1945 general elections: The first free, democratic, multi-party elections (® multi-party system) in Hungary were held in November 1945 and also recognized by the Western Powers. They brought a victory for the ® Independent Smallholders ’Party (FKgP) which received an absolute majority (57.03 per cent) of the votes cast. Next came the ® Social Democratic Party (SZDP) with 17.41 per cent, followed by the ® Hungarian Communist Party (MKP) with 16.95 per cent and the ® National Peasants’ Party (NPP) with 6.87 per cent. In line with pre-election agreements, a coalition government of the four parties was formed, in which the MKP received key portfolios such as the Ministry of the Interior [?&, which gave control over the police and the security service (® State Protection Department [ÁVO])].
1947 general elections:® blue chits.
Act II/1946 on the Democratic System of State and Penal Protection of the Republic: Adopted on March 12, 1946, the ~ gave wide powers of prosecution. There were severe penalties for those committing the crimes and misdemeanours it covered, notably organization or propaganda against the state, and even for those who failed to report them. The act provided the legal basis for the® salami tactics employed by the ® Hungarian Communist Party (MKP), which proved an effective weapon against bourgeois democratic efforts to combat the spread of communist power. The ~ was invoked in all the show trials of the period.
Administrative methods: This euphemistic expression for measures of force taken by the authorities was applied, for instance, to criminal proceedings against those who were habitually late for work or responsible for sub-standard production. Similar action was taken in the countryside against those falling short of or failing to meet their agricultural delivery targets or other obligations to the state (® compulsory produce deliveries).
Agitators: Those charged with propagating the ideology, political objectives or slogans of a political party or grouping. ~ aimed to maximize mass support for the party concerned by popularizing its ideas and making its political programme more comprehensible and attractive to the public. Success depended on a good knowledge of local conditions and the characteristics of the social stratum whose support was targeted, and on striking the right tone. Agitation techniques used included individual and group discussions, meetings, publications, newspaper articles, posters, films, radio and television programmes etc. Under state socialism, ~ were the disseminators of the ideology of the party-state, so that the term soon gained pejorative connotations.
Agricultural cooperatives: Agricultural production cooperatives—often called collective farms—were the outcome of Soviet-style collectivization of peasant farming into large, state-run organizations ostensibly controlled by their members. The® Hungarian Communist Party (MKP) began a programme of collectivization in the summer of 1948. Some 500 [?& preparatory] ‘production cooperative groups’ had formed by the end of the year. Many peasant farmers were forced into joining by ® administrative means, involving ® consolidation of land holdings, compilation of ® kulak lists, and similar techniques. The means of production in an agricultural cooperative were collectively owned and production based on collective labour (although in some cooperatives, a mixture of individual and collective farming was employed.) Procurement and sales were conducted collectively, and earnings distributed to members in proportion to the amount of labour they had contributed. On paper, ultimate authority rested with the general assembly of the cooperative, which elected a leadership. [?& In practice, district officials of the ® Hungarian Workers’ Party (MDP) would prepare a slate of candidates, which the general assembly would elect unopposed.] Each cooperative had to adopt an annual production plan and a budget, and prepare a closing report at the end of the year. The ~ that formed in the 1948–56 period were not on a large scale, so that small farming areas and poor or deficient equipment were among the many problems they faced. The often uneducated and untrained leaders were frequently dismissed, while [?& the pressures of ® forced industrialization meant that] farms suffered from chronic labour shortages. Earnings were low, uncertain and sporadic, which contributed to steady emigration from the villages. The process of ® central planning imposed on ~ detailed planting instructions, timetables for agricultural work [?& and output norms] that disregarded local soil and climatic conditions. As a result , agricultural production became a loss-making activity that operated at very low efficiency. The formation of ~ was halted in 1953 with the advent of the ® New Course, and it became possible for members to withdraw from cooperatives again. By 1956, the status quo had almost been restored, but after the 1956 Revolution had been crushed, a new, stronger wave of collectivization commenced in 1958 and was completed in 1961, by which time a decisive majority of the agricultural land was under collective ownership. A succession of weaker ~ began to break up after 1989.
Agricultural delivery:® compulsory produce deliveries.
Akadémia utca party centre: The leaders and central bodies of the® Hungarian Workers’ Party (MDP) were housed at Akadémia utca 17 in the Fifth District of Budapest. [?& The total party control over the state administration (® one-party system)] meant that the country was effectively run from there.
Allied Control Commission: The victors in the Second World War set up an Allied Control Commission in each country formerly allied to Hitler’s Germany, as an international body to implement the armistice agreement and monitor the conditions required for concluding a peace treaty. It was chaired by a representative of the country that had commanded the wartime military operations on the territory of the country concerned. In Hungary’s case, the Soviet mission was accompanied by smaller, less influential British, American, Czechoslovak and Polish missions. The ~ also acted as the highest organ of political and economic decision-making and indirectly helped the® Hungarian Workers’ Party (MDP) to assume power.
Amnesty: The legal act of waiving or remitting the punishment of a class of criminals. Once an amnesty has been declared, no further criminal proceedings may be taken against those who committed the acts covered by the amnesty. Those already serving custodial sentences for such acts must be released and relieved of any other detrimental legal consequences of their act. An ~ is most commonly declared during a change in political system or to mark an occasion of national importance and cover political prisoners or those who have committed specified classes of crimes. A partial ~ was declared by the® Presidential Council on July 25, 1953 after the ® New Course had been announced. It covered political prisoners who had been sentenced to terms of less than two years’ imprisonment.
Anti-Fascist Coalition: A name for the military and political alliance of the countries fighting against the Fascist bloc in the years 1941–5. It formed after the June 22, 1941 attack by Germany on the Soviet Union, with the purpose of defeating the countries that had sparked off the Second World War. The main participants were the United States, the United Kingdom, the Soviet Union and China. On January 1, 1942, the four powers issued a joint® United Nations Declaration in Washington DC, defining their war aims: to fight according to the principles of the Atlantic Charter, to bring the common struggle to complete victory, and to refrain from making a separate peace with any belligerent. A further 22 governments subscribed to the declaration shortly afterwards.
Armistice: An ~ is a temporary or permanent agreement between warring parties to cease hostilities temporarily or permanently. A state of war still subsists under an armistice, but the opposing forces usually allow the dead and wounded to be reclaimed and the population removed from danger while a peace agreement is negotiated. An ~ may require the weaker side to lay down its arms and may include temporary territorial, political and reparation conditions valid until a peace agreement is reached. For instance, the ~ between Hungary and the Soviet Union, signed in Moscow on January 20, 1945, required Hungarian forces to withdraw behind the country’s borders of December 31, 1937. Hungary also had to make specified contributions to the struggle against the Germans, pay reparations to the Soviet Union, Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia, and dissolve organizations of a pro-German or fascist character. The observance of these conditions in the period up to the® Treaty of Paris was monitored by the ® Allied Control Commission.
Atomic secrets: The concept entered the political vocabulary of the atomic powers (the United States and the Soviet Union) with the development of the® Cold War. ~ covered the technical and technological procedures to do with nuclear weaponry that neither antagonist wished to share with the other. ÁVH: ® State Protection Authority (ÁVH).
ÁVO:® State Protection Department (ÁVO).
B list: The ~ covered the public employees and state officials in post-war Hungary who had become politically undesirable from some point of view. About 100,000 people were included in 1945–6 as the® Hungarian Workers’ Party (MDP) prepared to monopolize power. The mass dismissals that occurred were intended primarily as a political cleansing process and only secondarily as a way of reducing public spending. The screening process was conducted by a three-man committee, which sorted public employees and state officials into categories A (reliable), B (to be dismissed, but re-employable within a year) and C (to be dismissed as politically unreliable and not re-employed).
Berlin blockade: This first major clash between the Soviet Union and the Western allies took place between June 24, 1948 and May 12, 1949. It was precipitated when a monetary reform introduced in the Western zones of occupied Germany was extended to the Western zones of Berlin. In response, the Soviets tried to bring the whole city under Soviet control and severed all land and water links from Berlin to the West. The blockade failed in its purpose because American and British planes formed an air bridge to supply the population of West Berlin with food, fuel and other requisites for the 22 months. This involved 280,000 landings in the beleaguered zone.
Blue chits: These were issued in the run-up to the 1947 general elections in Hungary to verify that the bearer had the right to vote and used by those voting away from home (students in higher education, election officials etc.) On election day (August 31, 1947), activists of the® Hungarian Workers’ Party (MDP) allowed its supporters to supply themselves with ~ and vote several times at different polling stations. This was the most notorious of several frauds committed by the party during the poll, which became known as the ‘blue-chit election’.
Bolshevik: The term, taken from the Russian word bolshinstvo meaning majority, was attached to Lenin’s revolutionary communist wing of the Russian Social Democratic Workers’ Party when it defeated the Menshevik (minority) wing in a debate on the statutes at the party’s 2nd Congress in London in 1903. ~ became part of the official name of the Russian and then Soviet communist party (® Communist Party of the Soviet Union [CPSU]) from 1918 to 1952, while Bolshevism was the name given before the Second World War to the theory of Marxism-Leninism and the practice of revolutionary communist and workers’ parties.
Border zone: A strip of land, usually 50–100 metres deep, on the inward side of the country’s border, in which special administrative regulations applied. Entry, exit or residence in ~s was restricted or subject to a special permit. As the international situation became tenser, Hungary equipped its Austrian and Yugoslav ~s with a cleared strip of land, barbed wire fences and other physical obstructions such as minefields and fences incorporating an alarm device (® sealed border).
Cadres: This military term is usually applied in communist parlance to young workers or peasants brought to work outside their trade in the communist-party bureaucracy or state apparatus, and therefore strongly dependent on the party for their livelihood. This made ~ averse to reforms and strongly supportive of the existing party leadership. For the party, ~ became all-purpose officials ready to accept any post to which they were assigned. They would often serve successively in the state apparatus, in production and in the party apparatus. They provided one of the broadest and most important bases for the communist party.
Central planning: The economy in Soviet-style countries was governed by central planning based on medium-term planning periods (® Three-Year Plan). This system overrode market and other economic forces and stifled private initiative. The system of plan directives or commands often ignored economic realities. In Hungary, the directives were issued by the National Planning Office, founded in 1947. The aggregate targets of the plan would be ‘disaggregated’ into targets for regions, factories and departments. The resources thought necessary would be allocated. Completion of the plan target or norm was compulsory, which led to large stocks of defective or sub-standard goods accumulating in enterprise warehouses. Plans would often be amended before the end of the planning period (on 472 occasions in 1952), which caused mounting havoc in the planning system. The result of central planning was to bureaucratize the working of the economy, cause mounting crisis and impoverish the public.
Christian Women’s Camp: A social movement and then a political party in 20th-century Hungary. The desire for women’s movement based on Christian values arose among female members of the Christian Social Party in 1918, with some contribution from the Social Mission Society, which had been operating since 1908. Between the two world wars, the ~ emphasized the need to alleviate social tensions and also protested against injuries suffered by the Jews. The ~ was registered as a political party in July 1947, fought the 1947 general elections (® blue chits) on a Christian platform, and entered Parliament as the smallest party, with four seats. The party organization was dismantled in the summer of 1948 by the authorities and its members were prosecuted or forced into exile. Operation of the party was officially banned in the summer of 1949.
Church Affairs Office:® State Office for Church Affairs.
Civil Democratic Party (PDP): The party was founded in Szeged on December 15, 1944 to represent the urban middle classes and intelligentsia. It supported a parliamentary system based on liberal principles, a® multi-party system and representative government, along with ‘civil’ financial and intellectual advancement. The four seats it gained in the 1947 general elections were too few for it to play a significant part in the legislature. Its relative political weakness led to a federation on May 11, 1948 with the similarly inclined ® Hungarian Radical Party, as the Civil Radical Party Alliance. That was followed on March 3, 1949 by a full merger.
Class aliens: Persons deemed to be ‘alien or opposed to the working classes’ were so described. According to the practice from the late 1940s to 1962, those covered by the category (on the basis of the 1938 survey of employment and property situation) were former landowners, aristocrats, factory and mill owners, people of private means, war criminals, those convicted of political crimes, and® kulaks. Also included were former gendarmes, previous holders of senior political or state functions, former police and soldiers who did not transfer to the new forces, shop and workshop owners and traders with two or more employees for an extended period since the war, and clergy who failed to cooperate with the authorities. ~ and their descendants were barred from certain occupations and leading positions and excluded from higher education. The stigma counted as an aggravating circumstance in case of criminal prosecution.
Class enemies: Persons ‘inimical to the working class’ were assumed to oppose the ruling ideology of the socialist system, irrespective of their class background.
Cold War: The specific situation that developed after the Second World War brought two superpowers, the Soviet Union and the United States, along with their spheres of influence into an extended period of tense antagonism that fell short of open warfare. The ~ was accompanied by a constant arms race, restrictions on economic relations between the two blocs, few scientific contacts, and minimal diplomatic relations. The two power systems fought a ceaseless propaganda war. The ~ was relieved by intervals of détente at certain stages, during which some nuclear arms limitation agreements could be reached. The ~ came to an end after 1989 with the dismantling of the® Iron Curtain and the collapse of successive communist regimes, culminating in the break-up of the Soviet Union in 1991.
Collective farms:® agricultural cooperatives.
Collective head of state:® Presidential Council.
Collectivization: The original meaning of taking property into communal ownership became restricted in Hungary to the reorganization of agriculture on Soviet lines, along with forced elimination of private peasant farms and incorporation of their lands into large-scale collectives (® agricultural cooperatives). This process began nationwide in 1948, with ® administrative methods being used to coerce peasants into surrending their land. Between 1948 and 1961, 93 per cent of the country’s farmland passed into cooperative or state ownership in two main waves of ~. The former owners retained property rights until 1967, when legislation transferred the land into the ownership of the cooperatives. ~ coupled with unrealistically high taxation caused the peasantry to abandon agriculture in large numbers—about 300,000 of them sought a livelihood in other sectors of the economy, so that in 1953, for instance, about one million hold (570,000 hectares) lay fallow.
Comecon: The Council of Mutual Economic Assistance was an international body formed under Soviet leadership and insistence on January 25, 1949 in Moscow. The original members were Albania (until 1961), Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Poland, Romania and the Soviet Union. East Germany joined in 1950, followed by Mongolia (with observer status), Cuba, Vietnam, North Korea, Laos and Mozambique. The main bodies were the Council and its Supreme Committee. Mutual assistance in practice meant subservience to the dominant will of the Soviet Union. The Comecon mechanism contributed to the disintegration of the system of relative values, which led member-countries to seek advantages at each others’ economic expense. Burdened with internal disputes, ~ broke up as market economies began to develop again in its member-countries after the change of system. A protocol dissolving it was signed in Budapest on June 28, 1991.
Cominform: The Information Bureau of Communist and Workers’ Parties was set up at a meeting in Szklarska Poreba, near Wroclaw, Poland, on September 22–7, with the Albanian, Bulgarian, Czechoslovak, Hungarian, Polish, Romanian, Soviet, Yugoslav, French and Italian communist parties as founder members. It was based in Belgrade until the Communist Party of Yugoslavia was condemned and expelled, moving to Budapest on June 27, 1948. Parties were represented by delegated members of their central committees. The formation of ~ confirmed the political dichotomy of Europe and helped to make the division of the continent permanent. However, it was dissolved by unanimous vote on April 7, 1956 [?& as a gesture towards Yugoslavia and the West.]
Command economy:® central planning.
Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU): The ~ had antecedents dating back to 1875, but its direct predecessor was the Russian Communist Party (® Bolshevik) founded in March 1918 after the victory in the Russian Civil War. The communist Soviet Union was formed in 1922, and in 1925, the party changed its name to the Communist (Bolshevik) Party of the Soviet Union. After the death of Lenin in January 1924, the leadership passed to Stalin, in whose totalitarian hands (® cult of personality) it effectively controlled the country [?& through stringent and detailed exercise of its pravo kontrolya or right of verification, often swelling into podmena or usurpation by the party of functions of the state]. The party changed its name again in 1952, to the All-Union Communist (Bolshevik) Party, but it was generally referred to as the ~. [?& Between meetings of the ® party congress, the ~ was controlled by its Central Committee, although that was effectively run by its general secretary, Politburo or later ® Presidium of the CPSU, and Secretariat. There were subordinate congresses, central committees and bureaux in the other republics, except for the Russian Federation, and conferences, committees and bureaux at the levels of the complex Soviet system of local government and enterprise organization. There were both enterprise (factory, farm unit, office) and local branches (‘primary party organizations’), to one of which each member belonged.] After Stalin’s death, he was succeeded by Khrushchev, who was himself removed in a coup by his comrades in the leadership in October 1964. The leadership then passed to Brezhnev. The membership of the ~ numbered about ten million.
Compulsory produce deliveries: ‘Gathering in’, as it was called in Hungarian, was the process by which farms were obliged to hand over agricultural produce and products to the state at low prices. There had been compulsory sowing plans and other measures in Hungary during the Second World War, but they applied only to a small segment of production and did not amount to confiscation of all surpluses. Compulsion was reintroduced by the communist regime in 1948 and maintained until 1956, during which period it was the chief means by which the state maintained its food stocks. The income obtained from paying derisory prices to farms was devoted largely to developing heavy industry. ~ paid no heed to the size of annual harvests and was imposed even if it entailed confiscating the food required by the family or the seed stock for the following year. Failure to meet delivery quotas was severely punished. About 200,000 peasants were penalized for this up to 1955. The purpose, apart from meeting the state’s needs, was to make private peasant farming impossible, to bankrupt the® kulaks and to accelerate ® collectivization.
Consolidation of land holdings: The process of consolidating scattered patches of land into a contiguous holding became one of the weapons used during® collectivization to force peasants into joining the ® agricultural cooperative. The newly formed cooperative might control 150–200 scattered pieces of land, which would have to be consolidated before large-scale farming could begin. In principle, the regulations on the consolidation process protected the interests of peasant owners, calling for the fewest possible exchanges, compensation in land of equivalent value, and prior agreement by all concerned. Instead, consolidation became in 1949 an annually repeated process of harassment that made it one of the most effective ways of coercing peasants into collectivizing their land. Land assigned in the repeated exchange would be less fertile and more distant from the village, so that owners after two or three rounds of consolidation almost always succumbed and joined the cooperative.
Constitution of the Hungarian People’s Republic: Hungary adopted a new constitution on August 20, 1949 (Act XX/1949). As the basic law of the state, it laid down the fundamental rights and duties of citizens, the state structure and operating mechanism, and the relations and provinces of the branches of power (legislature, executive and judiciary). This ostensibly socialist document was based on the Soviet constitution of 1936. It stated that Hungary’s® form of state was a people’s republic and that ‘all power’ belonged to ‘the working people embodied in a single Marxist-Leninist party, the ® Hungarian Workers’ Party (MDP). The constitution called for the replacement of the president of the republic by a collective head of state, the ® Presidential Council, with powers to issue decrees with the force of law. This effectively curtailed the role of the National Assembly (legislature). Numerous amendments have been made to the constitution on several occasions (1972, 1989, 1990 etc.)
Cooperative farms:® agricultural cooperatives.
Council apparatus: Hungary’s previous local-government organizations were dissolved in 1950 in favour of ‘councils’ after the Soviet pattern. Local councils were no longer autonomous, but subordinate initially to the Ministry of the Interior and after 1954 to the Councils Office of the Council of Ministers (government). Their main task was to implement at local level tasks assigned by central organs of state administrations. Councils became bureaucratized. They were staffed by people with no local allegiances (even if they lived locally) and total dependence on the central organizations whose instructions they implemented.
Council of Mutual Economic Assistance:® Comecon.
Councils: These Soviet-style units of local government applied in Hungary from 1950 to 1990, having been instituted by the 1949 Council of the People’s Republic. Act I/1950 brought them into being in place of the county, district, town and village local-government organizations. Ostensibly subordinate to the Council of Ministers (government), they were controlled in practice by the Local Councils Division of the Ministry of the Interior. The council was headed by a chairman and the® council apparatus by an executive committee. Members were formally elected for a four-year term but in practice their work was directed by parallel party committees. There was some increase in the powers of local councils after the passage of Act I/1971. The council system was abolished in 1990, when a system of self-governing local-government organizations was restored.
Coupon system:® rationing.
Cult of personality: The phrase denotes unprincipled, inordinate, uncritical praise of a political leader, whose utterances are treated as dogma binding on everyone at all times. It frequently occurs under dictatorial systems, but took its most blatant form in the case of certain communist leaders, notably Stalin in the Soviet Union. A similar ~ was promoted after 1948 around Mátyás Rákosi, who as party general secretary and prime minister held unrestricted Stalin-type power in Hungary. The Rákosi cult reached a bizarre climax in the celebrations to mark his 60th birthday in 1952, but came to an end after the Twentieth Congress of the® Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) (January 14–15, 1956) when Stalinism and the ~ were authoritatively condemned [?& in a secret speech by Khrushchev]. As in several other socialist countries, the ruling Stalinist elite (the infamous troika of Rákosi, Ernő Gerő and Mihály Farkas) was rapidly undermined and they were even expelled from the ruling party. Rákosi was later exiled to the Soviet Union, where he remained for the rest of his life. Later communist regimes presented the ~ as a grave distortion produced by the mistakes of one person, so that the political system might continue once he had been removed.
Democratic People’s Party: The party was established in Hungary in November 1944 as the Christian Democratic People’s Party, with Count József Pálffy as chairman. The party took the name ~ in April 1945, but its coalition licence to operate was granted only in September 1945, by which time there had been a split, with the ~ being led by István Barankovics and Pálffy and his adherents joining the® Civil Democratic Party (PDP). The party’s organizers came from the Catholic reform movements of the inter-war years (® National Secretariat of Catholic Agricultural Youth Clubs (KALOT), Vocation Organization) and sought to spread a Christian democratic outlook. Its ideas were not supported by Prince-Primate József Mindszenty. The party did not stand independently in the November 1945 general elections, but two of its candidates gained seats in the National Assembly on the ® Independent Smallholders’ Party (FKgP) list. The ~ stood in the general elections of August 31, 1947 on a Christian democratic–Christian socialist platform and won 69 seats in the legislature, which made it the strongest opposition party. However, it was unable to obstruct the efforts of the ® Hungarian Communist Party (MKP) to obtain a monopoly of power and its branches disintegrated during the course of 1948. Several of its members of Parliament emigrated because of the ® administrative methods applied after the arrest of Mindszenty. Its remaining politicians in Hungary ‘dissolved’ the party in February 1949. The ~ resumed activities for a few days on November 1, 1956.
Democratic System of State and Penal Protection of the Republic, Act II/1946:® Act II/1946 on the Democratic System of State and Penal Protection of the Republic.
Deportation of Germans: A decision reached by the great powers at the Potsdam Conference (July 17–August 2, 1945) meant that deportation to Germany awaited the German minority in Hungary. This was ordered on September 20, 1945 by the® Allied Control Commission. Although the Hungarian authorities never accepted the principle of collective responsibility, a start was made in January 1946 to deporting those who had entered themselves as ethnic Germans in the 1941 census or joined the Volksbund or one of the German armed forces. During the first stage, about 136,000 Hungarian Germans were deported to the American zone of occupation in Germany. They were followed in the spring of 1947 by more than 50,000 people, who were deposited in the Soviet zone. This means that almost 200,000 people of German ethnic affiliation were expelled, of whom about 20,000 later escaped back. The deportations ceased in October 1949 (under Prime Ministerial decree No. 4274/1949) and all restrictions on ethnic Germans were lifted on March 25, 1950 (No. 14/1950).
Deportation: Forcible displacement of persons or groups on political grounds occurred in post-war Hungary both internally and to a foreign country.® Deportation of Germans to West and East Germany affected almost 200,000 Hungarian Germans in 1945–9. Based on an Interior Ministry of June 17, 1951, the communist authorities deported at least 12,000 ‘former exploiters’ from Budapest to inhumanly poor conditions in remote villages. Those treated as ® class aliens and enemies to the communist system included members of the pre-war apparatus of state, army and police force, ® kulaks and others. The internal-exile measures were repealed on June 26, 1953 (Prime Ministerial Decree No. 1034/1953) and the ® internment camps closed.
Détente:® Cold War.
Dictatorship of the proletariat: According to communist ideology, this was to be a temporary form of government during the transition to communism, in which the power of the working class(proletariat)— ‘dictatorship of the majority’—would be attained. Subsequent development of the ~ would ultimately turn ‘socialist people’s unity’ into a ‘universal state of the whole people’. In practice, the ~ gave dictatorial power to a narrow communist elite that claimed to represent the working masses. Characteristics of the system included the abolition of parliamentary democracy, the amalgamation of legislative and executive power, expropriation of the means of production, and intimidation of the masses.
DISZ:® League of Working Youth (DISZ).
Doctrinaire: The epithet applied to adherents of a political theory who follow its abstract, theoretical rules and doctrines in a way that pays little heed to realities.
Economic Council:® Supreme Economic Council; ® People’s Economic Council.
Economic planning:® central planning.
European Economic Programme:® Marshall Plan.
Factions: Groups within a political party (known sometimes as ‘fractions’) that do not wholly agree with its political line on some issues, so that they represent specific stances within the party. Orthodox communist parties, in line with Lenin’s teachings, forbade factionalism, insisting that unity and strength always had to be displayed to the outside world. Lenin declared that the mere existence of ~ broke up the unity of principle and structure in the communist party, undermined party discipline, hindered the party in achieving its purposes, paralysed the direction of the party, and radically reduced its ability to act and its efficiency. This made factionalism a charge serious enough to warrant the death penalty for those accused of it (in some cases, without being guilty of it.)
Factory committees:® work committees.
Fellow travellers: A communist term for members of the intelligentsia (and later politicians of other parties) who sympathized with communist ideas and might act alongside the communists under certain circumstances.
Financial stabilization: The curbing of post-war® inflation was followed by consolidation of the financial system in the summer of 1946. The ~ was achieved by introducing a new monetary system on August 1 (with one new forint equivalent to 429 pengős and an artificially limited supply of banknotes), rescheduling reparation payments to the Soviet Union, raising foreign loans, and bringing in restrictive economic measures. The process was helped by the return of the country’s gold and exchange reserves to the National Bank of Hungary and by timing the process to coincide with the grain harvest.
FISZ:® Independent Youth League (FISZ).
FKgP:® Independent Smallholders’ Party (FKgP).
Forced industrialization: The policy of developing industry at a forced pace (at the expense of agriculture, the infrastructure and manufactures that contributed to the living standards of the population) was applied in Hungary and throughout the zone of post-war Soviet occupation, as it had been in the Soviet Union in the 1930s. ~ meant essentially that strategic industries and emphases in the economy were designated and most of the resources concentrated on them. This allowed the rate of economic growth to rise temporarily, but brought in its wake distortions, disproportions and chronic tensions that soon became a barrier to further expansion. There was no good reason for Hungary to force the development of the branches chosen after the Soviet pattern—mining, smelting and steel—because the country lacked the raw materials and cheap energy sources for the purpose. On the other hand, these were required by the munitions industry, in a period (1953–4) when the communist bloc regarded a third world war as inevitable and was prepared to subordinate all economic considerations to preparing for it.
Forced labour: Known in Russian ironically as malenky robot (‘small work’), ~ was imposed on tens of thousands of Hungarians civilians illegally, in contravention of international military law. They were taken by the Soviets to® labour camps in the Soviet Union, where they lived and worked under inhuman conditions, so that few of the 170,000–180,000 prisoners survived to return to Hungary.
Form of state: A category for classing states according to the methods, structure and system of control in their main institutions. The exercise of state power may differ widely within the class of countries whose ~ is described in the same way. For instance, there are absolutist monarchies and constitutional monarchies, bourgeois democratic republics and socialist republics ruled dictatorially.
German deportations:® deportation of Germans.
Greater Budapest: A name applied to Budapest and the surrounding towns and villages (such as Békásmegyer, Budafok, Mátyásföld, Csepel, Kispest, Rákoshegy and Újpest) after they were incorporated into the capital in 1950. The amalgamation resulted in a city with 22 constituent districts.
Gulags:® labour camps.
Household plots: Smallholdings assigned to members of® agricultural cooperatives as an extra source of income and food. They consisted of land and livestock for personal use. The size of each plot was laid down in the cooperative statutes, bearing legal stipulations in mind. They were generally 0.5–0.75 cadastral hold (0.24–0.35 hectares) in area, and initially, the quantity of livestock that could be kept was stipulated as well. Socialist policy-makers applied tight restrictions on the use of and entitlement to ~. They were only to play the auxiliary role of supplying the household and it was thought that they would remain only temporarily. In the event, the ~ became central to peasant families, providing them with more than half their income in the 1960s and playing an important part in production. After 1989, the ~ came under the legal control of local government and Act I/1992 lifted the size restrictions on them.
Hungarian Communist Party (MKP): Its legal predecessor, the Hungarian Party of Communists was founded in Budapest on November 24, 1918 as the Hungarian organization of the international communist movement. It took power in conjunction with the other party of the labour movement on March 21, 1919. [?& After the collapse of the 133-day Hungarian Soviet Republic] in August 1919, the party suspended its activity and its leaders emigrated or went to prison. The party resumed activity illegally in 1920, but on May 8, 1936, it was ordered by Comintern to dissolve, after® factions had developed over the principle of pursuing a popular-front policy. Reorganized in 1939–40, the ~ abandoned the aim of direct victory in a communist revolution and espoused the idea of the international communist movement forming the vanguard of a popular independence front against fascism. After Comintern dissolved itself in June 1943, the party became known for tactical reasons as the Peace Party. It joined the Hungarian Front and took part in the resistance to fascist rule and German occupation in Hungary. On September 12, 1944, the official name became the Communist Party, which was altered to the ~ in February 1945. The leadership passed to a group of emigrés who returned from Moscow to Hungary. They supported the Stalinist-Leninist model of socialism and assigned only administrative tasks to communists who had worked at home in illegality for a quarter of a century. In mid-1947, the leadership appeared to bow to Soviet expectations and accept the need to combine with bourgeois forces, but as the international situation underwent rapid change, the coalition parties were soon wound up, with forceful assistance from the law-enforcement services. The name of the party changed again to the ® Hungarian Workers’ Party after the ® Social Democratic Party was forced to merge with it in June 1948.
Hungarian Community: Founded in 1925, the ~ operated until March 19, 1944 and was then revived in October 1946. It was a secret society, composed mainly of members of the intelligentsia, whose aim was to place people of Hungarian sentiment with similar views in key positions in the state apparatus and business. The structure and symbolism of the ~ resembled those of the Freemasons. The cover organization before 1945 was a society called Love of Country with an official periodical. The ~ took part in the resistance after the German occupation and had contacts with the® Independent Smallholders’ Party (FKgP). The High Council of the ~ prepared reports and prognoses on the domestic and foreign situation after the assumed withdrawal of Soviet troops after the peace treaty. Some Smallholders took part in the ensuing discussions and debates. The leading figures in the ~ were arrested by the communist-dominated ® State Protection Department (ÁVÓ) and Military Policy Department of the Defence Ministry, and on instructions from ® Hungarian Communist Party (MKP) leaders, a ‘conspiracy against the republic’ was constructed out of innocent discussions. The ® Hungarian Communist Party (MKP), with backing from the ® Allied Control Commission, used this case to remove the leaders of the ® Independent Smallholders’ Party (FKgP), despite its majority in Parliament. Prime Minister Ferenc Nagy was forced to resign and General Secretary Béla Kovács to withdraw from politics. There were 290 accused in the six trials held during 1947–8, two of whom were sentenced to death and 188 to terms of imprisonment. These tactics enabled the communists to destroy the absolute Smallholder majority in Parliament. The Soviet role played in the ~ affair exacerbated the conflicts among the great powers formerly allied against fascism, so that it contributed indirectly to the declaration of the ® Truman Doctrine.
Hungarian-Czechoslovak population exchange: Hungary and Czechoslovakia reached a population-exchange agreement in Budapest on February 27, 1946, whereby the number of ethnic Slovaks freely leaving Hungary decided the number of Hungarians that Czechoslovakia could deport from Slovakia. The emigré Czech government in the Second World War had devised a plan for a ‘homogeneous nation-state’, to which the Hungarians of Slovakia were an obstacle. The Beneš government subscribed to the principle of collective responsibility, but their wish to relocate the entire Hungarian ethnic community met with opposition from the great powers. The post-war Czechoslovak authorities sought to alter the ethnic proportions in parts of Slovakia with a Hungarian majority by suspending the civil rights of the Hungarians and deporting some of them. Hungarians suffered constant harassment and tens of thousands of them were taken to the Czech provinces to do® forced labour. A programme of ‘Slovakization’ was pursued, in which some 400,000 Hungarians who hardly knew Slovak were persuaded to class themselves as Hungarianized Slovaks and avoid the collective punishment. The Hungarian government tried to end the persecution by concluding the population-exchange agreement, but this did not succeed. Repeated appeals and inducements from the Czechoslovak authorities persuaded 73,273 Slovaks to leave Hungary voluntarily. In return, the Czechoslovak authorities chose 68,407 Hungarians for deportation, and many others fled unofficially. Hungary later recorded 118,582 residents born in places that belonged to Czechoslovakia at the time of the 1949 census. The deportations continued until 1949.
Hungarian Democratic Youth League (MADISZ): This mass organization of 15–24-year-olds outside the® Hungarian Communist Party (MKP) was founded at the latter’s initiative in Szeged on December 31, 1944. As various political parties established youth organizations after February 1945, the ~ came under communist control. In March 1948, after the various communist-led organizations covering different social strata had been formed, it combined with the membership of the ® Trade-Union Young-Worker and Apprentice Movement (SZIT).
Hungarian Freedom Party: The ~, which operated from April 1946 to July 1947, was formed by Dezső Sulyok under pressure from the® Hungarian Communist Party (MKP), after he had been expelled from the ® Independent Smallholders’ Party (FKgP) on March 12, 1946. With a parliamentary group of 21, the ~ sought to become a leading force in the coalition by gaining support from peasants who had become disillusioned with the Smallholders. It endorsed the nationalization programme and the land reform, but called for compensation for the former owners of land expropriated and considered that these measures had completed the process of social transformation that the country required. Externally, the ~ advocated neutrality for Hungary and the attainment of ‘national democracy’. Its leeway was reduced by the communist ® salami tactics, so much so that it dissolved itself on July 22, 1947, after the electoral law had been amended in ways that worked to its disadvantage. The party leaders then emigrated, Sulyok, for instance, on August 4, 1947.
Hungarian Independence Party: Zoltán Pfeiffer, a former® Independent Smallholders’ Party (FKgP) member of Parliament, headed the ~, which was founded on July 26, 1947, largely among former members of the ® Hungarian Freedom Party. Its leaders and electoral candidates were mainly Smallholders expelled from their party for ostensible ‘right-wing’ views. The official platform was phrased in terms of the Smallholders’ Békés Programme of 1930 and included a liberal political and social system. The ~ won 46 seats in the 1947 general elections (® blue chits), making it the second largest coalition party. The ® Hungarian Communist Party (MKP) then induced the governing coalition and the ® Hungarian Radical Party on October 3, 1947 to challenge the seats of the ~ before the National Election Committee, prompted mass rallies and applied ® administrative measures against ~ supporters. Pfeiffer fled abroad on November 4, 1947 to escape arrest. The National Election Committee ordered the dissolution of the ~ on November 20 and took away its parliamentary seats. After a decree from the Dinnyés government confirmed this on November 30, 700,000 voters were left unrepresented in Parliament.
Hungarian National Independence Front: The ~ was founded on December 3, 1944 in Szeged, as a broad coalition of anti-fascist and anti-Nazi political groups to take over from the Hungarian Front. It embraced the® Hungarian Communist Party (MKP), the ® Social Democratic Party (SZDP), the ® Civil Democratic Party (PDP), the ® Independent Smallholders’ Party (FKgP) and the trade unions, and also laid the coalition foundations for the new Hungarian state. Its programme called for a ‘new democratic Hungary’ to be brought together as soon as possible, so that it prepared for the ® Provisional National Assembly and ® Provisional National Government. It was replaced on February 1, 1949 by the Hungarian Independence Front.
Hungarian Radical Party: The ~ came into existence nominally in November 1944 but did not hold its inaugural meeting until March 3, 1945. It consisted mainly of liberal members of the Budapest intelligentsia and had only a couple of thousand members even in the summer of 1945. Although it was based on middle-class private property, it stood close to the labour parties in many respects, supporting nationalization plans from outside the coalition. It gained seven parliamentary seats in the 1947 general elections (® blue chits). In the following year, it federated with the ® Civil Democratic Party (PDP), with which it merged in March 1949. It was forced to dissolve itself as the ® Hungarian Workers’ Party (MDP) gained strength in 1949–50. Hungarian Pioneers’ Association ® Pioneer movement.
Hungarian-Soviet Friendship Agreement: In line with the new foreign policy of the® Hungarian Workers’ Party (MDP), government delegations signed a Hungarian-Soviet Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance in Moscow on February 18, 1948. The parties would assist each other in cases of attack by a third party and cooperate closely on international issues in times of peace. ‘A spirit of friendship, cooperation and mutual advantage’ would also govern the development of their economic and cultural ties. Socialist Hungary concluded similar standard treaties with Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Poland and Romania.
Hungarian-Soviet Society: The declared intention of the ~ was to deepen Hungarian-Soviet friendship, but in practice, it had the deeper aim of propagating the idea of a Soviet-type communist system. It was founded as the Hungarian-Soviet Education Society in 1945, and a year later, already had half a million members. Changing its name to the ~ in 1948, it became a typical communist mass organization, with 1.3 million members and 8000 local branches in 1953, although most of them operated only formally. The ~ fell apart during the 1956 Revolution. It was reorganized in the summer of 1957 as the Hungarian-Soviet Friendship Society, but without an individual membership.
Hungarian Workers’ Party (MDP): The ~ was the state party in Hungary from June 12–14, 1948 to October 31, 1956. It gained hegemony over power after the coalition period, taking over the branch structure and the unchanged leadership of the® Hungarian Communist Party (MKP). Its main policy-making body became a Central Committee (‘Central Leadership’) elected by the congress delegates, instead of the ® party congress itself. However, this did not engage in substantive debate or collective leadership either, but simply endorsed retrospectively the decisions taken by Mátyás Rákosi [?& as general secretary]. Policy decisions of principle were referred to the more restricted Political Committee (Politburo), although the functions of this became confused with those of the Secretariat [?& (the Politburo-appointed secretaries of the Central Committee meeting as a committee)]. The pattern followed slavishly was the Stalinist structure represented by the Communist (Bolshevik) Party of the Soviet Union (® Communist Party of the Soviet Union [CPSU]). Its ideas for social transformation entailed abolishing democratic political relations and replacing them by ® administrative methods, to ensure that Hungary became a model state within the Soviet bloc. The mistaken economic policies (® forced industrialization) and hasty ® collectivization led to economic crisis in the summer of 1953, when Imre Nagy took over as prime minister. His ® New Course [?& (supported initially by the post-Stalin political leadership)] set out to reform the Stalinist model of socialism. However, Rákosi regained control in the spring of 1955, while Nagy and his supporters began to act as an opposition inside and outside the party, whose hand was strengthened by Khrushchev’s secret speech condemning Stalin at the 20th Congress of the ® Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) [?& on February 14–25, 1956]. This led directly to Rákosi’s dismissal on Soviet orders, but the leadership that replaced him proved unable to shift the policy of the ~. On October 23, 1956, it became terminally paralysed, so that its centre and organizations disintegrated as the 1956 Revolution gathered strength. The leadership was dissolved on October 31 and a new communist party, the Hungarian Socialist Workers’ Party (MSZMP), was established in its stead.
Hungarian Writers’ Union:® Writers’ Union.
Incitement: The crime of ~ was defined as acts endangering the internal security of the state and punished severely. Anyone speaking against the people’s democratic system of state or its institutions was guilty of ~. So too was anyone who aroused hatred on national, racial or denominational grounds, acted in a way liable to do so, or encouraged others to do so.
Independence Front:® Hungarian National Independence Front.
Independent Hungarian Democratic Party: The ~ was founded on June 21, 1947 by István Balogh, an earlier general secretary of the® Independent Smallholders’ Party (FKgP). Having received a permit to operate from the ® Allied Control Commission in mid-July, after an endorsement from the ® Hungarian Communist Party (MKP), it contributed to the fragmentation of the bourgeois opposition forces by advancing a moderate programme of its own. It was joined on August 7, 1947 by the Hungarian Farm Labourers’ and Workers’ Party of István Dénes, and by the writer and politician Imre Kovács and several former Smallholder politicians. The ~ then won 22 seats in the August general elections (® blue chits) with a programme similar to the one advanced by the Smallholders in 1945. Its representatives then voted for the government proposals for ® nationalization of the banks and the schools. On February 23, 1949, the party joined the Hungarian Independence People’s Front (® Hungarian National Independence Front) and ran joint candidates on its list. The ~ vanished from public life in the summer of 1949, although an attempt was made to revive it in the autumn of 1956.
Independent Smallholders’ Party (FKgP): Named in full the Independent Smallholders’, Land Workers’ and Citizens’ Party, it was founded on October 12, 1930 as an agrarian party by peasants meeting in Békés, to represent the interests mainly of landed peasants. After merging with Gaston Gaál’s Agrarian Party, it styled itself the Independent Smallholders’, Land Workers’ and Citizens’ Agrarian Party, but reverted to its earlier name in 1943. The ~ was the biggest left-wing bourgeois opposition and parliamentary party in the 1930s, acting as an umbrella for people ranging from wealthier landed peasants to the village poor and some urban strata, advocating® land reform and other liberal democratic demands. Its anti-fascist and anti-Arrow-Cross stance meant that it was banned during the German occupation. Some members took part in the bourgeois and armed resistance. The ~ formed a parliamentary alliance with the ® Social Democratic Party (SZDP) in 1943 and took part in the ® People’s Front movement. It was a founder constituent of the Hungarian Front and the Liberation Committee of the Hungarian National Uprising. Members of the ~ then took part in organizing the ® Provisional National Assembly and Provisional National Government in the territories liberated by Soviet forces. In 1945, it absorbed the National Kossuth Party led by Vince Nagy, the Hungarian Land Workers and Agrarian Party headed by István Dénes, and the Hungarian Republican Party chaired by Imre Veér. After the general elections of November 4, 1945, it became the largest party in Parliament, with an absolute majority. Its leaders, representing the peasants of the political centre, accepted the need for nationalization to limit the scope of big capital and supported the dissolution of the system of great landed estates, but insisted on basing agriculture on private peasant ownership and maintaining a ® multi-party system of parliamentary democracy. The ® Hungarian Communist Party (MKP) used legal and illegal methods to combat the ~, whose power began to break early in 1947, when charges of a conspiracy against the republic were fabricated to dissolve a secret organization known as the Hungarian Brotherhood. During the trial, the innocent general secretary of the ~ was arrested, while the prime minister was forced to resign in June 1947. Direction of the ~ then passed to left-wingers who cooperated with the communists. It lost electoral support in the general elections of August 31, 1947 (® blue chits). On February 1, 1949, it was obliged to join the Hungarian Independence Front (® Hungarian National Independence Front), so that its members could stand only as joint candidates. The party was not officially dissolved, but it steadily disappeared from the political scene and its representatives became relegated into the background. The ~ was revived briefly on October 31, 1956, but was unable to compromise with the new regime after the second Soviet invasion.
Independent Youth League (FISZ ): The youth organization founded by the® Independent Smallholders’ Party (FKgP) on July 29, 1945 later changed its name to Independent Youth. It had 130,000 members in the autumn of 1945. In March 1946, it became a member of the National Council of Hungarian Youth. Early in 1947, the communist-led security organizations drew several of its leaders into the fabricated charges of conspiracy against the republic. The ~ lost its independence after the Smallholders’ Party was broken up. Its new leaders bowed to left-wing pressure and undertook a thorough purge, so that the membership fell to 10,000 by the autumn of 1947. It officially disbanded on March 11, 1948, when its members were absorbed into the National Federation of United Peasant-Youth Organizations (EPOSZ).
Inflation: The hyperinflation that developed in post-war Hungary assumed a scale unprecedented in economic history. The main causes included the pillaging of the country after the Second World War, the removal of its gold and exchange reserves, the shortage of goods coupled with strong demand, and the enormous reparations to be paid to the Soviet Union. The mounting budget deficit was offset by printing ever greater quantities of banknotes, which had no cover behind them. Up to November 1944, the biggest denomination had been 100 pengős, but in the summer of 1946, ‘milpengős’ were in circulation. Ultimately, the notes with their vast denominations could only be distinguished by their colour. Those hardest hit were wage and salary-earners, whose pay failed to follow the price increases. [?& The stabilization measures centred around the introduction of a new unit of currency, the forint, on August 1, 1946.]
Information Bureau of Communist and Workers’ Parties:® Cominform.
Internal exile:® Internment.
Internment: Confinement in a camp or a designated place of residence under police or military supervision was often ordered in Hungary in the early 1950s without reference to a court of law. Internees were not permitted to leave this designated place of residence or follow a white-collar occupation. Their real estate would be sealed or expropriated and they would only be able to retain a small proportion of their other possessions. Enemy or other aliens were normally interned in time of war. Dictatorships commonly apply the same procedure to citizens thought to be unreliable or dangerous to the regime.
Iron Curtain: The phrase, which originally meant a fire curtain in a theatre, was used in a political sense by Churchill in a speech at Fulton in the United States on March 5, 1946. The antecedents included the introduction of the® Marshall Plan and various embargo measures. (At the same time, the communist parties in Western Europe that had gained influence during the struggles against fascism were excluded from power, as were the non-socialist parties in Central and South-Eastern Europe, through the ‘people’s democratic’ revolutions there.). The ~ came to denote the the geographical barrier that developed between the Soviet zone of political control and the rest of Europe after the measures taken in 1944–5 to stop the flow of information and restrict travel and personal contacts between them. It became a prominent feature of the period of the ® Cold War up to the 1960s.
KALOT:® National Secretariat of Catholic Agricultural Youth Clubs (KALOT).
Kis Újság: The ~ (Little Paper) was a political daily that became the central voice of the® Independent Smallholders’ Party (FKgP) in 1945. After the party was broken up in 1948–9, the ~ was closed in 1952. It reappeared briefly during the 1956 Revolution as the official paper of the revived Smallholders, but it was closed again on November 4 by the Kádár regime.
Kulak list: A register compiled in 1948 of the property of the peasants who owned land, agricultural machinery and livestock (® kulaks).
Kulaks: Also known as ‘fat’ or large-scale peasants, the ~ were identified in the Soviet Union in the 1920s, when a violent campaign of compulsory® collectivization of land into ® agricultural cooperatives began. Rough measures were taken against the ~, who in general did not want to join the kolkhoz (cooperative). The category became steadily wider, to include any peasant showing such reluctance, regardless of the size of the holding withheld. Collectivization began in Hungary in 1948 with the compilation of a ® kulak list. It was asserted that those seeking to save their private property from the new social system were acting as remnants of the capitalist system, and as in the Soviet Union, the term came to be applied to all those who behaved in that way.
Labour camp: ~s became known in the Soviet Union as gulags (after an abbreviation for the Russian phrase ‘Chief Directorate of Camps’). Sentences of® forced labour given to criminals, political offenders and prisoners of war would be served in a ~ isolated from the civilian population. The system appeared as early as 1918 in Soviet Russia, where several million people were forced to work in mining, logging and road, rail and canal construction under strict guard and inhuman conditions. During and after the Second World War, they were joined by many foreigners—both prisoners of war and civilians rounded up by the Soviet occupation forces—including several hundred thousand Hungarians. Ninety per cent of those deported in that way never returned. The system was aped in the Soviet sphere of influence after 1945. In 1953, the ~ system began to be wound up in 1953 and political offenders to be rehabilitated. There were major Hungarian ~s at Kistarcsa, Recsk, Kazincbarcika and Oroszlány.
Labour Code: The basic body of law governing the working conditions of workers and employees came into force on February 1, 1951, when the earlier collective contracts in each industry ceased to apply. The ~ regulated all important aspects of employment, including its initiation and cessation, hours of work and rest, holidays, wages, arbitration procedures, and the outlines of the social-insurance system.
Land reform: Interventions in land-ownership relations, designed to change the ownership structure, expropriate big estates (with or without compensation) and distribute the land among the landless or those short of land, have occurred several times in Hungarian history. The most important ~ took place in 1945 (under Prime Ministerial Decree No. 600), when 5.6 multinational cadastral hold (2.63 million hectares) of land were redistributed to 642,342 applicants. Big estates over 1000 hold (470 hectares) were expropriated, along with land holdings of more than 100 hold (47 hectares) or 200 hold (94 hectares) in the case of peasant holdings. The decree promised owners compensation, but this was never paid. The main body carrying out the 1945 ~ was the National Land-Ownership Settlement Council. In the villages, those eligible for land formed land applicants’ committees to record the applications and ascertain what land would be available for distribution. Where the land was insufficient, more land was often expropriated and distributed than the law allowed. The 1945 ~ altered the structure of peasant society and increased the proportion of medium-sized holdings producing for market, but it also created many small units that would not have been viable in the long term.
League of Hungarian University and College Associations (MEFESZ): After a proposal made at the students’ parliament of the® Hungarian Democratic Youth League (MADISZ), held in Balatonlelle in July 1945, the ~ was founded as a mass organization to represent university and college students. There followed in the years up to 1948 a political battle within the League between the communist line and young people from bourgeois backgrounds. After the ® People’s League of Hungarian Youth (MINSZ) had been established, the ~ acted as a unified organization for university youth until it was incorporated into the ® League of Working Youth (DISZ) in 1950. The membership of the ~ was 21,000. A similar name was chosen by the students of the Szeged universities and colleges on October 16, 1956 for an organization independent of the ® Hungarian Workers’ Party (MDP) and ® DISZ, although it was not a successor. This was active during the revolution, but was later pressed by the Kádár regime into joining the Communist Youth League (KISZ).
League of Working Youth (DISZ): The organization formed under® Hungarian Workers’ Party (MDP) leadership on June 16–18, 1950, at a meeting of organizations affiliated to the ® People’s League of Hungarian Youth (MINSZ), to act as the communist party’s unified mass youth organization, after the Soviet pattern. Its membership in 1955 was 702,000, but it broke up during the 1956 Revolution and its branches disbanded. [?& Many of its functions were assumed in the Kádár period by the Communist Youth League (KISZ) founded on March 21, 1957.]
Left-Wing Bloc: This was formed on March 5, 1946 at the instigation of the® Hungarian Communist Party, and included also the ® Social Democratic Party (SZDP), the ® National Peasants’ Party (NPP) and the ® Trade-Union Council. In contravention of the agreements reached by the ® Hungarian National Independence Front, the ~ sought to remove from power first the right wing of the ® Independent Smallholders’ Party (FKgP) and then the whole party, by legal and illegal means. Its main initial demands were continued nationalization (beyond the banks and the three biggest industrial corporations), preservation of the ® land reform, and cleansing of the public administration and the ® Smallholders’ Party. Its members issued a joint election statement on July 30, 1947, but after the August 31 elections (® blue chits), it was officially dissolved.
Machinery depot: Large depots for state-owned agricultural machinery were established under Government Order 4910/1948 in April 1948, although the first had been assembled at Kisszállás in the previous November. The intention was to mechanize agriculture exclusively with large, state-owned machines, after the Soviet pattern. A network of 361 depots had been established by 1950, using half the funds earmarked for agricultural investment. The communist administration intended the ~s to provide more than simple technical assistance. They were to exert an important ideological and political influence on the peasantry during® collectivization. Most of the workers were unskilled and had little incentive to work hard, so that the ~s operated inefficiently and built up enormous trading losses. In 1957, the ® agricultural cooperatives obtained the right to buy big agricultural machinery of their own and the ~ began to reorganize into service stations.
MADISZ:® Hungarian Democratic Youth League (MADISZ).
Malenky robot:® forced labour.
Marshall Plan: The draft European Economic Programme was announced on June 5, 1947 by US Secretary of State George C. Marshall (1880–1959). It was intended to counteract the consequences for Europe of the Second World War and curb the advance of Soviet influence. Countries applying for Marshall aid had to publish their requirements jointly. By 1952, the 16 Western European governments that accepted the ~ had received $136 billion in grants and long-term credits. Pressure from the Soviet Union prevented several Central and Eastern European countries from accepting Marshall aid.
MDP:® Hungarian Workers’ Party (MDP).
MEFESZ:® League of Hungarian University and College Associations (MEFESZ).
MINSZ:® People’s League of Hungarian Youth (MINSZ).
MKP:® Hungarian Communist Party (MKP).
Multi-party system: One of the pillars of a bourgeois democratic state is that several parties take part in political activity, with voters choosing between them in free general elections for the legislature, where both government or opposition parties have seats. The system prevents any one party from gaining absolute power. Parties accept the rules of democracy and refrain from seizing power by violent means. They gain and lose office periodically, through the ballot box.
MUSZ:® Pioneer movement.
National Association of People’s Colleges (NÉKOSZ): Formed on June 8, 1946, this was the central organization of the people’s colleges, which from 1939 to 1949 provided resident secondary and higher education for talented young members of the peasantry and the working class. The first was Bolyai College, established by István Györffy to give higher education to young peasants. The people’s colleges followed the traditions of the Protestant colleges in their methods of operation, drawing on the ‘populist’ writers’ movement and the labour movement for inspiration. They adopted democratic statutes that provided for self-government and collective leadership. The people’s-college movement became more widespread after January 20, 1945, when it received backing from the® Hungarian Communist Party (MKP) and the ® National Peasants’ Party (NPP). College members took part in organizing the ® Hungarian Democratic Youth League (MADISZ) and in running the ® land reform as government commissioners. They were educated to respect the principles of collective self-government, along with conscious self-instruction, critical thinking, and efforts to propagate culture and knowledge of the country. Their freedom of thinking attracted several criticisms from the communist side after an MDP resolution on September 19, 1948. Thereafter, the system lost impetus and preparations began for a merger with the system of state colleges. The ~ was cited during the Rajk show trial and dissolved itself at a central meeting on July 10, 1949.
National committees: Variously named popular organizations arose in Hungary in 1944–5 in areas freed from German occupation and the puppet Arrow-Cross administration, formed by members of the coalition parties in each community. They set up more democratic local-government organizations and helped to restart activity and public administration. In mid-1945, the ~ became the embodiments of political cooperation among the coalition parties, but their role gradually decreased until they formally ceased to exist in June 1948. They found no place in the new system of administration introduced in January 1949.
National Council of Trade Unions (SZOT): This was formed as the overall directing body for the trade unions after the communist take-over of 1948, under the control of the® Hungarian Workers’ Party (MDP), and after 1956, the Hungarian Socialist Workers’ Party (MSZMP). The party’s purpose in establishing the ~ was to short-circuit the real branch and other trade unions and bring the movement under tight control. The original union purpose of representing the interests of members and the working class was replaced by a function of transmitting ® central planning assignments, organizing ® work contests, and generally ensuring that objectives and production targets set by the communist party were met. The structure of the ~ was centralized and hierarchic in the same way as the communist party’s. A central figure from 1952 to the change of system (with short breaks) was Sándor Gáspár. The central daily paper of the ~ was ® Népszava.
National Peasants’ Party (NPP): Established at Makó on June 29, 1939, the ~ was initiated by the ‘populist’ group of writers, whose works advocated political and cultural advancement and economic and political emancipation for the poor and landless peasantry. They had previously worked within the March Front until its demise. The Second World War prevented the ~ from building up a branch structure. Both the party and its paper were banned after the German occupation. The ~ joined the Hungarian Front in September 1944 and then became a member of the® Hungarian National Independence Front, sending 40 members to the ® Provisional National Assembly. Its members, mainly members of the intelligentsia of peasant origin, saw themselves as heirs to the agrarian socialist movements and were active in carrying out the ® land reform. By August 1945, it had been joined by 170,000 people. However, it lacked uniform long-term objectives. Its left wing worked closely with the communists, while others aimed for bourgeois parliamentary democracy, and the centre sought to reconcile socialism with peasant interests. The ~ was unable to prevent the ® Hungarian Workers’ Party (MDP) from gaining a monopoly of power in September 1948 and even endorsed its Marxist views. The ~ was incorporated into the Hungarian Independence Front on February 1, 1949 and could only submit candidates for the joint list in the subsequent elections. Political activity essentially ceased in 1949–50. The ~ was revived as the Petőfi Party on October 31, 1956, but was active only for a short period.
National Planning Office: Established in 1947, the ~ played an important part in bringing the Hungarian economy to conform to the Soviet pattern under the® Three-Year Plan. (The ~ itself was modelled on an equivalent Soviet institution.) Its activity turned in the early 1950s to the economy as a whole, devising long-term and operative economic-planning proposals and supervising the implementation of successive five-year plan (® central planning). Its president was formally elected by Parliament and was an ex officio member of the Council of Ministers (government).
National Secretariat of Catholic Agricultural Youth Clubs (KALOT): This social movement, which functioned from 1935 to 1947, was established in Szeged following the issue of a papal encyclical in 1931. In 1936, it began to work within the Secretariat of the National Federation of Catholic Youth Clubs to recruit agricultural youth to a Christian Socialist programme. It considered that a® land reform was essential. It organized people’s colleges for about half a million peasant boys and girls and in September 1942 set up a village outside Eger. The headquarters moved to Budapest in 1939. The ~ became independent on November 12, 1940, changing its name from Secretariat to Organization. After 1945, it continued to operate with permission from the ® Provisional National Assembly. However, it was banned along with several other organizations in July 1946, when the communist minister of the interior used an attempted assassination as a pretext. The operation of its successor organizers was impeded and the last of its people’s colleges closed in 1949.
Nationalization of schools: The communist policy of eliminating the pluralist education system in Hungary gathered strength in 1947. The task was made easier by the Pócspetri incident of July 3, 1948. [?& (An angry crowd gathered as the village assembly discussed nationalizing the local church school. While one of the police beat people with the butt of his rifle, it accidentally discharged and killed him. A local-government employee was executed for his murder and the village priest given life imprisonment for inciting him.)] Act XXXIII/1948 on nationalizing church and private schools was passed on June 16, bringing 6505 primary and secondary schools into state ownership. Kindergartens were also nationalized. The six compulsory years of elementary education, or four years of primary followed by eight years of secondary, were replaced by eight compulsory years of primary school followed by four years of secondary. The autonomous, decentralized local education boards gave way to a unified system under the new® councils. The schools had to teach exclusively according to the atheist tenets of Marxism, as the new regime required.
Nationalization: The process of transferring private property and means of production (mines, factories, banks, natural resources, farmland etc.) into state ownership, with or without compensation. This may happen in societies based on private ownership as well without altering the underlying political scheme. In Central and Eastern Europe, radical campaigns of nationalization were among the first acts after the transfer of power to Soviet-style socialist regimes (® Sovietization). The process advanced steadily in Hungary after 1945. Mines, large banks and major industrial installations were nationalized in 1945–7, followed by firms employing more than 100 people in 1948, factories and workshops employing more than ten people in 1949, and rented housing in 1952.
Népszava: The ~ (People’s Voice) first appeared in 1877, and in 1880, became the central daily paper of the® Social Democratic Party (SZDP). It was the only legal daily paper of the labour movement between the two world wars. Banned during the German occupation, it reappeared in 1945. When the SZDP was absorbed by the ® Hungarian Communist Party (MKP) in 1948, the ~ was transferred to the ® National Council of Trade Unions (SZOT). It briefly returned to the SZDP in 1956, but after November 4 it returned to the trade-union body under the name Népakarat (People’s Will). It was allowed to resume its earlier name in 1958.
New Course: The new programme of economic policy in Hungary in 1953–5 [?&, instigated by similar, but less durable changes in the Soviet Union,] was a response to the chance brought by Stalin’s death in 1953 to remedy some of the [?& worst] political and economic errors committed since the communist take-over. Imre Nagy, the new prime minister, outlined his ~ on June 4, 1953. The unrealistically high investment rate would be lowered and freed resources diverted to housing and other improvements for the [?& impoverished] population. Greater investment emphasis would be placed on agriculture. Compensation owed to the state by peasants for® compulsory produce deliveries they had failed to make would be excused and future delivery quotas reduced. It would become possible to withdraw from ® agricultural cooperatives or even dissolve one. ® Consolidation of land holdings would cease. Amendments to the Labour Code would protect employees from working regular hours of compulsory overtime and Sunday shifts, and from arbitrary pay deductions. However, the changes were widely impeded by the heavy-industry lobby, which had lost ground, and by the ® doctrinaire Stalinist communist leaders.
NISZ:® People’s Youth League (NISZ).
Norms: A term used [?& especially in communist economics] for the notional amounts of time, labour, materials and other inputs ‘required’ to make a unit of production, used in calculating shift production norms and statistical norms. ~ became the basis for performance-related pay. However, such calculations in a socialist people’s economy referred to a worker in a vanguard plant under ideal working conditions. The achievements of Stakhanovites and other participants in® work contests were included. The ~ were constantly being tightening in the early 1950s and measures were taken against those who tried to sidestep them. This tightening helped to curb consumption and demand and reduce real wages.
NPP:® National Peasants’ Party (NPP).
Nuclear weapons:® atomic secrets, ® Cold War.
One-party system: Under the Soviet system, power is exercised formally by one party—the communist party—but in fact, the country is run by a few leaders, in such a way that they oversee every sphere of politics and of the economy. In a bourgeois democracy, decisions derive from meetings of the government or the legislature. In a communist country, they emerge from the central leadership of the communist party, so that Parliament and the government play a secondary or marginal role in which they are confined to publishing and implementing the decisions taken at the party centre. One variant of the communist ~ appears to be a® multi-party system, but the other parties alongside the communist party are simply underlings, accepting its leading role and confining themselves to token political activity. That variant applied in Poland, East Germany, Bulgaria and Czechoslovakia. The other variant, which applied, for instance, in the Soviet Union, Hungary, Romania and Albania, allowed only a single party to exist even on paper.
Paris peace treaty:® Treaty of Paris.
Party apparatus: The word apparatus originally denoted an organization representing social and political interests. It came to mean, in a pejorative sense, the organizational pyramid developed by the ruling communist party in a Soviet-style socialist state, whose members represent the party officially and carry out its orders with complete loyalty. (See also® Akadémia utca party centre.)
Party congress: The congress of a communist party was its highest ‘forum’ and would normally meet every five years. Based on a report from the Central Committee, it assessed the activity in the previous period, assign the tasks for the coming five years, and give general direction to party policy. Delegates to the ~ were elected by the branches in communities, factories, workplaces, institutions etc. throughout the country, and the list of delegates would have to be approved by the Central Committee. The ~ was also required to endorse changes to the party rules and to elect the Central Committee, which would in turn appoint the Political Committee (Politburo), the Secretariat, and the general secretary and his deputies, while the ~ was still sitting. The most important report at the ~ was delivered by the general secretary.
Peace loans: The Hungarian state issued bonds known as ~ every year from 1950 to 1955. The intimidated public was persuaded to the point of harassment to part with 10–15 per cent of the income in this way. In the feverish political climate of the time, peace-loan issues were commonly oversubscribed by over 30 per cent. Ostensibly, the state needed the proceeds to ‘speed up industrialization’ (® forced industrialization), but the real purpose was to combat shortage and reduce demand from households. The state guaranteed to repay the loans after ten years, but even in 1977, the 25, 50, 100 and 200-forint bonds were still being redeemed at face value, which was a fraction of their original real value. Most of the loans were never repaid at all.
Peace priests: The® Hungarian Workers’ Party (MDP) began concerted efforts in the spring of 1950 to break the unity of the Catholic and other churches and gain support for the church policy of the communist government. The ~ were a way of harnessing the clergy prepared to cooperate with the Soviet-style state, using them to force other clergy to do the same, and through them, influencing churchgoers as well. The Hungarian Catholic Episcopacy in 1949 threatened to excommunicate priests who connived with the communists. The first assembly of ~ was convened on August 1, 1950, in an attempt to drive a wedge between the lower and upper clergy. The 273 participants adopted a declaration ‘urging an agreement between the state and the church.’ The peace-priest movement started to publish its own paper, Kereszt (Cross), on November 1. Similar assemblies continued to be held frequently until the 1970s, with participation serving as a character reference for the reliability and ‘progressive thinking’ of priests. Those who refused to cooperate could expect harassment of various kinds.
People’s colleges:® National Association of People’s Colleges (NÉKOSZ).
People’s Economic Council: This was the highest economic authority in Hungary from June 1949 to November 1952, having taken over from the dissolved® Supreme Economic Council. Its purpose was to set the guiding principles for economic development and ® central planning, coordinate the work of the leading economic bodies and implement economic centralization. Its president had ministerial rank and its members were appointed by the president of the republic, or later the ® Presidential Council. The functions of the ~ were taken over on December 1, 1952 by the Council of Ministers (government).
People’s Front: The idea of a coalition of forces against fascism, embracing various political ideologies and groups, became the general policy of the international communist movement after the Nazis gained power in Germany in 1932. Governments along these lines were formed in France and Spain. Most ~s took part in the World War II resistance as an independence front. In Hungary, the ~ came into being within the March Front on March 15, 1937, partly as an anti-Nazi movement. In June 1944, after the German army had occupied Hungary, the Hungarian Front was formed by the Peace Party (a cover organization for the illegal® Hungarian Communist Party [MKP]), the ® Social Democratic Party (SZDP), the legitimist groups in the Federation of the Double Cross, and the ® National Peasants’ Party (NPP). This was succeeded after the Arrow-Cross coup by the ® Hungarian National Independence Front, in which the MKP, the SZDP, the ® Independent Smallholders’ Party (FKgP) and the NPP took part, as did the trade-union movement. This provided the coalition foundations for a new, post-war Hungarian state. At the end of the period of coalition government, on February 1, 1949, the Hungarian Independence Front was formed with participation from FKgP and NPP mass organizations, under MDP leadership and control.
People’s League of Hungarian Youth (MINSZ): This was established as a communist summit organization on March 22, 1948, after the youth organizations of the various political parties had been dissolved. Communist hegemony was attained in all the organizations representing sectional interests, such as the® Trade-Union Young-Worker and Apprentice Movement (SZIT), the National Federation of United Young-Peasant Organizations, the ® League of Hungarian University and College Associations (MEFESZ), the Democratic Federation of Hungarian Women and the ® Pioneer Movement, and in the national leadership. Apart from participating in reconstruction, the ~ played an important publicity role in the ® nationalization of schools and in ® work contests. It also organized the 1949 World Youth Festival in Budapest. It ceased to function in June 1950, when the ® League of Working Youth (DISZ) was set up. Its membership at the time was estimated to be 1,140,000.
People’s Youth League (NISZ): The youth wing of the® National People’s Party (NPP) was founded in January 1946, as part of a process whereby the ® Hungarian Democratic Youth League (MADISZ) broke up into party-controlled organizations. As with the parent party, the central leadership was dominated first by adherents of Imre Kovács, and from early 1947, by the group round József Darvas and Ferenc Erdei. NISZ had about 800 local branches by the spring of 1947. When it was announced that a unified, communist-led youth organization would be formed (® People’s League of Hungarian Youth (MINSZ)), NISZ was dissolved by the NPP Political Committee on March 9, 1948 and the peasant groups were absorbed into MINSZ.
Personality cult:® cult of personality.
Pioneer movement: The communist-led movement for 7–14-year-old boys and girls was established in 1946, with a centralized Hungarian Pioneers’ Association (MUSZ) taking over from several hundred societies and organizations for children and young people. The new movement took over many of the trappings of the® Scout movement, for instance its troop structure, style of uniform, campfires, tests and so on, but it was imbued with communist ideology. Its task was to raise its members in ‘love and fidelity to the party and in proletarian internationalism’. MUSZ issued such periodicals as Pajtás (Pal), Tábortűz (Campfire), Kisdobos (Little Drummer—the name given to junior Pioneers), Dörmögő Dömötör (nickname for a bear) and Úttörővezető (Pioneer Leader).
Police courts: Judicial institutions employed most frequently in Hungary between 1948 and 1956, able to impose fines and other penalties for minor crimes and misdemeanours. In the early 1950s, the ~ were used for intimidation, notably to bring financial ruin on® kulaks and other peasants who resisted ® collectivization.
Politburo:® Presidium of the CPSU.
Political officers: The Hungarian Army followed the Soviet example in appointing ~ to check on the reliability of commanders. These began to operate on February 19, 1949 with the abolition of education officers, taking over the functions of the [?& seconded] Soviet commissars. ~ until 1953 were co-commanders exercising party direction and supervision in the army. After 1957, the ~ became known as political deputies and political workers.
Popular Front:® People’s Front.
Presidential Council: The collective body serving as head of state in Soviet-style states took over in Hungary on August 23, 1949, with powers laid down in the® Constitution of the Hungarian People’s Republic. Its president, two vice-presidents, secretary and 17 members were elected at the first session of each Parliament and remained as the highest embodiment of state power [?& in the long intervals] between parliamentary sessions, possessed of all the powers of the legislature except that of amending the Constitution. However, its ‘decrees with the force of legislation’ had to be presented to Parliament at its next session for ratification. It could also conclude and annul international agreements. The ~ appointed full-time judges and many other high state officials, possessed rights of clemency, was able to reverse any state-administrative or executive decision, regulation or measure, and awarded titles and decorations. It called general elections and convened Parliament, which it could then dissolve at any time. [?& In practice, its actions were controlled by the leaders of the ruling communist party (® one-party system, ® Hungarian Workers’ Party [MDP].)] Its legislative role decreased as Parliament began to regain importance in 1988. The ~ was abolished with the restoration of the institution of President of the Republic on October 20, 1989.
Presidium of the CPSU: More formally the Presidium of the Central Committee of the® Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU), which elected it, this body came into being in 1952 with functions that corresponded to those of the previous Political Committee or Politburo of the Central Committee. The name Political Committee was restored in 1966.
Produce delivery/collection:® compulsory produce deliveries.
Proletarian dictatorship:® dictatorship of the proletariat.
Provisional National Assembly: This temporary legislative body was formed by the anti-fascist forces in Hungary towards the end of the Second World War. A call was issued in the territories freed from German occupation by the® Hungarian National Independence Front—consisting of the ® Hungarian Communist Party (MKP), the ® Social Democratic Party (SZDP), the ® Independent Smallholders’ Party (FKgP), the ® National Peasants’ Party (NPP) and the ® Civil Democratic Party (PDP)—for election meetings of local ® national committees to elect delegates. The ~ convened at Debrecen on December 21, 1944, where they acted as exclusive possessors of Hungarian state power and appointed a ® Provisional National Government. After further delegates had been elected at meetings in Budapest on April 2, 1945 and in Transdanubia on June 24, the body represented the whole country and passed legislation at a session in Budapest on September 5–13, 1945. Its functions and powers were assumed by the National Assembly or Parliament convened after the ® 1945 general elections.
Provisional National Government: The executive government elected by the® Provisional National Assembly, which ruled Hungary from December 22, 1944 to November 16, 1945. Its membership was decided in Moscow through negotiations between the armistice delegation sent by the Horthy regime and the Hungarian communist emigré community there. It contained two generals. Béla Dálnoki Miklós was appointed prime minister and Gábor Faragho minister of public supplies. The main portfolios went to politicians from the parties making up the ® Hungarian National Independence Front. Miklós, in the name of the ~, signed the ® armistice in Moscow on January 20, 1945 and declared war on Germany. On March 29, 1945, the ~ set about a ® land reform and a programme of post-war reconstruction. Its mandate ended on November 4, 1945 with the ® 1945 general elections.
Radio Free Europe (SZER): Established in Munich on May 1, 1951 with funding from the United States, the station broadcast to the countries of the Soviet bloc in their main languages. The Hungarian service, headed by Gyula Dessewffy (1909–2000, who had been an® Independent Smallholders’ Party (FKgP) politician until he left Hungary in 1947, commenced on October 6, 1951. The purpose of ~ was to assist and support peoples behind the ® Iron Curtain to struggle for their independence by broadcasting political, economic, social and entertainment programmes that gave accurate, objective information about events in East and West. The Hungarian service continued to operate in Munich until October 31, 1993.
Rationing: The system of ~ reimposed in 1950–51 restricted and controlled individual consumption. ~ in time of war or crisis seeks to ensure that all those covered receive specified rations of essential goods in short supply by issuing them with official coupons. This applies mainly to food and to certain manufactures such as clothing. Rations may be adjusted for certain categories of recipients, such as privileged leaders, manual workers, children or war veterans. The wartime ~ in Hungary had been ended on September 1, 1949, but it had to be reintroduced on January 1, 1951 because of the chronic shortages that developed immediately under the communist system of® central planning. Only by drastic curbs of personal consumption and living standards could unrealistic level of investment in ® forced industrialization be maintained. ~ was closely connected with the system of ® compulsory produce deliveries. It produced a black market, in which goods could be bought illegally at several times their official price. ~ was finally abolished in Hungary on December 2, 1951 (under Council of Ministers Order No. 1034/1951).
Reparations: Since the First World War, sums of money have been exacted from defeated countries as contributions to repairing war damage. The sums of ~ imposed on the defeated powers for the damage caused during the Second World War were calculated according to principles agreed at the Yalta Conference of 1945. Hungary, under the Moscow® armistice it had signed on January 20, 1945, had to pay $200 million of ~ to the Soviet Union, $70 million to Yugoslavia and $30 to Czechoslovakia. The commitments took the form of deliveries of manufactures and agricultural produce by specified deadlines, with penalties for lateness. Hungary met its commitments to Czechoslovakia and eventually settled its debt to Yugoslavia after 1956. The Soviet Union agreed in 1946 to postpone the deadline and then remitted have the remaining sum in 1948. On January 20, 1953, the Soviet government announced that Hungary had paid the ~ specified in the ® Treaty of Paris, having supplied goods to a value of $131 million by the end of 1952.
Rich peasants:® kulaks.
Salami tactics: This approach, popularly associated with Mátyás Rákosi, general secretary of the® Hungarian Communist Party (MKP), and his circle, was used against other parties to bring about their collapse and hasten the creation of a ® one-party system with total communist power. Opposition parties were systematically shorn of their leaders and leading personalities, who were forced into exile by threats of prosecution on trumped-up charges, falsely condemned, imprisoned, or simply kidnapped by Soviet forces. Party members considered dangerous by the communists were isolated from each other, blackmailed and expelled from their parties, so that they had to retire or flee abroad. The parties became weakened and intimidated, often being eliminated or ‘sliced up’ like salami, so that they soon dissolved. The typical case of ~ concerned the ® Independent Smallholders’ Party (FKgP), which the communists thought had become ‘too strong’.
Schools, nationalization of:® nationalization of schools.
Scout movement: The most prevalent organization for young people in the 20th century, founded by the British army officer and trainer Robert Baden-Powell in 1907. The ~ sought originally to produce a new kind of active, disciplined, practical boy. It managed to embrace many of the things that interested adolescent boys: North American Indian lore, soldiering, detection, handicraft skills, open-air exercise, sports and so on. It was inspired by the armed forces in its structure and use of uniforms and insignia. Boy Scout units were headed by an adult and received great autonomy. Self-improvement, reading, dexterity, games and sports were encouraged. [?/] A parallel organization for girls appeared in 1910. The world movement was based in Switzerland after 1920 and four-yearly international jamborees began to be held. Scouting rapidly became popular in Hungary, where the Scouting Association was founded in 1912 and the movement took on a more pronounced humanist and Christian moral content than it did in Western European countries. It was disbanded on July 4, 1946, [?& although many of its superficial features and structures were taken over by the communist-led® Pioneer Movement.] The movement was revived again only in 1988.
Screening committees: Provisional official screening of the war records of public officials and servants and the employees of state-funded institutions was begun by ~ consisting of delegates of the parties making up the® Hungarian National Independence Front and of the ® Trade-Union Council, along with a lawyer and an employer’s representative. Those found to have been members of an Arrow-Cross or other fascist-type party, or to have disseminated such views, were punished with varying degrees of severity, for instance with an official rebuke, a period of suspension, forced retirement, or even dismissal. The investigations began in 1945 (Prime Minister’s Office Order Nos 15/1945 and 1080/1945) and continued until 1948 (Government Order No. 11200/1948).
Sealed border: This grade of total control was applied in the early 1950s to persons and vehicles along the southern and western borders of Hungary, in an effort to eliminate illegal crossings and other border violations. The sealed section of the® border zone was equipped with barbed wire and minefields to keep back refugees. These obstacles were partially dismantled along the Hungarian-Austrian border on September 23, 1956, but they were restored after the revolution had been defeated.
Secret police, security police:® State Protection Authority (ÁVH); ® State Protection Department (ÁVO).
Social Democratic Party (SZDP): This left-wing party was founded as the Hungarian Social Democratic Party on December 8, 1890, taking the shorter name on January 29, 1939, to avoid the implication that it was a national branch of the international labour movement. The programme from the 1930s up to 1948 saw the creation of a socialist society based on Marxist ideas as a long-term goal, serving the interests of the industrial working class. Its immediate aims included democratic and social reforms such as the universal franchise and labour-safety and welfare measures. Apart from a few months in 1918–19, the party did not hold office until after the Second World War. It first gained seats and committee representation in Parliament in 1922. Up to 1939, the ~ was the only legal opposition party. Its mass support came through the unions of the® Trade-Union Council. In 1943, it entered into a parliamentary alliance with the ® Independent Smallholders’ Party (FKgP). The ~ was active in the independence movement and the work of the Hungarian Historical Memorial Committee, taking part in the demonstration at the Petőfi Statue in Budapest on March 15, 1942. It was banned during the German occupation, when the trade unions were placed under the control of a government commissioner. The ~ took part in the March Front and then joined the ® Hungarian National Independence Front. On December 22, 1944, it joined the ® Provisional National Government, and remained a government party until the communist take-over. The trade-union aspect of the ~ ceased after 1944–5, as control over the labour movement became shared increasingly with the ® Hungarian Communist Party (MKP). Policy emphasis after 1945 was on creating the conditions for Marxist socialism. As a believer in gradual change, it sought to retain two workers’ parties and increase the influence of the working class while retained a bourgeois democratic system of institutions. At the end of 1947, members and trade-union officials who opposed the merger with the communists were forced to withdraw. The merger was pushed through at the 36th Congress on March 6–8, 1948 and took effect at a combined congress on June 12–14 in that year, where the ® Hungarian Workers’ Party was formed. Thereafter, the ~ branches were dissolved and the state took control of the trade-union movement. The ~ was briefly revived on October 31, 1956, but did not undertake any political activity after the defeat of the revolution.
Social Democratic Youth Movement (SZIM): The youth movement of the® Social Democratic Party (SZDP) was established on February 15, 1945 to educate members under the age of 21. By November 1945, it had a membership of 150,000 and limited autonomy under its statutes. Struggles broke out within the leadership of the ~ in the autumn of 1947, between advocates of a separate SZDP and communist-oriented sympathizers with the ® Hungarian Democratic Youth League (MADISZ) and the ® Trade-Union Young-Worker and Apprentice Movement (SZIT). On March 11, 1948, the leadership opposing the merger of the SZDP with the ® Hungarian Communist Party (MKP) was removed and expelled, and a resolution adopted dissolving the ~ and merging into SZIT.
Socialist International: The international organization of socialist and social-democratic parties was founded in 1951 in Frankfurt-am-Main. It included mainly Western European parties and emigré left-wing politicians from Eastern Europe, including Hungary, Romania, Poland, Bulgaria etc. The ~ rejected all forms of cooperation with communist parties. The combined membership of its affiliates in 1960 was 10.7 million. It was based in Brussels and London.
Soviet advisers: ~ operated institutionally in Hungary from 1945 to 1989, as a means of spreading Soviet influence. Larger numbers worked in the 1948–56 period at important levels of the economy, the army and the security forces (® State Protection Authority [ÁVH]), in practice using their rights of proposal to further Soviet interests. The number of ~ in Hungary was strongly reduced after 1956, but their presence and influence remained in certain fields, at middle and ministerial level, until 1989.
Soviet Communist Party:® Communist Party of the Soviet Union.
Sovietization: The communist system introduced in the Soviet Union in response to specific Soviet conditions was exported largely unchanged to other Central and Eastern European countries after the Second World War. ~ therefore meant that a country such as Hungary had an alien system imposed upon it, irrespective of its own traditions, culture and level of economic development. The features imposed included absolute communist dictatorship under a® one-party system, with a ® cult of personality around the omnipotent leader of that party. This meant an end to local government and other self-governing organizations, centralization of the political and economic systems (e.g. a monobank and ® central planning with five or six-year plans). Public and cultural life were confined to single, tightly controlled specialized organizations such as the ® Writers’ Union, the ® League of Working Youth (DISZ) and the ® National Council of Trade Unions (SZOT). Grassroots initiatives and organizations were banned in favour of social organizations run from above, with the sole purpose of serving the system. Economically, Hungary was obliged to follow the Soviet emphasis on heavy industry (® forced industrialization), hold political and economic show trials, and subordinate its characteristics to ‘internationalism’. Communist and labour-movement festivals were celebrated at mass events. In agriculture, there was radical, compulsory ® collectivization into ® agricultural cooperatives, with harassment or imprisonment of ® kulaks unwilling or ineligible to join. There was ubiquitous terror and intimidation, with vigilant security police (® State Protection Authority [ÁVH]) and merciless reprisals against critics. The previous system was dismantled and its elite dispersed. ® Work contests were compulsory and quantity preferred over quality in production. It became compulsory to adjust all kinds of scientific and scholarly work to the tenets of communist ideology.
Soviets: ~ were originally organs of state power and popular representation that took over functions of public administration after the fall of the Tsarist Russia in 1917. Initially, they were not necessarily on the side of Lenin’s® Bolshevik party. Depending on their make-up, they were known as workers’, peasants’ or soldiers’ ~. After power was taken by the Bolsheviks in November 1917, the ~ tended to become bureaucratic, executive bodies carrying out the instructions of centralized Bolshevik hierarchy, losing their grassroots, self-managing, self-governing qualities. Similar attributes of self-management and workers’ power to those of the early ~ appeared in the workers’ councils formed during the Hungarian Revolution of 1956.
Stakhanovites:® work contests.
State Control Centre: Established under Government Order No. 7660/1948 on July 2, 1948, the ~ supervised the operation of the state-owned enterprises. Act II/1952 reorganized the ~ under the aegis of the Council of Ministers. Its task then became to enhance protection of state property, promote the fulfilment of plans under® central planning as economically as possible, restrict the proliferation of the bureaucracy, apply the principle of personal responsibility, and supervise the finances of state organizations, enterprises and institutions. A permanent inspector would be sent out to investment projects of special importance. The ~ was abolished in 1955 (Legal Decree No. 27/1955. Its successor operated as a separate Ministry of State Control until its abolition on December 31, 1956.
State Office for Church Affairs: This national body founded in May 1951 (Act I/1951) sought to restrict the autonomy of the Hungarian churches as far as possible and monitor observance of the imposed church-state agreement of August 30, 1950. The ~ was officially subordinate to the Council of Ministers, but it was in regular contact with the Agitprop Department of the® Hungarian Workers’ Party (MDP) Central Committee and with Religious Department No. 1 of the III/III Secret Service at the Ministry of the Interior. The ~ planted ® peace priests in church offices and sent representatives (‘moustached bishops’) to dioceses. The ~ decided on all matters affecting both the churches and the state: financial support, appointments and transfers. It prepared church-related legislation, oversaw church institutions, negotiated with the Vatican, and so on. Its activities changed little until 1989, when it underwent alteration and relegation during the change of system. Its final successor organization, the Church Policy Secretariat of the Council of Ministers, was abolished in 1990.
State Protection Authority (ÁVH): The political police force in Hungary was known as the ~ from 1948 to 1956. Its powers were defined by the interior minister on September 10, 1948 (guarding the country’s frontiers, river and air traffic, supervision of foreigners, and issue of passports, with official powers of expulsion,® internment and supervision) and on paper it was placed directly under the minister’s control. In fact the ~ was controlled by the Political Committee of the ® Hungarian Workers’ Party (MDP) and General Secretary Mátyás Rákosi personally. On December 28, 1949, the army Border Guard and its functions were incorporated into the ~ by a Council of Ministers order. Although it now ranked as a supreme authority directly under the Council of Ministers, its name was unchanged. The ~ also operated arms factories and internment camps, and its members performed policing and guarding functions. It built up a national network of informers, instituted open investigations, and played a decisive part in preparing and conducting show trials. On July 21, 1953, the newly appointed Prime Minister Imre Nagy ended the special status of the ~ and returned it to the control of the Interior Ministry. Its abolition was also announced by Imre Nagy, in a radio broadcast on October 28, 1956. After the defeat of the revolution, its tasks were taken over by a new special police force and later by the state-security departments of the regular police.
State Protection Department (ÁVO): The political police in Hungary were known as the ~ from 1946 to 1948. It came into being through an October 6, 1946 merger of the Budapest Political Police Department of the Hungarian State Police, instituted by the® Provisional National Assembly, and the Provincial Political Police Department. It was headed by Gábor Péter. Its task was to implement the law on the democratic order of state and protection of the republic, investigating war crimes and crimes against the people, monitoring civil associations, overseeing political meetings, gathering and storing political information, and making recommendations for ® internment. On the proposal of the ® Hungarian Communist Party (MKP), the ~ was placed directly under the control of the interior minister, who was a communist. The formation of distinct state-security departments independent of the police force served the narrow party interests of the MKP. Its powers were expanded and handed over to the ® State Protection Authority (ÁVH) in September 1948.
State security:® State Protection Authority; ® State Protection Department.
Supreme Economic Council: This government body directed the Hungarian economy and coordinated reconstruction efforts from November 24, 1945 to November 2, 1949. Set up by a prime ministerial decree in the difficult economic conditions immediately after the Second World War, the ~ introduced restrictions into the economic system. Its wide powers included the right to decide and issue orders concerning raw-material production, energy and food production, monetary policy, export and import regulations, and wartime® reparations. The ~ was chaired by the prime minister and its members were the industry and transport ministers (and from 1946, the public-supply and finance ministers). Practical measures were taken by a secretariat headed by Zoltán Vas as general secretary. When the ~ was abolished by a government decree of June 3, 1949, its functions were taken over by various ministries, the ® National Planning Office and the new ® People’s Economic Council.
Szabad Nép: The daily paper of the Hungarian communist party (‘Free People’) was founded as an illegal journal on February 1, 1942. It became the central daily of the® Hungarian Communist Party (MKP) in February 1945 and the ® Hungarian Workers’ Party (MDP) in June 1948. Its editor-in-chief up to 1948 was József Révai. In 1953, its circulation exceeded 700,000. Up to that time, its staff had been marked by absolute loyalty to the party leadership and the Stalinist system. The last number appeared on October 29, 1956. It was replaced by the Népszabadság (People’s Freedom).
Szabad Nép half-hour: Compulsory political discussions were held at workplaces in the early 1950s, in which the important news and comment in that day’s® Szabad Nép newspaper would be explained. There was no debate in the real sense, as participants were intent on demonstrating their commitment to the ® Hungarian Workers’ Party (MDP).
SZDP:® Social Democratic Party (SZDP).
SZIM:® Social Democratic Youth Movement (SZIM).
SZOT:® National Council of Trade Unions (SZOT).
Three-Year Plan: The ~ was a centrally directed programme for post-war reconstruction of the Hungarian economy, broken down into three periods of a year. Implementation began on August 1, 1947. The target was to approach the agricultural output of the last year of peace (1938), while industrial output exceeded it by 27 per cent and gross national product by 14 per cent. The impetus for the growth was to come from investment of 6585 million forints, of which 30 per cent would go to agriculture, 26 per cent to industry and extraction, and 25 per cent to transport. The remainder was to go to welfare, cultural and housing projects. Implementation of the plan was completed in two years and five months (by December 31, 1949), with industry over-fulfilling its target (by 37 per cent), but agriculture falling far short. By that time, the performance of the economy had been restored more or less to its pre-war level. The dark side of the reconstruction programme was that it restored the old technical and efficiency levels, where there was no improvement.
Trade-Union Council: The central organization of the Hungarian trade-union movement dated back to May 22, 1891 and had been operating in a national negotiating capacity since 1904. It devised economic combat tactics, endorsed strikes, oversaw the finances of affiliated trade unions and supported those short of funds. The ~ was reorganized in January 1945 after the communists and the social democrats had agreed on a parity basis. The independence and autonomy of constituent trade unions were retained, but the® Hungarian Communist Party (MKP) and the ® Social Democratic Party (SZDP) began jockeying for position and influence. The latter’s ideas led to the retention of the traditional craft unions in 1945–6, but the MKP efforts to alter the system of political institutions were accompanied by proposals in early 1947 for industry-wide unions. The process of union mergers accelerated, and after the formation of the ® Hungarian Workers’ Party (MDP), the 10th Union Congress of October 1948 announced that the traditional SZDP unions and the ~ were dissolving in favour of an industry-based structure. The place of the ~ was taken by the ® National Council of Trade Unions (SZOT).
Trade-union movement:® National Council of Trade Unions (SZOT), ® Trade-Union Council, Trade-Union Young-Worker and Apprentice Movement.
Trade-Union Young-Worker and Apprentice Movement (SZIT): The youth secretariat of the® Trade-Union Council founded the ~ in February 1945 for economic and social purposes, with parity for the two workers’ parties. It became a national movement in March 1946, and in March 1948, an organization within the communist-dominated ® People’s League of Hungarian Youth (MINSZ). The ~ lost its autonomy in June 1950 with the establishment of the ® League of Working Youth (DISZ), the youth wing of the ® Hungarian Workers’ Party (MDP), into which it was subsumed.
Treaty of Paris: Signed on February 10, 1947 between Hungary and the victorious powers in the Second World War, the ~ [?& superseded the Moscow® armistice agreement of January 20, 1945.] It annulled the wartime Vienna Awards and restored the borders of January 1938, except that the Győr-Moson County villages of Dunacsún (Čunovo), Oroszvár (Rusovce) and Horvátjárfalu (Jarovce) went to Czechoslovakia. Hungary had to pay $300 million in ® reparations towards the Soviet, Yugoslav and Czechoslovak state property damaged in the war. The ~ put a ceiling of 65,000 men on the Hungarian army and guaranteed the safety of Danube shipping.
Truman Doctrine: US President Harry S. Truman (1884–1972) pledged in a speech to Congress on March 12, 1947 that the United States would support ‘free people who are resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities or outside pressures.’ This pledge of economic, financial and military assistance referred immediately to Greece and Turkey, which were under communist threat at the time. However, it paved the way for the® Marshall Plan announced three months later and contributed to the development of the ® Cold War between the Western allies and the Soviet Union and a ‘divided world’.
United Nations: From the beginning of the Second World War, the idea of an international organization to replace the discredited League of Nations was being aired in British and American society and government circles. The term was first used in January 1942 in the Washington Declaration of the ~, to refer to the 26 states allied against the Axis powers. The first draft of the ~ Charter was formulated at the Dumbarton Oaks conference of August 21–October 7, 1944, attended by the United States, Britain, the Soviet Union and China. American proposals at the Yalta Conference then decided on the method of voting on the ~ Security Council, the system of trusteeships, and the calling of an international conference. At the San Francisco Conference, 51 countries signed the text of the ~ Charter on June 26, 1945, which came into force on October 24, 1945. Its main aims were to eliminate war from international relations, maintain international peace and security, promote respect for human rights and fundamental liberties, deepen cooperation among states and peoples on human coexistence, and provide economic, social and cultural aid to backward countries and regions. The headquarters of the ~ became New York City, where an annual General Assembly is held of all signatory countries to the Charter. The other principal organs of the ~ are the Security Council of 5 permanent and 10 rotating members, the Economic and Social Council, the Trusteeship Council, the International Court of Justice, and the Secretariat, headed by the secretary-general. Hungary became a member on December 14, 1955.
Voice of America: This radio station under the control of the US State Department began broadcasting in February 1942 in German. After 1945, its Hungarian service broadcast news, reports, commentaries and entertainment programmes. With its objective tone, it was mainly of importance to listeners in communist countries.
Warsaw Pact: The Treaty of Warsaw establishing the military organization of the Soviet bloc was signed on May 14, 1955. Headed by the Soviet Union, it was joined originally by Albania (until 1968), Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Hungary, Poland and Romania, which undertook to pursue an agreed foreign policy in line with their ‘treaty of friendship, cooperation and mutual assistance’. The military high command of the ~ was in Moscow. Other bodies included a Political Advisory Body, a Defence Ministers’ Committee (from 1969) and a Foreign Ministers’ Committee (from 1976). The armies of members were subordinate to the Command of the Combined Armed Forces and the Soviet high command. The pact was renewed in 1985, but an agreement to disband it was signed in Prague on July 1, 1991.
Warsaw Treaty:® Warsaw Pact.
Work contests: This way of increasing production by exploiting labour was employed almost continually in Hungary in the early 1950s, in industry and in agriculture. The pursuit of quantity led in most cases to a decline in quality. Contests were often timed to culminate on major anniversaries (April 4, November 7 etc.) or the birthday of a powerful leader. There was a national campaign for the 60th birthday of Mátyás Rákosi, for instance, on January 17, 1952. Those who fulfilled production® norms by 100 or even 1000 per cent were called ace workers or Stakhanovites [?& (after the Soviet miner Aleksei Grigorevich Stakhanov, winner of a contest in 1935)]. Work-contest results were also used to justify raising production norms. Contests in the 1960s and 1970s were between ‘socialist brigades’ rather than individuals, and covered ideological and cultural improvement as well as production.
Worker-peasant alliance: Communist theory saw the ~ as a special type of cooperation between the proletariat and the peasantry, applicable during the phases of proletarian revolution and ‘building socialism’. The ideological basis was the assumption that the working class could win the revolution, but it could not retain power without the peasantry’s support. The peasantry, on the other hand, could not carry out the revolution without the working class. This mutual dependence led to a class alliance led by the working class [?&(® dictatorship of the proletariat)], with a peasantry equipped with ‘socialist awareness’ as its main ally.
Works committees: These spontaneous, democratic committees formed at factories and other workplaces were peopled mainly by communists and social democrats. They provided worker supervision over the running of factories. Ownership was left unchanged, but the ~ played an important part in restarting production and economic reconstruction. No central organization of the ~ developed, but their activities extended to employment issues, employees’ rights, production, supervision etc. After the® nationalization of all factories employing more than a hundred workers, the role of the ~ became restricted largely to welfare and cultural matters. They were later replaced by trade-union committees.
Writers’ Union: The Union of Hungarian Writers’ or ~ was formed in July 1945 out of the Free Organization of Hungarian Writers, as an organization to represent the professional and political interests of writers. Its importance increased after the communist take-over, when it became the channel for imposing Stalinist literary policy. Several prominent members of the ~ came out in favour of Prime Minister Imre Nagy and his® New Course after 1953.
Young Pioneers:® Pioneer movement.
Please send comments or suggestions.
This page was created: Tuesday, 2-Dec-2003
Last updated: Tuesday, 2-Dec-2003
Copyright © 2003 The Institute for the History of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution