By Šarūnas Liekis
Read Online or Download 1939: The Year that Changed Everything in Lithuania's History (On the Boundary of Two Worlds: Identity, Freedom, & Moral Imagination in the Baltics, 20) PDF
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Additional info for 1939: The Year that Changed Everything in Lithuania's History (On the Boundary of Two Worlds: Identity, Freedom, & Moral Imagination in the Baltics, 20)
A parliament was summoned only in 1936. However, this was not a typical parliament. The parliament was formed only from the reliable “Tautininkai” (Nationalists) party members or close associates recommended for election by the municipalities. 45 In 1936, the opposition parties of the Peasant Populists, Social-Democrats and Christian-Democrats which had been tolerated for the decade following the coup d’etat of 1926 were completely banned. The Constitution of 1938 unanimously approved by the Seimas gave nearly complete over-riding power to the President, Antanas Smetona.
The Gothic script, previously used very little by the predominantly Catholic Lithuanians, was banned in 1872. The only script permitted for Lithuanian publications in the Russian Empire was Cyrillic. The Catholic clergy initiated the printing of religious didactics and prayer books abroad. By 1867, Prussia became the main centre of Lithuanian printing. Between 1864 and 1896, a total of 3,777,250 copies of Lithuanian publications were printed there. There were 1939 - T H E Y E A R T H AT C H A N G E D E V E R Y T H I N G I N L I T H U A N I A’ S H I S T O R Y 19 40 illegal organisations which helped to prepare and distribute the materials.
A coup took place on May 15, 1934 under the leadership of the Army, the Aizsargi (National Guard) with the support of the Agrarian party leadership. Ulmanis dismissed the Parliament, disbanded the political parties and governed as Prime Minister of a personally- appointed cabinet of ministers. It should be mentioned that there was no suppression of the opposition or intimidation towards political opponents through state coercion. As in all the Baltic States, the dictatorship suppressed any public critique of the regime by intimidation and keeping a close eye on any signs of political opposition and censure of the press.