Wednesday, February 13, 2008


Published by Speller & Sons, Publishers, Inc. New York, 1073.

A Documentary History 1939-1945

Book jacket notes:

A microcosm is often very useful for gaining a deeper insight into a broad problem, and Lithuania’s unfortunate position on the border of both the U.S.S.S. and Germany made it an excellent microcosm. For instance, the final Soviet-German agreements concerning Finland, Estonia, and Latvia were made ion August 23, 1939. The question of Poland was disposed of by September 28. Lithuania, however, although directly involved in both these agreements, continued to be a problem under discussion until January, 1941, two months after the German decision to attack the Soviet Union had profoundly altered the basis for their collaboration with the Soviets. Thus, the German-Soviet actions on Lithuania cover almost the entire period of the collaboration of the two powers. Furthermore, as a chronic and difficult problem, Lithuania occupies a prominent place in their relations and involves prominent personalities of the two governments. Finally, these high ranking officials who became embroiled in the problem felt themselves rather chez eux in the discussions and behaved with a revealing candidness not to be found in their contacts with the West.

In addition, Lithuania underwent three separate invasions and occupations, Soviet in 1940, German in 1941, and Soviet again in 1944, and in the first two cases was one if the original examples of a new method, both Soviet and German, of dealing with conquered territory – in other words, something of a test case. The Soviet occupations are interesting as well for the reaction of the nationalistic population to the internationalistic ideology of their traditionally expansionist conquerors.

Finally, the vicissitudes of the Lithuanian liberation movement against the Soviet Union and Germany, both at home and abroad, from a well-documented cross section of the problems of such movements, as well as an interesting sidelight on one of the more curious ambivalencies of U.S. foreign policy, the problem of adapting the lofty and universal principals proclaimed by its presidents with the realities of great-power politics.

The tendency today by historians to avoid the most momentous event in modern history – Nazi-Soviet collaboration – is regrettable, and it is earnestly hoped that this study will in some way counter this trend. This book is a worthy contribution to regional study of Europe, and of interest to historians, diplomats, and political scientists, as well as students eager to locate new material for their research.

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