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The People's Referendum (Polish: referendum ludowe) of 1946, also known as the "Three Times Yes" (Polish: Trzy razy tak, often abbreviated as 3×TAK) referendum, was a referendum held in Polandmarker on 30 June 1946 on the authority of the State National Council (order of 27 April 1946). The referendum presented an opportunity for the forces vying for political control of Poland following the Second World War to test their popularity among the general population. In a sign of things to come, the results, which showed a lack of support for the communist government, were rigged to show that communist policies had overwhelming support.

The referendum comprised three questions:
  1. Are you in favor of abolishing the Senate?
  2. Do you want consolidation, in the future constitiution of the economic system founded on agricultural reform and the nationalisation of basic national industries, including the preservation of the statutory rights of private enterprise?
  3. Do you want consolidation of the western border of the Polish State on the Baltic, Oder river and Lusatian Neisse?


Parties of the pro-communist Democratic Bloc (PPR, PPS, SD, SL) campaigned heavily in favor of "Three Times Yes". PSL, which realised what was really at stake in the vote, namely Polish independence and future of the country, advocated voting "no" on the first question, despite the fact that it had been opposed to the Senate's existence since before the war. The majority of PSL political support was in rural areas, among people who supported agricultural reform , so the party found it impossible to advocate voting "no" on the second question. Nonetheless, the party's opposition to the first question was used by the communists to declare the more liberal PSL activists "traitors". The Wolność i Niezawisłość party argued against the first two questions only, while NSZ advocated a "no" for all three questions, as a sign of protest against the annexation of the eastern territories of Poland (known as the Kresy) by the Soviet Unionmarker.

The official results, published on 12 July 1946, showed that from a population of 13,160,451 eligible voters, 90.1% or 11,857,986 had taken part in the referendum. Of these, 11,530,551 or 97.2% were counted as valid. On the first question, 68% voters chose "yes". On the second question, 77.2% voted "yes". On the third question, 91.4% voted "yes".

However, the official results were far removed from the actual results since the vote had been seriously compromised by the communists and their supporters. The communists, who already de facto controlled much of the government and had the backing of the military (both the Polish Wojsko Ludowe and Soviet Red Army), used the police (Milicja Obywatelska) and the secret services (Urząd Bezpieczeństwa) to switch real ballots for false ones, stuff ballot boxes with false votes, consider blank ballots as “yes” votes, destroy votes not in favour of all or any of the three questions or simply falsify votes. Voting in the army was done on command and without secrecy.



References



  • Davies, Norman, 1982 and several reprints. God's Playground. 2 vols. New York: Columbia Univ. Press. ISBN 0-231-05353-3 and ISBN 0-231-05351-7
  • M.Turlejska, Zapis pierwszej dekady, 1945-1954
  • POLSKA. HISTORIA Article in Polish PWN Encyclopedia, online version. Accessed on 11 July 2005. Polish language.


Further reading

  • Nikita Petrov, “The Role of the MGB of USSR in the Sovietization of Poland: the Referendum and Sejm Elections in 1946-1947 ([157462])



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