Historical circumstances led to the 1919-1940 period being named the era of diplomacy in Kaunas.
Thanks to historical circumstances, Kaunas became the temporary capital of the reborn State of Lithuania (1918). Lithuania took the first steps to nationhood there: the country’s most important institutions and foreign diplomatic missions were founded.
Kaunas was never officially ratified in writing as the temporary capital. In diplomatic terms, Kaunas became the de facto capital of Lithuania when the provisional government moved there from Vilnius on 2 January 1919. That same year, the central street of the town was renamed Laisvės Alėja (Liberty Avenue), and a street abutting it in honor of February 16th. And the streets still have those names today. The first president in the history of Lithuania was elected in Kaunas. On 4 April 1919, in Kaunas, the Council of Lithuania elected Antanas Smetona. The Constituent Assembly of Lithuania gathered in the capital, Kaunas, for its first meeting on 15 May 1920, in the the State Theatre, the current Musical Theater.
The country’s most important institutions operated in Kaunas, among them the Lithuanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which had a critical challenge to establish diplomatic relations with foreign countries and represent Lithuania in the international arena. Diplomatic missions gradually began to settle here. First of all the diplomatic missions of the great powers visited Kaunas – the US, Britain, and France – and later permanent embassies and consulates of these and other countries settled in. These government agencies and foreign representative offices operated in Kaunas in 1939:
1. Lithuania Presidential Palace (Vilniaus g. 33)
2. Lithuanian Seimas Chambers (Gimnazijos g. 3)
3. Chambers of the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Lithuania and Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Maironio g. 27)
4. United States Consulate and Embassy (V. Putvinskio g. 68)
5. Czechoslovak Embassy and the Argentine Consulate (V. Putvinskio Gatvė 60)
6. Papal Nunciature Building (V. Putvinskio g. 56)
7. Honorary Consulate of Hungary (V. Putvinskio g. 54)
8. Honorary Consulate of Hungary (V. Putvinskio g. 42)
9. Swedish Consul General (V. Putvinskio g. 40)
10. French Embassy (V. Putvinskio g. 14)
11. Honorary Consulate of Norway (Nepriklausomybės a. 7)
12. Metropolis Hotel (S. Daukanto g. 21)
13. Polish Embassy (Kęstučio g. 38)
14. British Embassy and Consulate (Kęstučio g.29)
15. German Embassy (Gedimino g. 19)
16. Danish Embassy (Vytauto pr. 55/Griunvaldo g. 2)
17. Latvian Embassy (Vytauto pr./Kęstučio g.)
18. Finnish Consulate (Kęstučio g. 8)
19. Italian Embassy (Vydūno al. 13)
20. Japanese Consulate (Vaižganto g. 30)