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									FREE - CITY/STATE IDEAS IN MEMEL IN 1919 - 1924: A MISSED HISTORICAL OPPORTUNITY OR POLITICAL IDEALISM?
Master thesis by Donata Raudonytė

A THESIS SUBMITTED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF TURKU FACULTY OF HUMANITIES DEPARTMENT OF BALTIC SEA REGION STUDIES

2008

ii PREFACE The work for this thesis was carried out between September 2007 and December 2008 as a part of the Baltic Sea Region master’s program. I first wish to express my sincere gratitude to both of my thesis supervisors: Adjunct professor, Dr. Marko Lehti (University of Turku) and Dr. of Soc. Sc. Markku Jokisipilä (University of Turku). I thank them for their time reading the text, their support during the meetings, and for making the requirement specification of the thesis easy to understand. Their guidance, valuable comments, thoughtful reviews and suggestions during organized seminars made this thesis possible. I also offer thanks to Professor Aivars Stranga (University of Latvia) during my exchange period at the University of Latvia for introducing to me links, interesting information related with my research and comparative analysis from the Latvian State Historical archive. I am grateful to Dr. of Hum. Sc Silva Pocytė (Klaipėda University) for her willingness to offer suggestions and extremely valuable comments for collecting appropriate study materials, books, and historical newspapers. I am in debt also to my great friend and colleague M.A. student John Grochowski (University of Wisconsin Milwaukee) for reading, checking and editing the English language of the thesis. Due to his excellent job the text itself became more clear and understandable. Finally, I wish to thank the University of Turku, Department of Humanities and of course for each and every scholar, teacher and the coordinator of Baltic Sea Region master’s program for providing a nice and pleasant study environment.

iii THE UNIVERSITY OF TURKU Baltic Sea Region Studies Faculty of Humanities RAUDONYTĖ, DONATA: Free - city/state ideas in Memel in 1919 - 1924: a missed historical opportunity or political idealism? Master‘s thesis; 73 pages, 7 appendix pages Baltic Sea Region Studies, 2008 This thesis analyzes the actively propagated plans for the free - city/state of Memel (today known as Klaipėda) following the First World War, as well as the example of the two other successfully established during interwar periods free city/states of Gdansk and Fiume. The research will prove that in general, free city/states were determinate in comparison to the newly appearing “nation - states” during the post - World War period, which are still malleable today. Initially, the study of small, seemingly politically and economically insignificant interwar period territorialities may seem irrelevant for in - depth analysis and observations. However, with the recent widely discussed Kosovo and, to a lesser extent Catalonia (Spain), Padania (Italy), Corsica (France) and other micro - regions, the phrases “greater regional autonomy” or even “federal state” are resurfacing, initiating the necessity for the specific historical studies of micro - regions. Due to the comparative approach, in the theoretical part of this thesis the definition of interwar free city/states will be determined and analyzed by the main later alternative sub - structural issues: politically defined borders; the cohabitation of diverse religious, linguistic and ethnic groups in the small territories; the specific sovereignty status of each territory (micro – regions “without sovereignty” or with “sovereignty depended on other states”); and the particular administrative conditions and the gradually emerging territorial identity, primarily based on the individual’s place of residence and spoken languages. In the case of Memel there were several diverse plans promoted by French administrators, Polish officials, and local ethnic Germans for a free city/state. The analysis of each of these plans shows that all the challengers had the same main goal: free city/state status, yet each had different programs in order to accomplish this goal. Due to the competitors’ disagreements, “Kovno Lithuanians” organized a revolt, and the Allied powers - the sovereign over the territory – determined that Memelland should be incorporated in Lithuania. Thus the plans for a concrete free city/state were never realized. Nevertheless, the district had its own attributes: coat of arms, currency, post stamps, passports, flag, after which Klaipėda’s current flag is modelled, using the exact symbols and colors as the old free city/states flag. In order to describe different Memel free city/state plans in the thesis are used distinct studying materials: books and articles, various documents published by German, French, Lithuanian, Polish scholars, pro - German (“Memeler Dampfboot”) and pro - Lithuanian (“Lietuwiszka Ceitunga”) newspapers from the period of 1919 1923 as well as reports from Latvian state historical archive, photo album, several encyclopaedias, dictionaries, etc. Keywords: Post World War, free city/states, Memelland, territoriality, multi - ethnic population, territorial identity, the states without sovereignty, free city/state plans, 1919 - 1924, political idealism.

iv TABLE OF CONTEST INTRODUCTION........................................................................................................... 1 REVIEW OF LITERATUTE AND SOURCES........................................................... 4 1. THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK ........................................................................ 7 1.1. The State of Post WWI Europe ...................................................................... 7 1.2. The main factors of the formation of a “free - city/state” ............................ 9 1.2.1 Territory and recognition............................................................................. 9 1.2.2 Free city/states’ society.............................................................................. 12 1.2.3 Territorial identity...................................................................................... 17 1.2.4 Sovereignty................................................................................................. 20 1.2.5 The specific condition of Memelland; its administrative system ............... 22 2. ANALYSIS OF THE PLANS FOR FREE CITY/STATE OF MEMEL ....... 24 2.1. Positions of the local ethnic groups and the main competitors.................. 24 2.2 French Memel free city/state plan ................................................................. 24 2.3 Polish plan for the free city/state of Memel .................................................. 30 2.4 Local Germans’ plan for the free city/state of Memel................................. 35 2.5 Minor Lithuanians’ point of view of the free city/state of Memel status ... 41 2.6 Attributes of the free city/state of Memel ..................................................... 46 2.7. The main reasons why the free city/state plans of Memel territory failed 51 CONCLUSIONS ........................................................................................................... 56 SOURCES...................................................................................................................... 59 APPENDIX ..................................................................................................................... 66

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LIST OF FIGURES FIG. 1: Workplace’s advertisement ............................................................................... 20 FIG. 2: Flag of Memelland 1920 - 1924 ........................................................................ 47 FIG. 3: Stamp of Memel 1446 - 1618 ............................................................................ 47 FIG. 4: Recent Klaipeda city’s flag................................................................................ 48

LIST OF APENDICES Map 1: European map after WWI .................................................................................. 67 Map 2: Memel region 1919 - 1924 ................................................................................ 68 Doc. 1: Polish main points of Memel constitution ......................................................... 69 Doc. 2: National Council’s of Lithuania Minor Act ....................................................... 70 Photo 1: “Not geld” - currency of Memelland, 1922 ..................................................... 71 Photo 2: Post stamps of Memelland, 1922..................................................................... 72 Photo 3: Allied powers’ flags hanging in front of Memel city hall ............................... 72 Table 1: Memelland currency rates per US dollar, 1922 ............................................... 73 Table 2: Statistics of import and export of Memel and Liepaja ports........................... 73

1 INTRODUCTION Free city/states during the post World War period are examples of rare semi states. Looking back on this period following WWI, as the old empires transformed into newly born “nation - states”, free city/states appeared as rather different, absolutely non - standard, unfamiliar, and to a certain extent, an “aberrant” solution to micro regions. Notwithstanding several discords by the remixed local ethnic groups for best possible alternative, distinct identities of the local population, new political borders, the proposed dual trade and port rights with neighboring states resulting in unclear semi - sovereignty status and the pretensions and disagreements of larger “nation - states”; all small entities in international interwar “consensus politics” free city/state status was seen as the best possible solution. However, a few small districts with one large port - city, such as Gdansk (Dancing) and Rijeka (Fiume) succeed to achieve the status of a free city/state and maintain if for several years, if not decades. The interwar period free city/states’ examples, in my opinion, are microcosms of not only the post - World War political world but also of contemporary Europe. Currently widely disputed, the territory of Kosovo in the Balkans reveals that even today micro - regions continue to seek and create a separate autonomous political body. Thus, there is a clear and important need to reanalyze the creation of autonomous micro - districts and the discussion of historical examples of free city/states. The basic concepts of my studies can be ascertained from the thesis’ title. I have primarily focused my research on the little discussed and analyzed case of Memel following the First World War, where the concept of a free city/state was rapidly promoted. However, unlike the cases of Rijeka and Gdansk, Memel’s free city/state plans were never realized. The period of my analyses (1919 - 1924) is naturally limited by two exact historical facts. In 1919 with Treaty of Versailles, Memelland was separated from Germany and with an undefined status handed over to the Allied Powers, resulting in a new direction for Memelland, most notably the promotion of free city/state status. Meanwhile, in 1923, following a revolt organized by “Kovno” Lithuanians, Memellad was incorporated into the newly recognized Lithuanian “nation - state”, which gradually diffused the aspirations for Memel’sfree city/state status. The main aims of the studies: First, to describe and analyzed concept of post World War free city/states in general. Second, more deeply and precisely analyze the plans propagated by the main competitors of the distinct free city/state of Memel. Third,

2 introduce my personal understanding and interpretation of the failed attempt to form the free city/state of Memel. The aims of my research and tasks of my analysis have been directed by several major research questions: 1. How should the concept of such post World War free city/states be defined? What main factors led to the emergence of free city/states and how were these factors different from the molded of the newly emerging “nation - states”? 2. What alternate plans were promoted for the free city/states by the Memel main competitors and what were the positions of the different local groups towards Memel’s free city status? How were the symbols of free Memel presented in every day life in Memelland? 3. Why were the plans for a free city/state of Memel never realized? My research paper can be divided into two parts: the theoretical creation of the free city/states and the analyses of the case study of Memel. Part one presents and analyzes the main factors behind the creation of free city/states: international recognition of the free city/state, territorial definition, diversity of remixed ethnic groups, the issue of the semi - sovereignty, territorial identity and the framework for specific administrative systems. These are examined in the successful cases of Gdansk and Rijeka and the proposed free city/state of Memel. Part two introduces the positions of the French administrators and the local Germans, Poles and Minor Lithuanians, as well as their plans for the free city/state of Memel and the symbols of the new autonomous semi state. In addition, in the thesis is discussed why free city/state plans of Memel failed and the main reasons of this fact are pointed out. Included also at the end of this paper is an appendix containing the constitution the constitution for the free city/state of Memel proposed by Polish deputies, an act ratified by the National Council of Lithuania, photos of post stamps and currency used in Memelland at that time, several graphics and two maps: one identifying the three free city/states discussed from 1919 - 1924, the second defining Memelland’s territory in detail. In order to develop the topic more precisely I have used two main research approaches in my analyses: comparative and descriptive. In part one, I have compared the factors behind the creation of free city/states and “nation - states” in order to help define the concept of the post - World War free city/state. In part two, I have compared the French and Polish, local German plans for the free city/state of Memel with the position held by local Minor Lithuanians. Through the course of this paper I will

3 describe the definition of a free city/state and introduce my opinions of the failure and interpretation of free city/states of the recent years. Limits of the studies: Considering the vastness of this topic I have placed limitations of the direction of my studies. First, this paper does not present all of the cases of free city/states. The period of my research naturally excludes the example of Trieste, which was officially recognized just following World War II in 1947. Neither does the thesis thoroughly analyze the cultural and employment diversities of Memel land’s local ethnic groups, nor does it discuss or analyze all of the reasons for the failure of the free city/state of Memel. I have also excluded Memel as free city symbols and identities in recent years. However, these points could be key future research points in order to extend the analysis of the free city/state of Memel into a larger volume. In addition, due to a period of analyzes this thesis uses the old town names: Memel (Klaipėda), Wilno (Vilnius), Könisberg / Konigsberg (Kaliningrad), Libau (Liepaja), Tilsit (Sovetsk), etc.

4 REVIEW OF LITERATUTE AND SOURCES Unlike the nation - states that arose following the First World War, as research subjects the smaller free - city states did not receive much attention from scholars and has been studied surprisingly little. To date no single book or monograph regarding the analysis of free - city/states during the interwar period has been published, nor any complete analysis made. In addition, until recent years the archives of Memel’s magistrate and directorate have been inaccessible, which has restricted research on the administration of Memel and the laws and policies initiated from 1920 - 1924. The primary sources for analyzing the free city of Memel have been periodicals from the interwar period, which rather precisely educe the state of affairs in post World War Memelland. The Martynas Mažvydas library in Vilnius (Lithuania) possesses twelve different Memel newspapers from the interwar period, printed in both German and Lithuanian languages. The readiness to introduce local German and Minor Lithuanians to the various positions towards a free city idea produced three periodicals with ideologically opposing viewpoints (in total over 600 copies): 1. “Memeler Dampfboot”1 - giving a voice to the local Germans and expressing pro German ideology as well as the local German attitude towards the plan of a free city/state of Memel. Printed copies of this newspaper from the 1919, 1923 and 1924 were analyzed. This analysis utilizes two articles from the 1919 periodicals and two from the 1923. Unfortunately, the newspaper edition from 1920 - 1921 were missing from the Martynas Mažvydas Library’s periodical reading room. 2. “Lietuwiska Ceitunga”2 - after searching through this newspaper, 110 useful articles were found from between the years 1919 and 1923. Of the 110 articles, sixty - one were published in 1920, five in 1921, forty - one in 1922, and four in 1923. Essential in my research were the following columns: “Del Nemuno dzalies” (en. “Regarding to Neman part”), “Rubežiaus žinios” (en. “The border news”), “Klaipėdos krašto gaspadorystės derėjimai” (en. “Klaipeda’s district govern negotiation”), which weekly published the news of the negotiations with Poland or “Kovno” Lithunia about Memel’s status. Smaller, yet equally important were columns about the economic situation in the region:

 Memeler Dampfboot - oldest and one the most successful local Germans newspaper in North Prussia, published since 1848. Till 1850 printed twice, later three times per week, in interwar period distributed daily, written just in German language and print out with popular gothic shrift. ( “Memeler Dampfboot”, Wikipedia, 17 03 2008 <http://de.wikipedia.org/ wiki/Memeler_Dampfboot >) 2 Lietuwiska Ceitunga (Microfilm version) - printed from 1877 till 1940: 1900 - 1913 printed weekly, 1919 - 1939 three times per week, 1935 every days Minor Lithuanians newspaper with subtitle “main Minor Lithuanian newspaper in Memel and Šilutė districts”( in lith. “ Vyriausiasis lietuwiszkas laikraštis Klaipėdos ir Szilokarcziamos kreizams”)

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5 for instance bread and milk cards distribution rules, the decreasing value of Memelland’s mark in comparison with to the US dollar, rapidly growing inflation, and the region’s unemployment. In total in the thesis 43 “Lietuwiska Ceitunga” articles were used (list of articles published at the end of the thesis). 3. “Klaipėdos krašto valdžios žinios”/“Amtsblatt des Memelgebietes” - the local government newspaper, which usually published new laws that had been passed and rulings by the legislative and judicial branches. Three articles from the 1922 print regarding decrees from the Chamber of Commerce and the school union were used in this research. Two documents from the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs3 and one political review from the Polish deputies in Memelland4 proved significant as well. The review depicted the Polish aim to economically dominate in the region using French support with precise instructions on how to achieve this goal. Also valuable to my analyses was a Polish document outlining the main points of the constitution for the free city/state of Memel5 (A translated version is included in the appendix; document Nr.1). To a lesser extent my research also utilized unpublished reports from the Latvian consulate in Memel. Several reasonably short consulate reviews described the economic, political, and commercial issues in Memel from 1923 - 1925.6 The majority of the reports were not directly used in the thesis; however it provided me a wider understanding of the everyday life in Memelland for instance salaries, job availabilities, growing inflation, political parties, directorate’s events, and etc. Another useful source came from Lithuanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs: a compilation of published documents regarding the question of Memel from 1919 - 1924. The two volume collection consists of letters, notes of the agreements, resolutions, declarations of the Versailles and Ambassadors conferences.7 Also valuable to the writing of this paper were several informative studies published about the interwar period in Memelland. Exceptionally useful has been P. Žostautaitė’s book “Klaipėdos kraštas 1923 - 1939”, where in a few pages the author
3 “Instrukcja w sprawie pryszłej organizacji wolnego miasta Kłaipedy” Ministerstwo Spraw Zagranicznych. Koszulka aktu (odpis), rok 1921, Wydział D.V.6938 / Klaipėdos kraštas 1920 – 1924 m. archyviniuose dokumentuose. AHUK. IX. p. 8 – 11 4 “Delegacja Polska w Memlu. Raport politiczny Nr.192 do Ministerstwo Spraw Zagranicnych w Warszawie.” Rok 1921 / Klaipėdos kraštas 1920 – 1924 m. archyviniuose dokumentuose. AHUK. IX. p. 14 - 22. 5 “Główne punkty konstytucji Kłajpedj.”/ Klaipėdos kraštas 1920 – 1924 m. archyviniuose dokumentuose. AHUK. IX. p. 12 – 13. 6 LVVA. Fonds 2575, Apraksts 11, Lietas 11. Ziņojums No. 2 , 3 and Lietas 468. Ziņojums No. 2. 7 Documents Diplomatiques. Question de Memel. Volume I. Depuis la conférence de la Paix 1919. Respublique de Lithuanie. Ministeries des Affaires Étrangères. Kaunas. 1923.

6 succinctly presents the propagation of the idea of the districts “Freistaat” under the control of France after their arrival in 1920. The author continues also to describe the Lithuanian and Polish conflict over the Memel region. In R. Valsanokas` book “Klaipėdos problema”, the chapter titled “Territoire de Memel” presents Memelland’s administrative structure and polish projects to govern the region, as well as the organized revolt of 1923, which stopped Memel plans for a free city. His discourses were quite useful in presenting the different administrative apparatuses in Memelland. Also relevant to my topic was French scholar I. Chandovaine’s monograph “Prancūzmetis Klaipėdoje ir kas po to (1920 - 1919)”. The whole book focuses on French administration and policy, however her analysis of Polish and “Kovno” Lithuanians’ aims in the Memel region and their diverse wishes to establish there own free city semi - state has added distinct value to my research. Additionally, a subsection of V. Vareikis’ article “Nuo romantinės praeities į modernią ateitį” very briefly points out the reasons why some of local inhabitants did not support the incorporation of Memelland into the whole of Lithuania, but instead proposed and maintained, albeit initially vague, Memel’s free city/state status. In the author’s opinion, primarily it was Memel’s economic basis that allowed the free city/state idea to flourish at all.Statistics, for Memel’s ethnic composition were obtained from scholars’ P. Žostautaitė’s and E. Plieg’s calculations on inhabitants as well as studies by S. Pocytė, H. Kurschat, and S. Herman on the discourses of Minor Lithuanians and local Germans as two separate ethnic groups. The most significant points focused on religion, language and ethnicity.Valuable in presentation of the situation of nation - states following WWI were the research of A. Roshwalds and Z. Steiner. Z. Steiner`s work concentrates on a specific regional discussion defined by the Treaty of Versailles: i.e. the Rhineland, the “Polish corridor”, Transylvania, and the territories of the former Russian empire where ethnic lines were so confused, that no simple ethnic solution was possible. A. Roshwalds focuses more on the transformation of the old empires into nation - states and their problems of national identity, territorial changes and the alteration of politcal elites.In order to describe the exact Memel and Gdansk free city/state borders, I have relied on the online edition of the Treaty of Versailles. For comparative analyses, especially in the cases of Gdansk and Fiume, the majority of the information came from several printed (Macropedia) or online (Wikipedia) encyclopedias, dictionaries, online books, articles and websites. Included in this paper as a background for modified maps are appendixes which contain a map of Europe printed by J. A. S. Grenvilles and maps of Memelland published by the Museum of Lithuania Minor.

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1. THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK 1.1. The State of Post WWI Europe The First World War undoubtedly transformed the shape of global politics. Four major empires - Tsarist Russian, Ottoman, Austro - Hungarian and German - collapsed and new states emerged onto the European map. The main alternative to restoring the old order for these new states was the establishment of a new system, based upon the model of the modern “nation - state”. In this case, the term nation can be conceptualize as a consistence of a people, sharing common language (or dialects of common language), inhabiting a fixed territory with common customs and traditions, which may have become sufficiently conscious to take on the aspects of law, and who recognize common interests and a common need for a single sovereign.8 In recent years, the development of the modern “nation - state” has been interpreted in two ways. One interpretation is that the “nation - state” was a political, social, and economic model of modernization based on the examples of West European countries. A second interpretation is that it was a vehicle, an instrument for cultivating people’s heritage and guarding against the erosion of their historical identities.9 One of the main reasons for the rise of small nation - states was United States President Woodrow Wilson’s “Fourteen points” listed in his speech to a join session of the Congress on January 8, in 1918.10 According to Z. Steiner in “the only possible program for the world peace”11 Woodrow Wilson’s last point, which accented the principle of “self - determination”, caused various kinds of ethnic, intellectual, and socio - political movements in Europe. These collective national movements, which were based on different languages, religious, historical and cultural self - identifications, desired to seek some form of autonomy or independence within the newly drawn territorial boundaries and were most likely to take root.12 As mentioned above, some of these movements achieved the aims, resulting in the emergence of the concrete states13 (Map Nr 1: the new appeared states); others did not, such as the movements of the Kurds.
Scruton, Roger. “Nation state”. A dictionary of political thought. London.1982. pp. 313. Rosshwald, Aviel. Ethnic nationalism & the fall of empires Central Europe, Russia & the middle East, 1914 - 1923. New York and London: Routledge, 2001. pp. 5. 10 “Fourteen points. ” Wikipedia. 31 01 2008. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fourteen_Points> 11 Steiner, Zara.The lights that failed. Oxford: Oxford university press, 2005. pp. 8. 12 Rosshwald, Aviel. Ethnic nationalism & the fall of empires Central Europe, Russia & the middle East, 1914 - 1923. New York and London: Routledge, 2001. pp. 4. 13  New European states: In 1917 - A South Slavs state 10 17, Poland 11 05, Austria 11 12, Czechoslovakia 11 14, Hungary 11 16, State of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes 12 01 (since 1928 Yugoslavia), Finland 12 06: In 1918 - Lithuania 02 16, Estonia 02 24, Latvia 11 18.
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8 However, most of the newly emerged “nation - states” did not have clear - cut borders separating one nation from another. It took a several years, in some cases even decades to dispute and to define the boundaries of the new states. It must be stressed that the majority of the recognized states’ boundaries did not facilitate their movement, but rather acted as barriers for the peoples’ self -identification and self - understanding. For instance, the “nation - state” model with one dominant nation did not suit the state of Czechoslovakia, which consisted of two distinct nations. Nor was the model suitable for the Kingdom of Croats, Serbs and Slovenes, which consisted of the several non dominant nations.14 In these new states, political agendas were dominated by the issue of clearly defined borders, the establishment of necessary state institutions, as well as the problem of large minority populations and different ethnic groups’. Consequently, the internal or even cross - boundaries mobilization of minorities and ethnic groups led to the formation of a “state within the state”. One interpretation of a “state within the state” is the creation of communities by the minorities within the state, following their own cultural, economic and even political authorities (i.e. Baltic Germans, Jewish communities within European cities). “State within a state” could also be used to describe the interwar period in Europe, during which several ethnic groups constructed specific micro regions within or between states, redefining their boundaries and achieving special political, administrative, and autonomic statuses. The status of some of these regions was not clearly defined, with several mixed ethnic groups in cohabitation; these I am referring to as the grey areas of Europe. On the other hand, these regions could also be termed as hot key areas, because here several challengers of the “nation - state” also expressed their intentions to incorporate the regions into their state or at the very least to govern them. For this category of territories one possible self - standing alternative was the free city/state model, which was widely propagated and used by the chief challengers in the case of Memel from 1919 - 1924. The case of Memel (Map Nr 1:A) was not the only occasion of a free city/state or an exception during the interwar period. The free city/state of Danzig/Gdansk (Map Nr 1:B) from 1920 - 1939, under the protection of the League of Nations with special economic related rights reserved for Poland, is a prime example of a successful “free city/state”. The Free State of Fiume (Map Nr 1:C), also known as Rijeka, with special
14

The three main South nations were Serbs - 39%, Croats - 23.9%, Slovenes - 8.5% of population. The Serbs - Orthodox, Slovenians and Croats - Catholic and Bosnians - Muslims (6.3% of population) were religiously defined groups. Plus, there lived sizeable German 4.3%, Albanians 4%, Hungarians 3.9% and Turkish minorities. (Minehan, B. Philip., 2006. pp. 44)

9 status from 1920 - 1924, represents another comparative example. Other zones existed as well during this time. In 1920, The Saar basin territory was placed under an International Commission of the League of Nations for fifteen years.15 The ownership of mines along the border of Germany and France also caused much discussion and disagreement during all interwar period. A complicated situation also developed in the Rhineland as well, in which the demilitarized zone was created extending from the western Rhineland to fifty kilometres east of the river Rhine, were the Allies were to keep an army for fifteen years. For three years the fates of the district of Vilnius and the shifting border of south eastern Lithuania remained an open question. Poland, as the main challenger to unified Lithuania, denied its independence, while Josef Pilsudski’s federalist or National democratic annexationist views expressed pretension towards the district of Vilnius.16 Several other examples of state border or formed regions not clearly defined could be listed, however the main emphasis in this paper is not on the regions formed or controlled by the Allied powers following the First World War, but on the planned free city state of Memel, as well as the formation of city/states in general (in comparison with the free - city/states of Gdansk and Rijeka), the main factors in their formation and development, several applied Memel free - city/state projects and finally the 1.2. The main factors of the formation of a “free - city/state” One of the several aims of paper is the analysis of the main factors surrounding the formation of free city/state. In theorizing the “free - city/state” model I am primarily stressing the region’s territory, international recognition, diverse society, newly emerged identity, special sovereignty, and its own administrative institutions, as well as attributes created to symbolize the autonomy of the cities/states. In order to describe the circumstances behind the formation of the specific free city/states, I will compare all of the factors above with a standard “nation - state” model. 1.2.1 Territory and recognition The determination of territories was crucial not just for “nation - states”, but for the regional city/ states as well. In comparison with the “nation - state” model, “free city” territories were determined and defined by the Allied powers, but under
15

interpretations and understanding of these actions in recent years.

In 1935, after a plebiscite the Saar opted for Germany. Germany support was able to repurchase the mines, however the mines of the Saar passed into French ownership as a part of reparations for damage to French mines during the war. (Grenville, J.A.S., 1985. pp. 42) 16 Kiaupa, Zigmantas. The History of Lithuania. Vilnius: Baltos lankos, 2005. pp. 247 - 248.  

10 completely different circumstances and conditions. The successive declarations of independence by states from 1917 - 1919, and possibly the rest of the international developments which took place in the second decade of XX century, can be attributed to the growing national awakening of the XIX century. As a result of these national awakenings, small “nations” managed to preserve their languages, folk songs and traditions and the spreading of romanticism led to the creation of “national” myths, legends, and poems. Many states’ national councils defined their own borders in the international arena based on historical, cultural or ethnic backgrounds; which sooner or later were recognized, either in their original version or with minor revisions. In other words, the majority of the territories of the so called “nation - states” were determined by national boundaries and the representatives of these states had a right to express their point of view of what their state’s frontiers were and propose its exact territory. The case of the free city/state of Memel was just the opposite. First, the region’s shape, size and borders were not propagated by local councils or responsible institutions, but by the Allied Powers, who gratuitously defined the land of the former German Empire and created a new south frontier for Memel, divided and separated it from Prussia. Essentially, this region did not exist as an autonomous state before WWI and did not have a state history. Second, newly drawn regional boundaries were not directly based on historical, ethno - cultural or linguistic criterions. Free city/states did not have one dominant nationality, but several different ethnic groups and a variety of languages. Hence, regional frontiers were not simply based on the prevalence of one or another ethnic group or on the ethnic cultural distribution of the population. Free – city/state’s frontiers were absolutely artificially constructed political borders, not national or ethnographic ones. Third, Memel’s territory was shaped first, the ideas and plans of exact projects and possible regional autonomy or independence came just a few months later. Thus, the case of the free city/state of Memel did not follow a precisely followed plan or a developed “step by step” process, but as one of the possible regional alternatives suddenly evident in the agendas of local politicians. This fact also shows the lack of unification among the local ethnic groups in seeking the main aim - free city status. As will be discussed later, this is one of the reasons why Memel, in comparison with the states of Gdansk and Fiume, did not achieve the status of the free city/states.

11 The Treaty of Versailles was the most significant agreement in the Post World War period, particularly in approving the territories of regions, “nation - state’s”, and free city/states. The precise territory of the free city of Gdansk, as well as international recognition as such, became official with the Treaty of Versailles, Section XI, articles 100 – 108.17 In the case of Fiume, in the Santa Margherita conference on November 10, 1920, the Adriatic question between Italians and Yugoslavs had finally been settled. Anton Trumbitch, head of Yugoslav delegates, had accepted the Italian claims. Despite the creation of an Istrian frontier or the distribution of Dalmatian islands, the conference affirmed “Fiume to be state entirely independent, without any control of League of Nation.”18 Officially, the Treaty of Rapallo, which was signed on November 12, 1920 between the Kingdom of Italy and the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, acknowledged the freedom and independence of the State of Fiume19 (Rijeka). Fiume as a town was a major port and industrial, commercial and cultural centre, located on the Kvarner (gulf of Adriatic Sea) with sufficient rails connections to Trieste, Ljubliana and Zagreb and major industries such as shipyards, repair facilities, oil refineries, paper factories and diesel engine works.20 Memel’s borders were also recognized by the Treaty of Versailles. Part II, Article 28 precisely described East Prussia’s border in the northeast;21 making the river Neman (Nemunas) Memel’s new southern border (Map Nr 2:1). Also, the newly defined northeast border of Prussia and the old German Empires east border with the Russian empire, which became a frontier between Memelland and “Kovno Lithuania” (Map Nr 2:2) exactly shaped Memel’s territory (ger. Memelgebiet, fr. Territoire de Memel); separating it from Germany and placing it under the control of the Allied Powers. The two previously mentioned borders shaped 140 kilometers in length and totaled 2848 square kilometers (with part of Curonian spit) of Memel region (Map Nr 2), which
Main territorial points of Free city of Gdansk - Lonkener see (Lake) as a northernmost, Pollenziner see (lake) southern most points, north east - Koliebken and sounth east - Oliva, Zoppot twons.(“Treaty of Versailles.”: Part III, section XI, article100,Free city of Gdansk. History server. 15 02 2008 < http://history.sandiego.edu/gen/text/versaillestreaty/all440.html >.) 18 “Adriatic dispute reported settled; Fiume to be free”. The New York Time. 11 11 1920, 12 02 2008 <ht tp://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=950DE7D81E3DE533A25752C1A9679D946195D6CF> 19 “Free state of Fiume.” Wikipedia. 01 02 2008.< http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_State_of_Fiume> 20 “Rijeka.” Micropedia Britannica. T 10. Chicago. 1992. pp. 71 - 72. 21 Begins at the old frontier of Russia to a point east of Schmalleningken (Smalininkai), then to principal channel of navigation of the Niemen (Nemunas) downstream to the Skierwieth arm of the delta and the Kurisches Haff (Kuršių Nerija); thence a straight line to the point where the eastern shore of the Kurische Nehrung meets the administrative boundary about 4 kilometres south-west of Nidden (Nida); thence this administrative boundary to the western shore of the Kurische Nehrung. (“Treaty of Versailles.”: Part II, article 26, East Prussia. History server. 15 02 2008. <http:// history. sandiego.edu/ gen/text /ver sail les treaty/all440.html>.)
17

12 appeared for the first time as an administrative unit after WWI and lasted until 1939.22 The official recognition of Memel came in Part III, Section X, article 99 of the Treaty of Versailles, where is states:
“Germany renounces in favour of the Principal Allied and Associated Powers all rights and title over the territories included between the Baltic, the north – eastern frontier of East Prussia (…) and the former frontier between Germany and Russia. Germany undertakes to accept the settlement made by the Principal Allied and Associated Powers in regard to these territories, particularly in so far concerns the nationality of the inhabitants.”23

The new southwest border of Memelland was widely criticized by the local German population, maintaining that “Neman is our river, not a border”24, in effect disagreeing that Memel was separated from Germany proper. This frontier obviously divided Prussian Lithuanians and local Germans into two parts: those who remained in East Prussia and those who became an inhabitant of the newly drawn Memel region. Moreover, the Allied Powers main criterion for demarcating territories was the ethnic composition in the regions rather than historical and ethnic background. Nevertheless, in the Saar Basin, Upper Silesia, Schleswig, and South Prussian regions official plebiscites were organized to indicate under which sovereignty the people desired to be placed (visually all these territories are shown in a map Nr 1). However, in Memel the local inhabitants were not given the right to indicate by vote whether they wished to be attached to Lithuania or Poland. Consequently, the free city/state projects were propagated. 1.2.2 Free city/states’ society Foundational for the post World War “nation - state” model was society - the “nation” itself. Scholar A. Rosshwald’s analysis of newly appeared nation - states describes a nation as a “group of people with common identity as a basis for claiming some form of collective, political territorial self - determination, or any population in its aspects as a group on behalf of which such claim are made.”25 Even though several different groups (Polish, French representatives, local Germans) proposed free city plans in Memel, local people did not have one united aim or plan on how to realize it, nor did the majority of the people have one common identity. There was lacking a united collective for the self - determination of one regional group. Thus, I would strongly argue that these local people and their
“Klaipėdos kraštas.” VLE - Visuotinė lietuvių enciklopedija. T 10. Vilnius. 2006. pp. 209. “Treaty of Versailles”: Part III, section X, article 99. History server. 15 02 2008 <http://history.sandiego.edu/ gen/text/versaillestreaty/all440.html>. 24 Žostautaitė, Petronėlė. Klaipėdos kraštas 1923 - 1939. Vilnius: Mokslas, 1992. pp. 15. 25 Rosshwald, Aviel. Ethnic nationalism & the fall of empires Central Europe, Russia & the middle East, 1914 - 1923. New York and London: Routledge, 2001. pp. 5.
23 22

13 communities could have acted as the “nation” of one united region, or at the least a few small separate nations (for instance Prussian Lithuanian or local German nations) within the region. It was ethnic groups and ethnic communities which limited the creation of one united “nation”, however for economic or political purposes collaborated and cohabitated with each other. In A. D. Smith’s opinion, these types of inhabitants should be conceptualized as an ethnic group. In his view, “ethnic group is a type of cultural collectivity, one that emphasizes the role of myths of descent and historical memories, and that is more recognized by one or more cultural differences like religion, customs, language or institutions”.26 In analyzing free city/states populations, it should be remembered also Frederik Barth’s concepts and definitions of ethnic groups. According to his analyses, ethnic groups basically can be divided into two parts; (1) Ethnic groups as culture bearing units and (2) ethnic groups as organizational types. For the first type, sharing of common culture is the most important feature, rather than a primary and definitional characteristic of ethnic group organization. While the second type actors used ethnic identities to extend the definition and to categorize themselves and others as a part of the ethnic group for the purposes of interaction; they form ethnic groups in this organizational sense.27 In advance, it can be add, that in specific Post World War districts, some ethnic groups were based on cultural bearing while other on constructive unique free city/states’ identities. Based on A. D. Smith’s and F. Barth’s conception and definition of ethnic groups Gdansk, Rijeka, and the planned Memelland were all multi – ethnic free city/states, which was the main reason why many state - challengers had an interest in forming their own “semi - states”. The dispute over the distribution of the free city/state of Fiume was based on the region’s ethnic composition in 1920. At the Paris Peace conference on the principle of self - determination, Italians claimed that aside from the suburb of Susak, which had 11 000 Yugoslavs and 1 500 Italians, the rest of Fiume had 22 488 Italians versus 13 351 Yugoslavs and certain others.28 M. Protitch, prime minister of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes responded in 1919 during the opening of the National Assembly regarding state boundaries stating “this territory, all the region of Trieste, Gorizia as well as Fiume, are ours (Yugoslavians) <…> in spite of the fact that the enemy (Italy) intentionally and by the abuse of its authority modified the proportions of the national elements in these three towns during the last two
Karl Cordell, Stefan Wolff, ed.“Ethnopolitics: Conflicts or Cooperation?”. The Ethnopolitical encyclopedia of Europe. NY. 2004. pp. 5. 27 Barth, Frederik, ed. Ethnic groups and boundaries. London: George Allen & Unwin, 1969. pp. 10 - 14. 28 “Fiume question.” Micropedia Britannica. T 4. Chicago. 1992. pp. 808.
26

14 centuries.”29 Therefore, during the formation of new nation - state boundaries and the redefining of old ones, small and unclearly defined free city/states were an attractive alternative, though a challenge to bigger states. Compared with Fiume or Memelland, the ethnic composition of the free city of Gdansk was quite different. An obvious majority existed there with 339 700 (92.6%) Germans, 13 700 Poles (3.7%), 8 800 (2.4%) Jews and 4 500 other minorities (1.3%).30 German writer Markmann - Thies, also shows similar calculations. According to his data, in 1923, in the city of Gdansk, out of the 366 730 inhabitants 353 074 (96.2%) claimed German as their mother - tongue, 12 027 (3.2%) - polish and kashubian and 1629 (0.45%) spoke all three polish, Kashubian and German languages.31 Nevertheless, despite the autonomous status of the free city/state of Gdansk and the absolute majority and control of local Germans, Poland managed to reserve special economic rights in the territory. In the case of Memelland it is difficult to distinguish the local inhabitants into one, two or even several clear ethnic groups. Until 1990, Lithuanian historiography mainly divided the inhabitants of the Memel region after WWI into two groups: Lithuanians and Germans. According to interwar period scholars, Lithuanians in the Memel region and in the “Kovno” territory did not have any ethno - cultural differences. On the contrary, I wish to stress that Lithuanians in Memelland (also known as Minor, Prussian, Memel Lithuanians) were a separate ethnic group consisting of “Kovno” Lithuanians and local Germans. The first and main distinction was religion. In contrast to Lithuanians in the “Kovno” territory, Minor Lithuanians confessed a different religion - evangelical Protestantism,32 whilst most inhabitants of “Kovno Lithuania” were Roman Catholic. As A. Kaukienė states, after two hundred years of experience under different empires, Memelland and “Kovno” had distinct religions and traditions as well as different variations of the Lithuanian languages. Minor Lithuanians used some German words, while “Kovno” Lithuanians quite often used Slavic words in every day language.33 Traditionally, Minor Lithuanians were more inclined towards the German elements and German administrative structures, yet they did not regard themselves as
29

“Fiume claims told by Serbs’ premier: if Adriatic city is Italian than so is New York”. The New York Times. 13 04 1919, 21 02 2008 <http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=9 801EEDD1F3BE03 ABC4B52DFB2668382609EDE > 30 Eberhardt, Piotr. Ethnic groups and population changes in the Twentieth Century Central Eastern Europe: History, Data, Analysis. NY: M.E. Sharpe, 2003. pp. 119. www.books.google.com 14 03 2008 <http://books.google.com/ books?id= jLf X1q3kJzgC > 31 Markmann - Thies. Danzing. Leipzig: Goldmann, 1939. pp. 61. 32 In 1920 from 140 746 inhabitants 132 906 were mentioned as evangelical protestants, that makes more than 90% of total district populations. (Chandavoine I., 2003 pp. 24) 33 Kaukienė, Audronė. Po Mažosios Lietuvos dangumi. Klaipėda: KU leidykla, 2000. pp. 84.

15 German. What is significant to note here is that they did not regard themselves as Lithuanians either - those who were different from them they called “Russian Lithuanians” and they stressed this difference by their way of life, work ethic, order and the Protestant religion.34 Following the order of the German Empire and having in common administrative institutions, Minor Lithuanians felt more Germans than Lithuanian. The main barrier separating local Germans from Minor Lithuanians in Memelland, however, were their native Lithuanian language and ethnic culture (manners, folkways, and ethnic clothes).35 Cultural differences at the beginning of the XX century between Memelland and “Kovno” Lithuania arose as a result of different historical processes. Historically, the region of Memel had been part of Prussia from the beginning of the XVII century. In 1701 Memel was absorbed into the Kingdom of Prussia and in 1871 joined Prussia in the united German Empire.36 Lithuania, while today comprising the territories on the east side of the Memel region, at the middle of the XVI century was incorporated into the Lithuanian - Polish Commonwealth and after the third partition in 1795 was annexed into the Tsarist Russian Empire. Therefore, following World War I, the newly defined borders did not simply separate one territory from the other but also created a sense of meaning and self - placement, a “mental definition” for the local Memelland inhabitants of “us” and “them”. Minor Lithuanians saw themselves as loyal citizens of the state, who knew and pursued their duties to the state. Obedience to the government and laws of their German state were inherent elements for Minor Lithuanians’ identification at the beginning of XX century.37 They viewed Lithuanians in “Kovno territory” as Russians or as Polish with an inferior culture to the former Russian Empire and even worse economic situation.38 Thus, at the beginning of XX century both territories exhibited different administrations, different state - political traditions, and different religious and cultural practices, economic situations, as well as two distinct languages with entirely separate alphabets; Memelland using the Gothic alphabet and “Kovno” Lithuania using the Latin. Table Nr. 1 “Population in Memel in 1910, 1912, 1920, and 1925”, which was derived from the statistics and analyses published by Lithuanian, French and German
Vareikis, Vygantas. “Memellander/Klaipėdiškiai Identity and German - Lithuanian Relations in Lithuania Minor in the Nineteenth and Twentieth centuries”. Sociologija: Mintis ir veiksmas. No 1-2 (9). 2001. pp. 63. 35 Pocytė, Silva. Mažlietuviai Vokietijos imperijoje 1871 - 1914. Vilnius: Vaga, 2002. pp. 8. 36 „Klaipėda“. VLE - Visuotinė lietuvių enciklopedija. T 10. 2006. pp. 199 - 200. 37 Pocytė, Silva.“Mažosios ir Didžiosios Lietuvos integracijos problema XIX a. - XX a. pradžioje.” Sociologija: Mintis ir veiksmas. No 1-2 (9). 2001. pp. 78. 38 Ibin. pp. 79.
34

16 scholars of Memelland’s ethnic groups, show the demography of the inhabitants of Memelland. The particular focus on this research is the years 1920 and 1925. Note that different sources represent different, and in some cases opposite statistics of ethnic groups. For instance, German sources bolster the leadership of the German ethnic group, while French and Lithuanian sources show a higher number of Prussian Lithuanians. Nevertheless, considering the hidden pro - German or pro - Lithuanian biases of these percentages I have in some cases left out two different ethnic group numbers. However, according to A. Hermann’s research results, prior to WWI all towns in East Prussia (including Memel) had a majority German population. His findings reveal that during that period only 7% of the town of Memel were Minor Lithuanians,39 the entire population being around 30 000 people.40 The French scholar, citing the German evangelical church’s almanac, concluded that in 1912 Minor Lithuanians comprised the largest ethnic group in the Memel region with 71 810 persons, followed by Germans with 66 719. The German writer E. A. Plieg supports just the opposite claims, stating that in 1910 Memelland had 67 345 Minor Lithuanians (that is around 4000 less than the figure stated by I. Chandavoine) and 71 191 Germans, who played a leading role in the district’s society. According to E. A. Plieg, the Germans made up roughly 50.5% of the population, 2.8% more than the Minor Lithuanians. E. A. Plieg had similar findings in 1920 as well, determining 50.6% of the population to be German and 47.7% to be Minor Lithuanians.41 Surprisingly, according to the 1925 census, the number of people identified as German Table No. 1 Population in Memel district in 1910, 1912, 1920 and 1925
Year 1910 gr. 1912 fr. 1920 gr. 1925gr.lt. fr. 1939 lt. Total 140766 140746 141645 136367 153793 Germans 71191 66719 71156 64158 59337 64281 % 50.5 50.6 45.2 43.5 41.8 M.Lithuanians 67345 71810 67259 37626 37625 43226 % 47.8 47.7 26.6 27.6 28.1 Memellanders 34337 38404 35219 % 24.2 28.1 22.9 Other 2230 2331 5524 1001 11067 % 1.5 1.6 3.8 0.7 7.1

Source: Žostautaitė, Petronėlė. Klaipėdos kraštas 1923 – 1939. Vilnius: Mokslas, 1992. p. 54 – 56/ Chandovaine, Isabelle. Prancūzmetis Klaipėdoje ir kas po to (1920 – 1919). Vilnius: Žara, 2003. p. 23/ Plieg, Ernst – Albrecht. Das Memelland 1920 – 1939. Würzburg: Holzner - Verlang, 1962. p. 34 Calculation done by gr. – German, fr. – French, lt. – Lithuanian scholars.

decreased from 45.2% to 43.5%, yet they still remained the largest and leading ethnic group in the region, while the Minor Lithuanians comprised just 26.6 and 27.7%
39 40

Hermann Arthur. Lietuvių ir vokiečių kaimynystėje. Vilnius: Baltos lankos, 2000. pp.73. Tatoris, Jonas. Senoji Klaipėda. Vilnius: Mokslas, 1994. pp. 29. 41 Plieg, Ernst - Albrecht. Das Memelland 1920 - 1939. Würzburg: Holzner - Verlang, 1962. pp. 34.

17 respectively. The sudden change in demography can be attributed to two main factors, emigration and the emergence of a new identity among the locals, Memellanders (this new identity will be analyzed in the following chapter). Unfortunately, due to a lack of information it can not be determined the exact origin of the local German population, whether they were immigrants from Germany, Memelland autochtones, or Germanized Minor Lithuanians. Additionally, none of the sources found provide any information about “other” ethnic groups. For instance, there is no mention of Jews, assuming primarily the role of merchants, or the immigration of some Polish families due to cheaper property in Memel. Despite the controversial statistical source, it is necessary to stress the occupations of the ethnic groups in the region. Often the smaller ethnic group can in fact have a greater impact than the larger one. In R. Valsanokas’ view, 45 % of Memel’s Minor Lithuanian populations in 1925 were farmers, 35% - workers, 15 % - “renters”, and 5 % - landlords, merchants, and trade officers. The German population was 15, 25, 40 and 20 % respectively. Hence, Germans generally lived in towns, and worked in banks, commercial trading companies, and regional administrative offices,42 dominating the regions administration, commerce and later political arenas,43 while the majority of Minor Lithuanians were farmers. To conclude, despite the diverse statements made by German, French and Lithuanian scholars on the ethnic composition of Memelland from 1920 - 1924 the demography of Germans and Minor Lithuanians more or less remained the same and comprised the majority of the population, decreasing in 1925. Germans constituted a majority of the city’s population and took a leading role in regional administration, trade and commercial life, while the majority of Minor Lithuanians were farmers, predominantly residing in the district’s countryside. In advance, it should be made clear that I have pointed out also the third separate group of local inhabitants – memellanders, on whose identification and specification I am emphasising in the following section. 1.2.3 Territorial identity The significant question of my analysis focuses on the identification of the re mixed local ethnic groups. Recent historiographies concentrating on constructive units analyze and present several types of identities: National44 (Lithuanians and Latvians), based on the “nation - state” unit model; Supranational (Scandinavian and European),
42 43

Chandovaine, Isabelle. Prancūzmetis Klaipėdoje ir kas po to (1920 - 1919). Vilnius: Žara, 2003. pp. 23. Žostautaitė, Petronėlė. Klaipėdos kraštas1923 - 1939. Vilnius: Mokslas, 1992. pp. 54 44 National identity is more than nationhood: it involves not only territorial integrity, common language, custom and culture, but also consciousness of these, as determining separate rights and allegiance. (Scruton, Roger. “Nationalism.” A dictionary of political thought.)

18 referring to organized regions and continental units; and Large scale geopolitical distinction identities (East and West), created for economic, political and geographical reasons.45 None of these identifications, however can be applied to the free - city/state model. In the case of Memel, Gdansk and Fiume during the interwar period it is necessary to distinguish the city/state identity, which was constructed according to the recognized city/sate political unit. After new borders were defined and the new autonomous free city/state formed, the same “old” local inhabitants redefined, rethought and reconstructed their identities as well. If before they viewed themselves as inhabitants of the German (Gdansk and Memel) or Austro - Hungarian (Fiume) Empires they replaced that view with a newly constructed identity as citizens of unique and small free city/states. Memel’s city/state identity was characterized by the region. The city/state identity was first of all based on the location of residence, birth place, and the territory in which one was living. Territorial identity, which was different from national identity, religion, ethnicity and history, played secondary roles. Evidence of this new territorial identity in Memel can be found in the 1925 census. According to table Nr 1, in 1925 approximately 140 000 inhabitants lived in the Memel district, of which between 34 337 and 38 404 were “Memellanders”, 24.2 and 28.1 percent respectively. Nearly one quarter of the local population viewed themselves as “Memellanders”. Who were these “Memellander” and how can they be described? There are several answers to this question and various conditions for the usage of the term “Memellander”. Lithuanian scholars P. Žostautaitė and Z. Zinkevičius identified “Memellanders” as Minor Lithuanians, who spoke in both Lithuanian and German. They placed Memellanders in the same ethnic group as Minor Lithuanian, which in total make 50.8% of the population and, according to the authors, became a leading group in the district. Pre war historians view “Memellanders” as germanised Lithuanians who were then “re Lithuanianized” after the district was incorperated into Lithuania.46 German author H. A. Kurschat presented “Memellanders” as a local German ethnic group, descendant from XIII century German knights who settled in the south eastern Baltic region and

45

Lehti, Marco. A Baltic League as a Construct of the New Europe. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang, 1999. pp. 31. 46 Vareikis, Vygantas. “Memellander/Klaipėdiškiai Identity and German - Lithuanian Relations in Lithuania Minor in the Nineteenth and Twentieth centuries”. Sociologija: Mintis ir veiksmas. No 1-2 (9). 2001. pp. 63.

19 German fishermen looking for new water ways.47 According to this scholar “Memellanders” were of pure German origin. In my analysis, I have found “Memellanders” to be a separate local group with a newly constructed territorial identity. This identity was not based on ethnicity or one particular language but on districts formal territory. Hence, they cannot be simply subsumed German or Lithuanian. In addition, the 1939 census reported 35 219 of the inhabitants living in the Memel region, or 22.9 percent, identifying themselves as “Memellanders” (see Table No 1). Memellanders (ger. Memelländer; lith. Klaipėdiškiai) were therefore native people living in the Memel territory who declared themselves citizens of the new Memel district. The ethnicity of Memellanders can be described as a mix of local ethnic Germans and Prussian Lithuanians. In terms of religion, the majority of Memellanders (Minor Lithuanian and local Germans) professed to be Lutherans. The official administrative language of the Memel district was German; therefore, Memellanders, in addition to their native languages (Lithuanian and polish) spoke German as well. Thus, Memellenders were essentially bilingual. As V. Vareikis points out, both Lithuanian and German were spoken freely as needs dictated, not only in the bigger towns but also in the villages throughout the Memel district.48 In the Minor Lithuanian newspaper “Lietuviszka Ceitunga”, several advertisements for local German hairdressers, pubs, shops and private doctors requested persons fluent in Lithuanian. One example was a classified ad for an apothecary’s assistant in Memel in 1920. The owner gave priority to applicants who had adequate knowledge of Lithuanian in addition to German (See Fig.1). Another example can be found in potter Leo Ehrentried’s workshop advertisement printed in 1921 in “Lietuwiszka Ceitunga”. There near the list of offered services in large letters is underlined: “I would like to remind, that I understand Lithuanian as well!”49 Thus, part of the local German population for business purposes spoke in both the German and Lithuanian. Like in Memel, the inhabitants of the city/states of Fiume and Gdansk also constructed their identity based on territory and language. According to one source, in Fiume “the official languages in the region were Hungarian and German, business correspondence was carried out in Italian, whilst most of families spoke Fiuman, a kid of mix between Venetian and Croatian”50, while in

47

Kurschat, Heinrich. Das Buch vom Memelland. Oldenburg: Werbedruck Kölner, 1990. pp. 121 – 125.

49

 

“Noriu priminti, kad aš ir iš lietuviškos kalbos suprantu!” (“Skelbimai”. Lietuwiszka Ceitunga. 17 Feb 1921. No 21: pp. 3.) 50 “Free state of Fiume.” Wikipedia. 01 03 2008.< http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_State_of_Fiume >

20 Gdansk 335 921 (91.5%) identified themselves as citizens of Danzig and 327 827 (97.6%) spoke German.51 All three city/states therefore identified themselves as inhabitants of certain semi – states according to the district in which they lived and the languages they spoke. In the case of Memel, one third of the inhabitants of Memelland identified themselves as neither German nor Minor Lithuanians, but as “Memellanders”. These I
Fig.1. Job advertisement “I am looking for one educated young girl for pharmacist assistant’s position. The applicants, with good Lithuanian language knowledge have an advantage”. Source: “Skelbimai”.Lietuwiska Ceitunga. 08 June 1920. No. 68. pp. 4.

am pointing out as the third separate group of the local population, whose main distinction from other two ethnic groups were the newly appeared territorial identity and bilingualism. 1.2.4 Sovereignty Philosophers such as Thomas Hobbes, John Locke and Machiavelli and various others have proposed numerous theories and concepts of sovereignty and its definitions: starting from traditional popular, imperialistic, internal / external, cultural and self ownership (sovereignty of the individual). As the scholar M. Lehti remarked: “Sovereignty is not only given to an individual state as constant quality but each state and also each period also gives its own definition to the general discourse on sovereignty.”52 In view of the “nation - state” model following WWI it is necessary to discuss national (popular) sovereignty. “The sovereignty of people (national sovereignty) is the belief that legitimacy of the state is created by the will or consent of its people, who are the source of political power.”53 This is the standard definition of political sovereignty and state - centric discourse. In analysis of Post World War free city/states the question of sovereignty is a key. In each case sovereignty must not be confused with freedom of action. Sovereign actors may find themselves in circumstances where the decision is highly constrained by
51 52

“Free city of Dancig.” Wikipedia. 02 03 2008. < http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_City_of_Danzig > Lehti, Marco. A Baltic League as a Construct of the New Europe. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang, 1999. p. 31. 53 “Popular sovereighty”. Wikipedia. 12 04 2008. < http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Popular_sovereignty >

21 relations of unequal power. In other words, the state is “sovereign” when it succeeds in upholding this final power of decision making.54 Neither the people of Memel, nor certainly its institutions had “decision making” power. Territoriality, de jure recognition as well as important international or internal decision and solutions were made by the Allied powers or by certain representatives sent to these territories. Hence, in cases of free city/states it is necessary to mention the concept of a state without the sovereignty or a state dependant upon another state.55 The planned city/state of Memel could have been a small independent semi - state, with a defined and recognized territory and exact frontiers. Yet, the phrase “semi - state” implies a certain label as “not full self - standing state”, which did not have all elements and factors that the “real” state or “nation - state” would have. One of the missing factors in Memel was political sovereignty, which did not belong to the state but to the Principal Allied and Associated powers (The British Empire, France, Italy and Japanese signatories). Moreover, all three free city/states were under the supervision of League of Nations. Every facet of the creation of these new city/states: the definition of territory, status of the region, trade rights, representatives, even their very existence, depended on the decisions of the Allied powers. Even the smaller issues such as presentation of the free city/states or administration mandates had certain defined representatives. In the case of Memelland, the French exercised temporary administration over the territory for the Allied and Associated Powers on February 15, 1920. The second significant date in the Memelland interwar history was February 16, 1923, when the Conference of Ambassadors acquiesced in the Lithuanian sovereignty over the territory and gave its sanction to the so called illegal coup de force (“Kovno” Lithuanian organized revolt on January 15, 1923). Nevertheless, for three years (1920 - 1923) the conference of Ambassadors debated with the question of the final status of Memel and delayed the preparation of a Convention in 1924 establishing the definite status of the Memel territory. According to A. John Gade, the main reason why Memelland could not be transferred to Lithuania in 1923 was because the de jure recognition of that country by the Powers was continually delayed due to Lithuania’s quarrel with Poland and the dispute of those two states as to their precise borders.56 Most scholars agree that Memel’s free city/state projects were impossible to realize and the district’s incorporation into “Kovno” Lithuania was all but inevitable.
54

Joel Kriege, ed. “Sovereignty.” The Oxford companion politics of the World. Second edition. Oxford. 2001. pp. 789 - 791. 55 Lehti, Marco. A Baltic League as a Construct of the New Europe. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang, 1999. pp. 34. 56 Gade A. John. “The Memel contraversary.” Foreign Affairs. Vol. II. No 3. 1924 (March 15): pp. 412.

22 Concluding this section, I may remark this region’s unique situation resulted from the depriving of their political sovereignty, which in 1919 after the Treaty of Versailles was handed over to Allied powers for the next four years. At the same time that the district’s administrative mandate was handed over to France, several state/challengers and local ethnic groups encouraged and supported different variation of a free city/state of Memel. Thus, the difficulty of a free city/state of Memel can be interpreted in two different ways: as a normal and excepted clash of utopia or as a brilliant missed historical opportunity. 1.2.5 The specific condition of Memelland; its administrative system In order to emphasize Memel’s vacillating four years transition period it is necessary to describe the region’s condition and analyze its changeable administrative apparatus. As was mentioned above, the specific uncertain and unreliable situation in the region caused by the undefined status of Memelland: the issue of political sovereignty, which belonged to the so - called “Guarantor Powers” and which actually in four years did not succeed in agreeing upon Memelland’s political status, the diverse multi - ethnic population with different views of the territory’s future and distinct identities. Though different ethnic group supported the free city/state’s idea, their plans contained entirely different criteria as to what kind of city/state it should be and how to achieve it. An important point must be added here, there were not suitable institutional administrative systems as well, via which new free city/states as self - standing regions could be arranged and managed. After the collapse of German Empire there was a major upheaval in Memelland’s administrative control. Before the French arrived in June of 1919, local Germans had established 100 members of “Vorparlament” with count Lamsdorf as head, and sought to continue theirs positions of region administration. The result of convocation was the elected Executive Committee (7 members), which received administration rights of the district. All of the Committee campaigners were local Germans, supporting reunification with Germany and following the Treaty of Versailles mandated large regional autonomy.57 In 1920 the Allied powers passed the administrative matters of Memelland to the French, where General Odry governed under the League of Nations mandate. During his tenure, three new institutions were established to administrate the region: (1) District directorate (6 - 8 members) pursued all government functions of the district; (2) State
Žiugžda, Robertas. Po diplomatijos skraiste. Klaipėdos kraštas imperalistinių valstybių planuose 1919 1924. Vilnius: Mintis, 1973. pp. 42 - 43.
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23 council (20 members) as consultative institution for administration and economy questions and (3) administrative court.58 Yet, important to mention here, there were no new suitable public or civil law accepted in the district sponsored by local Memellanders. Hence, in the Memelland besides the political sovereignty, which belonged to Allied and Associated powers, the region’s administration and presentation were also executed by the French. As a result new suitable administrative institutions were established. However, all of the employees of these institutions, the courts, and the public and civil laws remained the same as the previous administration, which was quite acceptable to the local Germans. Until August 1922, the official language of the district remained German as well. Additionally, the church in the territory of Memel was left to administrate according to an old system. As researcher A. Hermann remarks, all parishes in Memelland belonged to the provincial church of East Prussia, which was administrated by consistorium in Koenisberg - a part of Prussia’s church union. The last institution was maintained by the highest council of evangelical churches in Berlin.59

58 59

Valsanokas, Romualdas. Klaipėdos problema. Vilnius: Vaizdas, 1989. pp. 60 - 64. Hermann, Arthur. Lietuvių ir vokiečių kaimynystėje. Vilnius: Baltos lankos, 2000. pp. 212 - 213.

 

24 2. ANALYSIS OF THE PLANS FOR FREE CITY/STATE OF MEMEL 2.1. Positions of the local ethnic groups and the main competitors During the four year transition period the local ethnic groups had diverse opinions about the region’s current status and its future: 1. The parts of local Germans who desired reunification with Germany; and who, in case this were not possible 2. a small group of active Prussian Lithuanian supporters seeking union with Lithuania. 3. A third part of population (mostly Memellanders), who desired a free state much like Danzing. 4. While French representatives exerted all administrative rights in Memel, it must be mentioned that they were one of the first to propagate Memel’s free city state status. Meanwhile, outside the Memel territory several competitors vied for influence over Memel territory: the Lithuanians, who wanted an outlet to the sea; Poland, who desired to make Memel a second Danzig; Germany, from which Memel had been taken and who naturally sought its restoration;60and the neighbouring country of Latvia, who had a pretension for what are now north western Lithuanian territories as well.61 However, the primary emphasis of this paper is not on all of the challengers but on those who developed, propagated and sought Memel’s free city/state status: French, local German, Polish and the part of Minor and “Kovno” Lithuanians who were the main opponents, challenging the idea of a free city/state of Memel. The distinct projects of the free city/state of Memel are presented in the following subsection. 2.2 French Memel free city/state plan On February 15, 1920, French officers arrived in the district of Memel. First, this was an unexpected appearance in the eye for the local people. Second, as the French scholar I. Chandavoine states, the mission itself was hard and unthankful for French representatives who arrived in Memel without any specific interest in Memelland.62 According to “Lietuwiszka Ceitunga”, data collected in the beginning of 1920 indicated that local inhabitants expected to see two Allied Powers, French and British battalions,

Kalijarvi, Thorsten. “The Problem of Memel.” The American journal of International Law. Vol 30. No 2. 1936 (April). pp. 205 - 207. 61 The issue was settled on March 20, 1921 when the official agreement in Riga was signed within the border between the two neighbor countries. (Žiugžda, Robertas. 1973. pp. 34 -35) 62 Chandovaine, Isabelle. Prancūzmetis Klaipėdoje ir kas po to (1920 - 1932). Vilnius: Žara, 2003. pp. 34 - 35.

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25 stationed in Memel, and no longer than the beginning of January. After one month of delay, the local press published an article titled “Dėl Nemuno dalies” familiarizing Memel inhabitants with the final decision of Allied power: “One Italian and small French battalion goes to Marienwerder, one Italian and one British battalion - to Allenstein, and just one French battalion - to Memel.”63 Thus, the Allied Power passed the administrative duties of Memelland to France. With it, French representatives had two main tasks to complete. First, having no local French speaking ethnic groups, they needed find a compromise with local Germans and Minor Lithuanians and second, to find the best possible solution to the dispute between Poland and “Kovno” Lithuania regarding the status of Memel. The first task they solved easily, leaving local Germans in their administrative positions while also making new laws for the Lithuanian language, in regard to Minor Lithuanian demands.64 In the beginning of 1920, primary schools in Memel began teaching Lithuanian language lessons as well as religion lessons to ethnic Lithuanians.65 In essence, the French Commissar G. Petisne responded to Minor Lithuanians demands and in August 1922 both German and Lithuanian Languages were declared equal and dual official languages of the district.66 However, as one Minor Lithuanian reported: “even this fact did not allow Prussian Lithuanians and local to Germans come into closer relations; the differences between these two ethnic groups were, are and will be.” 67 Unfortunately, the second task for French officers was much more difficult. France, as a state, in international politics kept a clear pro - Polish position following WWI. According to R. Žiugžda, the French and British governments supported the idea of federal bonds between “Kovno” Lithuania and Poland, suggesting that both territories should revive “the great tradition of the past” and form a confederation.68 As K. Lundgreen - Nielsen marks, at the Paris peace conference British advisors regarded Lithuanian as too small a unit to be an independent state, and at that stage it could not be recognized on the account of the dominating German influence there. They refused to

63 64

“Dėl Nemuno dalies.” Lietuwiszka Ceitunga. 31 January 1920. No 14: pp. 1 Association of Minor Lithuanian in June of 1920 mainly required two things: local administrative institutions should consist of half local Germans and half Prussian Lithuanian officers as well as Lithuanian language should become as an second official district language.(“Lietuvių susiejimas Klaipedoj.” Lietuwiszka Ceitunga. 19 June 1920. No 73. pp. 2 - 3.) 65 Žostautaitė, Petronėlė. Klaipėdos kraštas 1923 - 1939. Vilnius: Mokslas, 1992. pp. 23 - 24. 66 “Amtlicher Teil: Memelgebiet, Verordnung No A 632.” Amtsblatt des Memelgebietes. 18 August 1922. No 94: pp. 1. 67 “Del kalbu lygybes.” Lietuwiszka Ceitunga. 22 August 1922. No 100: pp. 2 - 3. 68 Žiugžda, Robertas. Lithuania and Western powers in 1917 - 1940. Vilnius: Mintis, 1987. pp. 58.

26 recognize Lithuania’s independence to the territorial extant which the Lithuanians demanded.69 But why in the XX century would Western states support Polish federalist ideas based not on language or ethinicity, but on historical tradition? The western states simply saw a united Poland as the best possible “buffer” state between the democratic countries in Western Europe and Soviet Russia in the east, and as scholar M. Lehti expressed, allow her “to construct order out of chaos.” In other words, the support of Poland by western states could lead to a Polish led federation including small nations like Lithuania, Belarus, and Ukraine and part of Latvia with a new kind of sovereignty discourse, national self - determination could evolve into a bigger entity.70 France therefore initially supported Memel’s incorporation into “Kovno” Lithuania as certain remuneration, as “a reserve for harm” for Major Lithuania joining a new Polish federation. In October 1920 the local press interviewed the High French Commissar of Memelland D. Odry, the headlines reads: “Polish do not come into Memel” and “French sovereign recognizes both Wilno and Memel towns to Lithuania.”71 Due to the fact, that Wilno was the most important city for the creation of a Lithuanian “nation - state”, followed by Memel, this was an important step in its promotion.72 However, because there was no resolution to the disputes between Memel and Wilno available, French representatives suddenly redrew their political agendas. Surprisingly, the terms, possible agreements and strategies were changed. Despite having a different personal opinion G. Petisné, High Commissioner of the Allied Powers in Memel territory, acting in the interest of France and seeking to establish the territory as a French long term protectorate, in the summer of 1921 put forward an idea of a “Freistaat” - Free city/state of Memel.73 July 7, 1921 he appealed to the conference of Ambassadors for free city/state status for the territory of Memel.74 The French did propagated however; that the Free city/state of Memel should be an official protectorate of France. The highest power in the district would be the French commissar; the port of
69

Lundgreen - Nielsen, Kay. The Polish problem at the Paris Peace conference. Odense: University press, 1979. pp. 256. 70 Lehti, Marco. A Baltic League as a Construct of the New Europe. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang, 1999. pp. 170 - 172. 71 “Lenkai nepareis i Klaipeda.” Lietuwiszka Ceitunga. 30 October 1920. No 130: pp. 1. 72 As Vytautas Petronis emphasizes on the myth analyzes in Lithuanian state creation in early XX century even in 1922 followed by romantism and historical myths Lithuanian national bureau in London presents 4 “Lithuania’s” navigable water way’s parts: 1. The Upper Nieman (Grodno) 2. Vilija (Vilno) 3.The Middle Nieman (Kovno) and lower Nieman (Memel). And as it was stated below: “The exclusion of any particular part from the whole of the system would be immediately followed by disastrous results in all others.”(The Vilna problem. LNB, 1922, pp. 11) 73 Žiugžda, Robertas. Lithuania and Western powers in1917 - 1940. Vilnius: Mintis, 1987. pp. 60 - 61. 74 Žostautaitė, Petronėlė. Klaipėdos kraštas 1923 - 1939. Vilnius: Mokslas, 1992. pp. 18.

27 Memel would be administrated by the Council, which consisted of Lithuanian, Polish and French members; the same council should manage district railways. A free Polish trade zone would be established to satisfy Polish demands.75 Clearly, the French propagated plan for a free city/state of Memel granted certain economic privileges in the district to Poland. Presumably, since Poland did not have their own port, this was a temporal plan by France to allow Polish influence over Memel’s port activities without occupying it or incorporating Memel into “Kovno” Lithuania. In addition, district trade and source supplies (wood and corns) would be orientated, not from Lithuania, but from the much larger polish market. In March of 1922 High commissioner G. Petisné sent a special Memelland commission76 to Warszawa, where an agreement about the status of Memel would be worked out with the Polish government and “friendly background for the easier negotiation should be created.”77 After much negotiation and several concessions from the Polish government, the French protectorate of the Free city/state of Memel was finally agreed upon with specific trade and port rights for Poland.78 Allied power sent a special commission (mostly consisting of French officers) to the district as well in order to inform them about the situation in Memelland. As the result of this visit, the commission’s chief deputy Geo Gerald introduced his opinion that all administrative and economic issues in Memel, as well as culture interest of the district, could be pursued even as an independent and self - determining state.79 This was another very important argument for the plans for the realization of a free city/state of Memel. The French methods for promoting the proposed plan were simple, use anti Lithuanian and pro - Memellander propaganda during the conference of Ambassadors. In P. Žostautaitė’s view, this would help to create a negative impression of Lithuania in Western countries as a “wild”, compared to Memelland as a “low culture” state.80 During November and December of 1922, the participating commission from Memelland, Commissioner G. Petisné as well as one polish deputy, propagated the free city/state of Memel as a protectorate of the Allied powers and sought its official recognition (de jure under wardship of the League of Nations or de facto as a French protectorate), while “Kovno” Lithuanians sought to incorporate this district into “Greater Lithuania”, each

Chandovaine, Isabelle. Prancūzmetis Klaipėdoje ir kas po to (1920 - 1932). Vilnius: Žara, 2003. pp. 46 - 47. 76 The commission consisted of local land president Steputaitis, local “seimas” vice-president Kraus and Mr. Jahn as well as polish consulate in Memelland Mr. Szarrota. 77 “Klaipėdos krasto gaspadorystes derėjimai.” Lietuwiszka Ceitunga. 23 March 1922. No 35: pp. 1. 78 “Klaipėdos gaspadorystės derėjimai su Lenkija užsibaigė.” Lietuwiszka Ceitunga. 6 April 1922. No 41: pp. 1. 79 “Prancuziskas tyrinejimo komisijons Klaipėjoj.” Lietuwiszka Ceitunga.11 July 1922. No 82: pp. 1 - 2. 80 Žostautaitė, Petronėlė. Klaipėdos kraštas 1923 - 1939. Vilnius: Mokslas, 1992. pp. 18.

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28 proposal was rejected entirely.81 Polish representatives accepted Memel’s free city/state status however, though under the special condition that Poland is granted access to the Baltic Sea (i.e. special rights to Memel’s port). They argued that Poland only had limited trade rights from one another port - Gdansk, which was insufficient for such a large state.82 The Conference of Ambassadors considered five questions raised by the Memelland and “Kovno” Lithuania commissions in determining the status of Memel: What kind of impact would closing the Lithuanian boarder and the Neman River have on the district of Memel? What impact would continued conflict between Lithuania and Poland have on Memel if it were incorporated into Lithuania? Could Memel become a self - sustaining district without the support of Poland and Lithuania? What was the economic value of the Port of Memel and how did it impact Memel’s economy? As could be expected, the Memelland commission’s answers all favored the free city/state of Memel. The Commission cited that the amount of products which Lithuania transported via Memel’s port (flax, flax - seed, grains and fur) was not very significant (only 12% Lithuania’s total export). Nor did Memel need Lithuania, only 16 - 17% of Memel’s total export went to Lithuania and if the border with Lithuania were closed Memel and Lithuania could transport via both Libau (Liepaja) and Könisberg (Kaliningrad). The Lithuanian Commission offered entirely opposing answers, arguing that without Lithuania’s supplies and trade Memel could not support itself.83 The French proposition for a free city/state of Memel received support not only from Polish, local Germans but also from Minor Lithuanian workers and farmers, who believed Memel’s incorporation into Lithuania would cause decreasing food prices as well as monthly salaries.84 Just how many local inhabitants supported France’s plan for the free city/state of Memel? At the end of 1921“Arbeitsgemeinschaft fűr den Freistaat Memelland”85conducted a survey of public opinion regarding Memel as a free city/state (referendum and plebiscite). The results were staggering - 90 % of Memel’s inhabitants who had voting rights and supported the idea of a free city/state.86 However, these numbers may be slightly deceiving. According to local press publications, of the 140 000 inhabitants of Memelland only 56 000 (less than half of all inhabitants) had a right to
81 82

“Klaipediškiu derėjimai Paryze.”Lietuwiszka Ceitunga. 07 November 1922. No 133: pp. 1. “Paryziski Klaipedos derėjimai pasibaigė.” Lietuwiszka Ceitunga. 09 November 1922. No 134: pp. 1. 83 “Klaipėdiskiu derėjimai Paryze.” Lietuwiszka Ceitunga. 19 December 1922. No 151: pp. 1 - 2. 84 Valsanokas, Romualdas. Klaipėdos problema. Vilnius: Vaizdas, 1989. pp. 68. 85 At the end of 1921 was established all social stratum uniting organization seeking for Memel free – city/ state status. (lith.“Darbo susiviejimas už laisvą (walną) Klaipėdos valstybę“) 86 Žukas, Julius. “Prancūzai Klaipėdos krašte 1920 - 1923 m.: vienas pokarinės Europos epizodas.” Prancūzai Klaipėdoje 1920 – 1923. Klaipėda: Libra Memelensis, 2007. pp. 5.

29 vote; still, according to the survey 54 423 voters supported the Free city/state of Memel.87 Second, French scholar I. Chandovaine, during her research at the archives of the French Foreign Ministry, was unable to find information about any official referendum, only a list of results. According to I. Chandovaine, it was not an official referendum based on the democratic voting system rather an unofficial questioner.88 In contrast, in 1922 the National Council of Prussian Lithuanians protested against all activities of the “Arbeitsgemeinschaft”, its petition and adopted a resolution rejecting the list of Memel free city/state supporters. Minor Lithuanians propagating Memelland’s incorporation into the Greater Lithuania argued that the proponents for a free city/state of Memel collected votes in an incorrect and illegal manor: buying votes, registering the names of deceased persons, submitting the names of the persons who refused to subscribe on the “Arbeitsgemeinschaft” list, etc. In addition, the entire collection of names had been submitted without any certification of the age or citizenship of the signatories.89 Considering the unaccountable inconsistencies of the “Arbeitsgemein schaft” survey, it is doubtful that the majority of the local population supported a free city/state of Memel; however, perhaps half or slightly less than a half of the districts inhabitants supported the proposal. Attention should be given however, not only on the statistics (the numbers of how many of local inhabitants supported French plans) but on how realistic the proposed plan was. Despite support from France, local Germans, Polish and some of local Lithuanians and the strong propagation of a free city/state of Memel by French representatives, in the end there were too many obstacles to realize it. The district’s highest sovereign - the Allied powers - did not consider free city/state status to be the best possible alternative for Memel; while the Lithuanian as well as Polish borders were still undefined. Second, France’s proposal for the free city/state of Memel was the secondary proposal for the district. Initially, France supported Memel district’s incorporation into the newly emerged Lithuanian state, which would be a part of the Polish federation. Third, the supporters of the free city/state of Memel - local Germans, Polish, and a portion of Minor Lithuanians who later maintained the same idea of a free city/state - held differing opinions of how the free city/state of Memel should function (economic orientation, administration, etc.) and in the end worked as competitors, not
Official voting results: Memel town - 13 293, Memel district - 10 180, Šilutė - 13970, Pagėgiai - 16986. “54423 Klaipėdos krašto gyventojų už walna walstybę.”Lietuwiszka Ceitunga. 11 May 1922. No 56: pp. 2. 88 Chandovaine, Isabelle. Prancūzmetis Klaipėdoje ir kas po to (1920 - 1932). Vilnius: Žara, 2003. pp. 57. 89 “Protest of Memel Lithuanians.” Memorandum on the Memel Question. Lithuanian information bureau. London: Eyre and Spottiswoode, 1922. pp. 6 - 7.
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30 supporters. There was not one united position among the various local ethnic groups and neighbouring states about France’s proposed free city/state of Memel, but several diverse positions and varied opinions and views. 2.3 Polish plan for the free city/state of Memel Before we discuss the details of Poland’s plan for the free city/state of Memel it should be noted that the Polish plan was not a haphazard one. Polish deputies had several reasons to propagate a free city/state of Memel. The first reason why Poland would want to promote Memel as a free city/state was because French representatives also supported Memel as a free city/state. Support of Memel’s independence was advantageous for Poland because it allowed for trade opportunities with Memel, transport of Polish goods and access to local commodities, potential rights for the transportation of army equipment and access to Memel’s port. Second, support of Memel would hopefully win Allied support for a consolidated Polish state as a vanguard against the expansion of bolshevism90 and Polish deputies’ plans for the restoration of Greater Poland. As M. K. Dziewanowski correctly noted, the re-born Polish republic was a precarious creation with amorphous, undefined frontiers in all four directions: south, north, east and west.91 The author also observes that Poles, who had been labeled by the Allies as “a belligerent allied nation”92, based their borders on the historical union with Lithuania and were willing to take whatever measures necessary to restore those frontiers. In other book M. K. Dziewanowski adds; “the post war chaos was a challenge and opportunity for the Polish nation in East Europe. Poland squeezed between defeated states passing through a post war crisis, started her race towards a new historical goal with a few years of grace <…> the young Polish state had every chance to win the race and become a great power, a mainstay of order.”93 The third reason for Polish support of the free city/state of Memel was the failure of the plan propagated by Paul Hyman. This first plan for both Wilno and Memel proposed the creation of a Polish - Lithuanian federation. In this scenario both states would agree to recognize Memel as a part of Lithuania and allow Wilno to remain the cultural centre of Lithuania. In return, Poland would reserve the rights for sole usage of the Neman River and port. Even if the western powers had favoured a federalist
90

According to Kay Lungreen - Nielsen, at Paris Peace conference even if Allied Powers refused to recognized Lithuanian state, they hoped for an agreed military co - operation between Poland and “Kovno” Lithuania against bolshevism. (Lungreen - Nielsen, K., 1979. pp. 294)  91 Dziewanowski, M. K. Poland in the twentieth century. New York, 1977. pp. 74. 92 Ibin. pp. 77. 93 Dziewanowski, M. K. Joseph Piłsudski: a European federalist, 1918 - 1922. Stanford, CA: Hoover Institution Press, 1969. pp. 74 - 75.

31 program, stressing in particular a need for some sort of close military alliance between these two states94, the project was ignored, first of all, by Poland, who maintained the idea to create a Polish Federation, with it’s borders restored to that of the former Commonwealth, which prior to 1772 extended as far as east at to include Lithuania, most of Belarus and the western Ukraine;95 and secondly, by Lithuania, which opposed any kind of union with Poland.96 Similar to the French, Polish deputies did not have a significant enough Polish population living in Memel to support their plan. A prominent French historian stated, that in 1926 in Memelland the population was “au point de vue ethnique, moitié polonais et montié lithuanien”, when as a matter of fact there were only a very few Poles living in a region with a population not much more than 140 000.97 Despite the fact that there was no polish ethnic group living in Memelland, Poles had two main factors/methods in impacting in the district: economic and political. Due to economic influence in Memel district in 1921, Polish sponsored by their government established own trade company - “Mempol”, which began large - scale purchase of real estate in the district. After the signing of the Polish - Memelland trade agreement in 1922, more and more companies owned by Poles, either in whole or in part, began emerging.98 Polish strategy was simple: if they could not occupy then buy. Politically, Poland hoped to use the case of Memel to ease tensions with Lithuania and to come to an agreement, not only on Memel but Wilno as well. The status of Memelland (incorporation or creation of free city/state) was a significant point of political negotiations between the two states and had considerable barring on their futures. In 1921 a Minor Lithuanian journalist of a local newspaper speculated about what the nature of the relationship between Poland and Lithuania should be: absolute incorporation, a series of agreements (conventions), confederation, union, federation, autonomous regions within the Polish state or the later idea of two “nation - states” with semi sovereign entities near by? 99 Thus, the status of Memelland was imperative for

94

Senn, Alfred Erich. The great powers, Lithuania and the Vilna question 1920 - 1928. Leiden: Brill, 1966. pp. 66 95 Lehti, Marco. A Baltic League as a Construct of the New Europe. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang, 1999. pp. 170. 96 Chandovaine, Isabelle. Prancūzmetis Klaipėdoje ir kas po to (1920 – 1919). Vilnius: Žara, 2003. pp. 41 - 42. 97 Kalijarvi, Thorsten. “The Problem of Memel.” The American journal of International Law. Vol 30. No 2 (April). pp. 204 98 Žukas, Julius. “Prancūzai Klaipėdos krašte 1920 - 1923 m.: vienas pokarinės Europos epizodas.” Prancūzai Klaipėdoje 1920 - 1923. Klaipėda: Libra Memelensis, 2007. pp. 5. 99 “Derėjimai tarp Lietuvos ir Klaipėdos. ” Lietuwiszka Ceitunga. 27 January 1921. No 12: pp. 1.

32 both the Polish and Lithuanian states. With an agreement on the status of Memel, an agreement or at least a compromise might be possible for the district of Wilno as well. As a state, Poland’s position towards Memel’s status gradually changed. Yet in 1919, the leader of the National Democrats in Poland R. Dmowski, in the two memorandums on east and west Polish states frontiers, asserted that Polish and Lithuanian speaking territories needed to incorporate into a Polish state, and the areas where German was the dominant language, a state must be created that would in essence be politically and economically depended on Poland.100 Nevertheless, Poland in 1920, in the word of Lithuanians, promoted more “imperialistic” plans. The Polish state argued for the incorporation of Memelland as well as what is today Kaliningrad, Sovetsk and Chernyakhovsk into Lithuania,101 while Lithuania as a whole would come under Polish “guardianship” as part of a Polish federation.102 The plan presented at the Versailles Peace conference and published by M. K. Dziewanowski in his book included a map (No. 6) showing a historical Lithuania that included not only Kowno, Wilno, Grodno, Minsk, Slonim, and Brest - Litovsk, but also Memel and Tilsit, i.e., Prussian Lithuania, or Lithuania Minor. According to Polish deputies, Lithuania could not economically or militarily support itself, therefore the historical political union between Lithuania and Poland should be restored.103 Wary of Polish intentions, one headline in a local Memel newspaper speculated: “If the solution between Memelland and Lithuania is not found, Poland in one or another way would come in the district.”104 With the Polish - Lithuanian border dispute still unresolved and the prospect of certain trade and port rights for Poland, in 1922, Polish deputies promoted a second possible alternative for Memel: free city/state status. In January of 1922, an article entitled“Lenkija ir Klaipėdos kraštas” introduced Poland‘s distinct position towards the status of Memel: “Memelland should receive exactly the same status as Gdansk and in certain issues should have even more freedom and self - governance. In this proposal Memelland would become a Polish transit district, where goods from eastern Poland via railways of East Prussia would reach Memel’s port and be transported further.” 105 This Polish backed plan for a free city/state of Memel was similar to that of the French. The

Chandovaine, Isabelle. Prancūzmetis Klaipėdoje ir kas po to (1920 - 1932). Vilnius: Žara, 2003. pp.35 “Dėl Nemuno dalies.” Lietuwiszka Ceitunga. 23 November 1920. No140: pp. 1. 102 “Kas ant Belsingforso konferenco atsitiko.” Lietuwiszka Ceitunga. 17 February 1920. No 21: pp. 2. 103 Dziewanowski, M. K. Joseph Piłsudski: a European federalist, 1918 - 1922. Stanford, CA: Hoover Institution Press, 1969. pp.84. 104 “Dėl Nemuno dalies.” Lietuwiszka Ceitunga. 23 November 1920. No140: pp. 1 105 “Lenkija ir Klaipėdos kraštas.” Lietuwiszka Ceitunga. 05 January 1922. No 2: pp. 1.
101

100

33 November 25 edition of “Lietuwiszka Ceitunga“, published an article outlining five essential points of Poland‘s position: 1. Memel would be under the wardship of France, where the highest administrative power belonged to the French commissar (“obercomissar“). 2. The Memel Port Commission would consist of Polish, Lithuanian and Memel deputies. The Commission would administer not only the port but also the regions railways and Memel’s segment of the Neman River. 3. No customs should be exacted from Polish consumers using the Port of Memel. 4. Memel would the right to exact custom from other neighbouring states. 5. The proposed plan would be effective no more than 10 years.106 In essence, therefore, the provisional status for Memel territory was temporal, not longer than 10, or possibly prolonged to 15 years. An official document from the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs entitled “Instrukcja w sprawie przyszłej organizacji wolnego miasta Kłajpedy” (“Instruction of future Memel as a free city/state organization”) clearly presents Poland’s views towards the organization of a free city/state of Memel. First, considering “Kovno” Lithuania’s opposition towards Polish federalists’ plans, the Polish government would support the idea of the free city/state of Memel as a timely and final solution for Memelland, even if relations between Poland and Lithuania would be impossible to restore. Second, Poland supported only French wardship and administration of Memelland, arguing that other states’ political involvement, such as Great Britain’s, would not be desirable for the territory. Third, this document confirms that Poland sought access to the Baltic Sea via the port of Memel and navigation of the Neman River, not only for trade purposes but also for the transportation of Polish military equipment. The Memel port, as it was propagated in this document, would be a gateway for Poland, with a free Polish trade zone within the port and Polish control and administration over it. Fourth, Poland wanted to reserve the right to propose to French Commissar G. Petisné Memel’s constitution and construct a system of institutions which supported Polish interests in the district, arguing that it would be impossible to represent the interest of all of the local inhabitants. However, the next page of the document specifies that Poland would give special preference to certain local inhabitants; in particularly economists, businessmen and merchants, who would be necessary to manage the port of Memel under Polish control. Fifth, Polish
106

“Lenkiskasis uzmanymas del Klaipedos krasto.” Lietuwiszka Ceitunga. 25 November 1922. No 141: pp. 1.

34 deputies volunteered to participate not only in the administration of Memel’s port but the administration of the district’s legislative institutions as well.107 Thus, Poland in part secretly propagated Memel’s free city/state status to resemble the city/state of Gdansk, with an even greater Polish influence on Memel’s port, roads, river and legislative institution. Looking closer at both the official document and the article in “Lietuwiszka Ceitunga”, we can see a discrepancy in Poland’s position on the administration of the port of Memel. According to the article Poland sought to create a port commission consisting of Poles, Lithuanians and Memellanders, whereas the official document prescribed sole Polish administration. However, the final, and perhaps most significant document submitted by Poland - “Głowne punkty konstytucji Kłajpedj” (“The main points of Memel land constitution” translated and added in Appendix Doc. No 1.) in the end, expressed Poland’s agreement to a multi - ethnic council (point No.8). In addition, the constitution (see points No. 5 - 7) also precisely defined a system of government institutions in the Memel district: legislative, executive and judicial, as well as guidelines for its elections. Nothing was mentioned of the participation of other nationalities or ethnic groups. In fact, the final point in the constitution presents the three major requirements in order to receive citizenship in Memel: 5 years consistently living in the district, possessing a residence permit and submitting a declaration of intent108; which would have been quite attainable for new comers, including Poles. Regardless, in view of the constitution promoted by the Poles, many scholars, including Lithuanian historians V. Nikžentaitis109 and J. Žukas, agree that the most attractive prospect for Poland in Memel was its port, as an outlet to the sea. According to R. Žiugžda, the plans of the Entante states, and France in particular, the port of Memel was to become a major transport route for Polish military equipments.110 Considering that fact that during the period of French oversight Memel was a major weapons contraband centre between Germany and Lithuania,111 some military equipment would even be transported illegally. Although for that “service” Memelland
“Instrukcja w sprawie przyszłej organizacji wolnego miasta Kłajpedy.” Koszulka aktu (Archyvum Akt Nowych,Warsava): Ministerstwo Spraw Zagranicznych.Wydział D.V.6938. Klaipėdos kraštas 1920 1924 m. archyviniuose dokumentuose. 2003. IX: 8 - 11. 108 “Głowne punkty konstytucji Kłajpedj.“ Koszulka aktu (Archyvum Akt Nowych,Warsava): Ministerstwo Spraw Zagranicznych. Klaipėdos kraštas 1920 - 1924 m. archyviniuose dokumentuose. 2003. IX: 12-13. 109 Nikžentaitis, Alvydas. “Klaipėdos problemos sprendimo galimybės Lenkijos diplomatų akimis.” Klaipėdos kraštas 1920 - 1924 m. archyviniuose dokumentuose. Acta Historica universitatis Klaipedensis. IX (2003). pp. 6 - 7. 110 Žiugžda, Robertas. Lithuania and Western powers in 1917 - 1940. Vilnius: Mintis, 1987. pp. 66. 111 Chandovaine, Isabelle. Prancūzmetis Klaipėdoje ir kas po to (1920 - 1932). Vilnius: Žara, 2003. pp.35.
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35 would receive wood, corns and other products, materials and supplies directly from Poland on a regular basis. However, reports from the Latvia’s historical archive concerning port activity on the Baltic Sea’s eastern coastal area suggests otherwise. According to the report Memel’s port was underdeveloped, shallow and seldom used at the end of XIX and beginning of XX century.112 For example, graph No 2 in the appendix, based on the LVVA historical data shows that from 1882 to 1886 import and export via Memel’s port gradually decreased, while the Port of Libau (Liepaja) showed greater profit and productivity. For instance, before WWI Libau’s port benefit was 3.5 - 4 times bigger than Memel’s (see graphic No 2). According to statistics from Latvian consulate, even later from 1920 - 1924 port had not been reconstructed and it was still shallow. Near the Danė rivers outflow it was only 4.5 meters deep and the only advantage of the port was wood transportation, which was further made into cellulose in the city.113 Bearing in mind, that the Latvian Consulate may have made their observations subjectively, inflating Liepaja’s import and export numbers, it is necessary to consider these findings. However, according to John A. Gade, “Memel’s port was equally insignificant in comparison with the Russian Baltic ports of Libau, Riga or Konigsberg and Gdansk. The harbor’s equipment was old fashion and inadequate, the port was shallow, and before separation from Prussia, its budget showed a large deficit.” In addition, in the scholar’s opinion, there existed “stagnation in the port’s trade, onerous custom barriers between the territory and Lithuania, smuggling on all sides and a diversion of Lithuanian traffic to Latvian and German ports.” 114 Thus, concluding this chapter it must be pointed out that Memel territory, as well as its port, was not an attractive and remunerative matter for Polish deputies, but rather as a pretext to receive an impact in the district and an opportunity to decrease tension with Lithuanian due to the Wilno question by promoting Memel’s free city/state status. 2.4 Local Germans’ plan for the free city/state of Memel Local ethnic Germans as well as the entire German states policy towards Memel district mainly can be divided into three stages: first, disagreement and protest for Memel’s separation from the rest of Germany; second, the propagation of a free city/state of Memel (ger. “Freistaat”); and finally, a relatively secret negotiation
LVVA: Fonds: 2575, Apraksts 11, Lietas 468 “Konsulāta ziņojumi LR ĀM 1925. ” Ziņojums No. 2. pp. 11 - 17 113 LVVA: Fonds: 2575, Apraksts 11, Lietas 467 “Konsulāta ziņojumi LR ĀM 1924. ” Ziņojum No. 2. pp. 2 - 3. 114 Gade A. John. “The Memel controversy.” Foreign Affairs. Vol. II. No 3. 1924 (March 15). pp. 410, 413.
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36 between Germany and the new Lithuanian government in order to incorporate the district into the Lithuanian state. As the historian Th. Kalijarvi states, it is not strange, therefore, that on the May 29 th., 1919, Germany protested against the Memel settlement in a fiery note by Foreign minister of Germany Ulrich Graf von Brockdorff - Rantzau.115 The note expressed the minister’s absolute disappointment with Memel’s separation from the rest of Germany and his disagreement with ideas to incorporate it into “Kovno Lithuania”. Protestors claimed that Memel was an entirely German city and that only a small contingent of local political groups supported corporation with (i.e. subordination to) Catholics “Russian Lithuanians”. In addition, in these cases even some local Minor Lithuanians supported Germans rather than “Kovno Lithuanians”. As scholar V. Vareikis pointed out, the reasons might be various: better economic situation for the micro - region such as higher taxes in “Kovno Lithuania” and orientating the district’s agriculture towards Germany where agricultural machines and fertilizers were less expensive and the selling price of the products higher, as well as the distain of local Germans of loyalty to the “Kovno Lithuanian” army, which they say as unacceptable.116 In 1919, the local German newspaper “Memeler Dampfboot” explained, that local Germans and some local Lithuanians disagreed with the National Council’s of Lithuania Minor Act, which declared Lithuanian Minor’s willingness to be part of the Lithuanian state and opposed the “Kovno Lithuanian” plan named by Germans as “Das litauische Territorium” (“Lithuanian territory”), in which all of Memelland and part of East Prussia would be incorporated into the Lithuanian state. In the article local Germans made several points. First, Minor Lithuanians were not the only one ethic group living in the territory, nor even the largest, thus all other suggestions from the other ethnic groups should be considered as well. Moreover, according to statistics published by local Germans the majority of inhabitants in the towns were German. Third, due to the economic situation in those territories and the differences in history, languages and religion, local German opposed Memel’s incorporation in Lithuania. In the view of local Germans the new state of Lithuania was absolutely inexperienced in international or local politics, because “Kovno Lithuanian” named by Germans as “Russian Lithuanians” were uneducated and had a lower level of culture. In view of all these facts, local Germans

Kalijarvi, Thorsten. “The Problem of Memel.” The American journal of International Law. Vol. 30. No 2. 1936 (April): 204. 116 Vareikis, Vygantas. “Nuo romantinės praeities į modernią ateitį.” Klaipėda. Istorija populiariai. Klaipėda: Druka, 2002. pp. 23 - 24.

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37 announced they would start a protest movement against the Russian Lithuanians (“der Protestbewegung gegen die Russisch Litauen”).117 However, in response to Ulrich G. von Brockdorff - Rantzau and the local German protest the Allied and Associated powers (George Clemenceau) replied:
“The district in question has always been Lithuanian; the majority of the population is Lithuanian in origin and in speech and the fact that the city of Memel itself in large is German is no justification for maintaining the district under German sovereignty, particularly in view of the fact that the port of Memel is the only sea outlet for Lithuania. It has been decided that Memel and the adjoining district shall be transferred to the Allied and Associated powers for the reason that the status of the Lithuanian territory is not yet established.”118

Thus, Memelland could not be transferred to Lithuania because Lithuania did not yet have “de jure” recognition by the Powers. The Power states continually delayed to recognize Lithuanian due to territorial quarrels with Poland and the dispute over the exact borders between the two states. Consequently, the Allied powers assumed Memelland to be Lithuanian territory; however, they were delayed to award it to Lithuania for the same reasons they delayed to recognize the state of Lithuania. Officially, the Allied powers did not recognize Lithuania “de jure” until December 20, 1922.119 In fact the Allied powers anti - German position in Memel case precipitated the “Freistaat” idea intensively promulgated by local Germans.120 According to scholar P. Žostautaitė, the free - city/state plan was the only possible option for local Germans to oppose the annexation of Memel into the rest of Lithuania.121 Additionally, it is necessary to discuss the support of the German state as well as their role in this scenario. During the transition period Germans in Memelland were treated as German citizens by the state of Germany, providing accessibility for German pension and even paying the differences of salaries for local German officers, who could help locally to realize and pursue German plans.122 As John A. Gade comments, the German population of the city did it’s utmost to further the creation of an independent Memel state; somewhat analogous to Gdansk, being convinced that this was the shortest road to

“Litauische Proteste gegen die grosslitausche Propaganda.” Memeler Dampfboot. 20 March 1919. No 67. pp. 1 - 2. 118 Gade A. John. “The Memel controversy.” Foreign Affairs. Vol. II. No 3. 1924 (March 15). pp. 412. 119 Žiugžda, Robertas. Lithuania and Western powers in1917 - 1940. Vilnius: Mintis, 1987. pp. 64. 119 Valsanokas, Romualdas. Klaipėdos problema. Vilnius: Vaizdas,  120 “Mitbürger! Männer und Frauen!Bürger und Bürgerrinen! ” Memeler Dampfboot. 1919. pp.1. extra “Freistaat” ideas propagating paper. 121 Žostautaitė, Petronėlė. Klaipėdos kraštas 1923 - 1939. Vilnius: Mokslas, 1992. pp. 17. 122 Valsanokas, Romualdas. Klaipėdos problema. Vilnius: Vaizdas, 1989. pp. 61.

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38 reunion with Germany.123 Just after WWI, even before the final decision of the Ambassadors conference, acknowledging Germany’s total defeat, local Germans in Memelland, composing a majority of cities population and having the largest political and economic influence in Memel with significant German landowners’ support in the countryside, immediately initiated their plan for the Memel“Freistaat” and tried quickly to accomplish it. Therefore, in the summer, 1919 local German political leaders established “Vorparlament” from which the district‘s Executive Committee124 was elected. The committee organized a twelve members’ commission which was assigned the take of preparing the constitution of the Republic of Memelland.125 A headline in “Lietuwiska Ceitunga” in the beginning of 1920 rhetorically posed the question: An autonomous Memel district? The article succinctly yet exactly predicted the version of free city status of Memel initiated by local Germans.126 Discussing the German army being located in the district, local German administration, as well as close trade links with the state of Germany, the plan’s possibility seemed to be unsurprising and realistic. Additionally, in July of 1919 the local German and Lithuanians Fatherland union (in gr.“Deutsch - Litauischer Heimatbund”127) was established, which undoubtedly promoted local Germans “Freistaat” of Memel as well. According to local press advises it was a biggest organization in the territory of Memel, joining the 68 535128/40 000129 members from the perspective districts. Essentially, it was the main counter organization to the National council of Minor Lithuania, completely opposing its activities and accomplishments. “Heimatbud” denied that the National Council of Lithuania Minor was the largest institution representing the majority of the population, and opposed their plan to incorporate Memel into “Kovno” Lithuania. According to a member of “Heimatbund” the National Council of Minor Lithuania, did not represent half of the district’s population or even a majority of Minor Lithuanian’s interests. He also attested that, for the most part, the majority of inhabitants did not support the district incorporation into Lithuania. “Heimatbund” at the end of 1919 and beginning of
Gade A. John. “The Memel controversy.” Foreign Affairs. Vol. II. No 3. 1924 (March 15). pp. 413 414. 124 Executive committee consisted of administrator Altenberg, Proffesional Union’s chairman Matz, landowners Schlenther, Scheu, Schimkat, chief of the region Dr. Honig and trader Jahn. (Valsanokas, R. pp. 60) 125 Valsanokas, Romualdas. Klaipėdos problema. Vilnius: Vaizdas, 1989. pp. 60. 126 “Dėl Nemuno dalies.” Lietuwiszka Ceitunga. 10 February 1920. No 18: pp.1 127 The organization was national and political character. Its main tasks was local Germans polititcal parties propagation; later - German ethnic group‘s cultural activities promotion. 128 “Triju metu pastovejimo szwente wokissko – lietuwiszkojo namynes bunto Rusnej.” Lietuwiska Ceitunga. 10 August 1922. No 95: pp. 1. 129 According to I. Chandavoine, to the party belonged just 40 000 member and half of them were Germanized Lithuanians, who were more interested to Germany than Lithuania and were willing to defeat were “homeland” interests. (I. Chandavoine, 2003. pp. 36)
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39 1920 was the only appropriate choice for Memellanders who sought to achieve absolute autonomy and free city/state status. 130 An important point to remember, however, is that local Germans residences “Kovno Lithuania” in general treated as economically and culturally inferior. Furthermore, in Germany in the liberal newspaper “Gazette de Voss” stated: “60% local Memelland inhabitant wish reunion with Germany, the rest seek to establish autonomous free city/state, economically orientated first to Germany and second to Lithuania, if that’s impossible to succeed the Allied power in order to listen to local inhabitants’ opinion had to organize a referendum.”131 Hence, due to the fact that Memelland was a peripheral ethnic German island in the east, the “Freistaat” plan propagated from 1919 - 1920 by local Germans as well as German authorities was a clear scenario to establish a German “protectorate” economically orientated towards Germany with administration, trade, defence institutions and local commercials enterprises by local Germans, including strengthening of German education and language. The temporary administration of Memelland though, early in 1920, was entrusted to the French General Odry, supported by a battalion of Chasseurs Alpins. Accordingly, the importance and possibilities of the German “Freistaat” plans gradually decreased. However, local Germans negotiated with the French administrator and in mid 1920 sought to establish a local advisory/consultative institution in which the members would come only from the local German political parties of the “Democrats”, “Christian Democrats”, “Volkspartei”, and “Deutschnazionale”.132 However, the idea initiated by “Heimatbund” did not succeed in its aim. French Commissar Odry did not accept the structure of the advisory institution. Between 1920 and 1921, local Germans with seats in the local directorium still negotiated and managed to propagate and initiate plan for a “Freistaat” with its original program, or with some variations. German administrators realized that under the existing conditions (that is the Allied Powers negative position towards Germany and the French pro - Polish attitude) the subordination of the Memel territory to Germany, or the original German “Freistaat” plan was out of the question. Between the choice of the Polish and the French plans, local Germans supported the French propagated Memel free city status. In 1922 they created a first draft of a Memelland flag and introduced it to the French commissar.
130 131

“Dėl Nemuno dalies.” Lietuwiszka Ceitunga. 02 March 1920. No 27: pp. 1 Chandovaine, Isabelle. Prancūzmetis Klaipėdoje ir kas po to (1920 - 1932). Vilnius: Žara, 2003. pp. 43. 132 Valsanokas, Romualdas. Klaipėdos problema. Vilnius: Vaizdas, 1989. pp. 66 - 67.

40 Notwithstanding, other important points need to be marked here. In 1922 the opinions of Germans and local Memel Germans toward Memelland’s status, as well as their approach to having an impact and influence in the district, suddenly changed. While local Germans still propagated Memel’s free city/state status, German government began a more promising political game, a calculated negotiation for the incorporation of the Memel territory to Lithuania. According to R. Žiugžda, in 1922, ruling circles in Germany opposed the idea of declaring the Memel territory a “free - city/state”, having realized that in the form of a “Freistaat” or protectorate it would come under the control of either France or its ally Poland. The German government preferred to see Memel in the hands of a weak, but unattached to Poland, Lithuania. Therefore, in February, 1922 German representatives semi - officially informed the Lithuanian government that Germany was ready to agree to the transfer of Memel territory to Lithuania. However, they stipulated that “Kovno Lithuania” had to assist for Germany in keeping Memel a German city, even though it had been ceded from Germany under the Versailles Peace Treaty.133 Germany for the first time negotiated for supported a Lithuanian state; rationalizing getting Memel back would be easier from a weak Lithuanian state than from Poland or France. Meanwhile, Lithuania’s primary “enemy” was Poland, not Germany, and easily negotiated with it. In the secret negotiation Germany’s main task was to obtain as many consolations as possible for local inhabitants so that the autonomous district status would be not much different from the local German propagated “Freistaat” plan. Meanwhile, in Memalland “Heimatbund” activities naturally decreased, in 1923 the organisation in effect reorganised into a German cultural institution. To conclude this chapter, after WWI the actions of local Germans changed several times: protests, “Freistaat” plans and finally negotiations with the Lithuanian government. Local Germans, apprehensive over the economic prospects facing the Lithuanian republic, worried about being under Lithuanians authority promoted Memel’s Free city/state status. Nevertheless, these plans were only temporal transitional variations until Germany could reconnect Memel, and the most appealing choice being its incorporation into the newly recognized weak Lithuanian state.

133

Žiugžda, Robertas. Lithuania and Western powers in1917 - 1940. Vilnius: Mintis, 1987. pp. 62 - 63.

41

2.5 Minor Lithuanians’ point of view of the free city/state of Memel status First of all, before introducing the Prussian Lithuanians’ opinion on the status of Memel, it is necessary to mention the extremely strong propaganda pursued by “Kovno” Lithuanians in order to as soon as possible incorporate Memel’s territory into the newly appeared Lithuanian state. Contrary to the opinion of French and Polish deputies, the part of Prussian/Minor Lithuanians collaborating with the temporary “Kovno” government supported the idea of the Memel territories incorporation into “Greater Lithuania” and started quickly to accomplish their plans. In R. Valsanokas pro Lithuanian view, the “Freistaat” idea for part of the local Minor Lithuanians was completely strange and foreign. As Prussian Lithuanians propagated, it was impossible to imagine that the micro - region of Memel could stand on its own economically, thus, during the transition period their only question was: in which conditions should Memelland be incorporated into the Lithuanian state?134 Therefore, part of the Minor Lithuanians perhaps influenced by Lithuanians in the “Kovno” territory French administration in Memel called as “military occupation”. In addition, they also accused French officers first of following too closely the advice for the pro German Landes directorium, and later of yielding to the local Polish military and civil representatives.
135

Yet, on November 16, 1918 Minor Lithuanians established the National Council of

Lithuania Minor which in November 30, 1918 in their view, announcing the wish of the majority of the local population declared the National Council of Lithuania Minor Act. With it, according to Wilson’s nations’ self - determination rights, Prussian Lithuanians required Minor Lithuania to be incorporate into the Greater Lithuania (see Appendix document No 2). In Lithuanian historiography the importance of this act is compared with the February 16, 1918 Independence Act of the Lithuanian state. Members of the Council of the Minor Lithuania established their clubs in the smaller towns and in pro Lithuanian newspapers “Litauische Worte” or “Prūsų lietuvių balsas” propagated the incorporation of the Memel district into the Lithuanian state, however, with specific autonomous rights. P. Žostautaitė mentioned the cases that even some members from National council of Lithuania Minor actually had doubts and hesitated about the Lithuanian state, its cultural and economic level and conditions. In one “Lietuwiska Ceitunga” article, it was pointed out: “There are some doubts if, after the several centuries of separation, those two lands can be reconnected.” In addition, at the end of
134 135

Valsanokas, Romualdas. Klaipėdos problema. Vilnius: Vaizdas, 1989. pp. 67. Gade A. John. “The Memel controversy.” Foreign Affairs. Vol. II. No 3. 1924 (March 15). pp. 412.

42 the article it was noted: “However, do not renounce our motherland.”136 According to the doubts expressed by National Council members of Minor Lithuania I can claim that most of the action as well as Minor Lithuanians activities were huge propaganda initiated, supported, and perhaps even paid by the Lithuanian government. As scholar John A. Gade stressed, Lithuanians in the “Kovno territory” and Minor Lithuanians by themselves in Memelland were “spoiling for the trouble” with their workers’ strikes, stagnation in the port’s trade, onerous custom barriers between the territory and Lithuania, smuggling on all sides, and diverting, changing Lithuanian traffic to Latvian and German ports137 which caused instability, unemployment, financial debts and other negative economic consequences in Memelland. However, one of the most significant decision and action of the Council of Minor Lithuania was resolution accepted on November 21, 1920, where it was required to immediately attribute the Memel territory to the “Kovno” Lithuania: the south Memel territory border to be accepted as the west southern Lithuanian state frontier; the district’s railway, post, telegraph and telephone as well as the Nieman river and port facilities to be assigned to Lithuanian governmental institutions. On March 20, 1920 in order to express publicly a final Minor Lithuanian decision - to be incorporated into their “nation stem”, “motherland” or “hinterland” four members of the National Council of Minor Lithuania presented this resolution in the international meeting of National Council of the Lithuanian state. Meanwhile the president of Lithuania, A. Smetona, and other diplomats from England, France and USA (as can be expected) greeted, applauded four representatives from the National Council of Minor Lithuania and immediately co opted them into the National Council of the Lithuanian state.138 Evidently, “Kovno” Lithuanians had several reasons to officially deny Memel the free city/state status and with all efforts to seek its attachment to the “Kovno” Lithuania. As the first significant and one of the main reasons for this denial, the “Memorandum on the Memel question” mentioned Memel port - Lithuania’s sole Sea outlet and another natural advantage - the Nieman River, navigable up to Grodno through the entire Lithuanian territory.139 However, in the second part of the same document it is also stated that the port had inadequate equipment, which rendered it inconvenient for deep sea traffic; the port had insufficient depth, was outside great commercial currents of the Baltic Sea and it had not been linked by rail with “Kovno”
Žostautaitė, Petronėlė. Klaipėdos kraštas 1923 - 1939. Vilnius: Mokslas, 1992. pp. 22. Gade A. John. “The Memel controversy.” Foreign Affairs. Vol. II. No 3. 1924 (March 15). pp. 413. 138 Žostautaitė, Petronėlė. Klaipėdos kraštas 1923 - 1939. Vilnius: Mokslas, 1992. pp. 23. 139 Memorandum on the Memel question. Lithuanian Information Bureau. London: Eyre and Spottiswoode, 1922. pp. 1 - 7.
137 136

43 Lithuania. Memel had railway connection just with Tilsit (today Sovetsk). Consequently, the newly appeared Lithuania in order to use Memel port and connect those two lands had to fulfil at least two conditions: first, the deepening and equipment of the harbour; secondly, the construction of railways linking it directly with the Lithuanian state. Later works of this extent undoubtedly required large capital and investments.140 Thus, the Memel port for Lithuanian state obviously was not the prime and extremely valuable reason to incorporate it into the new state. Nevertheless, the “Kovno” government deputies continued propagating the incorporation of Memel’s territories emphasizing the district’s declining economic condition. In the conference of Ambassadors, the Lithuanian deputies presented Memel’s territory as an absolutely not self - supported micro - region. According to Lithuanian politicians, the local industry, chiefly consisting of wood manufacture and based upon other agricultural products imported almost exclusively from Lithuania, is thus entirely dependent upon the latter. From what has been said, in the Lithuanians view, it was obvious that the Memelland, owing to its restricted area and population as well as its geographical situation, cannot exit economically alone, but must be attached to Lithuania as a natural former component part of the latter. There was no other alternative.141 Representatives of the National Council of Minor Lithuania in the Conference of Ambassadors stated:
“The proclamation of this territory as a Free state, extolled in various quarters, would entail disastrous consequences. The territory is too small <…>, it has only about 140 000 inhabitants. The soil does not contain any riches; the export of agricultural products and of timber of local origin is mediocre; industry is feeble and consists principally of the working up of timber from Lithuania. The trade of Memel has sustained considerable reduction due to fact that the Territory imports very little for its own needs. In former years Memel commerce for the most part subsisted on contraband in alcohol and cigarettes, etc.”

In fact, it was a just a simple political “game” played together by Germany and Lithuania, due to high customs’ taxes to create a difficult economic condition in Memel territory. In this case those two states forced to reconsider locally propagated Memel free city/state status and once again convinced all local inhabitants to proclaim the district’s attachment to the Lithuanian state. Additionally to that, on November 6, 1920 the Board of the Council of the Memel district delivered the note to the special Laroche Commission, where four main reasons why Memelland had to be attached to Lithuania were pointed out. As it was described above, the economic and financial situation of the district were placed as first
The question of Memel. Lithuanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Diplomatic and other documents from Versailles peace conference till the reference of the quesion by the conference of Ambassadors to the coucil of the League of Nations (1919 - 1923). Lithuanian information bureau. London: Eyre and Spottiswoode, 1924. pp. 16. 141 Ibin. pp. 11.
140

44 two points; the other two following reasons were marked as ethnic and political ones. In the Minor Lithuanian deputies’ words, the population of the Memel Territory is a population essentially Lithuanian in its origin and language, and only a weak percentage of it were “germanised” by local German schools. The political point was made: “It is certain that a proclamation of the Free State would signify the return of the Memel to Germany in the near future; to which in no case could Lithuania consent.”142 If Memelland is alone or depends on other state, it would not be able to defend or support itself financially. Thus, the best solution was the district’s attribution to Lithuanian state.143 At last, on the day before the Ruhr invasion, January 10, 1923, the members of the Lithuanian army (40 officers, 584 soldiers as well as 455 members of the “Sauliai” organization) in civilian clothes armed with German rifles cross the frontier of the Memel Territory and took over control of the local government.144 On January 15, the town of Memel was “occupied”. The events on the Baltic coast coincided with the occupation of the Ruhr area by the French and Belgium troops, which distracted the attention of the world, and, therefore, found no broad response abroad. Meanwhile the Lithuanian government pretended that it had nothing to do with the events in Memel and that it was totally organized by local Minor Lithuanians.145 However, on February 16, 1923 the Conference of Ambassadors acquiesced in the Lithuanian sovereignty over the territory and gave its sanction to the illegal coup de forse. In the period of the 1923 - 1924 negotiations, discussions and proposals of the Memel’s convention between Allied powers, Lithuania and Memel deputies had been started. There were several different drafts of the Memel’s convention introduced: on March 25, 1923 by Allied powers; on April 11, 1923 some remarks were made by Lithuanian state146; on August 8, 1923 the Allied powers send to Lithuania a “Draft convention and Protocol Concerning the Transfer to Lithuania of the Rights of Sovereignty over the Memel Territory”147 and finally on September 28, the last draft was handed to the Secretary - General of the League of Nations. Thus, on May 8, 1924 in Paris, by representatives of Allied Powers of the one part, and the representatives of
Ibin. pp. 20 - 21. Documents Diplomatiques. Question de Memel. Volume I. Depuis la conférence de la Paix 1919. Respublique de Lithuanie. Ministeries des Affaires Étrangères. Note No 3. Kaunas. 1923. pp. 19 - 20. 144 Vareikis, Vygantas. “Die Rolle des Schützenbundes Litauen bei der Besetzung des Memelgebiet 1923.” pp. 8
143 142

Žiugžda, Robertas. Lithuania and Western powers in1917 - 1940. Vilnius: Mintis, 1987. pp. 62 - 63.
145 146 147

“Litauen unterschreibt nicht das Memelstatut.” Memeler Dampfboot. 23 August 1923. No 200. pp. 1. “Litauen Antwort in der Memelfrage.” Memeler Dampfboot. 28 September 1923. No 227. pp. 1.

45 Lithuania of the other part, the new statute of Memel was signed and was agreed to grant to the Memel Territory the status of an autonomous unit. The statute was the Constitution of Memel within yet in article No 1 was announced: “The Memel Territory shall constitute, under the sovereignty of Lithuania, a unit, organized on democratic principles enjoying legislative, judicial, administrative and financial autonomy within limits prescribed in the Statute.”148 In the article No 5 it was marked; in fifteen matters, among them worship, education, social welfare, public relief and health, administration of public property belonging to the Memel territory, the local authorities had the right of autonomous self - government.149 In addition, according to the Memel statute territories foreign affair, sovereignty had to be conducted by Lithuania as well as frontiers, railway, and customs police rights were appointed by the Lithuanian state. The executive power was placed in the hands of a Directore of not more than five members (Article No 17), whose president is appointed by the Governor. Local order was entrusted to the local police force (Article No 20). The Lithuanian and the German languages were recognised on the same footing as official languages in the Memel Territory (Article No 27).150 In the statute’s Annex No 2, the Memel port was announced as a free zone and as a port of international concerns. The Harbour Board should consist of three members: the first appointed by Lithuanian government, the second by the Directorate of the Territory and the third by the Chairman of the Advisory and Technical Committee of Communication and Transit of the League of Nations. The harbour board had to administrate, operate, upkeep and develop the port of Memel.151 There are several reasons why “Kovno” Lithuania, differently from the Polish, French and other competitors, succeed to achieve its aim, that is, Memel’s territories incorporation into Greater Lithuania with wide autonomous rights. First, “Kovno” Lithuanians financially supported by Lithuanian - Americans and local Lithuanian government organised a successful revolt in January, 1923, second, the advantage of the international situation for Lithuanian state; de jure recognition by the Allied Powers as well as the Powers’ wishes not to have any further trouble from Memelland and thirdly and the most importantly, the newly appeared Lithuanian state had an open negotiation with an unequal Power - Soviet Union on her side, which in fact using complicated the Polish - Lithuanian relations played another political game. In 1920 contrary to the
Documents Diplomatiques. Question de Memel. Volume II. Règlement de la question de Memel par le conseil de la Société des Nations. Respublique de Lithuanie. Ministeries des Affaires Étrangères. Part No 17. Convention de Memel. Annex No 1. Article No 1. Kaunas. 1924. pp. 183. 149 Ibin. Annex No 1. Article No 5. pp. 185. 150 Ibin. Annex No 1. Articles No 6 - 38. pp. 187 - 197. 151 Ibin. Annex No 2. Port of Memel. Articles No 1 - 14. pp. 197 - 203
148

46 Polish government position, the Soviet Russia recognized the Lithuanian state with its capital Wilno; in 1922 it expressed its strong protest to the governments of Allied Powers pointing out that the Soviet Russia would not recognize any decision concerning the Memel Territory adopted without their participation. Taking into account that the position of Soviet Russia was “in favour” of the Lithuanian people, the Lithuanian government could speed up its action and organized an unexpected uprising. In fact, Soviet Russia was interested in the Memel Territory in order to get the Lithuanian territory as well as Memel district back. The government of the Soviet Russia also issued a strict warning to the Polish government over its military preparation.152 If a military conflict arose between Poland and Lithuania, it might involve the Soviet Union and this could lead to a new world war. The Entante states, however, were not ready for new military adventures against the Soviet Union. They, therefore, decided to transfer to Lithuania the sovereign rights over the Memel territory, emphasizing the fact that it was done by way of compensation for Wilno, which they had no intention of returning to Lithuania.153 Hence, at the end in 1924, the Territory of Memel was attached to the newly appeared Lithuanian state with certain legislative, judicial, administrative and financial autonomous rights. The Lithuanian currency was introduced; the Memel - Lithuania frontiers and the independent Memel customs duties were absolutely abolished. To conclude, the Lithuanian government using anti free city/state propaganda for Memelland, denying its self - supporting, autonomous, own sovereign status and with organized revolt or economic “blockade” achieved to incorporate the Memel territory into the Lithuanian state. However, it was possible not because of the methods and the “power” of the Lithuanian state, but because of the Soviet Russia support and policy against the Allied Powers behind it. 2.6 Attributes of the free city/state of Memel Free city/states exhibit certain characteristics that signify autonomy, such as their own flag, a coat of arms, postage stamps, passports, medals, currency, and other items. Even though Memelland had never officially achieved free city/state status it had already the main attributes showing its autonomy. The most prominent symbol of the proposed free Memelland was the official flag. General Odry proposed the flag to the

152 153

Žiugžda, Robertas. Lithuania and Western powers in 1917 - 1940. Vilnius: Mintis, 1987. pp. 68. Ibin. pp. 69.

47 Council of Ambassadors and in October of 1920 it became internationally recognized as the flag of Memel.154 The colors of the flag were gold and red (the colors of city). In the upper left corner was the city’s coat of arms, drawn in gold on the red background with a black border. The symbol illustrates a gate of tower with wooden scaffoldings on each side and below the gate sits a ships hull (Fig. 2). Memel’s coat of arms can be traced to the city’s stamp, which was used in trade, military and other agreements from 1446 to 1618 (Fig. 3). “Flagging” in every day life in Memel land was extremely significant. Local inhabitants expressed their attitudes, position, choice and support or disagreement with the districts politics by the choice of flag they raised; representing dependence towards one or another state or total autonomy. Between 1919 and 1923 the situation of flagging in Memelland was very diverse and conflictive. “Lietuwiska Ceitunga” mentioned a few cases of the inhabitants hanging the old German flag in front of their homes. Town dwellers argued that new Memel flag projects took too long time and were quite expensive155 and protested that the black - white - red colored flag of Germany was strictly forbidden to use. Just before the French arrived in Memel streets four yellow - green - red colored Lithuanian flags were hang in the streets. “Lietuwiszka Ceitunga” reported this caused a large
Fig.3. Stamp of Memel 1446 - 1618 Source: Klaipėda. Istorija populiariai. p. 6 - 12 Fig.2. Flag of Memellad 1920 - 1924 Source: Wikipedia, 13 01 2008. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki /Klaip%C4%97da_Region>

argument between local citizens in the street, until the flag was pulled down and torn into small pieces.156 This is further evidence that not all inhabitants sought for or supported free city/state status. Meanwhile after one the first official speeches by the French commissar in front of the Memel town hall all five of Allied Powers - French, British, American, Italian and Japanese flew their flags as a symbol of their sovereignty (Photo No 2). Four of the Powers also hung their flags in front of the martial mission residence as well from 1920 - 1921. Furthermore, during the French period, between 1920 and 1923, a catalogue of photos depicts the French military presence during which
Žukas, Julius. “Prancūzai Klaipėdos krašte 1920 - 1923 m.:vienas pokarinės Europos istorijos etapas.” Pranzūzai Klaipėdoje 1920 - 1923. Klaipėda: Libra Memelensis, 2007. pp. 5. 155 “Naujoji Klaipediszki Kariuna.” Lietuwiska Ceitunga. 21 March 1920. No 35: pp. 3. 156 “Lietuwiszkas kariunas uztrauke buvo.” Lietuwiszka Ceitunga. 14 February 1920. No 20: pp. 3
154

48 in front of the military quarters and on the car that Commisar Petisne was driven only French flags flew.157 French flags were also used by administrators in Memel during the celebration of the National day of France or a French soldiers’ funeral ceremony.158 Unfortunately, there is no documentation (photos, documents, descriptions) of when or where exactly autonomous Memel’s flag was used. Although it was an officially recognized flag of the district, it was apparently not very commonly used by local authorities. Surprisingly, the current flag of Klaipeda city contains the same colors and symbols and as the flag of Memel between 1920 and 1924.The only differences being that colors are vertically instead of horizontally orientated and the coat of arms is in the center of the flags as opposed to the upper left corner. Additionally, the city’s mayor R. Taraškevičius plans to promote a new Klaipeda flag, which will hang in front of the administrate buildings of local municipalities as well as in front of all local education institutions. Since 2005 Klaipeda’s flag has been presented to one city residents’ as an honor for his/her nomination of the “job of the year”.159 This fact supports the notion that, even today with rapidly growing regionalism politics, the small city/district of Klaipeda promotes its differences and territorial importance. Following WWI, it should be also noted that old German flag as well other attributes of German patriotism was forbidden. For instance, it was forbidden to sing patriotic German songs in public, particularly “Deutschland, Deuts
Fig.4. Recent Klaipeda city‘s flag Source: “Už metų darbą - Klaipėdos vėliava.” Vakarų Ekspresas. 10 02 2005, 15 09 2008 <http://www.ve.lt>

chland über alles”, “Ich bin ein Preuße”, “Die Wacht am Rhein” etc. “Lietuwiszka ceitunga” cited that aside from certain naval units and particular army battalions, only Memelland symbols could be attributes used.160 Another interesting attribute, which might be considered less important but still presenting Memelland as a free city/state, are the post stamps. In 1920 was introduced the first series of post stamps with sign of “Memelgebiet”, which were used just for internal district’s uses and in case of sending letters to Germany.161 In 1922 commissar
157

Photos No 42,79, 80, 87, 89, 90, 94, 156 and back cover photo (Genienė Z., Vaičiūnienė S. (ed.) Les Franςais à Klaipėda/ Prancūzai Klaipėdoje. 1920 - 1923. Klaipėda: Libra Memelensis, 2007.) 158 Photos No 69, 75 (Genienė Z., Vaičiūnienė S. (ed.), 2007.) 159 “Už metų darbą - Klaipėdos vėliava.” Vakarų Ekspresas. 10 02 2005, 15 09 2008 <http://www.ve.lt> 160 “Uzdrausta vokiskas patrioskas dainas giedot.”Lietuwiska Ceitunga. 06 August 1920. No 94: pp. 3. 161 “Naujosės Gromatmarkutės.” Lietuwiszka Ceitunga. 06 August 1920. No 94: pp. 3.

49 G. Petisnē approved Memelland’s a new series of official post stamps. During the French period in general one hundred and twenty - three surcharged and overprinted stamps were approved. Photos Nr. 1 shows a few examples of Memel stamps approved by Petisné and his signature. A third attribute of the free city/state was the independent currency of Memel. In 1922 in “Kovno” territory, during successfully pursued land and money reforms “litas” currency was accepted, while in Memelland their own “marks” were in use. Due to the lack of local money, the Chamber of Commerce of the Memel region from September of 1922 until the end of the year published a new series of “Marks” and “Pfennig”, called “Notgeld” 162 (See Photos No.1). On the newly published banknotes was printed characteristic scenery of Memel: on 20 banknote - specific Memelland farmhouse, on 50 - shipbuilding courtyards, 75 - windmill and sawmill, 100 - Memel at the beginning of XX century.163 These symbols mainly represented the living place of local, kind of work - farmers, millers in the countryside, fishermen, and ship builders in the city and ethno cultural symbols such as a typical farmhouse in Memelland. In the lower corners of the notes was Memel’s coat of arms. In total, around 21,175 million of Memelland marks were produced.164 One of the most important symbols of a nation - state is its national anthem, usually written in the state’s official language. The national song as a patriotic musical composition evokes and eulogizes the state’s history, traditions and struggle of its people. In contrast to the free city/state of Gdansk
165

there is no record of a confirmed

official song for Memelland. However, it should be remembered that Minor Lithuanians as a local ethnic group had their own anthem entitled “Lietuvininks we are born”. The text was written by the German composer Georg Sauerwein in 1879. Minor Lithuanians sang this song during the national council of Minor Lithuanians and various others associations meetings. The song was universal - written in German and translated in Lithuanian. This means that it could be easily sung by Germans and Minor Lithuanians. Presumably, if Memelland would have become a free city/state, this song would have been the region’s anthem. Minor Lithuanians after WWI were willing to promote this

In en - “misery money”; the title of money was referred to rapidly growing inflation in the district.   For general Memel town picture in the beginning of XX century symbolic were three in the distance visible Lutheran churches’ towers totally destroyed during the WWII (none of it survives till recent years). 164 Žukas, Julius. “Klaipėdos ekonominė raida”. Klaipėda. Istorija populiariai. Klaipėda: Druka, 2002. pp. 58. 165 Free city/state of Gdansk national song – “Für Danzing”, National day 15 of November.
163

162

50 song as the anthem of the whole Lithuanian “nation”, however, in the end the project failed. Also significant were inhabitants’ official documents: such as passport, which show a person nationality and citizenship. In the case of Memelland the passports of the local inhabitants assigned citizenship to Memel. French administrators had difficulty establishing an official Memel passport; not so much with its implementation, but with negotiating recognition of the passport with Lithuania’s Prime minister and East Prussia’s institutions. The newspaper “Lietuwiska Ceitunga” reported that the Lithuanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs was considering only letting Minor Lithuanian inhabitants from the Memel region enter in “Kovno Lithuania”.166 In other words, only the Minor Lithuanian who had supported the idea of Memelland’s incorporation into “Kovno” Lithuania could cross the border between Lithuania and Memelland. Meanwhile, crossing the Neman River into Prussia, officials required a certified Memelland passport with a stamp from the French Commissar confirming their residence. Germans who had been living in Memelland for a while could cross the border with the old passport. Special official fishermen’s papers were also created for local fisherman. Crossing the border without a passport carried with it a fifteen thousand mark fine or a prison sentence.167 The new Memelland visa policies and prices168 for immigrating or emigrating also confirmed Memelland to be as separate semi - state district. It was necessary to obtain certain denotement in the passport in order to go in or out of the district. Other attributes confirming the status of the state are army uniforms and its symbols. However, Memelland, without official recognition as free city/state, did not have its military battalion. Until, February 12, 1922 detached German battalions remained in Memelland. Later, the French commissar came with the 21 st. French battalion of Chasseurs Alpins (in fr. “21 Battaillon de Chasseurs a Pied”), the army officers, infantrymen and simple soldiers were all dressed in their respective battalion uniforms. In photos showing French battalion officers, lieutenants can be recognized by the number “21” in the middle front of their caps and in the corners of both collars.169 Undoubtedly, any kind of Memel labels did not have either 1400 Klaipeda’s army
“Pasai i Mazaje Lietuwa.” Lietuwiska Ceitunga. 19 March 1920. No 34: pp. 2 “Susiriszimas tarp Rytprusijos ir Nemuno dzalies.” Lietuwiska Ceitunga. 23 March 1920. No 36: pp.2. 168 One time monthly return trip visa for Memellanders cost 10 Mk., foreigners 40Mk. Several times monthly visa for Memellanders cost 20 Mk., foreigners 60 Mk.; two month - 30 Mk. / 100 Mk., three month - 50 Mk. /175 Mk. for one year 100 Mk. / 850 Mk. respectively.(“Mokesziu atpigimas uz pazymejimus ant pasu.”Lietuwiszka Ceitunga. 24 July 1920. No 88. pp. 3.) 169 Photo No 50, 60, 130, 133 (Genienė Z., Vaičiūnienė S. (ed.) Les Franςais à Klaipėda / Prancūzai Klaipėdoje. 1920 - 1923. Klaipėda: Libra Memelensis, 2007)
167 166

51 volunteers administrated by Lithuanians army officers from Kowno in January 1923.170 Additionally, even district’s police force had their own special work but not specific free city of Memel uniforms. Photos from 1920 to 1923 do show however most of the cities policemen using the same main transport vehicle in the city - the same model bicycle.171 Memelland therefore, was not an official free city/state even though the district had its own flag, money, post stamps, coat of arms and official documents justifying its autonomy. 2.7. The main reasons why the free city/state plans of Memel territory failed Analyzing Post World War European maps (for instance, the online map of the “Aftermath of the First World War”172) reveal that Memel together with the Gdansk and Fiume territories were marked as free city/states. However, the Memel territory in comparison with the two other districts in the end did not achieve its official free city/state status. In this chapter I would like to analyze more and answer my third research question: Why Memelland differently from the other two examples was not officially recognized as a free city/state? What were the main reasons for not implementing all those Memel free city/state plans? In general, several kinds of reasons can be mentioned: economic, political, historical, the district’s ethnical diversity, proposed Memel free city states plans’ temporarily as well as those plans being not as the primary but secondary option for the district’s status. Economic reason : Going into detail, according to scholar V. Vareikis, the main reason for the failure of all of Memel’s free city/state plans was a result of the economic situation in the district. In his view, “economic crises caused a final negative “consciences” for the free city/state’s plans realization.”173 Local newspapers, books and other media publications in Memelland all give a similar bleak assessment of the economic condition following WWI: rapidly growing inflation, high unemployment numbers174, lack of daily food products, extreme weakness of local currency were all typical issues in Memelland from 1920 to 1923. Referring to Table No 1 (see Appendix Table No 1), in 1922 in two months in the Memel district price for 1 US dollar increased six times. For example, if in September a local inhabitant paid 500 Memel
170

“The History museum of Lithuania Minor.” 13 10 2006. <http://www.mlimuziejus.lt/senas /3/31 /317/3172/3172 menu .htm > 171 Photo No 81 (Genienė Z., Vaičiūnienė S. (ed.), 2007) 172 “Aftermath of the First World War” - map. 18 10 2008. <http://users.erols.com/mwhite28/postww1.htm> 173 Vareikis, Vygantas. “Nuo romantinės praeities į modernią ateitį.” Klaipėda. Istorija populiariai. Klaipėda: Druka, 2002. pp. 24. 174 “Del bedarbiu.” Lietuwiszka Ceitunga. 22 April 1920. No 49: pp.2.

52 marks for one US dollar, then in October it cost already 3000 local marks. In addition, as “Amtsblatt des Memelgebietes” reported in February 1922 Commissar Petisnè increased all kind of taxes between 10 and 40 %175, due to the lack of several specific goods forbidden to export breaks, roof tiles176, fruits, vegetables and timber.177 According to “Lietuwiszka Ceitunga” even if it was necessary to get a certain permission from the commercial “directorium”178, local resellers purchased several kinds of products (eggs, butter, soap, corns, horses) and resold them in Germany or even Latvia, where prices of those products were much higher. The local journalist complained: if the later problem continues then undoubtedly the Memel territory will be lacking many kinds of necessary basic food products and goods.179 In addition, all competitor countries assigned a high customs taxes for Memelland which naturally decreased import and export market activities and caused an economic depression in the district. That, in the challengers’ opinion, would affect the local inhabitants’ decision and sooner or later the local inhabitants would agree with Memelland’s incorporation to Lithuania and would stop propagating the free city/state status. As a consequence of all the problems mentioned above, in January 1920 in Memelland milk180, bread and soup card181 were introduced in order to provide all local inhabitants with a certain quantity of those products. The main lacking products in the district were: all kinds of corns for bread baking182, timber for sawmill work183 (causing high unemployment), wood logs and coals184 for house heating. Naturally in the district the numbers of corn theft crimes or even false food cards’ production increased. However, after a long and complicated negotiation process all those supplies for Memelland in small quantities were provided by Lithuania.185 Therefore, including any kind of services in the district especially prices for post, communication services or good transport facilities via railway line (Memel - Konigsberg) were increased, later even doubled.186 Hence, in period 1920 1923 the economic situation in the district was instable, because the state - challengers

“Amtlicher Teil: Memelgebiet, Verordnung No A 410.” Amtsblatt des Memelgebietes. 24 February 1922. No 24: pp. 1- 2. 176 “Amtlicher Teil: Memelgebiet, Verordnung No A 886, A 887.”Amtsblatt des Memelgebietes. 9 January 1922. No 4: pp. 1. 177 “Is Lietuvos.” Lietuwiszka Ceitunga. 21 October 1920. No 126: pp. 2. 178 “Nauji Padawadijimai musu Dzalei.” Lietuwiszka Ceitunga. 01 Januaray 1921. No 1: pp. 2. 179 “Is Klaipedos ir jos apskrities.” Lietuwiszka Ceitunga. 16 May 1922. No 58. pp. 2 - 3. 180 “Pieno korteles.” Lietuwiska Ceitunga. 29 July 1920. No 90: pp. 3. 181 “Duonos maisto ir muilo korteles.” Lietuwiszka Ceitunga. 10 February 1920. No 18: pp. 2. 182 “Is Lietuvos.” Lietuwiszka Ceitunga. 21 October 1920. No 126: pp. 2. 183 “Dėl Nemuno dalies.” Lietuwiszka Ceitunga. 09 December 1920. No 147: pp. 1. 184 “Angliu aprupinimas Nemuno Dzalies.” Lietuwiszka Ceitunga. 15 April 1920. No 45:pp. 3. 185 “Gaspadoriski Derejimai su Lietuva.” Lietuwiszka Ceitunga19 August 1920. No 89: pp. 3. 186 “Is Klaipedos ir jos apskrities.” Lietuwiszka Ceitunga. 2 November 1922. No 131. pp. 3.

175

53 organised an economic blockade in the district to create a lack of many necessary daily food products. Nevertheless, similar economic conditions were felt in other recognized free city/states as well. For example, Michael A. Leeden, describing the economic crisis in free city/state of Fiume, pointed out day to day fluctuation in currency exchange rates. Circulating Fiuman crowns, which were the old Hungarian banknotes stamped with a new Cittá de Fiume seal, became an object of speculation. Merchants raised their prices in Fiumen currency, speculators began hoarding the Fiuman bills and the wave of the counterfeit Fiuman money threatened to throw all economic transactions into near total confusion. Briefly, in addition to that, there were the problems of the nearly doubled sales tax (fifteen Yugoslavian crown taxed on a bottle of wine which was purchased for twenty), rampant inflation and rationing of all prime materials, including food. “La Vedettta d’ Italia” marked, that even milk and eggs had virtually disappeared from the city.187 Thus, it was an unpleasant consequence of the attempted blockade. Accordingly, the economic condition in the Memel district might be one of several, but not the main reason for failure to achieve free city/state status. Furthermore, Latvian consulate reports showed that even during the economic crises in Memelland, employees’ salaries were higher in comparison to everyday earnings in “Kovno” Lithuania. In 1924, in the Memel district for the same job daily a man received 4.10 lt., a woman - 2.85 lt., while proportionally in Lithuania a male employee for one working day was paid 3.30 lt, and a female just 2.20 lt.188 In reality, despite an economic blockade in Memelland the salaries were 20% higher for men and 23% for women for the same type of work in Lithuanian state. Taking into account the global post - World War economic depression as well as stating the difference of daily earning in Memel and “Kovno” Lithuania I can claim that the poor economic condition was one but not the key reason opposing the implementation of the free city/state plans in Memelland. Political reason: However, despite the economic reason, other Lithuanian historians additionally expose particular political and social points in the case of Memel as well. R. Valsanokas blames the lack of social and political maturity of the district as the main reason for the failure of the free city/state plans. In this scholar’s view, the majority of local populations did not have one united territorial, political consciousness; into the free city/state’s status propagation the local inhabitants were interested in as far
Leeden, A. Michael. The first Duce D`Annunzio at Fiume. London: The Johns Hopkins University press, 1975.pp. 104 - 114. 188 LVVA. Fonds 2575, Apraksts 11, Lietas 467. „Konsulāta ziņojumi LR ĀM 1924 (Latvijas konsulāts Klaipēdā)1924 - 1939. Ziņojums No. 3 pp. 4 - 5.
187

54 as it concern their economic and trade problems.
189

In other words, free city/state’s

propagation was based not on cultural, social, but rather on economic interests: to improve certain business group’s commercial or even farmers’ agricultural activities continuing or exchanging trade import/export with particular countries: Germany, Poland or Lithuania. In addition, in the Memel territory there was neither one political leader, nor one whole united local inhabitant group seeking to realize one of the propagated district’s free city/state plan. Initially, the different ethnic groups did not practise working together for the main purpose - free city/state status, but rather creating the boundaries and differences between each other behaved and propagated their plans as competitors. For instance, in the case of Fiume in 1919 - 1920 it is impossible not to noticed charismatic personality Gabriele D ‘Anniuncio, today nominated as the figurehead to the Italian Fascist movement and mentor to Benito Mussolini. 190 With his support Fiume already in 1919 was announced as independent city state - (the Italian Regency of Carnaro). Historical reason: Additionally, in my opinion, it is necessary to pay an attention to another - historical reason (previous experience of autonomous region status) as well. As a matter of fact, the Memelland differently from Gdansk and Fiume, did not experience an autonomous district’s or free city/state status before 1919 - 1924. While the Fiume city and the whole its district in 1779 during the reign of Empress Maria Theresa gained the status as corpus separatum. From then until 1924 Fiume existed more or less as an autonomous territoriality with certain elements of the statehood. Meanwhile Gdansk had a similar historical experience as an autonomous city as well. In 1807 Napoleon succeeded to establish the free - city of Danzig as a semi - independent state, this existed till 1815 Congress of Vienna.191 The previous historical experience as an autonomous city made it easier to (re)establish free city/state of Gdansk or Fiume in the interwar period. The temporary nature of the plans could be mentioned as the next reason for opposing the free city/state status implementation. The longest time scheduled for Memel free city/state status was not more than 10 or 15 years, which, in fact, gives an idea that those plans were just a transitional temporary solution. The temporality of the district status caused instability, uncertainty in the territory. The same questions about

189 190 191

Valsanokas, Romualdas. Klaipėdos problema. Vilnius: Vaizdas, 1989. pp. 64 - 66.  “Gabriele d’Annunzio.” Wikipedia. 17 10 2008. < http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gabriele_ D'Annunzio

>

Staszewski, Janusz. Wojsko Polskie na Pomorzu w roku 1807. Gdansk: Gdanskie Towarzystwo Naukowe, 1958. pp.11.

55 the territory’s status and doubtful options would appear again after 10 or 15 years: incorporation, annexation, dependence or prolonged autonomous rights. Furthermore, for each and the entire competitors’ Memel free city/state plan was not a prime but a second as a “back up” option. France firstly supported Memel’s attachment to the Lithuanian state. However, it was undefined and not yet recognized. Polish propagated Memel free city/state status was a second plan as well. While all possibilities to create federation or confederation between Lithuania and Poland collapsed, Polish deputies supported Memel’s free city status in order to decrease a tension with Lithuania for the Wilno case. Afterwards, when all German protest action did not work out, in the Germans’ and their local ethnic group view, the last option to oppose an attribution of the Memel territory to “Kovno” Lithuania was a German protectorate, separate German free city/state creation further in the east. However, even the second Germans’ option of the Memel free city/state plan was a temporal case, afterwards the district’s attachment to Lithuanian state for Germans seemed to be a more promising political game - more easily to reconnect this territory back. Concluding this chapter another significant point must be signed out. Unequal political power international relations (Allied powers and Poland on one side, Germany on a second side and Soviet Russia on a third side) contributed to the failure of the free city/state’s plans of the Memel territory. Differently from Gdansk, Allied states with the Treaty of Versailles did not recognize Memel as free city/state; in fact, they delayed the Lithuanian state “de jure” recognition as well. In the case of Wilno and the Memel territories, it caused even bigger competitions between the neighbour “states” - Poland and Lithuania. A. John Gade claimed: the Council of Ambassadors has made a mistake of assuming some sort of union between the two states as a basis of understanding192 and delayed a time to solve it. However the Soviet Russia’s final step to support the Lithuanian government speed up the action of the Allied power over the status of Memel; officially recognizing the Lithuanian state and attaching Memel district to it.

192

Gade A. John. “The Memel controversy.” Foreign Affairs. Vol. II. No 3. 1924 (March 15): 417.

 

56 CONCLUSIONS After WWI small territorialities such as Gdansk, Fiume, Memel being the “apple of discords” proposed a different alternative for their political status - creation of semi sovereign free city/states. Evidently, it was a better solution rather then those districts’ incorporation into the neighbor “nation - states”, which would, in fact, cause their complete disappearance from the Post World War European map. In the theoretical part of the thesis analyzing the free - city/state concept via the examples of existed Gdansk, Fiume and the propagated Memel free city/states examples and comparing it with the standard “nation - state” model a series of awkward issues were pointed out. First, the free city/state territories, differently from the “nation state”, were defined not according to national, ethnical or historical borders; they were totally politically constructed micro - regions. Consequently, the free - city/states frontiers were absolutely artificially constructed political borders, not national or ethnographic ones. Second, in the small territorialities there was not one united “nation”, but several diverse “co - habiting” ethnic groups. It was a multi - ethnic population with one or several leading ethnic group in the districts. In analyses the presented statistics of the population of the Memel territory were compiled by German, French and Lithuanian officers and historians. In fact, in order to strengthen a certain ethnic group’s importance or influence in the district, all of them showed totally different and in some cases even opposite numbers. In the case of Memel Germans, who consisted 50.5% - 41.8% of the total population in the district, took a leading role in the administration, trade and commercial life, while the majority of Minor Lithuanians (26.6% - 28.8% of whole district’s population) were farmers predominant in the countryside. Third, political sovereignty, in other words, the final power of decision making of free city/states belonged to the Allied power and not to the local government or nations as in the interwar period “nation - states”. Apparently, there were the territories “without the political sovereignty” or with “sovereignty depending on the other state.” Fourth, citizens of the free - city/states did not have national self identification; they identified themselves according to their residence location and the spoken languages. Thus, in this thesis the term “territorial identity” was used to describe the identities of the inhabitants of the free city/states. In the case of Memel, one third of the inhabitants of Memelland identified themselves with neither Germans nor Minor Lithuanians but as “Memellanders”. They were a part of local populations stressing the unique differences of free city state of Memel and finding themselves as citizens of a city/state instead of being attached to one or another - German or

57 Lithuanian local ethnic groups. Fifth, in the period of post world war, after the Russian, German Empires’ and Austro - Hungarian Empires’ collapse, small free city territories had the specific conditions in the administrative system; even when the new district’s administration institutions were established, all the employees as well as all kinds of laws and rules were the old ones accepted in the period of the Empire. Thus, the interwar period free city/state can be described as small territories without political sovereignty; however, with artificially constructed political borders, specific administrative systems, with multi - ethnic populations living within, where part of inhabitants, based on territorial identities identify themselves as citizens of specific free city/state. The case analyses of this thesis is highlight Memel’s free city/state plans initiated by different competitors; French representatives, Polish, Local German ethnic groups and Minor Lithuanians. France as a state in international politics kept a clear pro - Polish position following WWI. Thus, French representatives having the administrative power in Memelland, first of all, supported Memel’s incorporation into “Kovno” Lithuania as certain remuneration, compensation for Major Lithuania joining a new Polish federation. However, after the failure of Hyman’s project, in 1921, French representatives put forward the idea of the free - city/state of Memel. They planned to create a official protectorate of France with certain economic and port privileges to Poland. In 1922, Polish deputies as a second possible alternative for Memel promoted the free - city/ state status. According to their plan, Memel would be under the warship of France for 10 - 15 years; Poles would participate in Memel port administration and no customs would be exacted from Polish consumers using the port of Memel. In the Polish documents, which were used in my analyses, Memel port is mentioned as a prime reason why Poles propagated Memel free - city/state status. According to their plans, Memelland would become a Polish transit district, where goods from the eastern part of Poland via Memel port would be transported further. However, the analyses showed that Memel territory as well as its port was not an attractive matter for the Polish deputies, but rather as a pretext to make an impact on the district and an opportunity to decrease the tension with the Lithuanians due to the Wilno question. After the German politicians’ protests for Memel’s separation from the rest of Germany, local German ethnic group in Memelland intensively promulgated the “Freistaat” idea. In 1919, established local Germans’ executive institutions (such as the

58 local Parliament, the Executive Committee, Commission) had a clear scenario to create a German “protectorate” economically orientated towards Germany with administration, trade, defense institutions and local commercial enterprises controlled by local Germans. However, even if local Germans treated “Kovno” Lithuania as economically and culturally inferior to the Memel territory; later they supported the Memel’s incorporation into the Lithuanian state. Germany treated the newly appeared Lithuanian state as less a “dangerous” country than the federalist neighbor Poland in order to get a possibility latter to incorporate district into the German Reich. The part of Minor Lituanians collaborating with temporal “Kovno” goverment differently from all other competitors Memel’s “Freistaat” idea saw as completely strange and foreign. Using anti Memel`s free - city/state propaganda in the Conference of Ambassadors, they presented Memelland as a not self - supported micro - region and initiated to incorporate it into the newly appeared Lithuanian state. At the end, Lithuania pursuing an “economic blockade” propagated the local population to change their opinions and to agree on Memel’s attribution to Lithuania. After a successfully organized revolt in the Memel territory, receiving official de jure recognition from the Allied Powers Lithuania succeeded in attributing Memelland, however, with certain legislative, judicial, administrative and financial autonomous rights. It is interesting that, Memelland, therefore, was not an official free city/ state even though the district had its own flag, money, post stamps, coat of arms and official documents justifying its autonomy. Finally, concluding all my research, I state that the concrete plans of free - city/ state of Memel are a missed historical opportunity. However, due to political, economic, historical, and other kind reasons as well as the wishes and decisions or “political games” played by unequal Power States’ oppose to accomplish those ideas and it was never put into practice. In addition, even today there are several micro - regions examples within the European “nation - states”, which seek their autonomous rights or in different ways strengthen its regional diversity: Catalonia (Spain), Padania (Italy), Corsica (France), Bavaria (Germany) or especially today the widely propagated Kosovo case (Serbia). Consequently, I may assume that with today’s rapidly growing European Union’s regional policy, the “nation - states” borders gradually will be abolished and perhaps new micro - regions or free city/states will appear.

59 SOURCES Unpublished sources: LVVA: Latvijas valsts vēstures arhīvs (Latvian state historical archive), Riga Fonds: 2575, Apraksts 11, Lietas 467. „Konsulāta ziņojumi LR ĀM 1924 (Latvijas konsulāts Klaipēdā) 1924 - 1939. Ziņojums. No 2. pp. 2 - 3. Fonds: 2575, Apraksts 11, Lietas 467. „Konsulāta ziņojumi LR ĀM 1924 (Latvijas konsulāts Klaipēdā) 1924 - 1939. Ziņojums. No 3. pp. 4 - 5. Fonds: 2575, Apraksts 11, Lietas 468 „Konsulāta ziņojumi LR ĀM 1925.“ Ziņojums. No 2. pp. 11 - 17. Published sources: 1. Documents Diplomatiques. Question de Memel. Volume I. Depuis la conférence de la Paix 1919. Respublique de Lithuanie. Ministeries des Affaires Étrangères. Kaunas. 1923. 2. Documents Diplomatiques. Question de Memel. Volume II. Règlement de la question de Memel par le conseil de la Société des Nations. Respublique de Lithuanie. Ministeries des Affaires Étrangères. Kaunas. 1924. 3. Koszulka aktu (Archyvum Akt Nowych,Warsava): Ministerstwo Spraw Zagranicznych.Wydział D.V.6938. “Instrukcja w sprawie przyszłej organizacji wolnego miasta Kłajpedy.” Klaipėdos kraštas 1920 - 1924 m. archyviniuose dokumentuose. 2003. IX: 8-11. 4. Koszulka aktu (Archyvum Akt Nowych,Warsava): Ministerstwo SprawZagranicznych.“Głowne punkty konstytucji Kłajpedj.” Klaipėdos kraštas 1920 - 1924 m. archyviniuose dokumentuose. 2003. IX: 12-13. 5. Memorandum on the Memel question. Lithuanian Information Bureau. London: Eyre and Spottiswoode, 1922. 6. The question of Memel. Lithuanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Diplomatic and other documents from Versailles peace conference till the reference of the quesion by the conference of Ambassadors to the council of the League of Nations (1919 1923). Lithuanian information bureau. London: Eyre and Spottiswoode, 1924. 7. The Vilna problem. Lithuanian Information Bureau. London: Eyre and Spottiswoode, 1922. Periodicals - MMB: Martyno Mažvydo biblioteka (Martynas Mažvydas library), Vilnius Lietuwiska Ceitunga: 1. “Angliu aprupinimas Nemuno Dzalies.” Lietuwiszka Ceitunga. 15 April 1920. No 45: pp. 3.

60 2. “Derėjimai tarp Lietuvos ir Klaipėdos.” Lietuwiszka Ceitunga. 27 January 1921. No 12: pp. 1. 3. 4. “Dėl bedarbiu.” Lietuwiszka Ceitunga. 22 April 1920. No 49: pp.2. “Dėl kalbu lygybes.” Lietuwiszka Ceitunga. 22 August 1922. No 100: pp. 2 - 3.

5. “Dėl Nemuno dalies.” Lietuwiszka Ceitunga. 23 November 1920. No 140: pp. 1. 6. “Dėl Nemuno dalies.” Lietuwiszka Ceitunga. 31 January 1920. No 14: pp. 1. 7. “Dėl Nemuno dalies.” Lietuwiszka Ceitunga. 10 February 1920. No 18: pp. 1 8. “Dėl Nemuno dalies.” Lietuwiszka Ceitunga. 02 March 1920. No 27: pp. 1. 9. “Dėl Nemuno dalies.” Lietuwiszka Ceitunga. 09 December 1920. No 147: pp. 1. 10. “Dunos aprupinimas Nemuno dzalyje.” Lietuwiszka Ceitunga. 12 August 1920. No 96: pp. 1 - 2. 11. “Duonos maisto ir muilo korteles.” Lietuwiszka Ceitunga. 10 February 1920. No 18: pp. 2. 12. “Gaspadoriski Derejimai su Lietuva.” Lietuwiszka Ceitunga. 19 August 1920. No 89: pp. 3. 13. “Is Lietuvos.” Lietuwiszka Ceitunga. 21 October 1920. No 126: pp. 2. 14. “Is Klaipedos ir jos apskrities.” Lietuwiszka Ceitunga. 2 November 1922. No 131. pp. 3. 15. “Is Klaipedos ir jos apskrities.” Lietuwiszka Ceitunga. 16 May 1922. No 58. pp. 2 - 3. 16. “Kas ant Belsingforso konferenco atsitiko.” Lietuwiszka Ceitunga. 17 February 1920. No 21: pp. 2. 17. “Klaipėdos gaspadorystės derėjimai su Lenkija užsibaigė.” Lietuwiszka Ceitunga. 06 April 1922. No 41: pp. 1. 18. “Klaipėdos krasto gaspadorystes derėjimai.” Lietuwiszka Ceitunga. 23 March 1922. No 35: pp. 1. 19. “Klaipediskiu derėjimai Paryze.” Lietuwiszka Ceitunga. 07 November 1922. No 133: pp. 1. 20. “Klaipėdiskiu derėjimai Paryze.” Lietuwiszka Ceitunga. 19 December 1922. No 151: pp. 1 - 2. 21. “Lenkai nepareis i Klaipeda.” Lietuwiszka Ceitunga. 30 October 1920. No 130: pp. 1. 22. “Lenkija ir Klaipėdos kraštas.” Lietuwiszka Ceitunga. 05 January 1922. No 2: pp. 1. 23. “Lenkiskasis uzmanymas del Klaipedos krasto.” Lietuwiszka Ceitunga. 25 November 1922. No 141: pp. 1. 24. “Lietuvių susiejimas Klaipedoj.” Lietuwiszka Ceitunga. 19 June 1920. No 73: pp. 2 - 3.

61 25. “Lietuwiszkas kariunas uztrauke buvo.” Lietuwiszka Ceitunga. 14 February 1920. No 20: pp. 3. 26. “Mokesniu atpigimas uz pazynejimus ant pasiu.” Lietuwiszka Ceitunga. 24 July 1920. No 88: pp. 3. 27. “Nauji Padawadijimai musu Dzalei.” Lietuwiszka Ceitunga. 01 Januaray 1921. No 1: pp. 2. 28. “Naujoji Klaipediszki Kariuna.” Lietuwiska Ceitunga. 21 March 1920. No 35: pp. 3. 29. “Naujosės Gromatmarkutės.” Lietuwiszka Ceitunga. 06 August 1920. No 94: pp. 3. 30. “Pasai i Mazaje Lietuwa.” Lietuwiska Ceitunga. 19 March 1920. No 34: pp. 2 31. “Paryziski Klaipedos derėjimai pasibaigė.” Lietuwiszka Ceitunga.09 November 1922.No134:pp. 1. 32. “Pieno korteles.” Lietuwiska Ceitunga. 29 July 1920. No 90: pp. 3. 33. “Prancuziskas tyrinejimo komisijons Klaipėjoj.” Lietuwiska Ceitunga.11 July 1922.No 82: pp. 1, 2. 34. “Skelbimai.” Lietuwiska Ceitunga. 08 June 1920. No 68: pp. 4. 35. “Skelbimai.” Lietuwiszka Ceitunga. 17 Feb 1921. No 21: pp. 3. 36. “Susiriszimas tarp Rytprusijos ir Nemuno dzalies.” Lietuwiska Ceitunga. 23 March 1920. No 36: pp.2. 37. “Triju metu pastovejimo szwente wokissko - lietuwiszkojo namynes bunto Rusnej.” Lietuwiska Ceitunga. 10 August 1922. No 95: pp. 1. 38. “Uzdrausta vokiskas patrioskas dainas giedot.” Lietuwiszka Ceitunga.06 August 1920. No 94: pp.3. 39. “Vokiškos markės vertybė.” Lietuwiszka Ceitunga. 18 May 1922. No 58. pp. 2. 40. “Vokiškos markės vertybė.” Lietuwiszka Ceitunga. 25 July 1922. No 87. pp. 2. 41. “Vokiškos markės vertybė.” Lietuwiszka Ceitunga. 01 August 1922. No 91. pp. 2. 42. “Vokiškos markės vertybė. ” Lietuwiszka Ceitunga. 12 October 1922. No 122. pp. 2. 43. “54423 Klaipėdos krašto gyventojų už walna walstybę.” Lietuwiszka Ceitunga. 11 May 1922. No 56: pp. 2. Amtsblatt des Memelgebietes / Klaipdėdos krašto valdžios žinios (KKVŽ): 44. “Amtlicher Teil: Memelgebiet, Verordnung No A 886, A 887.” Amtsblatt des Memelgebietes. 9 January 1922. No 4: pp. 1. 45. “Amtlicher Teil: Memelgebiet, Verordnung No A 410.” Amtsblatt des Memelgebietes. 24 February 1922. No 24: pp. 1 - 2.

62 46. “Amtlicher Teil: Memelgebiet, Verordnung No A 632.” Amtsblatt des Memelgebietes. 18 August 1922. No 94: pp. 1. Memeler Dampfboot: 47. “Litauische Proteste gegen die grosslitausche Propaganda.” Memeler Dampfboot. 20 March 1919. No 67. pp. 1 - 2. 48. “Litauen Antwort in der Memelfrage.” Memeler Dampfboot. 28 September 1923. No 227. pp. 1. 49. “Litauen unterschreibt nicht das Memelstatut.” Memeler Dampfboot. 23 August 1923. No 200. pp. 1. 50. “Mitbürger! Männer und Frauen!Bürger und Bürgerrinen!” Memeler Dampfboot. 192. pp.1919. extra “Freistaat” ideas propagating paper. LITERATURE BOOKS: 1. Barth, Frederik, ed. Ethnic groups and boundaries. London: George Allen & Unwin, 1969. 2. Chandovaine, Isabelle. Prancūzmetis Klaipėdoje ir kas po to (1920 - 1932). Vilnius: Žara, 2003. 3. Dziewanowski, M. K. Joseph Piłsudski: a European federalist, 1918 - 1922. Stanford, CA: Hoover Institution Press, 1969. 4. Dziewanowski, M. K. Poland in the twentieth century. New York, 1977. 5. Eberhardt, Piotr. Ethnic groups and population changes in the Twentieth Century Central Eastern Europe: History, Data, Analysis. NY: M.E. Sharpe, 2003. www.books.google.com 14 03 2008 <http://books.google.com/ books?id= jLf X1q3kJzgC > 6. Genienė Z., Vaičiūnienė S. (ed.) Les Franςais à Klaipėda/ Prancūzai Klaipėdoje. 1920 - 1923. Klaipėda: Libra Memelensis, 2007.) 7. Grenville, J.A.S. The major internetional treaties 1914 - 1945: London: Methuen, 1987. 8. Hermann, Arthur. Lietuvių ir vokiečių kaimynystėje. Vilnius: Baltos lankos, 2000. 9. Kaukienė, Audronė. Po Mažosios Lietuvos dangumi. Klaipėda: KU leidykla, 2000. 10. Kiaupa, Zigmantas. The History of Lithuania. Vilnius: Baltos lankos, 2005 11. Kurschat, Heinrich. Das Buch vom Memelland. Oldenburg: Werbedruck Kölner, 1990.

63 12. Lundgreen - Nielsen, Kay. The Polish problem at the Paris Peace conference. Odense: University press, 1979. 13. Lehti, Marco. A Baltic League as a Construct of the New Europe. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang, 1999. 14. Leeden, A. Michael. The first Duce D`Annunzio at Fiume. London: The Johns Hopkins University press, 1975. 15. Markmann - Thies. Danzing. Leipzig: Goldmann, 1939. 16. Minehan, B. Philip. Civil war and World war in Europe. NY: Palgrave Macmilian, 2006. 17. Petronis, Vytautas. The creation of the spatial imagination in Lithuanian national movement (end of XIX - beginning of XX centuries). Master thesis. University of Turku, 2001. 18. Plieg, Ernst - Albrecht. Das Memelland 1920 - 1939. Würzburg: Holzner - Verlang, 1962. 19. Pocytė, Silva. Mažlietuviai Vokietijos imperijoje 1871 - 1914. Vilnius: Vaga, 2002 20. Rosshwald, Aviel. Ethnic nationalism & the fall of empires Central Europe, Russia & the middle East, 1914 - 1923. New York and London: Routledge, 2001. 21. Senn, Alfred Erich. The great powers, Lithuania and the Vilna question 1920 - 1928. Leiden: Brill, 1966. 22. Staszewski, Janusz. Wojsko Polskie na Pomorzu w roku 1807. Gdansk: Gdanskie Towarzystwo Naukowe, 1958. 23. Steiner, Zara. The lights that failed. Oxford: Oxford University press, 2005. 24. Tatoris, Jonas. Senoji Klaipėda. Vilnius: Mokslas, 1994. 25. Valsanokas, Romualdas. Klaipėdos problema. Vilnius: Vaizdas, 1989. 26. Vareikis, Vygantas. “Nuo romantinės praeities į modernią ateitį.” Klaipėda. Istorija populiariai. Klaipėda: Druka, 2002. 14 - 42. 27. Žostautaitė, Petronėlė. Klaipėdos kraštas 1923 - 1939. Vilnius: Mokslas, 1992. 28. Žukas, Julius. “Klaipėdos ekonominė raida.” Klaipėda. Istorija populiariai. Klaipėda: Druka, 2002. 46 - 68. 29. Žukas, Julius. “Prancūzai Klaipėdos krašte 1920 - 1923 m.: vienas pokarinės Europos epizodas.” Prancūzai Klaipėdoje 1920 – 1923. Klaipėda: Libra Memelensis, 2007. 4 - 7. 30. Žiugžda, Robertas. Po diplomatijos skraiste. Klaipėdos kraštas imperalistinių valstybių planuose 1919 - 1924. Vilnius: Mintis, 1973.

64 31. Žiugžda, Robertas. Lithuania and Western powers in1917 - 1940. Vilnius: Mintis, 1987. ARTICLES: 1. “Adriatic dispute reported settled; Fiume to be free”. The New York Time. 11 11 1920, 12 02 2008<http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=950 DE7D81E3D E533A25752C1A9679D946195D6CF> 2. “Fiume claims told by Serbs’ premier: if Adriatic city is Italian than so is New York”. The New York Times. 13 04 1919, 21 02 2008 < http://query. nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=9801EEDD1F3BE03ABC4B52DFB26683826 09EDE> 3. Gade A. John. “The Memel controversy.” Foreign Affairs. Vol. II. No 3. 1924 (March 15): 410 - 420. 4. Kalijarvi, Thorsten. “The Problem of Memel.” The American journal of International Law. Vol. 30. No 2. 1936 (April): 204 - 215. 5. Nikžentaitis, Alvydas. “Klaipėdos problemos sprendimo galimybės Lenkijos diplomatų akimis.” Klaipėdos kraštas 1920 - 1924 m. archyviniuose dokumentuose. Acta Historica universitatis Klaipedensis. IX (2003): 6 - 22. 6. “Už metų darbą - Klaipėdos vėliava.” Vakarų Ekspresas. 10 02 2005, 15 09 2008 <http://www.ve.lt> 7. Pocytė, Silva.“Mažosios ir Didžiosios Lietuvos integracijos problema XIX a. - XX a. pradžioje.” Sociologija: Mintis ir veiksmas. Nr 1-2 (9). 2001: 77 - 89. 8. Vareikis, Vygantas. “Memellander/Klaipėdiškiai Identity and German – Lithuanian Relations in Lithuania Minor in the Nineteenth and Twentieth centuries.” Sociologija: Mintis ir veiksmas. Nr 1-2 (9). 2001: 54 - 65. 9. Vareikis, Vygantas. “Die Rolle des Schützenbundes Litauen bei der Besetzung des Memelgebiet 1923.” (Thesis, online published material) ENCYCLOPEDIAS, DICTIONARIES: 1. “Fiume question.” Micropedia Britannica. T 4. Chicago. 1992. 2. “Fourteen points.” Wikipedia. 31 01 2008. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki /Fourteen _Po
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65 6. Joel Kriege, ed. “Sovereignty.” The Oxford companion politics of the World. Second edition. Oxford. 2001. 7. “Memeler Dampfboot.” Wikipedia. 17 03 2008. <http://de.wikipedia.org/ wiki/ Me meler_Dampf boot > 8. Karl Cordell, Stefan Wolff, ed.“Ethnopolitics: Conflicts or Cooperation?” The Ethnopolitical encyclopedia of Europe. NY. 2004. 9. “Klaipėda.” VLE - Visuotinė lietuvių enciklopedija. T 10. Vilnius. 2006. 10. “Klaipėdos kraštas.” VLE - Visuotinė lietuvių enciklopedija. T 10. Vilnius. 2006. 11. “Klaipėda region.” Wikipedia. 13 01 2008. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki /Klaip%
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12. Scruton, Roger. “Nationalism”, “Nation state.” A dictionary of political thought. London. 1982. 13. “Popular sovereignty.” Wikipedia. 12 04 2008.<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki /Popu lar_sovereignty> 14. “Rijeka.” Micropedia Britannica. T 10. Chicago. 1992. WEBSITES 1. “Notgeld Memel 1922.” German Notes. 02 03 2008.< http://www.germannotes.com /notgeld > 2. “Treaty of Versailles.” History server. 15 02 2008. <http://history.sandiego.edu
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66

APPENDIX

67 Map

Map No 1. European map after WWI. Source: Grenville, J.A.S. The major internetional treaties 1914 - 1945. p. 39.
Modified by Donata Raudonytė

Free city states: A propagated free city/state of Memel B Free city/state of Dancing C Free city/state of Fiume Planned plebiscite the newly appeared “nation - states”

68

Map

Map No 2. Memel region (ger. Memelgebiet, fr. Territoire de Memel) 1919 - 1924 Source: Les Français à Klaipėda 1920 – 1923. Fig. 1.
Modified by Donata Raudonytė

1. 2.

New drawn border between Memelland and East Prussia Border between Memelland and “Kovno Lithuania”

69 Document Main points of Memel constitution 1. The Territory of free city of Klaipeda is approved as a free, separate and autonomous state under the jurisdiction and guarantee of France. 2. Modification of the constitution and any transfer of juridical territories must be pursued through negotiation with France as Klaipeda’s formal state administrator. 3. The representation of the free city of Klaipeda is done by France. Nevertheless, one polish deputy sanctioned by the French Prime Commissar should be represented in Klaipeda as well as one deputy from the free city of Klaipeda’s directorate represented in the free city directorate in Warsaw. 4. Any international agreement with the free city of Klaipeda can not be confirmed without the permission of the French Prime Commissar. 5. The Legislature is overseen by the Prime commissar, the Directorate and the Civil Assembly and the Executive by the Directorate, and judicial power belongs to the corresponding judicable organs, committing an adjudqement in Klaipeda’s name. 6. The Directorate (Landes Oberdirektorium) consists of three persons assigned by the Prime commissar and three persons elected in the Civil Assembly, one from each three curia. From these six members at least half of it should be members of industry and trade. 7. The Civil assembly consist of 90 elected members: a. I curia - 30 industry and trade members from Chamber of Commerce of the Memel region. b. II curia - 15 members from the local municipality and the city council and other 15 designated by the people. c. III curia - 35 members chosen during the general election based on electoral rights. 8. Klaipeda’s port is recognized as free zone under Port Council’s control. The Port Council contains 6 members: a. 2 persons from Klaipeda’s directorate b. 2 persons from Polish government c. 2 persons from “Kovno” Lithuanian government A representative of the Prime Commissar must participate in all Port Council sessions as well. Any disagreements or issues submitted to the Prime Commissar regarding the Port Council will be filed within 14 days of it being propounded. 9. All people living in Klaipeda and having permanent residence on the day of the confirmation of the Constitution are citizens of Klaipeda. These citizens automatically lose their citizenship in other states. Klaipeda’s free city citizenship is possible to obtain after 5 years of constantly living in and having a permanent residence in the territory of Klaipeda and submitting declaration of intent. Document No 1. “The main points of Memel’s constitutions” (“Główne punkty konstytucji Kłajpedj”) prepared by the Polish deputies. Source: “Głowne punkty konstytucji Kłajpedj” Koszulka aktu (Archyvum Akt Nowych, Warsava): Ministerstwo Spraw Zagranicznych. Klaipėdos kraštas 1920 1924 m. archyviniuose dokumentuose. 2003. IX: 12 - 13. Translated by Donata Raudonyte

70 Document

National Council’s of Lithuania Minor ACT Considering this, that everyone who exists has a right to live, and to it, that we, Lithuanians, living here in Prussian Lithuania, composing the majority of the region’s population, we require, according to Wilson’s nations’ self – determination rights, Minor Lithuania to incorporate to the Greater Lithuania. All those who accept this declaration with their own signature undertake to dedicate all their efforts to accomplishing the mentioned above aim. Tilsit, November 30, 1918 National Council of Prussian Lithuania Signatures

Document No 2. The Act of Tilsit signed by the National council of Minor Lithuania in 1918 Source: Žostautaitė, Petronėlė. Klaipėdos kraštas 1923 - 1939. Vilnius: Mokslas, 1992./(picture) National Coucil‘s of Lithuania Minor Act, November 30, 1918.
Translated by Donata Raudonyte

71 Photos

Photo No 1. “Not geld” - currency used in Memelland, issued by Chamber of Commerce of Memel region in 1922. Source: “Notgeld Memel 1922”. German Notes. 02 03 2008. <http://www.germannotes.com/notgeld>

72 Photos

Photo No 2. Allied powers’ flags hanging in front City Hall of Memel, 1920 February 15. Source: Les Français à Klaipėda 1920 – 1923. Photo No.14

Photo No 3. Post stamps of Memelland, 1922. Source: Les Français à Klaipėda 1920 1923. Photo No. 35

73 Graphics

3000 2500 2000 Mark 1500 1000 500 0 May July October Memelland currenry rate per US dollar

Table No 1. Memellad currency rates per US Dollar, in 1922. Source: “Vokiškos markės vertybė.” Lietuwiszka Ceitunga.(1922) No 59, 87, 88, 91, 122. pp. 2

Years,
mln. mark

Import Memel 7.5 7.6 7.8 8.5 8.4 18.0

Export Liepaja 0.5 3.3 28.7 38.9 36.6 70.0 Memel 20 20.2 14.4 16.0 22.5 31.4 Liepaja 2 11.4 75.8 70.0 86.7 130.3

1862/66 1872/76 1882/86 1892/96 1902/ 06 1912/13

Table No 2. Import/export statistics of Memel and Liepaja ports in mln. of marks. Source: LVVA Fonds: 2575, Apraksts 11, Lietas 468 “Konsulāta ziņojumi LR ĀM 1925.“ Ziņojums No. 2 “Klaipedas ostas: hidrogrāfiskie apstākļi, tehniskā ostas iekārta un darbaspējas.” pp. 15


								
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