István Bata, 1910–1982

Born at Tura, Pest County, Bata worked as a tram conductor in Budapest from 1935 to 1938. He had been a member of the Hungarian Social Democratic Party since 1930. In 1935, he became a branch secretary of the tram workers’ union, joining the national leadership in 1939. His work as a trade-union activist led to his arrest in 1942, after which he was placed under police surveillance. In 1945, he became a member of the Central Leadership of the Union of Public Employees and of the union committee at the Szépilona tram depot. A member of the Óbuda party committee, he became secretary of the 3rd District HWP Committee in 1948–9. He was then designated a worker cadre, seconded into the Hungarian People’s Army with the rank of colonel, and sent off to the Military Academy in Moscow. After completing the course, he was given command of the National Air Defences, with the rank of major general. On October 7, 1950, he was appointed chief of staff and promoted to lieutenant general. Bata was an alternate member of the HWP Central Committee from 1951 to 1953. He was appointed defence minister on July 4, 1953, after the dismissal of Mihály Farkas. In June, he was co-opted as a full Central Committee member and an alternate member of the Political Committee. Promotion to colonel general followed in 1954, and on May 14, 1955, he was a member of the Hungarian delegation that signed the Warsaw Pact. On October 23, 1956, Bata became a member of the Military Committee of the HWP Central Committee. On October 24, he oversaw the division of Budapest into three military zones and gave orders for the revolutionaries to be disarmed. He was dismissed as defence minister on October 27, when he also lost his leading functions in the party. On October 28, he was taken to the Soviet Union, where he had talks on November 2 with János Kádár, on the latter’s arrival, and took part in the expanded session of the CPSU Presidium. Under a decision taken by the Provisional Executive Committee of the HSWP on February 19, 1957, Bata was forbidden to return to Hungary for one year. He returned in September 1958 and was expelled from the party. On February 13, 1959, he was stripped of his military rank and returned to his old work place, at first as a depot manager and then as head of the Budapest Transport Enterprise Accident Prevention Department.

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This page was created: Wednesday, 23-Aug-2000
Last updated: Wednes, 12-Sept-2001
Copyright © 2000 The Institute for the History of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution

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