1944, December 21: A provisional national leadership of the Social Democratic Party (SZDP) is formed in Debrecen. TheProvisional National Assembly convenes in Debrecen under the chairmanship of Béla Zsedényi.
1944, December 22: The Provisional National Government is established and elects the non-party Béla Dálnoki Miklós as prime minister.
1944, December 24: Opposition politician Endre Bajcsy-Zsilinszky is executed at Sopronkőhida after a death sentence passed by a summary military court of the Arrow-Cross regime.
December 26: Soviet encirclement of German-held Budapest is completed at Esztergom.
1945, January 2: The German army in North Transdanubia makes a counterattack on the blockade of Budapest, but the attack is beaten back on January 13.
1945, January 4: A government order is issued reorganizing the public administration and setting up screening committees to examine the wartime conduct of state employees.
1945, January 7: The National Peasants’ Party (NPP) is reinstituted with Péter Veres as president and Ferenc Erdei as general secretary. The Hungarian Democratic Youth League (MADISZ) is established in Szeged.
1945, January 9: Partisans in Újpest blow up the Arrow-Cross offices in the town.
1945, January 18: The Red Army completes the capture of Pest. German engineers blow up the two remaining bridges over the Danube, the Elizabeth and Chain bridges.
1945, January 20: The Hungarian armistice agreement is signed in Moscow by Foreign Minister János Gyöngyösi [? Gyöngyössy] on behalf of the Hungarian government and Marshal Kliment Voroshilov on behalf of the Allied Powers. Among other things, this requires Hungary to pay US $300 million in reparations.
1945, January 21: The Budapest National Committee is established under Zoltán Tildy. At its first meeting, János Csorba of the Independent Smallholders’ Party (FKgP) is elected mayor and the communist László Sólyom as chief of police.
1945, January 25: The government sets up people’s courts to bring war criminals to justice.
1945, January 26: The National High Council is established to exercise temporarily the rights of a head of state. Its president is Béla Zsedényi and its members Béla Dálnoki Miklós and Ernő Gerő.
1945, February 2: The Political Police Department (PRO) at the Budapest Police Headquarters of the Hungarian State Police starts work under the communist Gábor Péter. An equivalent department of the Provincial Police Headquarters is formed under András Tömpe on February 26.
1945, February 4–12: Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin meet for an Allied summit meeting at Yalta in the Crimea, where they agree that the Soviet Union will enter the war against Japan and to convene the founding conference of the United Nations. The borders drawn for Poland follow the Curzon line in the East but compensate with territorial gains in the West. Provisional coalition governments are established in the small Eastern European countries, with participation by democratic parties.
1945, February 6: The government rescinds the legislation and orders depriving Jews of their rights.
1945, February 13: The siege of Budapest ends. The Red Army carries off to labour camps masses of prisoners of war and civilians rounded up on the streets.
1945, March 3: The Hungarian Radical Party is founded in Budapest with Imre Csécsy as president.
1945, March 6: The German army launches a counterattack on the north shore of Lake Balaton, but it soon collapses.
1945, March 17: The government passes an order for land reform. Non-peasant holdings of 100 hold (57 ha) and over and peasant holdings of 200 hold (114 ha) and over are to be expropriated and redistributed.
1945, March 26: The Allied Control Commission holds its first meeting in Debrecen, chaired by Marshal Kliment Voroshilov.
1945, April 4: The Czechoslovak government programme announced in Kassa (Košice) declares that the country’s Hungarian minority has collective responsibility for the wartime fragmentation of the country. All its members except those who were active in the resistance are robbed for their citizenship. Furthermore, all citizens of Hungarian national affiliation are barred from holding land.
1945, April 8: The Independent Smallholders’ Party (FKgP) holds its first post-war [?] general assembly in Budapest.
1945, April 11: The Provisional National Government moves its seat from Debrecen to Budapest.
1945, April 12: The Allied Control Commission moves its headquarters from Debrecen to Budapest.
1945, April 13: US President Franklin D. Roosevelt dies unexpectedly of a cerebral haemorrhage. His friendly foreign policy towards the Soviet Union is not followed by his successor, Harry. S. Truman. Hostilities cease on the territory of Hungary.
1945, April 23: The gendarmerie is dissolved and a unified Hungarian State Police established. The government declares March 15 ([?& the anniversary of the outbreak of the 1848 Revolution) a national holiday, April 4 the festival of the Liberation, and May 1 the festival of Labour. Major József Lakos, police chief of Szentes, is arrested and suffers internment until February 1946. He is beaten up severely and tortured while under arrest for not wanting to join the communist party.
1945, May 5: The Hungarian government addresses a verbal note to Marshal Kliment Voroshilov, chairman of the Allied Control Commission, protesting that the Red Army is arbitrarily dismantling whole installations and factories and shipping them away with raw materials and finished products, without accounting for them. (Further notes are sent on May 14, 25, 28 and 30 and June 5, without effect.)
1945, May 8: General [?& Field Marshal Wilhelm] Keitel signs an agreement of unconditional capitulation of the German forces, at the Soviet headquarters in Germany at Karlshorst, near Berlin. The agreement comes into force at midnight on May 9, thereby ending the Second World War in Europe.
1945, May 16: The Committee of the Capital City Authority holds its first meeting. Árpád Szakasits is elected chairman, with László Cseh-Szombathy and László Rajk as vice-chairmen, Zoltán Vas (MKP) as mayor, and József Kővágó (FKgP), Endre Morvay (FKgP) and Péter Bechtler (SZDP) as deputy mayors. The Hungarian-Soviet indemnity negotiations began between delegations headed by Hungarian Lieutenant General Hermann Pokorny, chairman of the Indemnity Committee, and General Valerian Zorin, head of the Economic Department at the Allied Control Commission.
1945, May 31: Among the goods supplied to the Red Army by the Hungarian government in the second quarter of 1945 are 9400 t of fresh meat, 10 t of slaughtered poultry, 1300 t of milk, 540 t of butter, 48,000 t of fresh vegetables, 2000 t of sugar and 1050 t of tobacco.
1945, June 5: The commanders-in-chief of the four Allied armies occupying Germany take over the government of the country. They set up four zones of occupation and also divide the capital into four sectors. They establish the Allied Control Council as the highest governmental and arbitration body.
1945, June 15: Marshall Kliment Voroshilov, chairman of the Allied Control Commission in Hungary, and Prime Minister Béla Dálnoki Miklós sign a Hungarian-Soviet indemnity agreement in Budapest, placing the Hungarian economy in the service of Soviet reconstruction.
1945, June 20: The government sends a memorandum to the Soviet delegates on the Allied Control Commission calling for an end Hungary’s status as a war zone and for the Red Army to cease dismantling factories and shipping out goods without compensation. The task of guarding mines, factories, warehouses etc. should pass to the Hungarian armed forces and the railways and post office be placed under Hungarian control.
1945, June 26: The Charter of the United Nations is signed at the San Francisco conference outlining the principles of the world organization.
1945, July: The League of Hungarian University and College Associations (MEFESZ) is established at a students’ conference in Balatonlelle. The Free Union of Hungarian Writers, established in February, takes the name Union of Hungarian Writers or Writers’ Union.
1945, July 1: The Red Army disbands the factory military commands and transfers control of 300 works to the Hungarian authorities.
1945, July 6: The Red Army transfers control of the coalmines to the Hungarian authorities.
1945, July 17: The Labour Party wins a majority in the general elections for the British House of Commons. The wartime Conservative leader Winston Churchill is replaced as prime minister by Clement Attlee of the Labour Party.
1945, July 17–August 2: At the Potsdam Conference of the three great powers, the Soviet Union withdraws its demand for international control over the Ruhr and its Mediterranean claims. In return, the Western Allies undertake not to intervene in the affairs of the Soviet zone of occupation. The provisional western frontier of Poland is decided, along with deportation of Germans there and partition of Germany itself. The principle of the obligation to pay war reparations is accepted.
1945, August 2: Ethnic Hungarian and German inhabitants of Czechoslovakia are deprived of citizenship in line with the April government programme.
1945, August 6: The United States drops an atom bomb on Hiroshima, and on August 9, a second on Nagasaki. The number of victims exceeds a hundred thousand.
1945, August 7: The Red Army transfers control of Manfréd Weiss Works in Csepel to the Hungarian authorities.
1945, August 8: The Soviet Union declares war on Japan and enters the Pacific war on the side of the United States and Britain.
1945, August 16: Pope Pius XII appoints József Mindszenty, bishop of Veszprém, as archbishop of Esztergom in succession to the deceased Cardinal Prince-Primate Jusztinián Serédi. (Mindszenty is installed on October 2.)
1945, August 18–20: Arthur Schoenfeld, head of the US political mission attached to the Allied Control Commission, hands to Béla Zsedényi, speaker of the Provisional National Assembly the relic known as the Holy Right Hand of St Stephen, which had been taken to the West by fleeing Arrow-Cross members.
1945, August 27: A Hungarian delegation headed by Ernő Gerő and András Bán sign the Hungarian-Soviet Economic Agreement in Moscow. This prescribes the exchange of goods worth US $30 million up to the end of 1946. (The agreement is ratified by the National High Council on December 20, after a long public debate and numerous protests.)
1945, September 5–13: The Budapest session of the Provisional National Assembly passes legislation of fundamental importance (on land reform, the armistice agreement and jurisdiction of the people). On September 15, the electoral law is passed.
1945, September 11: At a five-power conference of foreign ministers in London, the Soviet Union seeks to confirm the existing situation in peace treaties as soon as possible, while the United States presses for free elections in Hungary, Bulgaria and Romania.
1945, September 15: A government order makes the printing of press materials with a political purpose contingent on a permit from the Press Department of the Prime Minister’s Office.
1945, September 25: The Democratic People’s Party headed by István Barankovics, which has split from the earlier Christian Democratic People’s Party, announces its programme.
1945, September 27: The Soviet Union establishes diplomatic relations with Hungary.
1945, October 3: The US authorities fly Ferenc Szálasi and ten associates to Hungary. The first group of war criminals is handed over to the Hungarian justice system.
1945, October 7: Municipal elections in Budapest are won by the Independent Smallholders’ Party (FKgP) with 122 seats, followed by the Hungarian Communist Party (MKP) and Social Democratic Party (SZDP) with 51 each, the Civil Democratic Party (PDP) with 9, the National Peasants’ Party (NPP) with 5 and the Hungarian Radical Party with 2.
1945, October 11: The Chinese Civil War begins.
1945, October 16: Marshal Kliment Voroshilov, chairman of the Allied Control Commission, calls in the leaders of the coalition parties, for talks on running a joint list in the approaching general elections. The proposal is rejected by the Independent Smallholders’ Party (FKgP), but strong pressure from Voroshilov forces it to agree a few days later to form a coalition government regardless of the election results and to award the Interior and Transport ministries to the Hungarian Communist Party (MKP).
1945, October 21: There is a left-wing victory in the elections to the French National Assembly, with the Communists winning the most seats.
1945, October 22: The Allied Control Commission returns the Hungarian State Railways to Hungarian hands.
1945, November 4: Elections to the National Assembly (→ 1945 general elections) bring a victory for the Independent Smallholders’ Party (FKgP), with 57 per cent of the vote. The Social Democratic Party (SZDP) wins 17.4 per cent, the Hungarian Communist Party (MKP) 17 per cent and the National Peasants’ Party (NPP) 6.9 per cent.
1945, November 9: The reparations conference begins in Paris.
1945, November 13: The People’s Tribunal sentences László Bárdossy, a former prime minister, to death. He is executed on January 10, 1946.
1945, November 15: The Provisional National Government of Prime Minister Béla Dálnoki Miklós resigns after the 1945 general elections. Zoltán Tildy of the Independent Smallholders’ Party (FKgP), a clergyman of the Reformed Church, is called upon to form a government. He appoints Imre Nagy of the Hungarian Communist Party (MKP) as minister of the interior.
1945, November 20: The Central Control Commission orders the deportation of the Germans in Hungary to Germany. Under a government order of January 15, 1946, all those who declared themselves to be German in the last census are obliged to resettle, as are all former members of a German armed unit or of the Volksbund. Almost 200,000 Hungarian Germans leave the country in the period up to 1947.
1945, November 23: The People’s Tribunal sentences Béla Imrédy, a former prime minister, to death. He is executed on February 28, 1946.
1945, November 24: The Supreme Economic Council is established to supervise reconstruction and direct the national economy. Its chairman is the prime minister and its general secretary Zoltán Vas.
1945, November 29: The new Parliament convenes. Zoltán Tildy presents the government programme on the following day.
1945, December 12: The Hungarian government has spent a sum of 14,428,925,530 pengős on Central Control Commission purposes since April 1, 1945.
1945, December 14: The Budapest Municipal Committee elects József Kővágó of the Independent Smallholders’ Party (FKgP) as mayor.
1945, December 16–26: The foreign ministers of the Soviet Union, the United States and Britain, meeting in Moscow, agree on the peace treaties to be concluded with the former allies of Germany. They also agree that the communists should receive two seats each in the Romanian and Bulgarian governments, that the Soviet Union will not take part in the occupation of Japan, that Korea should be placed under joint Soviet-US control for an interim period of five years, and that the Soviet Union should have a part in the control of atomic weapons.
1946, January 5: The Supreme Economic Council, yielding to Soviet pressure, orders the heads of the ministries and county offices concerned to begin the immediate dismantling of the Mátravidék Power Station at Lőrinc (Heves County). The installations are shipped to the Soviet Union by the end of the following month.
1946, January 10: The first General Assembly of the United Nations convenes in London.
1946, January 18: The first permanent post-war bridge over the Danube at Budapest opens. Kossuth Bridge links Batthyány tér in Buda with Kossuth tér, the square outside Parliament.
1946, February 1: Parliament declares Hungary a republic and elects Zoltán Tildy president.
1946, February 4: President Zoltán Tildy appoints Ferenc Nagy of the International Smallholders’ Party (FKgP) as prime minister.
1946, February 8: The Tatabánya collieries challenge the country’s miners to a contest (‘coal battle’) to produce as much coal as possible, to ease the catastrophic shortage of fuel. (See work contests.)
1946, February 27: An agreement on a Hungarian-Czechoslovak population exchange is signed. The Czechoslovak authorities may send as many Hungarian deportees to Hungary as Slovaks volunteer to move from Hungary to Czechoslovakia. Subsequently, 70,000 Hungarians are resettled in Hungary from Czechoslovakia.
1946, March 1: The People’s Tribunal sentences Ferenc Szálasi and six associates to death for war crimes. They are executed on March 12.
1946, March 5: The Hungarian Communist Party (MKP), the Social Democratic Party (SZDP), the National Peasants’ Party (NPP) and the Trade-Union Council form the Left-Wing Bloc, declaring in a joint statement that they are prepared to cooperate only with the ‘democratic elements’ in the Independent Smallholders’ Party (FKgP). Their action marks the beginning of the salami tactics that lead to the break-up of the Smallholders.
1946, March 5: British Prime Minister Winston Churchill declares in a speech at Fulton, Missouri that ‘an iron curtain has descended across the Continent.’
1946, March 7: The parties of the Left-Wing Bloc organize a demonstration in Budapest’s Hősök tere (Heroes’ Square), demanding the removal of ‘reactionary elements’ from the Independent Smallholders’ Party (FKgP). The Smallholder politicians István Dobi and Gyula Ortutay issue a statement of support for the Bloc’s demands.
1946, March 7: József Lakos, former police chief of Szentes, is murdered in Szentes Hospital by members of the communist R Guard. Lakos had been freed on February 19 following a parliamentary question from Dezső Futó. (Imre Dadi, Csongrád County secretary of the Hungarian Communist Party (MKP), who ordered the murder, is freed at the end of January 1948 under a general pardon, after a short period on remand.)
1946, March 9–11: The Independent Smallholders’ Party (FKgP), under pressure from the Left-Wing Bloc expels 20 members of Parliament from its ranks, including Vince Nagy, Dezső Sulyok and István Vásáry. Béla Kovács is appointed editor of the party paper, the Kis Újság, in place of Count Gyula Dessewffy.
1946, March 12: Parliament passes legislation providing penal-law protection for the democratic system of government and the republic. This later provides the legal grounds for show trials.
1946, March 19: In a reshuffle of the Soviet government, Stalin becomes prime minister and Vyacheslav Molotov his deputy. The people’s commissariats are turned into ministries.
1946, March 20: Imre Nagy is replaced as interior minister by László Rajk, who holds the position until August 1948.
1946, March 22: The People’s Tribunal sentences Döme Sztójay, a former prime minister, to death. He is executed on August 24.
1946, April 6: János Erőss, president of the Reparations Office, and Vladimir Clementis, Foreign Ministry state secretary, sign the Hungarian-Czechoslovak Reparations Agreement in Prague. Hungary is to make reparation deliveries worth US $30 million over a six-year period.
1946, April 9–18: A Hungarian delegation headed by Prime Minister Ferenc Nagy visits Moscow. The Soviet government agrees that Hungary may meet its reparations obligations over eight years instead of six (similar agreements soon follow with the Czechoslovak and Yugoslav governments) and waives the US $6 million interest penalty for commitments not met in the first year.
1946, April 10: Politicians expelled a month earlier from the Independent Smallholders’ Party (FKgP) found the Hungarian Freedom Party. Dezső Sulyok becomes chairman, with Vince Nagy and István Vásáry as vice-chairmen. A political paper, Holnap (Tomorrow), is launched.
1946, May 6: After inter-party agreement, compilation begins of a B list of politically undesirable public employees and state officials, and the process of reducing the staff by 10 per cent. The left-wing parties use the process to rid the state and public administration of their political opponents.
1946, May 11: János Erőss, president of the Reparations Office, and O.M. Cicmil sign the Hungarian-Yugoslav Reparations Agreement in Prague. Hungary is to make reparation deliveries worth US $70 million over a six-year period.
1946, May 20: The Independent Smallholders’ Party (FKgP) demands that leading positions in the state executive, state administration and police organizations should be redistributed among the parties in proportion to the votes they received in the general elections (‘proportioning’).
1946, May 24: Two local Jews are murdered in a pogrom at Kunmadaras, Szolnok County.
1946, May 26: Communists win 38 per cent of the vote in Czechoslovak general elections.
1946, June 2: French parliamentary elections are won by the People’s Party, which forms a coalition government with the Communists.
1946, June 5: Under an agreement between the Left-Wing Bloc and the Independent Smallholders’ Party (FKgP), the former undertakes to meet the latter’s ‘proportioning’ demands, while the Smallholders agree to move against ‘right-wing elements’ in their ranks.
1946, June 8–25: A Hungarian government delegation headed by Prime Minister Ferenc Nagy has talks in Washington, London and Paris. The US administration undertakes to return to the National Bank of Hungary some US $40 million of gold reserves taken to the West and captured by US forces.
1946, June 15: An order is issued making over German assets in Hungary to the Soviet Union.
1946, June 17: At the Oktogon road junction in Budapest, shots are fired from an attic on passing Soviet soldiers, killing a Soviet officer and a soldier and a Hungarian girl. According to a police statement, the deed is done by István Pénzes, a member of the National Secretariat of Catholic Agricultural Youth Clubs (KALOT), who afterwards commits suicide. The assault may also have been an act of provocation by the communist-led political police (PRO State Protection Department [ÁVO]).
1946, June 18: Following the Oktogon incident, Interior Minister László Rajk puts before the government a proposal for containing ‘acts of terror’.
1946, June 25: The government puts all associations and social organizations under Interior Ministry supervision, giving its communist minister control over the whole civil sector.
1946, June 26: Parliament passes legislation nationalizing the coalmines.
1946, July 7: Lieutenant General Vladimir Sviridov, deputy chairman of the Allied Control Commission, summoned Prime Minister Ferenc Nagy and demanded in an ultimatum that ‘pro-fascist’ associations should be dissolved and the Catholic Church and the ‘reactionary clergy’ brought to heel.
1946, July 18–23: Interior Ministry László Rajk, using the pretext of the Oktogon incident, dissolved the Hungarian Scouts Association, National Secretariat of Catholic Agricultural Youth Clubs (KALOT) and over 1500 other civil associations and church youth organizations, in the start of a campaign to break up the institutions of civil society.
1946, July 19: The Independent Smallholders’ Party (FKgP) protests over the banning of church associations and demands that the measure be rescinded. Interior Minister László Rajk dissolves over a thousand other church, religious, cultural, social and youth bodies over the next year.
1946, July 21: József Mindszenty, archbishop of Esztergom, sends a letter of protest, in the name of the Conference of Bishops, over the dissolution of the Catholic youth clubs.
1946, July 29–October 15: The draft peace treaties are discussed at the Paris Peace Conference.
1946, July 31–August 1: Food shortages spark an anti-Semitic pogrom in Miskolc.
1946, August 1: A new stable currency, the forint, is issued and inflation controlled. (Ft. 1 = 400,000 x 1024 pengős, 200 million tax pengős, or 0.28766 pengős of 1938.)
1946, August 8: The National Bank gold reserves captured by the Americans are returned.
1946, September 7–9: The Independent Smallholders’ Party (FKgP) and the Hungarian Peasant Association organize Peasant Days in Budapest. The main event is a mass rally in Hősők tere (Heroes’ Square) addressed by Prime Minister Ferenc Nagy.
1946, September 27: The Greek Civil War begins between the communist-led partisans and the royal forces.
1946, October 6: At the instigation of the Hungarian Communist Party (MKP), the Budapest and provincial political police departments are brought under direct Interior Ministry control and combined into the State Protection Department (ÁVO) of the Hungarian State Police, under the command of Gábor Péter.
1946, October 30: Party negotiations begin, to resolve the coalition crisis.
1946, November 3–December 12: The Council of Foreign Ministers, meeting in New York, finalizes the text of the peace treaties with the defeated European countries, including Hungary.
1946, November 10: The Communists overtake the Republicans and the Socialists in French general elections.
1946, December 1: The most important heavy industrial concerns are nationalized.
1946, December 14–16: The Military Policy (Counterintelligence) Department of the Defence Ministry, headed by the Communist György Pálffy, arrests István Szent-Miklósy, the chief of staff, and János Héder, and on December 20, Bálint Arany, organizing secretary of the Independent Smallholders’ Party (FKgP), accusing them of conspiracy. The conspiracy charges trumped up by the department are aimed at politically compromising and fragmenting the Smallholders’ Party.
1947, January 1: Agreements that come into force in Germany combine the American and British zones of occupation economically, while retaining the political division.
1947, January 5: The Interior Ministry announces the discovery of a conspiracy against the republic, aimed at overthrowing the democratic system. The main accused are György Donáth, Domokos Szent-Iványi, István Szent-Miklósy, Bálint Arany, Károly Kiss and János Héder. Apart from Szent-Iványi, they have been members of a secret organization called the Hungarian Community, with Colonel General Lajos Dálnoki Veress as their ‘military commander’. Altogether 55 persons are arrested.
1947, January 17: The Council of Ministers agrees to suspend the parliamentary immunity of Smallholder MPs László Gyulai, Tibor Hám, János Horváth, Pál Jaczkó, Sándor Kiss, Kálmán Saláta, László Vatai and Vince Vörös. All but Saláta and Vörös are already in custody before Parliament suspends their immunity on January 21. The Political Committee of the Independent Smallholders’ Party (FKgP) soon expels them from the party for their ‘right-wing conduct’.
1947, February 2: Peace treaties with Germany’s former European allies, including Hungary, are signed in Paris. Under the Treaty of Paris, Hungary is authorized to have 70,000 men under arms. (The strength of the Hungarian Army at the time is 14,000 men.)
1947, February 19: The Political Committee of the Independent Smallholders’ Party (FKgP), acting under Communist pressure, forces the party general secretary, Béla Kovács, to resign, on suspicion of involvement in the conspiracy against the republic. He is succeeded by István Balogh.
1947, February 22: Parliament refuses to suspend the immunity of the Smallholder MP Béla Kovács, even at the behest of the State Protection Department (ÁVO).
1947, February 25: Béla Kovács is interrogated by the State Protection Department (ÁVO) in Budapest on suspicion of involvement in the conspiracy against the republic. As he leaves the ÁVO building at Andrássy út 60, he is arrested by officers of the Soviet secret police (NKVD), taken to the NKVD prison at Baden bei Wien in Austria, then sentenced without trial to 25 years’ imprisonment and deported to the Soviet Union.
1947, March 11: The Left-Wing Bloc and the rump of the Independent Smallholders’ Party (FKgP) agree to coordinate policies and ‘rapidly end the conspiracy’. They accept the government’s working programme, including the Three-Year Plan.
1947, March 12: President Harry S. Truman tells Congress that the US must support free countries against threat of totalitarianism.
1947, March 14: A government reshuffle brings in the fellow travellers and ‘crypto-Communists’ Lajos Dinnyés, István Dobi, Ernő Mihályfi, Miklós Nyárádi and Gyula Ortutay, as well as Péter Veress of the National Peasants’ Party (NPP).
1947, March 16: The People’s Tribunal passes sentence in the so-called Hungarian Community trial for conspiracy against the republic. György Donáth, Lajos Dálnoki Veress and Sándor András are sentenced to death. Bálint Arany and István Szent-Miklósy are given life sentences, while Domokos Szent-Iványi receives 14 years, Károly Kiss 12 years and János Héder 11 years. (Donáth’s death sentence and the sentences on Kiss and Héder are upheld on appeal. Dálnoki Veress and Szent-Miklósy receive 15 years, Arany 12 years, and András and Szent-Iványi 10 years. Donáth is executed on October 23, 1947.)
1947, April 14: Ferenc Nagy travels to Switzerland, ostensibly on holiday, to acquaint the West with the situation that has developed in Hungary. Direction of the Council of Ministers is taken over by Deputy Prime Minister Mátyás Rákosi.
1947, May 28: Lieutenant General Vladimir Sviridov, deputy chairman of the Allied Control Commission, sends a memorandum to the Hungarian government with ‘evidence implicating’ Prime Minister Ferenc Nagy in the Hungarian Community conspiracy. Mátyás Rákosi convenes an extraordinary meeting of the Council of Ministers and calls upon the prime minister to return from Switzerland.
1947, May 30: Prime Minister Ferenc Nagy, accused while in Switzerland of taking part in the Hungarian Community conspiracy, sends through the Hungarian Embassy in Bern his resignation as prime minister and chairman of the Independent Smallholders’ Party (FKgP) and states that he does not intend to return home.
1947, May 31: The De Gasperi government is formed in Italy without the Communists.
1947, May 31: Lajos Dinnyés, a Smallholder politician willing to collaborate with the Hungarian Communist Party (MKP), is called upon by the president to form a government.
1947, June 5: US Secretary of State George C. Marshall presents his European Recovery Plan (→ Marshall Plan) of economic aid.
1947, June 7: József Kővágó, the Smallholder mayor of Budapest, resigns. He is succeeded on July 18 by József Bognár, who belongs to the wing of the Independent Smallholders’ Party (FKgP) willing to cooperate with the Hungarian Communist Party.
1947, June 11: The National Planning Office (→ central planning, Three-Year Plan) is founded, with Social Democrat Imre Vajda as president and Communist Andor Berei as general secretary.
1947, June 12: The trial of Endre Mistéth and 43 associates accused in connection with the Hungarian Community starts before the People’s Tribunal.
1947, July 1: Parliament endorses the Three-Year Plan.
1947, July 10: Hungary, under Soviet pressure, rejects the Marshall Plan.
1947, July 20: István Balogh, a former general secretary of the Independent Smallholders’ Party (FKgP), announces the formation of the Independent Hungarian Democratic Party.
1947, July 22: Margit Slahta applies to the interior ministry for a permit to form a party named the Christian Women’s Camp.
1947, July 22: The dissolution of the Hungarian Freedom Party is announced. Its leader, Dezső Sulyok, resigns his parliamentary seat and goes into exile on August 4.
1947, July 23: Parliament passes new electoral legislation that narrows the franchise on various political grounds. (Over 400,000 people are disenfranchised during August.)
1947, July 24: A five-year Hungarian-Yugoslav economic and cooperation treaty is signed.
1947, July 25: President Zoltán Tildy dissolves Parliament and calls elections for August 31.
1947, July 28: The Hungarian Independence Party is formed with Zoltán Pfeiffer as president.
1947, July 29: An Electoral Alliance of the Hungarian National Independence Front is formed by the coalition parties.
1947, August 6: The trial begins in Bulgaria of Nikola Petkov, a prominent opposition figure, and associates. He is condemned and hanged on August 16.
1947, August 29: Sentences are announced in the trial of Endre Mistéth and associates, over the alleged Hungarian Community conspiracy. Mistéth receives three-and-a-half years’ hard labour (on appeal, six years’ penal servitude), Pál Jaczkó four years’ hard labour (five years’ imprisonment), László Gyulai four years’ penal servitude (five years), János Horváth three-and-a-half years hard labour (three years’ penal servitude), Sándor Kiss two-and-a-half years’ penal servitude (three years), István Csicsery-Rónay two years’ penal servitude (three years), and László Vatai six months penal servitude (six months imprisonment). Tibor Hám is acquitted.
1947, August 31: The general elections are marred by widespread electoral fraud by the Hungarian Communist Party (MKP), using falsified electoral rolls and 60,000–80,000 blue chits for absentee votes, which leave the way open for people to vote twice. The Democratic People’s Party does especially well, becoming the strongest opposition party. The official shares of the poll were Hungarian Communist Party (MKP) 22.3 per cent, Democratic People’s Party 16.4 per cent, Independent Smallholders’ Party (FKgP), Social Democratic Party (SZDP) 14.9 per cent, Hungarian Independence Party 13.4 per cent and National Peasants’ Party (NPP) 8.3 per cent.
1947, August 31: Budgetary funds of Ft. 372.5 million are spent on supplies to the Red Army in fiscal 1946–7. This represents more than 10 per cent of Hungary’s public spending.
1947, September 11–13: Fierce debate in the Independent Smallholders’ Party (FKgP) general assembly threatens to produce a split. Eventually, the wing favouring cooperation with the Communists triumphs. István Dobi is elected president and János Gyöngyössy [? Gyöngyösi] general secretary.
1947, September 16: Imre Nagy is elected speaker at the first meeting of the new Parliament.
1947, September 22–7: The Information Bureau of Communist and Workers’ Parties (→ Cominform) is established at a meeting in Poland.
1947, September 24: Lajos Dinnyés again forms a government.
1947, September 29: Parliament passes legislation on nationalization of the banks.
1947, October 1: The United Nations rejects Hungary’s application for membership.
1947, October 26: The Socialists overtake the Communists in French general elections.
1947, November 4: Zoltán Pfeiffer goes into exile. The Hungarian Independence Party that he led is dissolved by the interior minister on November 20 and its 48 MPs deprived of their seats in Parliament.
1947, November 6: Vyacheslav Molotov announces to the leadership of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union that the secret of the atom has ceased to exist.
1947, November 8: Stalin is made an honorary citizen of Budapest.
1947, November 12: The Hungarian-Yugoslav Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance is signed in Belgrade.
1948, January: The strength of the Hungarian Army reaches 20,000.
1948, January 4: The Soviet government informs the Hungarian government in a memorandum that in line with the Treaty of Paris, only communications units for the occupation forces in Austria have been stationed in Hungary since December 14, 1947. The ‘remaining’ Soviet forces with the Third Army provide rail and road links for supplies. The command and staff of the 17th motorized armed division will move to Szombathely and various of its units to various Transdanubian posts: an airborne division will move to Veszprém and a bomber division to Debrecen. All three divisions are subordinate to the High Command of the Central Army Group in Baden, Austria.
1948, January 9: Deportation of the German-speaking population of Hungary resumes: 36,000 Germans with Hungarian citizenship are moved to the Soviet occupation zone of Germany in the next six months.
1948, January 24: Markos Vafiadis forms a communist counter-government in Greece.
1948, February 6: Legislation is passed on the nationalization of the bauxite and aluminium industry.
1948, February 13: A Hungarian government delegation leaves for Moscow, headed by President Zoltán Tildy, Prime Minister Lajos Dinnyés and Deputy Prime Ministers Mátyás Rákosi and Árpád Szakasits. They sign the Hungarian-Soviet Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance on February 18.
1948, February 18: Anna Kéthly and several other ostensible right-wingers are removed from the leadership of the Social Democratic Party (SZDP). On March 5–7, the party’s 36th Congress expels them and empowers the leadership to start negotiating with the Hungarian Communist Party (MKP) on forming a unified workers’ party.
1948, February 25: There is a communist coup and take-over in Czechoslovakia.
1948, March 1: Tito announces that his talks with the Soviet Union have been unsuccessful and that the country will have to solve the problems of the Yugoslav army and economy for itself. The Soviet military and civilian advisers will be withdrawn. Stalin continues until May to try to bring the Yugoslav communists back into line.
1948, March 17: The Benelux countries, France and Britain sign economic and defence treaties in Brussels that found the Western European Union.
1948, March 25: Orders are issued for the nationalization of concerns with over 100 workers and worker-managers are appointed over them without warning. The move, affecting 160,000 employees, does not apply to foreign-owned businesses.
1948, March 31: The Budapest Stock Exchange ceases to function.
1948, April 1: The Social Democratic Party (SZDP) recalls 32 of its members of Parliament.
1948, April 4: During the ‘liberation’ festivities, the Soviet Union returns some Hungarian military banners from the 1848–9 revolution and war of independence.
1948, May 11: The Hungarian Radical Party and the Civil Democratic Party (PDP) establish the Civil Radical Party Alliance.
1948, June: An agreement to arm and supply the Hungarian Army with Soviet weaponry is signed, heralding a forced pace of expansion of the Hungarian armed forces.
1948, June 3: A clash between local people and the authorities at Pócspetri, Szabolcs-Bereg-Ugocsa County, over nationalization of the local school, leads to a policeman being killed in a brawl outside the village hall. Death sentences are passed by a summary court on the deputy recorder for murder and the parish priest for harbouring him. (The second sentence is commuted to life imprisonment.) The Communists make use of the incident in their propaganda for nationalization of schools.
1948, June 12: The 4th Congress of the Hungarian Communist Party (MKP) and the 37th of the Social Democratic Party (SZDP) declare a merger of the two parties as the Hungarian Workers’ Party (MDP), whose inaugural congress (→ party congress) on June 12–14 adopts a programme and statutes. Social Democrat Árpád Szakasits is elected president and Communist Mátyás Rákosi general secretary. The official daily of the new party is the Szabad Nép. The Social Democrats’ Népszava continues as the daily of the Free Trade Unions.
1948, June 16: The law on nationalization of schools is passed. There are 4692 elementary and upper elementary schools, 90 grammar schools, 46 teachers’ training colleges and 3 kindergarten-teachers’ training colleges in church hands in 1947–8. Culture Minister Gyula Ortutay announced the move at a press conference on May 15. Church-state separation and loss of their schools are accepted by most churches due to the pressure put on them, but the Catholic Church under Cardinal József Mindszenty resists. Meeting amid tensions heightened by the Pócspetri incident, the Conference of Bishops decided on June 7 to excommunicate all who supported the nationalization. The take-over of 6505 non-state schools is accompanied nationwide by protests brutally suppressed by the police and State Protection Department (ÁVO).
1948, June 23: The Soviet military authorities block land traffic to West Berlin and the Berlin Blockade begins.
1948, June 26: The United States and Britain establish an air bridge to supply West Berlin.
1948, June 27: Cominform condemns the policies of the Yugoslav Communist Party and expels it from the organization. Relations between Yugoslav and the Soviet bloc countries deteriorate for many years.
1948, July 30: President Zoltán Tildy is forced to resign and kept under house arrest until May 1, 1956. His son-in-law Viktor Csornoky, Hungarian ambassador in Cairo, is charged with spying and sentenced to death. Parliament elects Árpád Szakasits president of the republic.
1948, August 5: László Rajk is appointed foreign minister. He is succeeded as interior minister by János Kádár.
1948, September 6: The State Protection Department (ÁVO) of the Hungarian State Police becomes the State Protection Authority (ÁVH) of the Interior Ministry. Gábor Péter remains its head. Its tasks are extended to cover surveillance of foreigners, border, air-traffic and river policing, banishment, supervision of the police, internment, and the issue of passports.
1948, October 7: The government reaches agreement with the Reformed and the Unitarian churches. Clergy will receive stipends from the state. The Reformed Church will retain four grammar schools and four theological colleges.
1948, October 12: Czechoslovakia restores citizenship and civil rights to the members of its Hungarian minority.
1948, November 2: US President Harry S. Truman wins a second term of office.
1948, December 10: The former Smallholder István Dobi is appointed prime minister over a government with a majority of Communist politicians.
1948, December 14: The government and the Evangelical (Lutheran) Church sign an agreement under which the church retains a grammar school and a theological college and its clergy receive stipends from the state.
1948, December 20: The United Nations adopts the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
1948, December 26: The State Protection Authority (ÁVH) arrests Cardinal József Mindszenty, archbishop of Esztergom, on charges of treason, activity against the state, and exchange-control crimes. (His secretary had been arrested on November 19 and several searches made of the Primate’s Palace in Esztergom.) Mindszenty forcefully opposed the building of a communist dictatorship since 1945, heading those fighting for freedom of worship, civil values and national independence, while symbolizing an anachronistic retention of church influence on the state and in society.
1949, January 4: Talks begin between the Roman Catholic Conference of Bishops and the government about normalizing state-church relations. (Previous agreements had been reached with the Evangelical and Reformed churches on containing their activities in return for state financial support.) On January 7, the Pope forbade the discussions.
1949, January 20: Comecon is founded. Its first session is held in Moscow on April 26–8.
1949, February 1: The National Council of the People’s Tribunal announces the verdict in the MAORT trial. The death sentence for Managing Director Simon Papp is commuted to life imprisonment on appeal.
1949, February 1: After the dissolution of the National Committee comes the announcement of the formation of the Hungarian Independent People’s Front. Its national council elects Mátyás Rákosi as its president and László Rajk as its secretary. The first national congress is held on March 15. This de facto brings an end to the multi-party system.
1949, February 2: István Barankovics goes into exile. As a protest against the political situation, his Democratic People’s Party dissolves itself.
1949, February 3–8: The trial of Cardinal József Mindszenty and six associates begins in the Budapest People’s Tribunal. He is sentenced to life imprisonment. On February 12, Pope Pius XII asks the Western Powers for aid in defending the Eastern European Catholic churches.
1949, February 4: The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (Nato) is established.
1949, March 12: Parliament is dissolved and general elections called. The parties of the Hungarian Independent People’s Front put forward a joint list.
1949, April 12: Albanian Interior Minister Koçi Xoxe is condemned to death and executed. His trial is part of the campaign against Yugoslavia and preludes a spate of show trials in the Soviet-bloc countries.
1949, May 12: UN arbitration between the United States and the Soviet Union ends the Berlin Blockade.
1949, May 15: In the general elections, People’s Front candidates receive 96.27 per cent of the vote in a 96 per cent poll.
1949, May 23: The Federal Republic of Germany is established in the three Western zones of occupation.
1949, May 30: The constitution of the German Democratic Republic is adopted in the Soviet zone of occupation. Inauguration of the republic is proclaimed on October 7.
1949, June 8–11: At the first session of the new Parliament, new ministries are established and several authorities reorganized. The People’s Economic Council is established in place of the Supreme Economic Council, which was abolished on June 3. Its president is Ernő Gerő and its secretary János Szita. Imre Vajda is replaced by Zoltán Vas as president of the National Planning Office.
1949, June 10: István Dobi is again appointed prime minister. The new
government is formed the next day.
1949, June 16: A statement appears in Szabad Nép announcing the ‘discovery of a Trotskyite spy group’ headed by László Rajk. Rajk and Tibor Szőnyi are expelled from the Hungarian Workers’ Party. On June 19, it is announced that the State Protection Authority (ÁVH) has arrested Rajk, Szőnyi, Pál Justus and 17 others on charges of ‘spying for foreign powers’. (In fact, Szőnyi was arrested on May 18.)
1949, June 18: The Hungarian government declares the 1947 economic cooperation agreement with Yugoslavia void. Bilateral trade also ceases for several years.
1949, July 20: Communist Kálmán Pongrácz is elected mayor of Budapest.
1949, July 25: Czechoslovak Foreign Minister Vladimir Clementis and Hungarian Finance Ministry State Secretary István Antos sign the Štrbské Pleso (Csorba-tó) agreement resolving pending financial and economic issues between the two countries.
1949, August 18: Parliament passes a new Soviet-type Constitution of the Hungarian People’s Republic and coat of arms. Accordingly, it elects on August 23 a Presidential Council, chaired by the existing president of the republic, Árpád Szakasits.
1949, August 24: The World Youth Festival begins in Budapest.
1949, August 26: The food rationing system is abolished with effect from September 1, except for refined flour.
1949, September: The government issues plan loans or peace loans (see September 28, 1950) certificates each year from 1949 to 1954. Subscriptions are voluntary in principle, but the strong pressure to subscribe [?& makes it effectively a deduction from income]. However, take-up falls from 150 per cent in 1949 to 91 per cent in 1953.
1949, September 5: Compulsory religious education in schools is abolished.
1949, September 24: In the trial of László Rajk and associates, Rajk, Tibor Szőnyi and András Szalai are sentenced to death for ‘crimes against the people, espionage, treason, assisting the war plans of the imperialist powers, and conspiracy to overthrow the democratic system of state’. (They are executed soon after.) Pál Justus receives life imprisonment. The trials of several accused are referred to military courts, where death sentences on high-ranking army officers György Pálffy, Béla Korondi, Dezső Németh and Ottó Horváth are confirmed on October 21 by the Military Supreme Court and carried out on October 24.
1949, September 25: The Soviet Union announces that it possesses an atom bomb. (The first test explosion took place on August 29.)
1949, September 28: The Soviet Union rescinds its treaty of mutual friendship and cooperation with Yugoslavia.
1949, September 30: The Hungarian government unilaterally rescinds its treaty of friendship, cooperation and mutual assistance with Yugoslavia.
1949, October: A fourth Soviet division is stationed in Hungary at the request of Mátyás Rákosi. The 2nd Mechanized Guard Division is redeployed from Romania to Danube-Tisza region towns, with its headquarters in Kecskemét.
1949, October 1: The Chinese People’s Republic is declared, with Mao Zedong as head of state.
1949, October 2: The first buildings of the new Technical University of Heavy Industry are opened.
1949, October 10: Nationalization of wholesale trading begins.
1949, October 16: The communist counter-government ceases its resistance in Greece, bringing the civil war to an end.
1949, October 24: The judiciary is reorganized. The Supreme Court of the People’s Republic and the county courts are established. The Budapest People’s Tribunal is abolished on November 1.
1949, October 22: The United Nations again rejects Hungary’s membership application.
1949, October 22: The managers of Standard Electric and several UK citizens are arrested on charges of spying and sabotage.
1949, November 29: The General Assembly of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences convenes after political ‘cleansing’ and expulsion of several dozen scientists and scholars. István Rusznyák is elected president and György Alexits general secretary.
1949, December 10: Parliament passes the law on the five-year plan, which implements forced development based towards heavy industry.
1949, December 10: A Council of Ministers order effective on January 1, 1950 alters local-government boundaries to make 19 instead of 25 counties. Several county seats are moved (Szeged to Hódmezővásárhely, Esztergom to Tatabánya, Balassagyarmat to Salgótarján).
1949, December 20: A Council of Ministers order effective on January 1, 1950 merges several adjacent towns and villages into Greater Budapest, raising the number of districts to 22.
1949, December 21: On Stalin’s 70th birthday, a public holiday, trolleybus services begin in Budapest with Soviet vehicles, on a route numbered 70. Andrássy út, a main thoroughfare, is renamed Sztálin út.
1949, December 28: Nationalization extends to firms employing over ten people and to those in foreign ownership.
1949, December 28: The State Protection Authority (ÁVH) of the Interior Ministry and the Army Border Guard are amalgamated into a supreme authority, still under the command of Lieutenant General Gábor Péter, responsible formally to the Council of Ministers and Interior Minister János Kádár, but in fact run directly by Mátyás Rákosi.
1950, January 3: The United States closes the Hungarian consulates in New York and Cleveland in response to the Standard trial.
1950, January 28: The Military Supreme Court on appeal passes death sentences on Miklós Roediga-Schluga, former manager of the Hungarian-Soviet Shipping PLC, László Varga, former president, and Ernő Lux, former manager of Hungarian State Railways, and Ödön Magasházy, former chief engineer of Manfréd Weiss Works, Csepel. Mrs Jenő Pongrátz is given a life sentence. The executions are carried out on February 4.
1950, February 14: A Chinese government delegation headed by Mao Zedong, which has been in the Soviet Union since December 16, signs the 30-year Soviet-Chinese Treaty of Peace, Friendship and Cooperation.
1950, February 21: The Budapest Court passes sentence in the Standard trial. Managing Director Imre Geiger and Ministry Divisional Head Zoltán Radó are sentenced to death for acts of sabotage and spying. The sentences are carried out soon after.
1950, February 25–6: The first national meeting of Stakhanovites is held (→ work contests).
1950, March: Construction of the forced labour camp at Recsk begins. Most of those held there have not been tried or in some cases have suffered internment. The first 100–200 prisoners begin to raise primitive huts. The perimeter is guarded by the Internal Force of the State Protection Office (ÁVH) and duties within the camp by other ÁVH units.
1950, March 11: The Council of Ministers abolishes the National Council of People’s Tribunals with effect from March 31.
1950, March 16: A government order declares Easter Monday a working day. (Epiphany, Ascension Day and the Feast of SS Peter and Paul ceased to be public holidays the previous year.)
1950, March 24: The Manfréd Weiss Works in Csepel is renamed after Mátyás Rákosi.
1950, April 1: The disciplinary court of the Evangelical (Lutheran) Church demotes Lajos Ordass from the rank of bishop.
1950, April 2: The Presidential Council declares April 4 a public holiday. (This was said erroneously to be the day in 1944 when the Soviet forces liberated Hungarian territory from German occupation by taking the last village, Nemesmedves. In fact there were German troops on Hungarian territory for several more days.) The fifth anniversary is marked as ‘Liberation Day’ with processions, fireworks and work contests.
1950, April 24: Árpád Szakasits, president of the Presidential Council, is arrested and sentenced to life imprisonment. His successor is Sándor Rónai, also a former Social Democrat.
1950, May 11–12: Parliament passes a law on local-government councils and the framework of a new penal code. Councils are elected in Budapest and county seats on June 15.
1950, May 20: In connection with the Rajk trial, the Supreme Court convicts Ferenc Vági, Press Department head at the Prime Minister’s Office, of spying and conspiracy against the state and sentences him to death. Endre Szebenyi, state secretary at the Interior Ministry, and András Villányi, a former police general, are sentenced to death in a separate trial. The sentences are carried out on May 26.
1950, June 7–9: Two thousand monks and nuns are displaced from the border zone with Yugoslavia and from Szentgotthárd, Budapest and Székesfehérvár. Some 70,000–80,000 persons are later removed from the western and southern border areas.
1950, June 9: The Social Democrat politician Anna Kéthly is arrested and held without trial for four years.
1950, June 16–18: The League of Working Youth (DISZ) is established under direct party control and absorbs several other youth organizations that were hitherto formally separate. Mátyás Rákosi, in a speech, urges it to protect the future of young people.
1950, June 23: János Kádár is dismissed as interior minister and transferred to the Akadémiai utca party centre. His successor is Sándor Zöld.
1950, June 25: The Korean War begins.
1950, June 28: Talks between the Catholic Conference of Bishops and the government resume.
1950, July 7: György Marosán, former Justice Minister István Ries, and Imre Vajda (all former Social Democrats) are arrested. Ries dies under interrogation on September 15.
1950, July 12: Penalties to be imposed for illicitly crossing the frontier and leaving the country are increased, with life imprisonment prescribed in some cases. In subsequent months, regulations on wage and norm fraud, speculation, and incitement against agricultural cooperatives and penalties for them are made more severe.
1950, July 14: A decree is issued on penal protection of public property.
1950, August 1: The National Peace Committee of Catholic Priests is formed at the Péter Pázmány University of Sciences in Budapest. This marks the beginning of the peace priest movement, combining clergy willing to collaborate with the state authorities. On November 1, a paper called Kereszt (Cross) begins to appear.
1950, August 8: The Defence Ministry segregates conscripts in Category C (politically unreliable) and stops them doing armed service. Over the next year, they are organized into army supply brigades and companies doing construction and later mining work.
1950, August 17: The Military Supreme Court hears the ‘generals’ trial’ on appeal. Death sentences are passed on Lieutenant Generals László Sólyom and Gusztáv Illy and Colonel Generals István Beleznay, György Porffy and Kálmán Révay. The sentences are carried out on August 19.
1950, August 30: The government and the Conference of Bishops sign an agreement whereby the Catholic Church may retain four seminaries and eight secondary schools. The Benedictines, the Piarists, the Franciscans and a female order receive permits to operate. The other orders are dissolved on September 7. This affects 635 religious houses and 11,500 monks and nuns.
1950, September 14: The National Social Insurance Institute (OTI) becomes the Trade-Union Social Insurance Centre (SZTK), controlled by the National Council of Trade Unions (SZOT).
1950, September 20: The Military Supreme Court, on appeal, convicts the ‘right-wing Social Democrat’ leaders of war crimes and acts against the order of the state. József Kálmán, István Bittmann, Imre Győrki, András Révész, Ágoston Valentiny, Vilmos Zentai, Miklós Kertész, József Tolnai, Ferenc Szeder and József Büchler are sentenced to life imprisonment and Lajos Marosvölgyi to 15 years.
1950, September 28: A government appeal is published urging the public to subscribe to the peace loan. There is a major autumn campaign to achieve over-subscription every year up to 1956.
1950, October 10: The Supreme Court rules on the Szeged branch of the Hungarian Freedom Party and Democratic People’s Party. József Halápi and Sándor Nyilasi are sentenced to death for conspiracy against the state and armed rebellion; 26 associates receive long prison or forced-labour terms. The sentences are carried out soon after.
1950, October 22: The People’s Front candidates receive 97.8 per cent of the vote in single-list general elections.
1950, October 29: November 7, anniversary of the Soviet ‘Great October Socialist Revolution’ is declared a state holiday.
1950, November: Mátyás Rákosi, Ernő Gerő and Mihály Farkas make a pact kept secret from the Central Committee of the Hungarian Workers’ Party and form a so-called Defence Committee. The ‘Troika’ has absolute power over the country until 1953.
1950, November 7: The Oktogon in Budapest is renamed November 7. tér (square) and Erzsébet and Teréz körút become Lenin körút (boulevard). Stalin Bridge (later Árpád Bridge) is inaugurated.
1951, January: The campaign to organize agricultural cooperatives opens.
1951, February 1: The Labour Code comes into force, superseding the collective agreements for each industry.
1951, February 17: Pravda publishes an interview with Stalin, in which he states that he does not think a further world war is inevitable.
1951, February 25: The resolution of the 2nd Congress (→ party congress) of the Hungarian Workers’ Party emphasizes ‘heightening class warfare’ and strengthening ‘communist iron discipline’.
1951, February 28: A government order reintroduces rationing of fat and soap.
1951, March 10: The Council of Ministers declares March 15, [?& anniversary of the outbreak of the 1848 revolution,] a working day.
1951, April 5: In the so-called Anti-Bolshevik Guard trial, Szilárd Gyimesi and Leó Matók are sentenced to death and their associates to life imprisonment or terms of 3–17 years, for conspiracy against the state and acts of sabotage. The executions take place on October 13. Another 30–40 young people are arrested and sentenced in the same case during the year.
1951, April 15–16: Rationing of bread and meat is introduced.
1951, April 20: Interior Minister Sándor Zöld, fearing that he will be arrested, murders his family and commits suicide. The new interior minister is Árpád Házi.
1951, April 27–8: The 1st Congress of the Writers’ Union declares ‘the unity of democratic national literature’. In a keynote speech, József Révai declares war on schematism. József Darvas is elected president and Lajos Kónya general secretary.
1951, May: Resettlement of ‘former exploiters’ begins. More than 12,000 people in Budapest are forced to leave their homes. They are billeted on kulak families in small villages, where they often have to live in inhuman conditions under a social stigma.
1951, May 1: Radio Free Europe goes on the air with American support. It broadcasts in the main languages of the Soviet bloc.
1951, May 16: Parliament passes laws setting up the State Office for Church Affairs and raising the targets of the First Five-Year Plan (→ central planning).
1951, May 20: Six inmates manage to escape from the strictly guarded labour camp at Recsk. All but one of them are recaptured by the end of June. Gyula Michnay reaches West Germany, where he reads the names of over 600 prisoners at Recsk over Radio Free Europe. The recaptured escapees are returned to Recsk. Security around the camp is tightened and a much greater number of informers are recruited among the inmates.
1951, June 1: The Hungarian Defence Force ([?& the traditional name of the Hungarian armed forces since the revolution of 1848–9]) is renamed the Hungarian People’s Army. September 29 is declared People’s Army Day.
1951, June 28: The Supreme Court sentences József Grősz, archbishop of Kalocsa, to 15 years’ imprisonment for ‘crimes against the people and conspiracy to overthrow the democratic order of state’. His fellow accused are sent down for 8–13 years. During the trial, several bishops are arrested temporarily and pressed into appointing peace priests as assistant bishops and secretaries. Other accused are tried separately and there are several death sentences.
1951, July 3: An order on high church appointments gives the Presidential Council sole right to fill several posts. The Catholic Conference of Bishops condemns in a statement ‘activity against the people’s republic’ and announces that the agreement between church and state is being observed. On July 21, the bishops take the oath of allegiance to the Constitution of the Hungarian People’s Republic.
1951, July 9: The Allied western powers announce that they consider the state of war in Germany to have ceased.
1951, July 10: Talks begin on a ceasefire in Korea.
1951, July 28: About 4300 C-category (politically unreliable) twenty-year-olds are conscripted into army supply units for labour service. (They serve a longer term of 27 months, until the autumn of 1953.)
1951, October 8: Radio Free Europe begins broadcasts in Hungarian, headed by Gyula Dessewffy.
1951, November 1: The mode of address between soldiers of the People’s Army is altered to ‘comrade’ (elvtárs). The strength now exceeds 115,000 men.
1951, November 2: The ironworks at Dunapentele and the new town being built there are named after Stalin. The first three units of the works are handed over on November 7.
1951, December 1: The Public Works Directorate (KÖMI) is established under the Justice Ministry to organize productive employment for prisoners and internees. Concerns run using KÖMI labour include mines (Szuhakálló, Ormosbánya, Farkaslyuk, Csolnok, Tatabánya Shaft 14, Komló and Várpalota), farms (Baracska, Bernátkút and Pálhalma) and construction sites (Miskolc university town, Hejőcsaba Cement Works, Sajóbábony, Inota and Kalocsa).
1951, December 2: A government order ends the rationing system and alters the price and wage system in a way that amounts to a concealed rise in the price level.
1951, December 18: In the trial of János Kádár and associates, Sándor Haraszti is sentenced to death, Kádár to life, and Gyula Kállai and Ferenc Donáth to 15 years’ penal servitude. (Haraszti is reprieved in January 1954.)
1951, December 21: A giant statue of Stalin by Sándor Mikus is inaugurated on the site of the demolished Regnum Marianum Church in Budapest.
1951, December 30: The labour-service ‘army supply’ units are organized into a construction brigade. Three punitive ‘special labour battalions’ are also formed for soldiers convicted of minor crimes, but these also are filled with Category C conscripts. Conscription raises the brigade’s strength to 10,400 men by February 1952.
1951: The Kis Újság, former daily of the Independent Smallholders’ Party (FKgP) ceases publication.
1952, January 5: New branch ministries of state agriculture and forestry, food, construction, postal affairs and local industry are formed after the Soviet pattern. Priority developments in the arms industry come under a new authority, the ‘Ministry of the Middling Machinery Industry’ headed by Mihály Zsofinyec.
1952, January 17: A national work contest begins for the 60th birthday of Mátyás Rákosi.
1952, January 29: The Military Supreme Court commutes the death sentence on Colonel General Béla Király for war crimes and acts against the state to life imprisonment. His associates receive prison sentences of 10–12 years.
1952, February 3: The Szabad Szó (Free Word), once the organ of the National Peasants’ Party (NPP), ceases publication.
1952, February 17: Nationalization is extended to all housing except small family houses.
1952, March 9: There are nationwide celebrations for the 60th birthday of Mátyás Rákosi (modelled on those for Stalin’s 70th birthday). Amidst morbid, unrestrained self-praise later labelled a cult of personality, an exhibition entitled ‘Mátyás Rákosi’s Militant Life’ opens at the Museum of the Labour Movement and several books about the dictator appear. There is a special exhibition of the birthday presents for the ‘illustrious leader’.
1952, March 14: In the trial of the Csepel young workers and Benedictine students, the Supreme Court, on appeal, sentences Ádám Magasházy and Ernő Sallay to death and 21 associates to prison terms of 3–15 years for armed conspiracy to overthrow the people’s republic. The death sentences are carried out in May.
1952, July 19: The 15th Summer Olympics in Helsinki are the most successful ever for Hungary, which comes third in the medals league with 16 golds. The success is interpreted as a victory over the ‘imperialists’ and evidence of socialism’s superiority.
1952, August 14: In leadership changes, Mátyás Rákosi becomes prime minister, István Dobi president of the Presidential Council and Sándor Rónai speaker of Parliament. This adds formal expression to the existing concentration of power in Rákosi’s hands.
1952, September-October: The so-called Felelet (Reply) debate, officially the ‘Debate on the Situation of Our Literature’, begins. The introductory contribution is by Miklós Gimes and the concluding contribution and summary by József Révai. Strong criticism is levelled at the novel Felelet by Tibor Déry, the story ‘Lila tinta’ (Mauve Ink) by István Örkény, and the novels Almáskert (Apple Orchard) and Szegények szerelme (Love among the Poor) by Péter Veres.
1952, September 16: A government order tightens the administrative methods against those breaching the regulations on agricultural production and compulsory produce deliveries.
1952, September 24: Romania’s new constitution merges four counties with a Székely (Transylvanian Hungarian) majority into the Hungarian Autonomous Province, with limited self-determination.
1952, October 1: Thirty inhabitants of Kesztölc are convicted of organization against the state and conspiracy. András Farsang and József Erdélyi are condemned to death and their associates given long prison sentences. The death sentences are carried out on January 27, 1953.
1952, October 5–14: The 13th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union convenes after a gap of 13 years. The Central Committee report is delivered by Georgi Malenkov, not Stalin. The name of the party changes to the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU). The Hungarian Workers’ Party (MDP) is represented at the congress by Mátyás Rákosi, Ernő Gerő and István Hidas.
1952, November 1: The United States tests a hydrogen bomb in the Marshall Islands.
1952, November 2–7: The 6th Congress of the Yugoslav Communist Party changes its name to the League of Yugoslav Communists.
1952, November 11: Several doctors at the Kremlin Hospital who have treated Stalin and other party leaders are arrested for ‘conspiracy to liquidate the leaders of the party, government and army.’ The doctors’ trial is planned to be part of a ‘great Zionist trial’.
1952, November 14: József Györe replaces Árpád Házi as interior minister.
1952, November 20–27: In the Slánsky trial in Czechoslovakia, high-ranking party and state leaders are accused of Trotskyism, Titoism, spying and Zionism. Fourteen prisoners are condemned to death and three receive life sentences.
1952, November 24: The People’s Economic Council is abolished and its functions taken over by the Prime Minister’s Office.
1952, December 6: Ministries of the engineering industry, higher education, and the chemical industry are established.
1952, December 15: Lieutenant General Nikolai Vlasik, commander of Stalin’s bodyguard, is arrested. At the end of the month, State Security Minister Viktor Abakumov, General [?& Mikhail] Belkin (one of the organizers of the Rajk trial) and ‘their band of Zionist agents’ are arrested.
1952, December 17: The Council of Ministers declares May 2 to be a paid holiday and December 26 to be a working day.
1952, December 31: The strength of the People’s Army exceeds 200,000 men, a high point since 1945.
1953, January 3: Lieutenant General Gábor Péter, commander of the State Protection Authority (ÁVH), and his wife are arrested on charges of spying and Zionist relations. Several other high-ranking ÁVH officers are arrested in the next few days.
1953, January 13: A communiqué appears on the arrest of the Kremlin doctors. Dr Lidiya Timashuk, who ‘revealed’ the plot, receives the Order of Lenin on January 21.
1953, January 20: The Soviet government states that Hungary has fulfilled its obligations to pay reparations under the Treaty of Paris.
1953, March: The Budapest Military Court passes sentence in the so-called Farkasfa conspiracy. Mrs József Bekes, Péter Wrangel, Ferenc Sipos, János Sipos and Lajos Bicsák are condemned to death for spying and conspiracy against the state. Over 70 people in the Vas County village are arrested in the case. Ten are executed and several die of torture during interrogation.
1953, March 2: Over 1600 Category C recruits are sent to labour service in the construction brigade. The number of men on Army labour service stabilizes at about 10,000.
1953, March 5: Stalin dies. The Soviet leadership undergoes significant changes.
1953, March 7: The new Soviet leadership declares a partial amnesty. It promises to improve living standards and give priority to developing light industry and agriculture. The principle of collective leadership is emphasized.
1953, March 8: The Hungarian Parliament passes legislation commemorating the ‘undying memory of Stalin’ and ordering national mourning.
1953, May 17: General elections are held in Hungary according to the Stalinist scenario.
1953, June 1: During disturbances in Czechoslovakia, workers in Plzen occupy the city hall and hang out national and American flags. The protests are suppressed by the armed forces.
1953, June 13–16: Several members of the Hungarian party and state leadership are summoned to Moscow for discussions kept secret for 30 years. The autocratic rule of Mátyás Rákosi is ended, Imre Nagy recommended for prime minister, and the main lines of a new policy laid.
1953, June 15: The Soviet Union resumes diplomatic relations with Yugoslavia and Israel.
1953, June 17–18: Workers’ uprisings in East Berlin and other cities in East Germany are suppressed by the army.
1953, June 27–8: A meeting of the Central Committee of the Hungarian Workers’ Party (MDP) is held according to Moscow’s instructions.
1953, July 4: Prime Minister Imre Nagy, in his programme speech to Parliament, proclaims a new economic policy and a new political policy based on legality and greater sovereignty of the people.