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The Sanacja regime

The Sanacja régime brought Poland economic stability, but also meant a shift from democracy to authoritarianism. Marshal Piłsudski governed with a heavy hand, tolerated no opposition, and did not hesitate to use drastic methods to curb defiant politicians (as exemplified by the bringing of police into the Sejm assembly hall in March 1928). This state of affairs was manifest especially in the 1930s, when Poland was affected by the crash on the New York stock market, and the ensuing economic crisis brought a tense atmosphere. In September 1930 Piłsudski disbanded Parliament and had many  members of the opposition arrested, sentencing them to prison terms during a "trial" that was a travesty of justice. In 1934 a camp was set up at Bereza Kartuska, where "individuals who posed a threat to security and order" were to be detained. Before his death on 12 May 1935 Piłsudski managed to approve the authoritarian April Constitution which significantly curtailed the powers of  Sejm in favour of the president's prerogatives. After Piłsudski's death, the Sanacja group split up into two rival factions (the followers of Marshal Śmigly-Rydz and the supporters of President Mościcki). Deputy Prime Minister Eugeniusz Kwiatkowski proved to be an outstanding Sanacja member; he was the creator of an economic development project for Poland, involving the Central Industrial Region and the new port of Gdynia.

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