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Iron Wolf (organization)

Iron Wolf (Geležinis Vilkas, also known as Iron Wolf Association) was a Lithuanian paramilitary organization active in 1927–1934. Initially established as an athletic society (founded by officer Algirdas Sliesoraitis, supported by Catholic chaplain V. Mironas), it recruited its members mainly from army officers (overall numbers were minuscule). Its original raison d'être was perceived as a fight against internal destabilization in light of political crisis, civil unrest and yet another demonstrative threat of military intervention, made by the Polish government. With the exception of glorification of youth and struggle, it featured rather few criteria of fascist ideology.[1]

The organization gradually radicalized and became almost completely dependent on a personal will of Augustinas Voldemaras, who used it to target his political opponents.[2] After Voldemaras's Cabinet resignation, the movement was banned in 1930, although it continued as an underground group, even more radical. In 1934, its members attempted a failed coup d'état against the president, Antanas Smetona. Voldemaras was arrested, released in 1938 and soon emigrated. Former members of the organization reorganized later in the 1930s.

Leading Voldemarists fled to Nazi Germany after the Soviet occupation of Lithuania in 1941. They joined the Lithuanian Activist Front led by Kazys Škirpa, but in the Spring of 1941 betrayed him to work directly with the SD. After the Nazi German invasion of the Soviet Union, they led a failed putsch against the Provisional Government of Lithuania. They led the Lithuanian Nationalist Party, which collaborated with the Nazi occupation and which was active in the Holocaust in Lithuania.

The name of the organization comes from the story of Gediminas' dream, first recorded in The Broad Code of Lithuanian Chronicles from the 16th century. During the period of 1928–1929, Iron Wolf published its periodical Tautos kelias twice a month.

References

  1. ^ Alan Oliver Goetz, The Iron Wolf: Lithuanian Fascism (1927-1941)
  2. ^ Stanley G. Payne, A History of Fascism: 1914-1945, London: Routledge, 2001, p. 341

External links