The Attempted Nazi Coup d'Etat in Memel (1933-1935)
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The author discussed the events which transpired in the autonomous Region of Memel during the 1933-1935 period. In the wake of Hitler's rise to power, this region witnessed the emergence of an extremely strong Nazi movement. The Nazis openly intended to detach Memel from Lithuania, and enjoyed the broad support of the local German population. The Lithuanian authorities supervising Memel opposed this trend: Nazi parties were disbanded, and many of their activists were arrested. Despite the protests expressed by the Germans, the attacks launched by the press, and economic reprisal, the Lithuanian authorities prepared and carried out a court trial of the Nazi activists, who received harsh sentences. At the same time, the Lithuanian side tried to augment its position in Memel in the domains of education, culture and the economy. The integration of the autonomous region with the rest of the country made conspicuous progress. The Lithuanian authorities, however, did not possess sufficient strength and determination to continue their resolute policy, initiated in 1933. In the spring of 1934 they announced a reversal to the previous state of things, whose predominant principle was observing the resolutions of the statute of Memel, which acknowledged the town's wide autonomy.
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