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Gender, Ethnicity, and Multidirectional Violence in the Last Months of the German Rule in Lithuania: A Case Study of Local Force Battalions

Abstract : In the last months of the German rule in Lithuania, various military-political groups fought the occupiers, their collaborators, and each other in the multi-ethnic regions of the Generalbezirk Litauen. Many civilians marked as “enemy sympathisers” fell victim to this multidirectional violence. This chapter interrogates the relationship between violence, gender, and ethnicity in the mobilising discourse and anti-partisan violence of Local Force battalions (Litauische Sonderverbände, Vietinė rinktinė), set up by the German authorities in February 1944. It discusses three factors that enabled the occupation regime to recruit Lithuanian men to fight Polish and Soviet partisans: the memories of violent multi-sided conflicts between Poles, Lithuanians, and Soviets that erupted at the end of the Great War, the Soviet takeover of 1940, perceived as a humiliation and symbolic emasculation of Lithuanian soldiers, and the opportunity to assert the dominance of ethnic Lithuanians in the predominantly Polish-speaking Vilnius region. The chapter also suggests that Local Force violence should be approached within the context of the multidirectional violence that intensified in south-eastern Lithuania in the spring of 1944 rather than as a manifestation of the ancient hatred between Poles and Lithuanians.
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https://hal-sciencespo.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-03519787
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Submitted on : Monday, January 10, 2022 - 4:22:06 PM
Last modification on : Tuesday, March 1, 2022 - 11:28:05 AM

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Justina Smalkyte. Gender, Ethnicity, and Multidirectional Violence in the Last Months of the German Rule in Lithuania: A Case Study of Local Force Battalions. Collective Identities and Post-War Violence in Europe, 1944–48, Springer International Publishing, pp.35-63, 2021, World Histories of Crime, Culture and Violence, ⟨10.1007/978-3-030-78386-0_3⟩. ⟨hal-03519787⟩

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