Lithuania lay under communist rule for half a century. Soviet troops moved into Lithuania in June 1940, and six weeks later the Soviet Union annexed the country. In June 1941 Nazi Germany attacked the U.S.S.R. and Lithuania then suffered three years of German domination. When Soviet troops returned in 1944, the Lithuanians waged a determined partisan resistance, but without help from abroad, they inevitably succumbed. The nature of Soviet rule changed after Stalin’s death in 1953, but Moscow’s communist system dominated the land until the end of the 1980s when Lithuania’s rebellious spirit made significant contributions to the collapse of the Soviet Union.