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The Polish Constitutions of 1947 and 1952: a historical study in constitutional law

Lasok, Dominik (1954) The Polish Constitutions of 1947 and 1952: a historical study in constitutional law. PhD thesis, The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).

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Abstract

The post-war evolution of the constitution of Poland as well as several other Central and East European countries is characterised by a marked departure from the national traditions towards a form of Government known as the "People's Democracy". This state of affairs resulted from the interplay of alliances during the last war and the political expansion of Soviet Russia. Notwithstanding the treaty obligations and declarations such as the celebrated Atlantic Charter, the Western Allies, in face of protests by the Polish Government in Exile, agreed on an arbitrary fixing of the Polish-Russian frontier along the lines of Soviet demands, and the abrogation of the existing Polish constitution. Parallel to this reversal of the international situation developed the Soviet-sponsored nucleus of the post-war Polish political regime. Upon the advance of the Red Army this body established itself on Polish soil and was recognised by the "Grand Alliance" as the basis of the Polish Provisional Government. Before achieving this position the Soviet-sponsored regime effected a considerable amount of "legislation", which purported to preclude any other body from attaining power, and determined the future constitution to be based on Marxism-Leninism- Stalinism. General Elections were delayed for two years, but they did not bring any change in the regime. In such conditions the Constitution of 1947 was. nothing else but an interim measure designed to serve as a device to facilitate transition from the parliamentary "capitalist" state into the "socialist" state as understood in Soviet Russia. For this purpose the whole authority of the state became concentrated in an unprecedented body - the Council of State, Parliament declined and the position of the individual became circumscribed by the ideas of the so-called "dictatorship of the proletariat". The Constitution of 1952,modelled on the pattern of the Soviet Constitution of 1936, transferred the point of gravity from the Council of State onto the Government and proclaimed a "State of People's Democracy governed by the working people of towns and villages". The Polish People’s Democracy only during its infancy showed signs of originality, the later development faithfully following the pattern of the Soviet state evolved during the Stalinist era. The doctrine of the People's Democracy as well as its practical features represent, therefore, an application of the Stalinist Marxism on the institutions of the former Republic of Poland.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 1954 Dominik Lasok
Library of Congress subject classification: D History General and Old World > DJ Netherlands (Holland) > DJK Eastern Europe
K Law > K Law (General)
Sets: Departments > Law
Collections > LSE History of Thought theses
URI: http://etheses.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/112

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