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Draft:Military history of Lithuania

The military history of Lithuania began with the mobilization of the Lithuanian Armed Forces and the subsequent Lithuanian Wars of Independence, resulting in the end of foreign resistance of the independence of Lithuania. The country then was then occupied by the Soviet Union, and occupied once more by Nazi Germany during Operation Barbarossa. The defeat of Nazi Germany in World War II resulted in the return of Soviet occupation and formation of the Lithuanian Soviet Socialist Republic, under which Lithuania became a republic of the Soviet Union. After the restoration of independence on 11 March 1990, the Lithuanian Armed Forces was reestablished on 25 April 1990, after which Lithuania participated in global conflicts.

The Ministry of Defense oversees the management of the Armed Forces, while the Ministry of the Interior manages border guards and crossings. Based on the concept of "total and unconditional defense", it continues to work with global world powers such as the United States, the United Kingdom, France, and Germany. Recently, Seimas has restored conscription in light of the Russian military intervention in Ukraine.


Grand Duchy of Lithuania (1340-1780s)Edit

In the 13th century, the Lithuanians founded the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. Its first conflict was over the succession Principality of Galicia–Volhynia, which both Lithuania and the Kingdom of Poland had claims on. A series of wars continued between 1340 and 1392, with several battles between Poland and Lithuania over the years.

Interwar period (1918–1941)Edit

The Grand Duchy of Lithuania was annexed by the Russian Empire after the partitions of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, its standing army shuttered. The Lithuanian National Revival spurred nationalistic sentiments, and on 16 February 1918, the Council of Lithuania declared independence. On 23 November 1918, a legislative act created authorized the creation of an army. Mykolas Sleževičius issued a proclamation shortly after his election, calling for volunteers.

Lithuanian-Soviet WarEdit

War against BermontiansEdit

Lithuanian-Polish WarEdit

Annexation and occupations (1941–1944)Edit

Soviet occupationEdit

The Soviet Union was given freedom over managing the fates of the Baltic states according to the terms of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, which was used to prevent German influence in the Baltics.[1] The neutrality of the Baltics during the Winter War was questioned after the Orzeł incident, where a Polish submarine fled to neutral Estonia.[2]

German occupationEdit

Soviet reoccupationEdit

Soviet period (1944–1991)Edit

Collapse of the Soviet UnionEdit

Protests occur after the events of 13 January.

On 11 March 1990, independence was restored to Lithuania, which subsequently declared itself a republic.[3] Immediately after, on 13 March, a trade blockade was placed on Lithuania by the Soviet Union.[3][4] The massive increase in inflation and the increases of government prices led to large scale protests and ethnic conflict.[5] Protests continued at the Supreme Council of Lithuania, and on 11 January 1991, Mikhail Gorbachev demanded the restoration of the constitution of the USSR.

During 11 January, Soviet forces began aggressively intervening in television towers and public offices, often using force against civilians. The most violent incident occurred on 13 January, where civilians barricaded the Vilnius TV Tower in Vilnius. Using tanks and live ammunition, Soviet forces pushed and fired into the civilians, killing 13 and injuring 700.[5][3] Following this, 50,000 protesters and members of the Lithuania Riflemen's Union appeared at the Supreme Council building, barricading it and causing the Soviets to retreat, despite their military advantage. The Soviet putsch was met with widespread international condemnation. Following this, Soviet involvement in Lithuania ended.

Lithuania assisted resistance during the 1991 Soviet coup d'état attempt.[6]

Restoration of the armed forces (1991–present)Edit

On 25 April 1990, the Department of National Defense was established.[7] Early focuses were the removal of Soviet forces in the Baltics and the expansion of the Navy. Between 1995 and 2004, Lithuania participated in NATO missions, including the Implementation Force,[7] the Stabilisation Force in Bosnia and Herzegovina,[8] and Operation Ocean Shield.[7] Lithuanian volunteers also assisted in the 2003 invasion of Iraq.[9] In 2004, Lithuania joined NATO,[10] and deployed a special operation force in the War in Afghanistan, where they continue to provide assistance.[11]

In 2008, conscription was suspended. This was undone in 2015, when the Seimas voted to reintroduce conscription for a five year period,[12] citing the Ukrainian crisis and the Russian military intervention in Ukraine.[13] Russian military drills in Kalingrad and other nearby locations were also considered a matter of national security by all three Baltic states.[12]


  1. ^ Sužiedėlis, Saulius (1989). "THE MOLOTOV-RIBBENTROP PACT AND THE BALTIC STATES: AN INTRODUCTION AND INTERPRETATION". Lituanus. 35. On 28 March 1939 Litvinov announced that the Soviet Union would not tolerate the establishment of significant influence by a "third power" in Latvia and Estonia; in hindsight this statement of a unilateral guarantee was "a de facto announcement that Estonia and Latvia belonged to the (Soviet) sphere of influence.
  2. ^ "Orzel's Escape – Act of Bravery or Provocation?". Postimees. 2015-01-02. Retrieved 2018-11-30.
  3. ^ a b c Office of the Seismas of the Republic of Lithuania. "Supreme Council – Reconstituent Seimas 1990 – 1992". Seismas of the Republic of Lithuania. Archived from the original on 2018-10-06. Retrieved 2018-10-06.
  4. ^ robbiefreeling (2009-02-09). "Lithuania and the Collapse of the USSR". IndieWire. Archived from the original on 2018-10-06. Retrieved 2018-10-06.
  5. ^ a b Keller, Bill (1991-01-14). "Soviet crackdown; Soviet loyalists in charge after attack in Lithuania; 13 dead; Curfew is imposed". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 2018-10-06. Retrieved 2018-10-06.
  6. ^ Lithuanian Armed Forces. "NDVF History". Lithuanian Armed Forces. Retrieved 2018-10-06.
  7. ^ a b c Andriškevičius, Jonas, THE LITHUANIAN ARMED FORCES: YESTERDAY, TODAY, TOMORROW (PDF), p. 19, After long discussions and taking into consideration the lessons of history, as well as the situation at that time, on the 25th of April 1990 a decision was made to establish the Department of National Defense (DND).
  8. ^ SFOR. "Lithuania". SFOR. Archived from the original on 2018-10-06.
  9. ^ "Operation Iraqi Freedom, War Update, War to liberate Iraq, Coalition of Willing, U.S., United States versus Saddam, WMD, Saddam Hussein". Air Force. Archived from the original on 2018-10-06. Retrieved 2018-10-06.
  10. ^ "Lithuania's membership in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)". Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 2014-02-05. Archived from the original on 2018-10-07. Retrieved 2018-10-07.
  11. ^ Kelly, Fergus (2018-02-22). "Lithuania to deploy special operations forces to Afghanistan in NATO train and assist role". The Defense Post. Retrieved 2018-10-07.
  12. ^ a b Kendall, Bridget (2015-02-24). "Lithuania to reintroduce conscription over security concerns". BBC News. Retrieved 2018-10-07.
  13. ^ Capon, Felicity (2015-03-15). "Lithuania Votes to Reintroduce Military Conscription". Newsweek. Retrieved 2018-10-07.