Lithuanian Nationalist Union
|Founded||August 19, 1924|
|Membership||1,453 (as of August 2012)|
0 / 141
1 / 1,473
The Lithuanian Nationalist and Republican Union (Lithuanian: Lietuvių tautininkų ir respublikonų sąjunga, LTS), also known as the Nationalists (Tautininkai), is a nationalist, right-wing political party in Lithuania, founded in 1924 when the Party of National Progress merged with the Lithuanian Farmers' Association. It was the ruling party of Lithuania from the 1926 Lithuanian coup d'état in December 1926 to the Soviet occupation in June 1940. The party was re-established when Lithuania declared independence in 1990.
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The party did not enjoy popular support and in the May 1926 parliamentary elections won only 3 seats out of 85. However, its leaders Antanas Smetona and Augustinas Voldemaras were popular and influential public figures. The party was conservative and nationalistic; it stressed the need for a strong army and a strong leader.
During the December 1926 coup the military deposed the democratically elected government and invited Smetona to become the new President of Lithuania and Voldemaras the new Prime Minister. The Nationalists and the Lithuanian Christian Democrats formed a new government. However, the relationship between the two parties soon became tense as Christian Democrats regarded the coup as a temporary measure and wished to hold new elections to the Seimas. In April 1927 Smetona dissolved the Seimas and in May Christian Democrats resigned from the government. The Nationalists remained the only party in power for another thirteen years.
Voldemaras established Iron Wolf (Geležinis Vilkas) as the paramilitary wing of the Nationalists. Political opponents were incarcerated. The new constitution of 1928 established a presidential dictatorship. In 1929, Smetona removed his party colleague Voldemaras from the office of prime minister and ruled autocratically until Lithuania was conquered by the Soviet Union in 1940.
The Nationalist Union had initial sympathies and contacts with the Mussolini regime. Some apologists for the Nationalist Union have argued that it expressed "disapproval of German racism and national-socialism as early as 1932, and staged Europe's first trial of Nazi criminals (in 1937)", citing. However, this is a gross misrepresentation of the trial of Germans in the former Memelland (today, the Klaipėda Region). Prior to 1923, Memelland had been Prussian for five centuries – since 1422. Before it was the land of Balto-speaking Curonians, Teutonic Order conquered Curonians during Northern Crusade and territory was colonized by Germans during Ostsiedlung. On January 10, 1923, Lithuanian militia, dressed as civilians, entered Memel and staged the “Klaipėda Revolt.” Soon after, a program of intense Lituanization began. German teachers and officials were dismissed and replaced by counterparts from Kaunas. The tie of the region's Lutheran congregations to the Prussian ecclesiastical hierarchy was severed. Most of the region's population were Lutherans and considered themselves to be East Prussians, including the Lithuanian-speaking, “Memellanders/Klaipėdiškiai.” Hitler's call for the integration of German-speaking peoples resonated with the local population, who organized groups to resist the Lithuanian occupation of their homeland. In response, on February 8, 1934, the Lithuanian government adopted a law making it a criminal offense to denigrate or insult the Lithuanian nation, people, state symbols, or flag, or to work for "foreign" interests against Lithuania. Under this law, actions were taken against Nazi-inspired organizations in the Klaipėda region. From July 1934 to March 1935, Lithuania prosecuted Ernst Naumann and Theodor Freiherr von Sass and 120 of their followers on charges of anti-state activity. Most of the accused stated that they viewed Klaipėda to be part of Germany. Eighty-seven were convicted. Those convicted were not Nazi war criminals. They were Prussian-German irredentists who were convicted of wanting their land returned to Germany. See,
After the party was re-established in 1990, it played a diminishing role in Lithuanian politics. In the elections of the Seimas of 1992 the Lithuanian National Union won 4 places; in 1996 - 3 places, and since 2000 it has no representatives. The number of representatives in the regional municipalities is also diminishing: the party won 49 mandates in 1995, 23 in 1997, 13 in 2000, 14 in 2002 and 3 in 2007 elections.
On 11 March 2008 Lithuanian Nationalist Union merged in to Homeland Union, but in 2011 they announced their withdrawal from it. The party declared its political resurrection in a General Assembly on 17 December 2011.
On 23 August 2013, Nationalist Union signed the Declaration of Bauska together with Conservative People's Party of Estonia and All for Latvia!. The declaration calls for a new national awakening of the Baltic states and warns about threats posed by cultural marxism, international globalism, multiculturalism and Russian imperial ambitions.
|Election year||# of
overall seats won
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0 / 141
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|Alliance with Young Lithuania|
- Lietuvos Respublikos politinių partijų sąrašas. Informacija atnaujinta 2012-08-02
- Berend, Iván T. (1998), Decades of Crisis: Central and Eastern Europe Before World War II, University of California Press, p. 134
- Roger Griffin. The Nature of Fascism. New York, New York, USA: St. Martin's Press, 1991. Pp. 121. The Lithuanian Nationalist Union was a member present at the 1934 Montreux Fascist conference.
- Matas Krygeris. Atsiminimai. Kaunas, Lithuania, 1994.
- Antanas Smetona and His Lithuania: From National Liberation Movement to an Authoritarian Regime (1893-1940) (2015), Alfonsas Eidintas, pp. 301-302.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-02-02. Retrieved 2012-03-07.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
- Nacionālā apvienība: Baltijas nacionālisti paraksta sadarbības līgumu, vēršoties pret globālajiem apdraudējumiem
- Baltimaade konservatiivid: aeg on küps uueks rahvuslikuks ärkamiseks Archived 2013-08-26 at Archive.today
- Simas Sužiedėlis, ed. (1970–1978). "National movement". Encyclopedia Lituanica. IV. Boston, Massachusetts: Juozas Kapočius. p. 35. LCC 74-114275.
- "Lietuvių tautininkų sąjungos istorija" (in Lithuanian). Lithuanian Nationalists Union. Retrieved 2012-01-20.
- (in Lithuanian) Lithuanian Nationalist Union official website