|Conventional short name:|
|Official:||Lithuanian (African Lithuanian)|
|Supreme General:||Povilas Plechavičius, Antanas Audronis|
|Declared:||February 12th of 1940|
|Recognized:||Never (by Lithuania)|
|Ceased to exist:||August 29th of 1942|
Pakštuva was a state that existed between 1940 and 1942 (during the Second Great War) in eastern Africa. It was established on the basis of Naujojo Vilniaus apskritis (a Lithuanian territory in Africa) after the European part of Lithuania was occupied by Russia in Thunderstorm War. Pakštuva fell after a joint Chinese and Ethiopian attack that resulted in the Borderland War. Currently the territory of Pakštuva belongs to Chinese East Africa, Maasai and Ethiopia.
Pakštuva was limited by Chinese East Africa in the south, Ethiopia in the north, Indian Ocean in the east and Lake Smetona in the west. Mount Kilimanjaro (then known as Perkūnkalnis) was on its southern border, while mount Kenya (then known as Vytautakalnis) was on its northern border. In the east the northern and southern borders of the country went along Pietų Neris (Tara) and Pietų Prieglius rivers. The equator crossed the northern part of the country.
- The easternmost part of Pakštuva (coast of the Ocean) consisted of coastal brush, swamps and forests. The elevation of this area was low and therefore it was hot all year round. It was not intensively cultivated and the habitation was primarilly restricted to the coast. This area once accounted for 70% of the industry of Naujojo Vilniaus apskritis but it was devastated the most during the Thunderstorm War. This region was commonly refered to as "Krantop" (Reformed Lithuanian for "Going towards the coast").
- To the west of these areas there was an arid and sparsely inhabitted territory usually called "Dykuma" ("The desert"). Only the banks of Pietų Neris (Tana) river were forested and more populated. The elevation of this area was arond 500 m above sea level.
- Further westwards there were "Kalvos" ("The hills") - savanna of elevations 1000 - 3000 m above sea level that was very important for agriculture of the country.
- The far west of the country near the coast of Lake Smetona was another important agricultural area and this is where the capital city Naujasis Vilnius was located. The elevations here were similar to those in Kalvos. This region was commonly refered to as "Ežerop" (Reformed Lithuanian for "Going towards the lake").
Main article: History of Pakštuva
Naujojo Vilniaus apskritis, the apskritis of Lithuania that became Pakštuva, was de facto granted more autonomy in September of 1939 when the European part Lithuania was invaded by Russia (Thunderstorm War). Povilas Plechavičius, vadovas of the apskritis, prepared the plans to defend the area. Second Slavic uprising did happen in the apskritis but it was less serious than in Lithuania-proper and was crushed in several months. Another problem during this time was the large flow of refugees from Lithuania (around 25000 in September and October) who were temporarily settled in public buildings and buildings nationalised for this purpose. Construction of new low-quality wooden buildings was also commenced.
With the fall of Lithuania-proper in October Naujojo Vilniaus apskritis was left alone and seeked to establish truce with its inhabittants of African race in attempt to contain the Slavs. First Russian bombing of Naujasis Kaunas took place in 4th of November. Lithuanian Air Force managed to prevent Russian raids of the western parts of the country (with some exceptions). Russian invasion was largely preempted by the Disaster of the Indian Ocean (presumably a Chinese sabotage against Russian vessels) but it did happen. Russians captured 9% of the territory of apskritis by early December of 1939 but were beaten back later. Chinese occupied town of Priegliava and surroundings during this time (officially in an attempt to save several Chinese families from advancing Russians), which was never returned. Bugandan troops infiltrated the western parts of the land and destabilized the situation there.
By January of 1940 the Russian land army had been largely beaten back and surrendered or taken POWs while the levels of Russian bombings decreased. A peace treaty was signed which established independent state of Pakštuva. This marked the end of direct Russian military attacks in the area. Another subsequent treaty (Modus Vivendi of Pakštuva and Buganda) called for normalization of relations between these two countries. The will of Bugandan Slavs to sign such a treaty was influenced by the Russian retreat and the successful Pakštuvan Air Force raid on Slavograd.
Main issues of Pakštuva were catering for refugees, finding new markets for agricultural products, establishing diplomatic relations, rebuilding the damaged eastern part of the country including the port of Naujasis Kaunas. Bad conditions there led to mutinees of the people of African race. These were openly or covertly supported by Ethiopia and less so by China and culminated on August of 1940 in mass strike in Naujasis Kaunas which triggered a large battle that costed lifes of 1500 Pakštuvans of both races.
Pakštuva was pressured both by Ethiopia and China but was not occupied by either at this time because none of these two countries were willing to let the other take the area. Diplomatic ties with China were established but Chinese did this to show Ethiopians that they will not tolerate unilaterial occupation of Pakštuva rather than to support Pakštuva as some had initially expected in Naujasis Vilnius. The end of 1940 brought large looses to Pakštuva as it lost one of its several airships and the anti-insurgency tactics were altered again. When Ethiopia went fighting in the French colonies and occupying port cities of European countries Pakštuva signed a deal with Federated Kingdoms over the usage of Naujasis Kaunas port that gave Pakštuva much-needed funds.
The funds from Allies permitted Pakštuva to re-equip badly equiped army to some exent and improve the living conditions for the people. However, the sitaution continued to be bad and the insurgency continued throughout the 1941.
After Ethiopia and China signed the Secret Treaty of Mogadishu the disagreements between two powers were solved and the fate of Pakštuva was determined. Chinese presented an ultimatum both from China and Ethiopa in mid-June of 1942 and demanded an immidiate empowerement of the indigenous majority by giving power to particular leaders of insurgency in 72 hours. Understanding that this would effectively end Pakštuva and fearing genocide of Lithuanians and Slavs the Pakštuvan government offered a counter-proposal for its reformation into a federative Republic of the Equator. The Chinese and the Ethiopians did not respond to this proposal and entered Pakštuva which led to the Borderland War. Some localities fell quickly. The east of the country was conquered soon enough with the help of locals of African race removing Pakštuvan access to the ocean. The government evacuated from Naujasis Vilnius to Kalnadvaris in the Pakštuvan heartland where the fighting continued the longest. Last remnants of the Pakštuvan territory were conquered in August. Povilas Plechavičius died in one of the last battles and Antanas Audronis who was the Supreme General from the death of Plechavičius to the fall of Kalnadvaris was executed after the conquest.
No census was ever done in Pakštuva, but based on the results of the 1938 general Lithuanian census it could be assumed that the approximate numbers of the communities of Pakštuva were like that:
- Maasai - 450,000 (25.14%)
- Luo - 350,000 (19.55%)
- Slavs - 250,000 (13.97%)
- Kisii - 220,000 (12.29%)
- Mijikenda - 200,000 (11.17%)
- Swahili - 150,000 (8.38%)
- Lithuanians - 90,000 (5.03%)
- Kemba - 80,000 (4.71%)
Luo people lived along the coast of Lake Smetona, Mijikenda and Swahili lived along the coast of the ocean. Kisii lived to the east of Luos. Maasais lived in the middle and due to their important role in Pakštuva Maasai communities existed in cities as well. Many Maasais still were nomadic however. The main areas of Lithuanian and Slavic habitation were the highlands in the middle of the country, the coast of Lake Smetona and nearby areas and the cities of Naujasis Kaunas and Palangėnai on the ocean coast. The settlements along the Great Southern Railroad typically had large Slavic and Lithuanian populations as well.
The politics of Pakštuva included almost absolute power of the Supreme General (Vyriausiasis karvedys), who was both military and civilian leader, and had extended powers if the state of emergency was declared (and due to the highly unstable position of the country, state of emergency was never repelled throughout the state's existance). In addition to the Supreme General, there existed several councils, with mostly advisory powers (although, depending on the situation, the Supreme General used to agree with the decitions of the councils on many issues).
There was no constitution as the Pakštuvan-Russian peace treaty discontinued the usage of Lithuanian constitution and new constitution was never adopted. Lithuanian civil and penal codes and most other laws remained in use except for those that were not compatible with the regulations of Pakštuvan-Russian peace treaty. Throughout the existance of the state many new laws were adopted and the old ones altered in order to conform with the changed situation comparing with the one of interwar Lithuania.
Political parties with the exception of Tautininkai continued to be banned. Tautininkai and their political organisations, such as the Rifle Union, were the backbone of the state. Several minor splits of opinions in the party did not cause larger problems. The underground Lithuanian political parties such as the Socialdemocrats and the Baltic Democrats continued to exist but their actions were few and far between (with a notable exception of the Communists who attempted to win support among locals of African race and encouraged strikes). Ethnic Lithuanians made the bulk of members in most of these parties but there were Slavs, Veneds and others as well. Tautininkai admitted some Maasai members after the independence of Pakštuva. Membership in other illegal political organisations was largely divided along ethnic, racial or religious lines. Such organisations included Snorist and Panafricanist ones. Many of them were receiving secret financial and other aid from Ethiopia, China, Russia, Buganda or other states and wanted fall of the Pakštuvan regime. On the other hand, most Lithuanians and some people of other ethnic groups supported the government believing that nothing considerably better could be done under such circumstances and destablization could lead to worse situation. Many local Lithuanians hoped for reunification with Lithuania after the war but these hopes were not said aloud by the Pakštuvan officials who did not want to provoke non-Lithuanian locals, Ethiopians, Chinese and Russians. Some people (primarilly from the Lithuanian and Slavic communities) promoted a peaceful revolution and development of a single national identity in Pakštuva which they thought to be crucial for the survival of all ethnicities that inhabitted the land.
While the Supreme General held formal powers to conduct foreign relations Povilas Pleachvičius's participation in this field was limited to setting major diplomatic goals. The diplomacy of Pakštuva was led by the Expert of Foreign Affairs in the State Council. Dovas Zaunius who has arrived with refugees in October of 1939 was the first person to be appointed to this position. He was appointed the same day Pakštuva declared independence but he conducted foreign relations of the area before that as well. He led the secret negotiations for peace treaty with Russia. After Zaunius's death former Lithuanian ambassador to Ethiopia Bronius Kazys Balutis became the Expert of Foreign Affairs.
Among the main diplomatic goals of Pakštuva were:
- To secure a wide diplomatic recognition.
- To find new markets for Pakštuvan agricultural products.
- To seek for foreign financial and military aid and political support.
- To maintain peaceful relations with China and Ethiopia.
- To secure international recognition of Pakštuvan neutrality.
Pakštuva was more successful at achieving some goals and less successful at achieving some others. Its diplomatic power was impaired by lack of economic and military strenght and fragile internal position. In addition to that many foreign states saw Pakštuva to be a temporary construct that would collapse due to foreign or internal factors in several months if not days. As NAL Today put in its 1940 February 13th edition, "Russian bear left this little bit of land for African lions to eat".
Lithuania (relegated to what is now Free Lithuania) used policy of deliberate ambiguity towards the Pakštuvan declaration of independence. It never recognised Pakštuva unwilling to undermine possibilities of getting it back after whole Lithuania would be liberated but at the same time it did not publically oppose independent Pakštuva not willing to undermine Plechavičius's positions further and erradicate the support of foreign Lithuanians Pakštuva enjoyed. Independent Pakštuva was not on long-term Lithuanian goals which called for reunified Lithuania but it was on short-term Lithuanian goals which called for preservation of as much Lithuanian influence as possible. As such Lithuanians held unofficial relations with Pakštuvan government on many occasions.
The only administrational division of Pakštuva was its division into the Military Provinces (Karinės sritys), which were numbered rather than named. The numbers generally went from the northwest towards the southeast, and there were sixteen Military Provinces. Each of the province was ruled by a general (Karvedys), who was appointed by the Supreme General. During the state of emergency, these generals had a major power in their areas. Not only they ruled civilian affairs (advised by local councils), but as well they were the leaders of local military batallions. There were plans to enact a civilian administrational division eventually, but these did not ever passed to a farther stage than visions, mostly due to very unstable situation in the country.
Economy of Pakštuva largely collapsed during the Thunderstorm War. A large part of infrastructure was destroyed during the Russian bombings, especially in the eastern part of the country. This included the port of Naujasis Kaunas, large sections of the Great Southern Railroad. The possibilities to export goods were therefore severed. Industry section sustained heavy damage as well as most of the area's industry was concentrated in the east. Agriculture was concentrated in the west and therefore suffered less and agricultural products ammounted for well over a half of Pakštuvan exports. Large numbers of refugees from the European part of Lithuania contributed to the housing problems and unemployment. The war in Europe meant that traditional markets for local goods were lost. It also made it impossible for Pakštuva to expect any significant ammounts of humanitarian or other aid. In the March of 1940 GDP of the area was less than half of the pre-war level. A new currency, Pakštuvos litas, was introduced, but it faced hyperinflation. Special cards were needed to acquire products throughout the existance of the state and certain products were in deficit. Various enterprises were nationalised and heavy taxes were levied on people in order to fund reconstruction, restoration of order and war effort. Significant economic recovery never materialised although some of the problems, such as the lack of housing or the export markets, were partially solved. Hopes for significant improvements of situation were dashed by revolts, sabotages and terrorist activity as well as strikes. To counter these threats the military spending had to be increased greatly which put a further strain on the economy. After the Ethiopian annexation of port cities in Somalia that were controlled by Europeans Pakštuva was able to earn some money in exchange for permissions to use Naujasis Kaunas port which somewhat relieved the economic situation.
Military of Pakštuva consisted of the Lithuanian forces that were at Plechavičius's command in Naujojo Vilniaus apskritis at the time of the Thunderstorm War. During this war however, Russians did great damage to the military, but some forces were preserved. These forces were later expanded and modernised somewhat primarilly using the money secretely paid by the allies for the usage of the Naujasis Kaunas port.
After the mass mobilization of Lithuanians and the establishment of Maasai regiment in November 1939 the size of Lithuanian forces in what was then Naujojo Vilniaus apskritis was around 90,000 men. After partial demobilization in February of 1940 which happened together with independence the Pakštuvan armed forces had around 40,000 troops, around 15,000 of them being ethnic Lithuanians with the rest mainly Maasais. Later restructurisations in the army attempted to solve various problems that existed. Men who were mobilized against their will were being substitued by new soldiers who were usually hired war refugees or people who lost their employment due to war. The share of non-Lithuanian soldiers was increasing as well but the government was still wary of admitting large numbers of Slavs or people of African race into the army.
Many of the units were primarilly aimed at anti-insurgency operations rather than a war, although defenses against foreign invasion were also built. The defensive fortifications on Ethiopian and Chinese borders inherited from Lithuania were improved but remained inadequate. All branches of military, although relatively well funded, were subject to shortages. Therefore, for example, bands would be used instead of uniforms to distinguish Pakštuvan soldiers in many cases.
The land army of Pakštuva was divided into sixteen units according to the Military Provinces. Land army as well was doing the job of the police as the state of emergency was constantly declared. Land army had some tanks, some of which were captured from the Russians, and over the time the ammount of military technic under their command had increased. Prime weapons and tactics, however, were to fight possible saboteurs and terrorists.
The air force of Pakštuva was based on the African unit of the Lithuanian Air Force, which was stationed in the area. The force was quite large, it included anti-airship fighters ANBO-8, ANBO-11 and ANBO-12 (later most of ANBO-8 were upgraded into ANBO-13, an anti-insurgency fighter aimed to attack minor ground targets). As well, by the time Lithuania-proper was occupied by Russia, 9 airships had been stationed in Naujojo Vilniaus apskritis, out of them 4 were lost during the Thunderstorm War (SPO Kazys Pakštas, SSO Aukštutinė Pilis, DPO Karalius Vytenis and TVO Santara). The remaining five were:
- SSO Pietų Pašvaistė
- SSO Perkūnkalnis
- TVO Tvarka
- TVO Taika
- TVO Tiesa
- TVO Ramybė
The TVO (Tvarkos Vedimo Orlaivis) were smaller airships, generally meant to fight insurgents, while SSO (Sunkusis Sprogdžiavimo Orlaivis) were larger versions, meant to strike enemy. It is assumed that SSO Perkūnkalnis was later refurbished into a transport airship for a possible retreat of the government, although this is sometimes denied. TVO Taika was cannibalised for spare parts for other similar airships. The air force performed well in fighting off the Russians, and later was important at fighting insurgents (several airships and aircrafts were lost in these missions), but it did put up very little defense against the Chinese-Ethiopian invasion that put an end to the Pakštuvan state. One of the main victories of the Pakštuvan air force was the raid on Slavograd, Buganda in February of 1940 that led to the Modus Vivendi of Pakštuva and Buganda agreement.
The Naujasis Kaunas fleet of Lithuania was heavily damaged during the Thunderstorm War. Pakštuva attempted to rebuild the navy. Several ships at Naujasis Kaunas were nationalised on accusations towards their owners of funding anti-government groups. These ships were turned into military ships, primarilly performing coast guard duties, but they did not perform a major role during the Borderland War. An important part of the navy was the Lake Smetona coast guard that was meant to defend the nation from possible Bugandan threats.
According to the peace treaty with Russia Pakštuva had to adopt new national symbols (flag, emblem and anthem) instead of continuing the usage of Lithuanian symbols. The symbols had to be adopted at the time of independence so there was no nationwide discussion on the matter and the council of apskritis chosen new symbols in a matter of several days.
The flag of Pakštuva consisted of narrow yellow stripe at the top, represnting the bright African sun, wide green stripe in the middle, which was representing the beautiful nature and the importance of agriculture, and, at the bottom, blue stripe, which was representing both waters surounding the country - Indian Ocean and Lake Smetona. These colours of the flag were modelled after the flag of Naujojo Vilniaus apskritis, territorial subdivision of Lithuania in Africa, which later became Pakštuva. As well in addition to these vertical stripes, there was a black horizontal stripe at the left side, symbolising the mourning for those who died in war and (unofficially) mourning for the lost homeland (continental Lithuania). In the middle of the green vertical stripe there was the coloured Vytis (see "Emblem").
The emblem, similarly to flag, had to be changed from Lithuanian Vytis according to treaty with Russia. Changes, however, were only in colors; instead of being in red field, the Vytis was put in green shield in the new version (symbolising nature and agriculture). Itself it was not white as in original version, but gray. The formerly yellow parts of it were changed into brown and red (The columns of Gediminas and the handle of sword in soldier's hand became red, other yellow parts became brown). The blue parts were darkened. In general, colors became darker and more grim, which unofficially symbolised the loose of homeland (mainland Lithuania), while the red handle of the sword and columns of Gediminas symbolised the fight for it.
"Oi neverk, matušėle", a patriotic song by Maironis, was made anthem of Pakštuva, which shown that despite of formal declaration of independence, Povilas Plechavičius and large part of leadership of Pakštuva still associated themselves with Lithuania, as the song had many Lithuanian-related things. It is still popular in the diaspora of African Lithuanians as well as the not large Lithuanian community still remaining in what was Pakštuva.
Only the first, second and the last verses were official as the other veerses contained references (real or perceived) to either Lithuania, monotheistic God or white race, which could have caused disagreement from Russia or local minorities. However, when the Russian threat subsided, more of the verses started to be sung even on official occasions.
The text and translation
Oi neverk, matušėle, kad jaunas sūnus
Taip nelaužyk sau rankų, kaip beržo šakas
Ten už upių plačių žiba mūsų pulkai:
Daugel krito sūnų kaip tų lapų rudens:
Vedė Vytautas ten didžiavyrių pulkus
Saulė leidos raudona ant Vilniaus kapų,
O neverk, matušėle, kad jaunas sūnus
Oh, don't cry, beloved mother, that young son
Don't break your arms in the way birch branches
There beyond wide rivers our legions are shining
Many sons have fallen as those leaves of Autumn
Vytautas was leading there the legions of heroes
The red sun was setting onto the graves of Vilnius
Oh, don't cry, beloved mother, that young son
Pakštuva had three different orders issued for its people (all the decorations were made out of ivory with the exception of the Order of Geležinkelietis in later months of Pakštuva):
- Order of Geležinkelietis was established in November of 1939 by Plechavičius's decree (before the establishment of the state) in order to boost morale of the people. It was awarded to everybody who supported the country "significantly in an altruistic way", such as accepting refugees in their own homes, helping to build defensive installations, volunteering in the army and so on. Order of Geležinkelietis was a small ivory disc surrounded by smaller ivory sticks; the number of sticks could have been increased over the time (so if the person who already has an order would do additional deed worth this order then additional stick, known as level mark, would be added). Because some non-Lithuanians refused to accept order called after Aitvaras Geležinkelietis the Order of the Land was established in January 1940 which was similar to the Order of Geležinkelietis and any person receiving the order could have chosen either one. This order was awarded by leaders of military provinces, whereas other orders were awarded by Supreme General.
- Order of Two Mountains was established in March of 1940. It used to be awarded for deeds that particularly helped Pakštuva in one way or another (such as, for example, winning a battle, defeating an important insurgent group or reaching a good deal with foreign countries).
- Order of Pakštas was the highest order of Pakštuva. It was usually awarded either posthumously for people who died in the name of Pakštuva or for people who have risked their life or lifes of their friends and relatives in the name of the country. 12 people were awarded Order of Pakštas in two years of Pakštuva's existance, including Povilas Plechavičius himself (posthumously).
This page was created by Abdul-aziz.