The Baltic Region

2014 Issue №2(20)

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Human Resources of Post-war Lithuania and Their Role in the Rebuilding of Klaipeda

DOI
10.5922/2079-8555-2013-2-9
Pages
113-120

Abstract

This article focuses on the issues of post-WWII economic restoration effort in the Soviet Lithuania. German occupation of the republic caused significant damage to its industry and agriculture. Pre-war Lithuania was an agrarian state aspiring to embark on an industrial-agrarian path of development. After the war, this aspiration did not only persist, but was intensified. To reach this objective, however, Lithuania required qualified workforce. Before the war, hardly any attention was paid to the training of workers for industrial-scale production and construction. Then, a considerable decrease in population during the war aggravated the already substantial labour shortage. The attempts of the republic’s leadership to solve the problems of labour shortage through organised labour migration and labour mobilisation yielded no significant results. The appeals to the Centre with the request to send a substantial number of specialists and workers to Lithuania were heard, but a state ravaged by war did not have sufficient human resources. One of the solution was the use of labour of German prisoners of war. A network of prisoner-of-war camps was established in Lithuania. In a matter of two to three years, PWs completed a significant amount of work aimed at the rebuilding of important infrastructural objects. The case of Klaipeda is used to demonstrate the opportunities of the region and Centre in organising workforce in the Lithuanian SSR. The study uses the data obtained by modern historiography and documents kept in the Lithuanian State Central Archive.

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