Cold War Lithuania: National Armed Resistance and Soviet Counterinsurgency

George Reklaitis


Following the defeat of Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union sought to reestablish its control over the areas of Eastern Europe that it had occupied prior to the RussoGerman war. These areas included Western Ukraine, Byelorussia, and the Baltic States of Lithuanian, Latvia, and Estonia.2 In these regions, the Soviets found wellorganized underground resistance movements that were determined to hold off the complete Sovietization of their homelands, a task the Soviets had initially begun in 1940 and 1941, but which had been interrupted by war. While complete victory over the Soviets was recognized as an unreachable goal, these resistance fighters fought on in the hope that either the Soviets would grow weary of waging war or, as the above statement by Juozas Luksa suggests, the Western powers would return to finish the job of liberating Europe. Therefore, the period of 1944 to 1953 in this region is marked by an intense conflict between Eastern European guerrillas and Soviet counterinsurgency forces.

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