Bulgarian coup d'état of 1934


Bulgarian coup d'état of 1934

The Bulgarian coup d'état of 1934, also known as the 19 May coup d'état ( _bg. Деветнадесетомайски преврат, "Devetnadesetomayski prevrat"), was a coup d'état in Bulgaria carried out by the Zveno military organization and the Military Union with the aid of the Bulgarian Army. It overthrew the government of the wide Popular Bloc coalition and replaced it with one under Kimon Georgiev.

The Popular Bloc, which had held power since 1934, consisted of the Democratic Party, Bulgarian Agrarian National Union (BANU) "Vrabcha 1", the National Liberal Party and the Radical Democratic Party. Although it did not abolish the restrictive laws introduced by the former government of the Democratic Accord and it did not change the way the police functioned, it was met with hostility from right-wing forces such as the Military Union (led by Damyan Velchev, Zveno and Aleksandar Tsankov's Popular Social Movement, of which the most active were the Zveno activists.

After a Military Union congress in November 1933, direct preparations for the coup began, with the plotters attempting to win the support of BANU "Vrabcha 1", BANU "Aleksandar Stamboliyski" and even the Democratic Party, but in vain. Taking advantage of the discord in the Popular Bloc in the spring of 1934, the Zveno activists carried out the coup on the eve of 19 May, ahead of Aleksandar Tsankov's supporters, who had planned a coup for 20 May. The coup installed a government under Kimon Georgiev which, besides Zveno members, also included right-wing agrarians and National Social Movement members, while the most important ministry positions were held by the Military Union.

The coup was not well received by the other political parties, but they were unable to oppose it effectively. The plotters also had no wide popular support and relied solely on the aid of the army. The new government temporarily abolished the Tarnovo Constitution, dissolved the National Assembly and banned political parties, revolutionary organizations and trade unions. A new governmental system was introduced wherein the central authority would appoint mayors and would establish state trade unions. Additionally, measures were adopted to deal with the workers' and socialist movement in the country. A state monopoly was introduced, which affected the interests of the big companies.

In foreign policy, the regime's most notable act was to establish diplomatic relations with the USSR on 23 July 1934 and orient Bulgaria towards France. Since part of the Zveno activists and the Military Union were republicans, the regime had a certain anti-monarchist direction, which is why Tsar Boris III did not welcome the coup. With the aid of faithful Military Union officers, the tsar forced Kimon Georgiev to resign in January 1935 and appointed Pencho Zlatev in his place. From that point, the tsar had total control over the country, a state which would last until his death in 1943.

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