officers and lower ranking officers from independent Lithuania’s military, organized themselves into a partisan movement that at its peak was roughly 30,000 strong. Many of these same men and women had opposed the Nazis during World War II. Most of these partisan fighters had little or no formal military experience or training.

For half a century the Soviet Union kept this war a secret. Its participants were hunted down, tortured, and exiled to prison camps in Siberia. Its survivors learned to keep quiet. Of the three Baltic States, Lithuania fought the hardest and the longest. Nonetheless, they were forgotten by the outside world. As the vastly outnumbered and undersupplied Lithuanians continued to resist their Soviet occupiers for nearly a decade after World War II had ended, America and Western Europe moved on to reconstruct a peaceful and prosperous post-war Europe.

In February 1945, at the Yalta Conference American President Franklin D. Roosevelt “let it slip that the United States would not protest if the Soviet Union attempted to annex the three Baltic States.” After Yalta, the three Baltic States and much of Central Europe was left in Stalin’s control.

“The Yalta Conference.” The Latin Library, [URL:http://www.thelatinlibrary.com/imperialism/notes/ yalta.html] accessed June 30, 2008

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