The United States and Lithuania: The Stimson Doctrine of Nonrecognition

The United States and Lithuania: The Stimson Doctrine of Nonrecognition

The United States and Lithuania: The Stimson Doctrine of Nonrecognition

The United States and Lithuania: The Stimson Doctrine of Nonrecognition

Synopsis

This is the first systematic study of the Stimson Doctrine of nonrecognition as applied to Lithuania and the other Baltic States. The book blends political history, U.S. public policy formulation and implementation, and international law to present a complete picture of the development of the Nonrecognition Policy since the Soviet occupation of Lithuania in 1940. Several case studies that feature the postwar Baltic repatriation and the Simas Kudirks incident are included. Vitas argues that the Nonrecognition Policy has been an effective one in terms of the goals and intentions of the Roosevelt and subsequent administrations.

Excerpt

In order to fully understand the circumstances that led to the U.S. nonrecognition policy, it is first necessary to acquire a familiarity with the events that led to the extinction of Lithuania's independence. Lithuania's major diplomatic difficulty during the interwar period was the Vilnius dispute. Vilnius had been the ancient capital of Lithuania during the time of the Kingdom and Grand Duchy. Wars with Muscovy in the sixteenth century forced Lithuania to seek aid from her old ally Poland. Poland, however, agreed to give aid only in return for a political union with Lithuania. After a series of high-level maneuvers, the Union of Lublin was signed in 1569, creating the unified Kingdom of Poland and Lithuania. Gradually, Vilnius became more Polish in nature and more cosmopolitan. Poles came to outnumber Lithuanians, while the latter continued to predominate in the countryside. the partitions of Poland and Lithuania in 1772, 1793, and 1795 by Prussia, Russia, and Austria placed Lithuania under czarist rule.

At the conclusion of World War I, new states began carving niches for themselves on the European continent. Two such countries were the formerly united Poland and Lithuania. Immediately upon reconstitution, both sides clashed over Vilnius and its surrounding territories. Lithuania declared her independence on 16 February 1918. This was followed by two years of turbulence. the vanquished Germans retreated and the Bolsheviks entered the Vilnius territory in late 1918. Polish and Lithuanian volunteers drove the Red Army out of Lithuania, with Poland entering Vilnius first on 19 April 1919. During the summer of 1920, the Bolsheviks reoccupied the territory. Subsequently, Russia concluded an armistice with Lithuania, turning over to her the capital and surrounding areas. the peace treaty caused renewed fighting to break out between Poland and Lithuania. Finally, after much maneuvering, including the intervention of the League of Nations, the Treaty of Suvalkai was signed on 7 October 1920; the Vilnius territory was to remain in Lithuanian hands.

The situation was to change with lightning speed. Just two days after the . . .

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