View Full Version : Memelland

Monday, March 21st, 2005, 11:51 PM
After first world war. on nov.11th 1918 the by Germans so called Memelland(lithuanian:Klaipedos krastos) was occupited by French and British troops. According to the treaty of Versailles, which was signed by Germany on june 28th 1919 it was decided that in the southern parts of East-Prussia(Ermland and Masuren)should be held plebescite, on which the local population could decide between the status quo under Germany or to join the new Poland. According to article 99 of the Versailles treaty Germany was forced to give up the Memelland area. iN 1910, Memelland was populated by 71.000Germans and 67.000Lithuanians.The city of Memel was inhabitad by 90% Germans, while the rest of the area mainly was Lithuanian.Because it was very clear that the majority of the Memellanders(Germans aswell Lithuanians)wanted to stay under German administration, declared Germany that the area should remain German or to hold an plebescite.This was refused by the alliede powers on the following arguments:the allied powers refuse to recognice that the issue of Memelland is against the nationality principe. The Memelland area, according to the allied powers was always Lithuanian and the majority is of Lithianian origin and their tongue is Lithuanian. On febr.16th 1918 Lithianian national movement declared independence of Lithuania, which was only recognized by Soviet Russia in juli 1920.Lithuanian nationalists claimed the foundation of an greater Lithuania, which should exist of Russian Lithuania and the so called East-Prussian Lithuania, noth and south of the Memel river(Lith.Nemundas). When Polish forces occupiden Vilnius, the socalled Lithuanian capital, hostile tensions reach its highest point between the two new states. On aug.15th 1920 Memelland came under French millitary administration under general Dominique Odry, under the name territoire de Memel.In may 1921 Memelland came under civil administration under Jean-Gabriel Petisne. Petisne supported the idea of an freestate Memelland. While French troops invated the German Rhineland, Lithuanian forces marched into Memelland on Jan. 1923.Witheen an week, all of Memelland was under Lithuanian control. One month later the allied powers accepted the Lithuanian souvernity, as an compensation for the lost of Vilius area. Only in 1928 Germany accepted and recognized the new border with Lithuania. In dec.1923 France, Great-Brittan, Italy and Japan signed the statute of memel, with an resolt that the Lithuanian annexation become recognized.Memelland became an autonomous region with German and Lithuanian as both recognized languages, but by internal migration of lithuanians the numbers of the lithuanians in Memelland overgrow the German community.Memelland Lithuanians where closer related to the Germans, both religious, historically and cultural, then with other Lithuanians.After Lithuanian nationalist Antanas Smetona(1874-1944) took over power in dec.1926, tensions between Lith.gouverment and local administration in Memel reach higher levels.The memelland autonome administration ended in 1932, en his ledded to tensions with Germany.After the anschluss of the Sudetenland in 1938, Hitler put pressure on Lithuania and presented them an ultimatum to return Memelland ba of Lithuaniack to Germany, with an result that Memelland on march 22th 1939 came heim ins reich. On march 30th, 1939 Lithuania recognized the German souvernity on Memelland. During world war two, the third reich evacueded the German inhabitans of the Memelland. On jan.28th 1945 Soviet troops finally occupited the city of Memel, which became an part of the Soviet socialist republic Lithuania. After the independence of Lithuania both Klaipeda aswell Klaipedas krastas became part of the new established republic.