September Antifascist Uprising of 1923

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

September Antifascist Uprising of 1923


in Bulgaria, a people’s armed uprising, from September 23 to 29, prepared and led by the Communist Party of Bulgaria (BCP).

The September Antifascist Uprising of 1923 was in reaction to the military-fascist dictatorship established on June 9, 1923. Noting the popular masses’ growing dissatisfaction with the policies of the Tsankov government and with inflation and the high cost of living, the Central Committee of the BCP resolved in August 1923 to prepare an antifascist uprising and called for the creation of a united antifascist front. It created the Main Military Revolutionary Committee, headed by G. Dimitrov, V. Kolarov, and G. Genov. The preparations for the uprising went forward amid a campaign of terror: on September 12 the Tsankov government arrested about 2,500 Communists, and on September 21 it broke up the Military Revolutionary Committee in Sofia. Moreover, T. Lukanov, the organizational secretary of the Central Committee of the BCP, as well as certain members of the district committees opposed decisive action, despite the recommendations of the Executive Committee of the Communist International and despite the stand taken by the core of the Central Committee of the BCP, headed by Dimitrov and Kolarov.

The September antifascist uprising broke out on the night of September 22, 1923, at the summons of the Central Committee of the BCP. It was particularly strong in northwestern Bulgaria, where—in the city of Ferdinand, now Mikhailovgrad—the Main Military Revolutionary Committee was located. Here, in several districts, power passed to worker-peasant committees, which along with communists included members of the Bulgarian Agrarian People’s Union. The uprising also spread to other regions, primarily southern Bulgaria. Detachments of insurgents fought stubbornly with government troops and captured district capitals and railroad stations. The uprising lasted until September 29, except in Stara Zagora, where it began on the night of September 20 and ended on September 22.

The Tsankov government dealt brutally with the insurgents: more than 20,000 were killed or tortured. The uprising was a turning point in the bolshevization of the BCP, and it had a considerable impact on the political and social development of the country as a whole. The September antifascist uprising of 1923 was in effect a “Bulgarian 1905,” demonstrating the power of the militant and unified toilers of city and countryside and their readiness for determined struggle against fascism and reaction.


Kosev, D. Septemvriiskoto vustanie 1923, 2nd ed. Sofia, 1973.
Septemvriiskoto narodno antifashistko vustanie 1923 g: Bibliografiia. Sofia, 1973.
Septemvriiskoto vustanie 1923: Entsiklopediia. Sofia, 1973.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.