The Great War (1914-1918) in Lithuanian Memoirs:
Memory Discourses, the Case for Independence
and the Forgetfulness Cover Image

Didysis karas (1914–1918) lietuvių memuarinėje literatūroje: atminties diskursų spektras, nepriklausomybės „byla“ ir užmaršties kontekstas
The Great War (1914-1918) in Lithuanian Memoirs: Memory Discourses, the Case for Independence and the Forgetfulness

Author(s): Eugenijus Žmuida
Subject(s): Pre-WW I & WW I (1900 -1919), Between Berlin Congress and WW I, Politics of History/Memory
Published by: Vytauto Didžiojo Universitetas Švietimo akademija
Keywords: history; the Great War; independence; memory discourses; forgetfulness;

Summary/Abstract: The article analyses memoirs by Lithuanians dealing with the Great War (1914-1918). The events of the early 20th century led to the emergence of Lithuanian independent state. They affected the lives of every Lithuanian, and shaped the most important part of individual and collective memory. Many famous political and cultural figures of that time left behind their memoirs. A variety of memoir literature opens a broad panorama of historical events and personal experiences, expressed in a wide diversity of forms. The article presents examples of the most notable memoirs from different fields. Aleksandras Uspenskis served in the Russian Army, Teodoras Reingardas in the Russian Navy, and Jurgis F. Jonaitis fought on the side of the Entente. The situation in occupied Lithuania is told by such authors as Gabrielė Petkevičaitė-Bitė (from North-Eastern Lithuania), priest Pranciškus Žadeikis (from North-West Lithuania) and Antanas Gintneris (from Southern Lithuania). Priest Pranas Bieliauskas writes about life during the war in Vilnius in his Diary of Vilnius. Memoirs by Martynas Yčas, who was the deputy of the Russian State Duma and a chairman of the Lithuanian War Relief Society, provides a detailed account about lives and affairs of Lithuanians who evacuated to Russia and views of Lithuanian intellectuals on the future of their homeland. The article, using methodological concepts of memory discourses (Maurice Halbwachs, Jan Assmann, Aleida Assmann, and etc.), aims to return this significant part of literature to the horizons of historical and cultural memory, and to analyse the interplay of memory vs. forgetfulness as political and social constructs in the context of historical cataclysms of the 20th century.

  • Issue Year: 20/2018
  • Issue No: 2
  • Page Range: 30-50
  • Page Count: 21
  • Language: Lithuanian