Lithuanian Social Democracy in Perspective is the first book in any Western language on Lithuanian Social Democracy. In this work Leonas Sabaliunas studies the conflict between and convergence of socialism and nationalism in pre-1914 Lithuania. He analyzes the interplay of ideological priorities by observing the operations of Marxist political parties, emphasizing the origins, development, and achievements of the Social Democratic Party of Lithuania.
But Sabaliunas also considers such partners and rivals as the Jewish Bund, the Polish Socialist Party, the Social Democracy of the Kingdom of Poland and Lithuania, and the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party. He focuses on the appearance of socialist parties at the local level, the politics of assertive behavior during the Russian Revolution of 1905–1906, the nature of interparty relations, and efforts to promote party unity. In particular, he investigates the projected relationship between Russia and its subject nationalities—a cardinal concern today as the Baltic peoples attempt to distance themselves from their Russian neighbors.
Sabaliunas clarifies current massive Lithuanian opposition to Moscow and to its version of socialism. He stresses that in Lithuania the socialist movement from the beginning not only sought solutions to social and economic problems but also addressed issues of ethnic and national interest, especially the question of national sovereignty.