Organization and Running of the National Plebiscite for Peace in Opole Voivodeship
The National Plebiscite for Peace took place in Poland between 17 and 22 May 1951 under the auspices of the Polish Committee of the Defenders of Peace. The campaign aimed to gather signatures under the Berlin Appeal announced by the World Peace Council as regards signing the Peace Treaty between five world powers. Voting was preceded by an intensive propaganda campaign in defence of peace and condemning “warmongers”. In Opole Voivodeship, analogically to the whole country, numerous peace committees came into existence before the plebiscite. A group of about 40,000 activists were recruited. Many gatherings, mass meetings and demonstrations were organized. Propaganda was conducted by means of press, film, radio and radio systems. To celebrate the plebiscite, production commitments were undertaken and special decorations prepared. In Opole Voivodeship 99.5 per cent of people qualified for voting submitted cards with signatures as part of the Appeal of the World Peace Council. The few refusals came mainly from Jehovah’s Witnesses and native inhabitants who declared themselves Germans or applied for departure and permanent stay in Germany. The campaign’s objective was to indicate sources of threats of war and methods for the maintenance of peace. Moreover, the campaign was to cause an increase in social acceptance of the authorities and the programme of political and economic changes being implemented by the government. The results of these efforts turned out to be temporary.
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