Then in October 1939, the country was left little choice but to agree to the Soviet–Lithuanian Mutual Assistance Treaty. The Russians now moved 20,000 of their soldiers into Lithuania and established five army outposts. Naturally, this proved just the start of Russian interference.
As June 1940 rolled around, the U.S.S.R. demanded the dissolution of the Lithuanian government and unfettered access to the country for Soviet troops. With Lithuania already occupied by those soldiers who had arrived earlier in the year, the Lithuanian government’s hand was forced. The country’s leader President Smetona went into exile and 200,000 more Soviet soldiers flooded into the country.
However, this first Soviet occupation of Lithuania was to prove short-lived. In 1941, Germany attacked the Soviet Union and now Lithuania fell under the Nazi jackboot. After four years of suffering – including the murder of more than 120,000 Jews – Lithuania was finally liberated from the Nazis in 1945.