Variakojis was studying law at the University of St. Petersburg when he was mobilized into the Russian army and sent to the Austrian front during World War I. In December 1918 he returned to Lithuania and joined the newly organized Lithuanian army, preparing to defend Lithuania against the Red Army during the Lithuanian–Soviet War. Variakojis was ordered to organize defense of Panevėžys district. On February 7, 1919, he led the first Lithuanian battles against the Soviets near Kėdainiai. The Soviet advance was stopped, preventing them from capturing Kaunas, the temporary capital of Lithuania.
Variakojis and his unit, which later evolved into the 4th Infantry Regiment, continued to combat the Soviets. They were also deployed against Poland during the Polish–Lithuanian War. For his distinguished services during the Lithuanian Wars of Independence, he was awarded several military orders, including the Order of the Cross of Vytis. In 1926, he retired from active military duty. Between 1928 and 1930, he briefly served of Minister of Communications and Minister of Defense. At the end of World War II, he retreated to Germany and then immigrated to the United States, where he died in 1963.
References[edit | edit source]
- Simas Sužiedėlis, ed (1970–1978). "Variakojis, Jonas". Encyclopedia Lituanica. VI. Boston, Massachusetts Library of Congress Classification 74-114275: Juozas Kapočius. pp. 59.
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