Smetona, Antanas äntä´näs smĕ´tōnä [key], 1874–1944, Lithuanian dictator. A lawyer, he became a leader of the Lithuanian autonomists under the czarist regime. He was provisional president (1919–20) of Lithuania when it gained independence. After the military coup (Nov., 1926) against the Socialist government, Smetona was elected president with Augustin Voldemaras as premier. Parliamentary government was suspended, and in 1929 Smetona forced Voldemaras to resign and assumed full dictatorial power. He was reelected in 1931 and 1938. After Lithuania was incorporated (1940) into the USSR, Smetona fled to Germany and then (1941) to the United States, where he died.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
See more Encyclopedia articles on: Baltic States, History: Biographies