The Lithuanian American Council’s Vision of the Liberated Lithuania in the 50s of the 20th C.: Between Parliamentary and Presidential Republics
Keywords:emigration, democratic Lithuania, Constitution of 1922, Constitution of 1938
The article discusses the sprouts of Lithuania’s liberation in the USA, where Lithuanian emigrants of the previous waves were already active in the 50s of the 20th century, and discussions about the future political system of the liberated Lithuania were underway. The emigrants had set up the Council for the Liberation of Lithuania (Lietuvai gelbėti taryba − LGT) back in August of 1940, which was renamed into the Lithuanian American Council (Amerikos lietuvių taryba − ALT) in May, 1941. Initially, this organization consolidated four main political streams of the Lithuanian emigration: Roman Catholics, socialists, members of the Santara movement and nationalists. The nationalists, having adopted a favourable attitude to the President Antanas Smetona, separated and established the Union for the Liberation of Lithuania (Lietuvai vaduoti sąjunga − LVS) in June, 1941. After the President’s tragic death (January 9, 1944), this organization developed into the Mission of American Lithuanians (Amerikos lietuvių misija − ALM). The simultaneous existence of two organizations concerned with activities of Lithuania’s liberation obstructed the formation of undivided policies. The proclamation “To the Lithuanian nation” by the Senior Committee for the Liberation of Lithuanians of February 16, 1944 states that “after the liberation of Lithuania from the occupational regime, the Constitution of Lithuania of 1938 shall not lose its power until it is legally and accordingly revised” and emphasizes the necessity for a presidential republic. The Senior Committee for the Liberation of Lithuania (Vyriausiasis Lietuvos išlaisvinimo komitetas − VLIK), who had gained much authority in the West, managed to bring the above-mentioned organizations to negotiations. In January of 1948, ALT once again was combining the four patriotic Lithuanian political streams.