Konstantin Päts

17

Konstantin Päts : biography

23 February 1874 – 18 January 1956

Era of Silence

A state of emergency was declared and the Vaps Movement was disbanded, with about 400 members arrested, including the presidential candidate Andres Larka. Johan Laidoner was appointed Commander in Chief of the Armies. On 15–16 March 1934, the parliament approved of Päts’s actions, hoping to save the democracy. Päts postponed the presidential elections until the end of the state of emergency for "emotions being too high because of anti-government agitation by the Vaps Movement".XX sajandi kroonika, I osa; Eesti Entsüklopeediakirjastus, Tallinn, 2002; p. 283

In August 1934, Päts appointed Karl August Einbund as Minister of Internal Affairs, making him the third leading figure of the era next to Päts and Laidoner. In September, the Agitation and Propaganda Department was created,XX sajandi kroonika, I osa; Eesti Entsüklopeediakirjastus, Tallinn, 2002; p. 391 in October, all parliamentary work was stopped after the opposition criticized the political restrictionsXX sajandi kroonika, I osa; Eesti Entsüklopeediakirjastus, Tallinn, 2002; p. 392 and in December, censorship was introduced.XX sajandi kroonika, I osa; Eesti Entsüklopeediakirjastus, Tallinn, 2002; p. 394

In February 1935 the Fatherland Union (Isamaaliit) was formed to replace political parties,XX sajandi kroonika, I osa; Eesti Entsüklopeediakirjastus, Tallinn, 2002; p. 399 while all other political organizations were disbanded in March. Päts thought that political organizations should unite the society, not fragmentize it.XX sajandi kroonika, I osa; Eesti Entsüklopeediakirjastus, Tallinn, 2002; p. 401 The initial state of emergency was declared for six months in March 1934, but since September 1934, Päts extended it for a year for a total of six times.XX sajandi kroonika, I osa; Eesti Entsüklopeediakirjastus, Tallinn, 2002; p. 390XX sajandi kroonika, I osa; Eesti Entsüklopeediakirjastus, Tallinn, 2002; p. 406XX sajandi kroonika, I osa; Eesti Entsüklopeediakirjastus, Tallinn, 2002; p. 420XX sajandi kroonika, I osa; Eesti Entsüklopeediakirjastus, Tallinn, 2002; p. 434XX sajandi kroonika, I osa; Eesti Entsüklopeediakirjastus, Tallinn, 2002; p. 449XX sajandi kroonika, I osa; Eesti Entsüklopeediakirjastus, Tallinn, 2002; p. 465

As Päts believed that a nation should be organized not by political views into parties, but by vocation into respective chambers, a series of state corporative institutions were introduced, based on corporatism in Fascist Italy. Päts had promoted the idea of corporate chambers already in 1918, but the idea did not gain support from strong left-wing parties at the time. Päts was main the proponent of the formation of the chambers and the first two were also founded while his government cabinets were in office in 1924 and 1931. Fifteen more chambers were established between 1934 and 1936, bringing the total number to 17.

On 7 December 1935, a coup d’état attempt (The "Estonia" plot) by the Vaps Movement was exposed. More than 750 people were arrested throughout the state, crushing the movement conclusively.XX sajandi kroonika, I osa; Eesti Entsüklopeediakirjastus, Tallinn, 2002; p. 410 Leaders of the movement were eventually given punishments as hard as 20 years of forced labour,XX sajandi kroonika, I osa; Eesti Entsüklopeediakirjastus, Tallinn, 2002; p. 416 they were pardoned in December 1937.XX sajandi kroonika, I osa; Eesti Entsüklopeediakirjastus, Tallinn, 2002; p. 437

Meanwhile, Jaan Tõnisson had criticized Päts’s inability to bring the new constitution into effect. In July 1935, Tõnisson was ousted from the Postimees board.XX sajandi kroonika, I osa; Eesti Entsüklopeediakirjastus, Tallinn, 2002; p. 405 In October 1936, four former State Elders, Juhan Kukk, Ants Piip, Jaan Teemant and Jaan Tõnisson, sent a joint letter to Päts, demanding civil freedoms.XX sajandi kroonika, I osa; Eesti Entsüklopeediakirjastus, Tallinn, 2002; p. 421