Restoration of Lithuania’s Independence

March 11

The great thing about being a tiny nation sandwiched between Russia and Germany is that you get to celebrate so many Independence Days! Lucky Lithuanians. Here it’s only March and the country celebrates its third independence-related holiday of the year!

Lithuania’s main Independence Day is February 16, which celebrates the day in 1918 that the Council of Lithuania declared itself finally independent of both Russia and Germany during the chaos of World War I and the Russian Revolution. (See Lithuanian Independence Day.)

But the briefly independent nation was consumed by the Soviet giant at the outbreak of World War II.

Over fifty years later on March 11, 1990, the Lithuanian government declared that the Lithuanian State that was “abolished by foreign forces in 1940, is re-established, and henceforth Lithuania is again an independent state.

The aptly named “Act of March 11” is what the country celebrates today.

The act of rebellion didn’t sit so well with Soviet leaders. As nationalism in Lithuania rose, Soviet tanks entered the capital of Vilnius in January 1991, killing 14 people and injuring hundreds. Lithuanians remember January 13 as Freedom Defenders Day.

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