Silvestras Žukauskas

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Silvestras Žukauskas
General Slvestras Žukauskas in Lithuanian uniform
Native name Сильвестр Константинович Жуковский
Born (1860-12-31)December 31, 1860
Poškiečiai-Dovainiškiai, Kovno Governorate
Died November 26, 1937(1937-11-26) (aged 76)
Service/branch Russian Empire Army and Lithuanian Armed Forces
Years of service 1881–1918 (Russian Empire), 1918–1928 (Lithuania)
Rank General
Commands held Supreme Commander of Lithuanian army
Awards Great cross of the Order of the Cross of Vytis (1919)

Silvestras Žukauskas (Silvester Konstantinovich Zhukovsky, Russian: Сильвестр Константинович Жуковский December 31, 1860, Poškiečiai-Dovainiškiai, Kovno Governorate – November 26, 1937, Kaunas) was a general in the Russian army, and later in his native Lithuania, after it regained its independence in 1918.


After graduating from the secondary school in Marijampolė, Žukauskas studied at the military academy in Vilnius. In 1881, he enlisted in a cavalry unit of the Russian Empire. In 1898 he married German Josephine Hasdorf and converted to Lutheranism, because this helped him pursuing his career[citation needed]. Žukauskas participated in the Russo-Japanese War and advanced through the ranks. In 1912 he was promoted to Colonel. He held a command in World War I, and for the defense of Šiauliai, was awarded the golden sabre.[1] In 1916 he attained the rank of Major-General.

Lithuanian Wars of Independence[edit]

Upon Lithuania regaining its independence in 1918, Žukauskas returned home to Lithuania and began creating and organizing the Lithuanian Armed Forces. Between April 26, 1919 and May 27, 1919 Žukauskas served as the Chief of General Staff.[2] During that time he also organized a defense against the Bolsheviks. On May 7, 1919 he was appointed the Supreme Commander of the Lithuanian army (serving until September 24), at the time also acting as Chief of the General Staff. Under Žukauskas' direct command the Kurkliai–Panevėžys operation was planned. During its implementation, Ukmergė and Panevėžys were liberated from Bolshevik control. After this operation Žukauskas established the military Order Už tėvynę (For the Homeland), later renamed the Vytis cross on February 3, 1920 and the Order of the Cross of Vytis on September 1, 1930. At first it was awarded as a ribbon, without a medal.

On May 26 – June 6, 1919 the Lithuanian offensive continued during the planned Kupiškis–Utena operation, and the towns of Biržai, Nemunėlio Radviliškis, Utena were liberated. The Red Army retreated from Kupiškis in order to avoid encirclement. The offensive continued as Obeliai was captured. The Lithuanian army halted when it reached the Daugava River, and then joined the Lithuanian army's main forces and took on the Bermontians who were invading northern Lithuania.

On February 23, 1920 he was again named Supreme Commander of the Lithuanian army until June 14, 1920. When the war with Poland erupted on October 8, 1920, he again became Supreme Commander of the Lithuanian army until the end of hostilities. He resigned on May 29, 1921.

Following the end of hostilities Žukauskas returned to civilian life and began working as a nominal executive of the American-Lithuanian Company. This enterprise initiated a power plant near Šiauliai, began a bus transportation line, and built gas stations and maintenance garages.

Upon being recalled into military service, Žukauskas served once again as the Supreme Commander of the Lithuanian Army between June 5, 1923 and January 25, 1928.

Silvestras Žukauskas died in 1937, and is buried in Kaunas' Lutheran cemetery.



  1. ^ "Knygos "Generolas Silvestras Žukauskas" pristatymas". Krašto apsaugos ministerija (in Lithuanian). Retrieved 2008-05-24. 
  2. ^ "Lietuvos Respublikos Krašto Apsaugos Ministerija". Retrieved 2008-05-23. 
  3. ^ Priedītis, Ērichs Ēriks (1996). Latvijas Valsts apbalvojumi un Lāčplēši. (in Latvian). Riga: Junda. ISBN 9984-01-020-1. OCLC 38884671. 

Further reading[edit]

  • (Lithuanian) Jonas Aničas, Generolas Silvestras Žukauskas (1861–1937), Lietuvos Respublikos krašto apsaugos ministerija, 2006, Vilnius, p. 293, ISBN 9986-738-76-8