Democracy „Treason” in December 17, 1926 Lessons to the Lithuanian Peasant Populist Union
Keywords:Lithuanian Peasant Populist Union, Coup d’etat of December 17th, Democracy, „generation conflict”, Young Peasant Populists, Lithuanian Youth Union
Article covers events connected with takeover of December 17, 1926, after witch democratic state system collapsed and authoritarian regime was implemented in Lithuania. Coup d’etat betrayed democracy. Contemporary President Kazys Grinius and Prime Minister Mykolas Sleževičius, leaders of Peasant Populists also have to share responsibility for this event. Old and famous „Tollers” („Varpininkai”) possessing state authority in their hands didn’t do anything to protect democracy, the Parliament and the Government from the plotters. They remained unenterprising during the next several weeks after the takeover and in that way they had helped to „legalise” the plotters government. Even after such event they didn’t bother to explain motives of such actions. Former coalition partners Social Democrats couldn’t justify this.
Such tactics of the Peasant Populist leadership attained lot of critics from active society and even party members, in that way reducing „weight” and standing of the party leaders. This problem clearly showed up in the 4th decade of the 20th Century in a context of conflict between old and young generation Peasant Populists members. Youth tried to make party to act more actively. One of the main reasons of conflict was the party leaders’ passiveness during the events of December 17, 1926. Young generation criticised older leaders and couldn’t forgive them for the betray of democracy and party program. This conflict was felt during whole 4th decade. These were the main reasons why young and old generations couldn’t find modus vivendi and it was clearly seen on the eve of Lithuanian occupation by USSR.
Article concludes that the actions of the Lithuanian Peasant Populist party leadership during the coup d’etat of 1926, is revealing example of bad action in order to protect democracy.