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22 April 2011

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TamBram

Very interesting.
I am Indian, but my son-in-law here in Virginia is Polish-American. He talks a lot about Poland and Lithuania being allied during the middle ages/early modern times. Thoughts on that?

I don't think the Lithuanians have much particular to teach the Palestinians or Libyans. Lithuania's fights were all intra-Euro. Once you get to Israel, it's just a European-style country whacking non-Euro's, same as the French or the British before them! The only troops that did decently against the Israelis were the Jordanians, back when they still had British officers.

Today you have a slow emulation of Western fighting power by non-western nations. I am obviously biased but I think India has some good quasi-Western air-assault and armored divisions. But most of the Indian army, like most 3rd world armies, is still crap/undersupplied.

Ramojus

Col. Lang,

Is this your paper or was it written by TTG?

TamBram

My daughter just read my comment and said--notice how critical you are of your own forces (India), so too are the Western forces always self-critical. That's *why* they win. Muslim forces always blame *others* for their defeats, that's why they have recent histories of defeats!

She is a medical doctor, not a historian, but it's kind of an interesting point!

Happy Easter to all.

The Twisted Genius

Ramjous, this is mine. Colonel Lang went through SFOC long before I did... and he's a much better writer than I'll ever be.

Patrick Lang

TTG

I don't know about the writing part. This is a fine paper. Bank and Simon would be proud as I am. I went through SFOC in 1964. pl

Medicine Man

TamBram --

Poland and Lithuania were allied for a long time; a commonwealth sustained through royal union. I don't have the specific dates on hand, but I recall this union persisted from the beginning of the 15th century to the later portions of the 18th.

kao_hsien_chih

Lithuanian history vis-a-vis both Poland and Russia/Soviet Union is a complicated one, especially in comparison to Estonia and Latvia. The others had no beef other than with Russia, but the Lithuanian relationship with Poland, especially the nationalistic state that emerged after WW1 was a rocky one, if not downright hostile (reminiscent in many ways of the relationship between Korea and Japan, from my perspective). In fact, in comparison with Estonia and Latvia, Lithuania was much more accommodating of Russia. Would like to post a more extended comment, but that won't be within the limit. Will the colonel permit an extended post?

Yolk county

Recent Indian military wins? Please elaborate. I'll wait.

rkka

"The Lithuanian people are now waging a cultural and social struggle for national existence. "

They still are. And they're losing. There were almost 3.7 million people in Lithuania in 1991. There are now ~3.3 million, and deaths exceed births by about 1.3:1.

Byron Raum

Interesting point by Yolk. It started me thinking of some recent Muslim defeats. I cannot wonder who the various ragtag armies in Afghanistan blame for their crushing defeat at the hands of the Soviets. Or the defeat of Hizbollah at the hands of the Israelis a few years ago.

Sarcasm aside, I don't think we can reasonably clam that we have won in Afghanistan or Iraq. I don't know about anyone else's assumptions, but Muslims are, militarily speaking, a far more formidable people than I had originally thought. I had shared the almost subconscious assumption that the US is the preeminent military power in the world and can do whatever it pleases.

Ramojus

The Twisted Genius,

My apologies, I have been a consumer of this blog for several years but did not make the connection of the initials “TTG” to you.

I read this post with great interest. I am of Lithuanian descent. My parents were displaced persons (DP) from Lithuania and resided in the U.S. from 1949 until their deaths.

My father was a known Lithuanian journalist among the Lithuanian Diaspora in America and had written several books about the Lithuanian resistance movement to the Soviet occupation. He was a partisan, for a short time and was conscripted to the German Luftwaffe as forced labor ending the war in a DP camp in Germany. His sister was deported to Siberia for refusing to reveal the location of his local partisan unit. Dad’s nom de plume was Ramojus and I use the same moniker, when I comment on various blogs, to honor his legacy and memory.

Your paper is accurate and detailed and an interesting read. I’m curious to find out about your sources that you used for your research. While there are a significant amount of detailed history of the resistance in Lithuanian I’m wondering about the English sources. Incidentally, there was also a resistance movement, organized by the Lithuanian communists against the Nazi occupation, as well.

Regarding relations with Poland; it was complicated after 1918, Lithuanians fought with Poland over one third of Lithuanian territory which included the capital of Vilnius (called Wilno in Polish). I believe that his was one of the first international disputes brought to the League of Nations for resolution. Lithuania was also one of the last pagan cultures to become Roman Catholic through Polish influence and the Partitions of Poland also included Lithuanian territory being ceded to czarist Russia.

The Twisted Genius

rkka,

Yes Lithuania is suffering the same fate as other newly independent states in Eastern Europe and most of the industrialized world. Add the burden having to switch from a central planning to a market system and recent global economic problems, you could say Lithuania had a tough row to hoe. Emigration has actually lessened its unemployment problem. They're a tough and tenacious people. I'm sure they'll survive.

The Twisted Genius

Byron Raum,

You grasped the point of what I was trying to say. Never underestimate the spirit, resilience and tenacity of a people who decided they want to be free or just left along. We may have COIN, shock and awe, and full spectrum dominance; but all that is no guarantee of prevailing in a multigenerational war of liberation.

The Twisted Genius

Ramojus, labas!

All my sources were English language and available in the library of the JFK Special Warfare Center. A few of the main sources were:

Gerutis, Dr. Albertas, ed. Lithuania 700 Years, trans. Algirdas Budreckis, New York: Manyland Books, 1969

Harrison, E.J. Lithuania's Fight for Freedom. New York: Lithuanian American Information Center, 1952.
 
Tauras, K.V. Guerilla Warfare on the Amber Coast. New York Lithuanian Research Institute, 1962.
 
Vardys, V. Stanley, ed. Lithuania Under the Soviets: Portrait of a Nation, 1940-1965. 

I also used a number of articles that appeared in the 1962 issues of "Lituanus." Unfortunately, those issues are not available on their website (lituanus.org). I would love to read some of your father's accounts of those time if you could point me in the right direction.

The Twisted Genius

Here's a famous painting (at least to Lithuanians and Poles) illustrating the Battle of Grunwald. The author provides a very informative analysis of the painting and the events it depicts.

http://info-poland.buffalo.edu/classroom/JM/GT.html

Ramojus

The Twisted Genius,

Aciu uz atsakyma !

Dad's two books about the Lithuanian resistance are in Lithuanian,and are out of print. I am looking into having them digitized. I would be willing to communicate with you "off blog" with more detail.

On another matter....

Did I recently read an interview with you in a Lithuanian language daily published in Chicago? If that was you, it would certainly be an interesting blog post that you could write! If that wasn't you, my mistake.

David

TTG,

Very interesting post. Has the opening of the Soviet archives in the 90's reveal anything of note ? Thank you.

rjj

Ramojus, digitizing books is easy: flatbed scanners are cheap and Omnipage is a very good OCR program. Once the software is trained you can produce at least 20 pages an hour - after the user is trained, even more. For the latter beer can sometimes be a useful adjuvant.

VietnamVet


TTG,

You’ve got it exactly right. “Never underestimate the spirit, resilience and tenacity of a people who decided they want to be free or just left alone.” Apologies to Colonel Lang, but this is why the Virginians resisted the Yankee Invasion.

David Halberstan wrote about Vietnam. “One reason the principals were always surprised by this, and irritated by the failure of their programs, was that the truth of the war never entered the upper-level American calculations; that this was a revolutionary war, and that the other side held title to the revolution because of the colonial war which had just ended. This most simple fact ... entered into the estimates of the American intelligence community and made them quite accurate. But it never entered into the calculations of the principals, for a variety of reasons; among other things to see the other side in terms of nationalism or as revolutionaries might mean a re-evaluation of whether the United States was even fighting on the right side. In contrast, the question of Communism and anti-Communism as opposed to revolution and anti-revolution was far more convenient for American policy makers.”

We are flooded with Spin from the Media Masters not unlike Germany when the Glorious Victories on the Eastern Front kept moving west. Libya is the latest example. SF and FACs could have overthrown Gaddafi but it would have been in support of the Rebels who would have won the right to establish their own government. American Policy Makers want to be Kings. From Afghanistan to Libya, they must establish puppet governments. So they blow bombs up in the desert and never recognize they are fighting a Holy War on the installment plan to be paid by us and our grandchildren. Three fronts in an unwinnable war as long as there are Muslims who want to rule themselves and be free from oppression.

Brother of the Forest

Ramojus:

My oldest uncle, on my father's side, died with the Lithuanian anti-soviet partisans in late 1945 and was buried in great secrecy so the soviet troops could not find the body and make it disappear. Such was the fear of retribution, that only in 1991, as the Red Army tanks were finally leaving Lithuania, did people who knew the burial location reveal it to his surviving family (with whom they were old acquaintances) so he could be reburied in the family plot.

The Twisted Genius

Ramojus,

I never learned to speak or read Lithuanian, only a small collection of phrases and a substantial collection of curses. I learned the curses on my neighbor's farm as a youngster. My father still speaks the old tongue and has used it to make new friends at the Franciscan Monastary in Kennebunk. That definitely wasn't me in the Chicago interview. I haven't accomplished anything interesting enough for an interview that I can speak of.

If you haven't already contacted the Balzekas Museum in Chicago about digitizing your father's books, you may want to look into that. As rjj described, it's not too difficult a process.

The Twisted Genius

David,

I know the opening up of Soviet archives did reveal a lot of information. I am not a scholar of the period so I don't know how significant the information was... except to those trying to determine the fate of their loved ones at the hands of the Soviets.

William R. Cumming

A brave nation-state and major contributor to the growth and history of the City of Chicago in the last century. Thanks TTG and PL for the post. Some amazing life stories of Lithuanian Americans including one I met a prominent Chicago neuro surgeon that had served in four different Armies and when I met him was a full Colonel in the USA medical corps. Where do we get such men? Easy! Many in Lithuania then and now.

Ramojus

As an IT professional, I understand digitizing technology. Doing it at home with a PC and a flat bed scanner is a bit too labor intensive for me, even with a beer!

I am just beginning to look through my father's materials, notes etc. I plan to contribute them to an archive, in Lithuania, specializing in the works and history of Lithuanian exiles post WWII. I have been given a lead to a Lithuanian organization in Vilnius that has a digitizing project similar to Google books (though not on such a grand scale). I feel that it's important to preserve these materials. My father's generation, who were post WWII exiles, is dying out. Their cultural contributions were unique.

Their offspring, my generation, is "melting in the pot", though more slowly than previous ones; because we were forced to go to Saturday School and to belong to Lithuanian organizations.

TTG, apologies for my "What's My Line" moment regarding the newspaper interview. This was a great post! Col. Lang many thanks for posting it!

Sidney O. Smith III

The Lithuanian Resistance Movement: perhaps this explains why TTG has such a great natural talent for understanding the tactics of Mosby.

And perhaps TTG’s deep familiarity with the Lithuanian Resistance movement -- it’s in his blood -- explains why TTG is so far ahead of the American curve when it comes to seeing the dangers of a neoconservative-driven foreign policy that relies on a centralized national government.

Neoconservatives want the USG to treat the Muslim world in the same manner as the Soviets treated the Lithuanians. And, not coincidentally, many neoconservatives have their ideological roots in Trotsky’s idea of world revolution, that is, occupying a nation and then “reconstructing” the culture so its people will never “get out line” again.

Conclusion: we need more people with Lithuanian descent in the US. The heroic spirit underlying the Lithuanian Resistance movement captures the essence of what the America character was suppose to be about but now has become corrupted.

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