(also Union of Lithuanian Nationalists), a party formed in August 1924 that represented the big urban bourgeoisie, landowners, and kulaks of Lithuania. The Tautininkas Party was first formed in 1908 as the right wing of the Lithuanian Democratic Party (established 1902) and was headed by the ideologues and party lenders A. Smetona, L. Noreika, and A. Voldemáras.
During the German occupation of Lithuania between 1915 and 1918, the party collaborated with the German imperialists. It took part in the Lithuanian Council (Lietuvos Taryba), whose members attempted to create a Lithuanian bourgeois state under German protection. In 1923 the party began organizing fascist groups. On Dec. 17, 1926, the Tautininkas Party and the Christian Democratic Party, supported by reactionary officers, carried out a coup d’etat and established a fascist government. In April 1927 the parties dissolved the Seimas. In accordance with the Constitution of 1928, all power was concentrated in the hands of Smetona, whose dictatorial regime instituted a reign of terror, persecuting the Communist Party and left-wing trade unions and other workers’ organizations.
The Tautininkas Party, adapting Italian and German fascism to Lithuania, propagated a nationalistic ideology and the bourgeois concept of national unity and created a cult of Smetona as a national leader.
In 1938 the party had approximately 13,000 members, including 4,500 manufacturers, merchants, government officials, and teachers, 7,500 kulaks and landowners, and 500 industrial workers. The party’s major publication was the newspaper Lietuvos aidas (1917–18,1928–40).
In June 1940, after the overthrow of the fascist dictatorship, Smetona and other leaders of the party escaped to Germany and the party and its organizations were liquidated. During the Great Patriotic War (1941–45), certain party members collaborated with the fascist invaders. Émigré members of the Tautininkas Party take part in anti-Soviet campaigns.
R. J. ŠARMAITIS