Stasys Raštikis

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Stasys Raštikis
Born 1896 September 13
Kuršėnai
Died 1985 May
Los Angeles
Service/branch Russian Empire Army and Lithuanian Armed Forces
Years of service 1914-1940
Rank General
Commands held Supreme Commander of Lithuanian army

Stasys Raštikis (September 13, 1896 – May 3, 1985) was a Lithuanian military officer, ultimately obtaining the rank of General of the Lithuanian Army, as well as the Minister of Defense in the Provisional Government established before the German takeover of Lithuania in 1941.

Biography[edit]

Born in Kuršėnai, Raštikis attended school in Zarasai, Lithuania. At the outbreak of World War I, he was mobilized into the Russian Army, and served on various fronts of the war. In 1918, he returned to Lithuania and entered the Catholic Seminary in Kaunas. However, the following year, he left and enlisted in the 5th Infantry Regiment and continued his career in the newly created Lithuanian military. He was wounded during the fighting against the Russian SFSR and Poland, (Polish-Lithuanian War). In 1919, severely wounded for the second time, he was taken prisoner by the Red Army, and was only released in 1921. After returning to Lithuania, he resumed his military career and was promoted to the rank of Major in 1928, and rose through the ranks until he ultimately became a General. He became Chief of the Army General Staff in 1934, and Commander-in-Chief of the Lithuanian Armed Forces in 1935.

In 1938, Raštikis became the Defense Minister in the government of Vladas Mironas. After the invasion and subsequent annexation of Lithuania by the Soviet Union, he fled to avoid capture to Nazi Germany. After the retreat of Soviet forces following Operation Barbarossa, he was able to return to Lithuania. In German-occupied Lithuania he participated in the Provisional Government of Lithuania as a shadow Minister of Defense until August 5, 1941. Later, he worked in the Lithuanian War Museum.

Before the reoccupation of Lithuania by the Soviets, Raštikis again escaped to Germany and then emigrated to the United States, where he died. Originally interred in Los Angeles, his remains were returned to Kaunas in 1993, where he was reburied in Petrašiūnai Cemetery with full military honors.

References[edit]

  • Richard Woytak, "Wywiad z litewskim Wodzem Naczelnym gen. Stasys'em Rastikis'em" ("Interview with Lithuanian Commander in Chief Gen. Stasys Rastikis"), Paris, Zeszyty Historyczne, vol. 261, no. 35 (1976).

External links[edit]