When the Communists Win - 1946 Elections; Part 1.

The first post-war and at the same time the last democratic elections for more than 40 years. We all know how they turned out. The Communists won, winning about 40% of the vote. But what were the circumstances of this election?

Especially at this time, there was no legal right. Parties with right-wing programs were de facto banned for alleged collaboration with previous occupiers. The Agrarian Party, which had the most seats in the pre-war parliament, was most affected. The strongest side of Czechoslovakia was therefore cleared of the road. The majority of voters of this party subsequently became voters of the Communist Party. But more on that later, how did the right-wing parties be banned?

It may seem strange to you, but the most important negotiations for the first post-war elections began in Košice, due to the fact that they were liberated relatively soon - in January 1945. Almost immediately, political life began to concentrate in this city from the whole area and on February 1 the Slovak National Council (hereinafter referred to as SNR) was established. Three days later - on February 4 - the SNR issued a manifesto, where it set out its political program (for example, it sought the federal character of Czechoslovakia). On February 7, the SNR was appointed a "corps of commissioners" (a kind of government).

Overall, the SNR worked very quickly. During February, it disbanded the gendarmerie and all police forces in Slovakia and established a new National Security Authority in their place. Furthermore (also in February) it issued a statement on the rapid confiscation and redistribution of agricultural property of Germans, Hungarians, traitors and "enemies of the Slovak nation".

From the very beginning, two political parties have taken on the main roles in the SNR - the Democratic Party (DS) and the Communist Party of Slovakia (KSS). After the agreement of these parties, the future National Front began to prepare, which was a kind of coalition of all (possibly parliamentary) parties.

At the end of March 1945, a meeting of representatives of the London government in exile, Czech political parties (Communist Party, People's Party, Social Democrats and National Socialists) and the SNR took place in Moscow. As already mentioned, the SNR saw post-war Czechoslovakia federatively, but after a heated debate, its proposal was rejected. Despite this, the representatives finally agreed on the program of the first government of the joint National Front of Czechs and Slovaks.

The National Front could only be formed by the parties that took part in the Moscow talks, and in particular the parties with a right-wing program were excluded. In particular, the last condition damaged a number of parties - in addition to the already mentioned (but the most important) Agrarian parties, the parties Czechoslovak Trade and Trade Party, Czechoslovak National Democracy and others were excluded.

But I will return to the Agrarian side. To illustrate its pre-war significance, this is enough: from 1922 to 1938, it always had its prime minister, represented the interests of farmers and was an opposition to the castle's political group (ie people related to TG Masaryk). In 1938, she joined the National Unity Party and became its leading component. By weaning it, the communists' path to power was greatly facilitated.

The first post-war government of the National Front of Czechs and Slovaks was appointed on April 4, 1945. The Social Democrat Zdeněk Fierlinger became the Prime Minister, and the Communist (and later President) Klement Gottwald became the Deputy Prime Minister. Participants in the domestic anti-Nazi resistance were not invited to join the government. This government adopted the Košice government program, which was based on the Moscow agreements.

The Communists occupied many influential positions, came under the command of the police, the army, they had their Minister for Information. In few countries have they held such advantageous positions. Gradually, many elements began to be politicized (such as the police and some media), which began to disturb the representatives of other parties.

Well, we gradually got to the elections in 1946. One of their interesting things is that 3 out of 4 Czech parties had in some way enshrined in their program the goal of building socialism. Many politicians at the time realized that these elections would be very important - that they could decide on the further power of the Communists and that, at best, they could deprive them of many important positions. But about that next time.

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