2014 is quite a special year. I’m a historian by education, though I’ve never worked a day as such. And I just can’t help but post this here now.
100yrs ago a war to end all wars aka WW1 began. While it was destructive in all senses of the word, it also laid foundation to many modern states, and in the ashes of war, after a century and a half in a ‘prison of nations’ also known as Russian Empire, as the WW1 ended the modern Lithuania was born in 1918.In 1944 when yet another World War was in its final stages, Lithuania faced yet another captivity – this time by the Soviet regime. Thousands and thousands of young men and women of Lithuania, the very blood and bone of young Lithuania, not willing to lose their freedom joined the armed resistance forces known as ‘brothers of the forest’ in hope of preserving the independence. For more than ten years they fought the much greater occupying forces, and while in 1950s it was more than clear that they’ve lost the battle for freedom, their sacrifice wasn’t in vain and gave strong roots for an idea of once again independent Lithuania in 1990. Deportations, tortures, religious persecution, propaganda and other means put to use by the soviets failed to kill the ideals of what the Resistance was for – Freedom.
In 1989 as the Soviet empire has already starting to tremble in pre-death convulsions, some 2 million people of 3 Baltic states – Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia – on 23rd August, 1989, made a human chain across the three countries joining the three states. This human chain, spanning over 600 km is known as the Baltic Way. In 1989 it was the 50th anniversary of the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact between Soviet Union and Nazi Germany, according to which soviets and nazis divided the Eastern Europe into spheres of influence and sealed fate of many nations for the next half a century.
The Baltic Way was originally that big spark which reignited the fire in the nation’s heart and led Lithuanians, and later Latvians and Estonians, on the path to reinstating the Independence in early 1990.