Portal:Lithuania

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The Republic of Lithuania (Lithuanian: Lietuva; full - Lietuvos Respublika) is a republic in Northern Europe. One of the three Baltic States along the Baltic Sea, it shares borders with Latvia to the north, Belarus to the southeast, Poland to the south, and the Kaliningrad Oblast of Russia to the southwest.

During the 14th and 15th centuries, Lithuania was the largest country in Europe: present-day Belarus, Ukraine, and parts of Poland and Russia were territories of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. With the Lublin Union of 1569 Poland and Lithuania formed a new state, the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. The Commonwealth lasted more than two centuries, until neighboring countries systematically dismantled it from 1772 to 1795, with the Russian Empire annexing most of Lithuania's territory. In the wake of the First World War, Lithuania's Act of Independence was signed on February 16, 1918, declaring the re-establishment of a sovereign state. Starting in 1940, Lithuania was occupied first by the Soviet Union then Nazi Germany. As World War II neared its end in 1944 and the Nazis retreated, the Soviet Union reoccupied Lithuania. On March 11, 1990, Lithuania became the first Soviet republic to declare its renewed independence.

Lithuania became a full member of the Schengen Agreement on 21 December 2007. In 2009, Lithuania celebrating the millennium of its name.

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Welles declaration, July 23, 1940

The Welles declaration was issued on July 23, 1940 by acting United States Under Secretary of State Sumner Welles. The declaration condemned the Soviet Union's forcible incorporation of the Baltic states (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania) and announced a U.S. refusal to recognize the legitimacy of Soviet control of the three states. It was an application of the Stimson Doctrine to the Baltic issue.The declaration was consistent with Franklin D. Roosevelt's overall attitude towards forcible territorial expansion, and reflected the views held by the highest levels of the Roosevelt administration.

The Welles Declaration established a decades-long non-recognition of the Baltic States' forcible annexation. The document had major significance for overall U.S. policy toward Europe in the critical year of 1940. Subsequent U.S. presidents and Congressional resolutions reaffirmed the substance of the Welles declaration. The Baltic states re-established their independence in 1990. (continue...)

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Romualdas Marcinkus
Lithuania's name in writing 1009

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