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Memel Territory

Memel Territory (māˈməl) [key], Ger. Memelland, name applied to the district (1,092 sq mi/2,828 sq km) of former East Prussia situated on the east coast of the Baltic Sea and the right (northern) bank of the Neman River. In 1919 the Treaty of Versailles placed the district, containing the city and port of Memel (see Klaipeda), under League of Nations–sponsored French administration. Lithuanian troops occupied the area in 1923, forcing the French garrison to withdraw. The Allied council of ambassadors then drew up a new status for the territory, which in 1924 became an autonomous region within Lithuania with its own legislature. The 1938 electoral victory of the National Socialists in the Memel Territory was followed in Mar., 1939, by a German ultimatum demanding the district's return. Lithuania complied. In 1945 the area was taken by Soviet forces and was restored to Lithuania, by then a part of the USSR.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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