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Iron Wolf (Geležinis Vilkas, also known as the Iron Wolf Association or the Iron Wolves) was a Lithuanian fascist movement formed by Augustinas Voldemaras in 1927. Set up as a guard movement for Voldemaras' Tautininkai, the Iron Wolves were used by Voldemaras to target his political opponents.[1] The movement was banned in 1930, although it continued as an underground group. In 1934 its members attempted a failed coup d'etat against the president Antanas Smetona (former honorary leader who broke with the organizations earlier).[2] Voldemaras was arrested, released in 1938 and he soon emigrated. During the Second World War and German occupation of Lithuania, many members of the organization collaborated with German authorities.

The name of the organization comes from the story of Gediminas' dream, popularized in Adam Mickiewicz's poem, Pan Tadeusz.[3]

And of Gediminas, who on Ponary's crest,
Warm in hunter's bearskin, lay down to rest.
Soothed by the songs of the wise Lizdejko,
Lulled by the rush of the sweet Vilejko,
He saw a wolf of iron in his dreams.[4]

References

  1. ^ Stanley G. Payne, A History of Fascism: 1914-1945, London: Routledge, 2001, p. 341
  2. ^ Payne op cit
  3. ^ Timothy Snyder. The Reconstruction of Nations: Poland, Ukraine, Lithuania, Belarus, 1569-1999. New Haven: Yale UP, 2003: 78. ISBN 0-300-10586-X
  4. ^ Ibid, 73.

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