Zeligowski's MutinyNikki Sharber and Bayle Burrows

Outline of Events

October 8, 1920- General Lucjan Zeligowski leads a staged mutiny among his Polish troops, part of the plan devised by Polish Chief of State Józef Piłsudski, and marches to Vilnius to defend the right of self-determination for the local Poles. Zeligowski captures Vilnius and creates The Republic of Central Lithuania in it's place.

November 29- Ceasefire signed, though the League of Nations attempted mediation was largely ignored.

1922- Republic of Central Lithuania absorbed into Poland as the Wilno Viovodeship. However, Lithuania ignores this and continues to recognize Vilnius as its capitol.

-Bayle Burrows

Central Issue of the Conflict/Crisis
The Vilnius region was being disputed over by the Lithuanians and the Poles. It was handed over to the Lithuanians by the Soviets but Polish Chief of State Józef Piłsudski wanted Vilnius to be a part of a Polish sphere of influence. He then arranged a “mutiny” to be carried out by Polish General Lucjan Żeligowski to gain control over Vilnius and dub it the Republic of Central Lithuania (would have much Polish influence).
-Nikki Sharber

Role Played by the League of Nations in Dealing with the Conflict
The League of Nations proposed to withdraw troops and start negotiations on October 20-21 but Zeligowski ignored this. The League of Nations helped negotiate ceasefires. It also requested that Lithuania stop its forces, and finally a truce was signed on November 29th. -Nikki Sharber

Much of the League of Nation’s efforts in this were ignored. Even when a cease-fire was agreed upon to take place on November 21. Lithuania made a counter-attack right before when the cease-fire was supposed to start; this went on into the time of the set cease-fire. When Poland claimed Vilnius and the League of Nations asked them to withdraw, Poland declined. The Poles created a provisional government in the region and soon, parliamentary elections were held, but the elections were not recognized by the League of Nations. One thing that the League of Nations did was request for Lithuanian forces to stop and truce was signed thereafter. The League of Nations had little effect on Zeligowski’s Mutiny.

-Nikki Sharber

Primary Source- Visual

File:Zeligowski 1920 karykatura.JPG
File:Zeligowski 1920 karykatura.JPG

Zeligowski's Mutiny- Primary Image

This image, a Polish caricature from 1920, depicts a Lithuanian man trying to stop General Zeligowski from entering Vilnius. It could be interpreted several ways. Though caricatures depicting someone as a giant pushing around the literal "little guys" are generally meant to show that person as evil or unjust, in this situation, because the illustrator was a Pole, it likely is meant to show Zeligowski as a hero. It could also be a warning that, though the Lithuanians don't seem to be a threat, they may have the "upper hand" somehow, or may be more powerful than previously thought. But it is most likely meant to show how helpless the Lithuanians were to defend themselves against the powerful Zeligowski. Knowing the meaning of the cartoon could be very useful in determining who had the advantage in the situation, and ultimately why the outcome was what it was. Unfortunately, the lack of background information on the image makes it difficult to determine what was actually meant, and the obvious bias gives only one side of the situation.

-Bayle Burrows

Primary Source- Textual
=THE LEAGUE OF NATIONS: Poland v. Lithuania=
Monday, Dec. 12, 1927

"This cannot go on forever . . . yet it is inconceivable that Poland should think of seizing Lithuania by force of arms, seeing that Poland is on the League of Nations Council and that Lithuania is also a member. Our country has little over two millions population— small, as compared to Poland's 29,000,000, but in such an event the whole nation would sink its differences and stand shoulder to shoulder, and I know that the peasantry would fly to arms to repel the invader."
Read more: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,737062,00.html#ixzz12ZgKvshY

This quote was said by Premier Valdemaras of Lithuania who believed that Polish troops were menacing Lithuania. From this, we can see that even seven years after the initial conflict over the Vilnius region, Poland and Lithuania were still at odds. The quote also mentions that both sides are on the League of Nations Council and therefore neither should consider seizing the other. That shows how the League of Nations was a symbol of peace between them, but again, was still sort of ignored. The quote also shows how Lithuania felt like it was being picked on by the much larger Poland.

-Nikki Sharber

Works Citedhttp://www.absoluteastronomy.com/topics/Zeligowski's_Mutiny