Lithuanian War of Independence 1918-20

[ 1918 - 1920 ]

Russian-ruled Lithuanian declared itself an independent state (February 16, 1918) following the overthrow of the Russian czar. Immediately Soviet (Bolshevik) forces invaded, but the Germans, recognizing the new state, soon drove them out. After Germany's surrender (November 11, 1918) in World War I and the forced withdrawal of German troops from Lithuania, the Soviets again invaded the country and seized its capital, Vilna (Vilnius), in early January 1919. The Poles intervened in support of the Lithuanians and drove the Soviets out of Vilna, helping to precipitate the Russo-Polish War of 1919-20. In December 1919, the Lithuanian-Polish border was defined by the Allied powers, which gave Vilna to Lithuania. Fighting continued until the Soviets and Lithuanians signed the Treaty of Moscow on July 12, 1920; Lithuanian's independence was recognized. However, Polish raiders led by General Lucian Zeligowski (1865-1947) captured Vilna by surprise (October 9, 1920), established a provisional government there, and held a plebiscite (January 8, 1922) that showed a majority of Vilna's citizens wanting union with Poland. All relations between Poland and Lithuania were severed because of this.

Dictionary of Wars, 273.

Related Conflicts

No Releted Conflicts