CURRENT INTELLIGENCE STUDY
FACTIONALISM IN THE HUNGARIAN WORKERS (COMMUNIST) PARTY
Office of Current Intelligence CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY
ffico Of Current Intelligence Reference Title: Caesar
CURRENT INTELLIGENCE STUDY Factionalism in the Hungarian Workers (Communist) Party
This studyorking paper. It attempts to discover and analyze the major cliques, factions and alignments in the Hungarian Workers (Communist) party5 in terms of changing Soviet policy demands and the resultantof interest with the needs of local leaders and the countryhole. It Is circulated to analysts of Soviet affairsontribution to current interpretation of Soviet policy. It is also designed in part to meet the IAC requirement of5 for studies ofin the Satellite Communist parties.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
INTRODUCTION: THE HUNGARIAN COMMUNIST PARTY PRIOR5
The Bela Kun
Comintern Leaders of the Hungarian Party2
Shift of Soviet Tactics to the "United" and "Popular"
"Front" Tactics ln
"Popular Front" Tactics: Hungarians in the Spanish
Moscow Direction of the Hungarian Party in World
Party Activities in Hungary during World War
Formation of the Hungarian Independence) ,
The Partisans in Rakosi's
FORMATION OF THE HUNGARIAN WORKERS PARTY
The Muscovite Leadership of the
Elements in the
COERCION OF NATIVIST ELEMENTS IN THE PARTY
The Experiment with "National . .5
Tho Condemnation of National Communism
Establishment of "Dictatorship of the Proletariat" . .8
Destruction of National Communist Elements in the
Advancement of Moderate Nationalists
Elimination of Moderate Nationalists
THE STALINIST PARTY
Role of tho Rakosi-Gero
Increased Pressure on the Rakosi Leadership
Rakosi Asserts his Leadership (Autumn
Changes in the Relative Posltionsof Top Party
Removal of Zoltan Vas as Planning
THE NEW COURSE; PHASE 1
Immediate Consequences of Stalin's Death
Indications of Vacillation and Lack of Directives. . .
Prelude to the Announcement of the New
Announcement of the New
Doctrinaire Opposition to New Course Economic
Repercussions of the Fall of
THE NEW COURSE: NAGY ASSERTS HIS LEADERSHIP
The Third Party0 May)
Party Dissension over the Role of the Patriotic
The "Test of3
Release of "Victims of Stalinist
Status of Affairs, Autumn
RAKOSI'S RETURN TO POWER
Condemnation of the Nagy Policies
Party Condemnation of Nagy
Increasing Emphasis on Hard Domestic Policies.(June) .
Tbe Yugoslav Issue61
Appearance of Revolutionary Elements: The Writers
Counter-offensive of the Party (November-December) . . 3
DISINTEGRATION OF THE HUNGARIAN WORKERS
Effects of the Twentieth Soviet
Dissension ln the Central
Stalinists, Liberals and Moderates
Growing Strength of the Anti-Rakosi Opposition
Continued Vacillation of the Kremlin
Rakosi Reverts to Harsh
The Fall of
Gero as Party
The "Moderate Nationalist"
Demands of the Nagy
The Eve of the
Nagy and Kadar Take
POSTLDDB: DESTRUCTION OF THE HUNGARIAN WORKERS PARTY
Initial Co-operation of Liberals and Moderates in
Support of the
Increasingly Revolutionary Character of tbe Nagy
The "moderates" Sabotage tbe
Fate of Nagy and his
Fate of the
The Hungarian Socialist Workers
FACTIONALISM IN THE HUNGARIAN WORKERS PARTY
The Hungarian Workers (Coranunist) Party fron its inception8 figured ln Soviet policy as an instrument of penetration and,omination in Hungary. At the height of its power it numbered almost one million members and, under theof Matyas Rakosi, Hungary's "littleeld control over every aspect of Hungarian life. The party was shattered as the resulteries of Soviet policy moves culminating in the de-Stalinization pronouncements of Khrushchev and Mikoyan ath congress of the Soviet Communist Party. These measures split the party into hostile factions and precipitated dissension ln tbe organization from top to bottom. The virtual destruction
of tbe party was completed by the Soviet armed reconquest of Hungary in
In violently anti-Comvunist and anti-Soviet Hungary, the mission Imposed on the party required that it be beaded bycompletely loyal to the Kremlin. To secureop command, Moscow ln past years builtorps of carefully trained Hungarian emigres, in large number Jewish, chosen for suppleness, tenacity, intelligence and lack of national At the close of World War II this group ofed by Matyas Rakosi, returned with Soviet armies to rule Hungary in tbe Interests of the Kremlin, using any tactics vhich appeared necessary for tbe purpose within the general franevork of Soviet policies. He enlisted the support of optimists and opportunists vho believed that the velfare of the country and their ownmight be gained by collaboration with Moscoweasonable degree of socialization of the Hungarian economy and social structure. In the course of years, Rakosi builtell-Integrated hierarchy of officials, chosen from nativlst Communists and collaborators, closely tied to himself personally, buttressed by an effective security police structure andin the last analysis by the presence of Soviet troops in Hungary. These Individuals were given careful training to fit them for their function of ruling Hungary in tbe interests of the Kremlin,
At each major Soviet policy change, the Hungarian party leadership was required to implement Moscow-dictated directives which often ran counter to Hungarian national interests,the demotion or destruction of Individuals in high
positions and evoked theatred of the Hungarian people This situation confronted the Hungarian leadersirect conflict of interests. At various moments, certain Communists refused to abide by the Kremlin decisions and chose theof Hungary,
In the early years of Communist rule, the conflict ofwas played down In accordanceormulaHungarian road.to socialism." The reversal of this toleration of "national Communism" following the break between Stalin and Tito led to the fall of leading Hungarian Communists, notably Laszlo Rajk. But the death of Rajk was only the first step in stamping out smouldering Hungarian resistance to ruthless Sovlet-ization now imposed on the country under the leadership of Rakosi and his Muscovite colleagues Gero, Revai and Farkas. High-rank-
i!LDeD,ocrals wh0 hadthe party soonnd distinguished localJanoshad attempted to co-operate following the death of Rajk also were imprisoned. esult of these purges, allelements in Hungary were either in prison or terrified into silence. Tbe purged elements were replaced by young "hard" Communists provided with Intensive Soviet indoctrination.
Major blows were dealt to the Muscovite leaders by the "Zionist" purgesnd the concurrent economic crisis that led to replacements In the Hungarian planning apparatus. Although Rakosi managed these matters with great skill, the purges pointed up the predominantly Jewish character of the party leadershipountry Where anti-Semitism was latent, and emphasized the disastrous effects of acceleratedand collectivization on the Hungarian economy.
The proclamation of the New Courseare Nagy as premier in the summer3 brought new personalities to the fore and instituted liberalized policies in agriculture and Industry at the expense of doctrinaire Communists who had profited from earlier economic policies. Violent opposition from thesewas silenced by Rakosi, apparently on Moscow's orders, and the new policies enforced. During the summeragy emergedenuine leader backed by the majority of the central committee. But Nagy's resort to extraparty mechanisms to gain popular support and bis encouragement of unrestrained criticism of regime policies drove Rakosi to seek the support of theagainst Nagy Meanwhile, the liberation of Janos Kadar and other imprisoned Communists strengthened party moderate forces against the former leadership.
In late November Rakosi returned to Hungary, after twoin Moscow, to layoctrinaire line on political and economic issues and, following the demotion of Malenkov In the Soviet Onion, to demote Nagy and his adherents. The party leadership however, waa unable toarge faction in the centralsubmission and he therefore remained tbe rallying point for the rapidly growing opposition. The Rakosi-Gero clique renewed its emphasis on industrialization and collectivization, In connection withfor the Second Five-Year Plan due to beginnd attempted to coerce its critics into submission. The group was greatly restrained, however, by the Kremlin's current attempt to present tn appearance of moderation, particularly in its relations with Tito of Yugoslavia. These apparently liberal Soviet policies, however, stimulated tbe Hungarian opposition into mounting demands for"thaw" in Hungary.
In the autumnungarian writers apparently backedarge faction in the party central committee resorted to open defiance of Rakosi (the so-called Writers' Revolt). Tho party leadership was forced to resort to coercive measures to silence its opponents. They found lt necessary to take the long-delayed action of expelling Imre Nagy from the partyeans of quieting criticism in the central committee.
The extreme de-Stallnlzation pronouncements of Khrushchev and Mlkoyan ath congress of the Soviet Communist Partyrastic blow to the Rakosi regime and encouraged his opponents into renewed efforts to oust his and institute liberal ized policies. From this point-forward, Rakosi was maintained in powar only by the Kremlin which apparently believed that his experienced hand was needed to control the dangerousIn the Hungarian part> and contain Hungarian nationalismby the Kremlin's wooing of Tito. Yet the retention of Rakosi contrary to announced Soviet de-Stallnization measures drove the Hungarian oppositionrenzy. At meetings at the Petofi Club, representatives of every sector of Hungarianarmy officers and former partisan and undergroundthe removal of Rakosi. Rakosi sought in vain to convince his opponents that he was genuinely carrying out the correct Soviet line.
The mounting fury of the opposition,limax at theune meeting of the PetofiRakosl's decision to use harsh measures to bring his opponents Intothe Kremlin toecision, Mikoyan arrived In Budapest in aid-July, challenged Rakosl's proposals and was reportedly sustained by Khrushchev. Onakosi resigned as first secretary of the Hungarian Workers Party, giving as his reason serious violations of the "cult of personality."
At this point, the Kremlin might have restored unity to the Hungarian party by taking the bold course of rehabilitating Imre Nagy and promoting Kadar to the head of tho party. Instead, Mlkoyan approved the substitution of Gero for Rakosi. This move appeared toeturn to the policies of acceleratedand forced collectivization, although Gero sketched out more moderate policies. Although Kadar and the former Social Democrat Marosan were elevated to the political committee, doctrinaire elements maintained their ascendancy.
Opposition elements from the pro-Nagy and pro-Kadar factions of the party were encouraged by these maneuvers to bargain with the regime. Indications that the Kremlin itself was vacillatingrackdown on Polish nationalists and continuedof the "thaw" also spurred the Hungarians toolder course. On the other hand, Gero's continued stress on doctrinaire considerations kept his opponents alive to the possibilityeturn to harshpossibility made more real by increasing symptomsougher Soviet policyYugoslavia. These varying developments combined to make the three months prior to the Octobereriod in which hope and foar combined to produce reckless daring among Hungarians.
The crisis came in earlyGero and Kadar were both out of the country. ammoth demonstration staged by Nagy adherents in connection with the reburial of Laszlo Rajk in the national cemeteryctober turnedationalist manifestation with distinct anti-Soviet implications directed against tbe Gero regime. Mounting excitement throughout the nation encouraged by Polish defiance of the Kremlinlimax In thectober demonstration staged by students. When these demonstrations turned into riots leading to the full-scale fighting between AVH troops and theoviet troops intervened. The revolution had begun.
The party leadership made ato maintain control of events. The central committee and political committee were called Into session on tbe night ofctober. Panicky partyfor Soviet aid under the Warsaw pact. During the stormy all-night session, the seven remaining Stalinists were replaced by two moderates and one Nagyist, and Nagy was reinstalled as premier. The followingero was replaced by Janos Kadar. The change In leadership came far too late to win confidence from the.
The moderates under Kadar and liberals led by Nagyunityhort period. Hagy's endorsement ofanti-Communist and anti-Sovietin the
withdrawal of Hungary from the Warsaw pact and the proclamation of neutrality under the protection of the UN drove the so-called "moderates" to seek refuge with Soviet troops. The newly formed Hungarian Socialist Workers Party became the vehicle of theKadar party leadership.ovember, Kadar announced the formationew Revolutionary Workers and peasantsand appealed for Soviet aid to put downforces in Hungary.
These events mark the death of the Hungarian Communist Party as lt existed for almostears. Leading Stalinists are .In tbe Sovlot Union, dead,or in discard. Nagy and his associates after leaving their sanctuary in the Yugoslav embassy were seized by Soviet troops and are now being held in Rumania. The remaining "moderates"hamHungarian Socialist Workersorganization of discredited functionaries from the Rakosi regime,embership of lessnd totally lacking in enthusiasm or sense of mission. It is the creature of tbe Soviet forcos stationed in Hungary.
HE HUNGARIAN COMMUNIST PARTY PRIOR5
1. The Bela Kun Revolution
The Hungarian Communist Party was founded on8 from an aggregation of former prisoners of war justfrom Russiaew Hungarian extreme leftistsbelonging to tbe Social Democratic Party. The new party' leader was Bela Kun, who had received extensive Bolshevikin Russia and reportedly had been in contact with Lenin. Among his lieutenants were Eugene Varga, Matyas Rakosiumber of individuals who subsequently formed thecorps of the Hungarian Communist Party leadership. Specially trained in the Soviet Union, closely related by their common experiences and in some cases by marriage, mainly of Jewish origin, those Communistslosely knit group among whom it is difficult to detect significant differences.* Later evidence makes clear, however, that some of them were somewhat more nationalist in orientation than others. Imre Nagy).
In8 this group seised control of the Hungarian governmentesult of the vacillating policies of the existing regime in the face of the economic and political crisis resulting from WW I. They built up the partyamong troops demoralized by the defeat and disintegration of tbe Austro-Hungarian Monarchy and unemployed industrial workers of extremist tendencies They retained power for less than six months during which the attempt to overthrow and
1 From the viewpoint of later Hungarian history, the following associates of Bela Kun are of special Importance. Matyas Rakosi (Deputy Commissar ofyorgy Lukacs (Deputy Commissar forerenc Munnlch (commander of the Red garrison in Budapestolitical commissar in the Red army), Imre Nagy (reportedly Communist political boss in Somogy county in southernrno Gero, Jozsef Reval, Erase bet. Andics and her later husband An dor Berei, La Jos Bebrits, Gyula and Jozsef Hajdu, Gyula Hay, Imre Hon .ith. Sandor Nogradl (Inela and Zoltan Szanto, Andras Szobek, Tlbor Dery and :Zoltana fellow prisoner of Rakosi in Siberia). Bela Kun, Bela Szanto and Laszlo Rudas wrote accounts of the revolution.
Coramunize Hungary's social structure resultedlood bath. Inhe Bela Kun regime was overcomeesult of Allied military intervention and the organization of stable elements within Hungary itself.
The chief result of the Communist revolution was to alienate the Hungarian people from Communism and cause them to support the Horthy government's policy of banning the party Moreover, Communist terror tactics, the attempt to collectivize farms, and the subversion of the Social Democratic party had made active enemies of exactly the agrarian and working class elements which the Communists would have to win over in order touccessful comeback under peacetime conditions. esult, the number of Communists in Hungary prior to WW II remained small, faction-ridden and conspiratorial. To most elements of the Hungarian population, the Bela Kun regimean example of bloody and fruitless terror Imposed by Russian agents on Hungary.
The episode nevertheless furnished Hungarian Communism with its future leadership and taught this leadership certain tactical lessons which were put to the test
2- Comintern Leaders of the Hungarian Party
The interwar period is signalized by the continued attempt of Moscow, through the Comintern, to direct the tiny, illegal Hungarian Communist party in the interests of the Soviet Onion. The instrument of this direction was the small band ofleft at the Kremlin's disposition by the failure of the Bela Kun revolution. These individuals took on Sovietand received careful training in Communist theory and methods of subversion. Several of them appear to have been taught Soviet economic theory at the institute administered by their compatriot, Eugene Varga.
a. Bela Kun: As chief of the Comintern's Hungarian section, Bela Kun was the acknowledged leader of Hungarian Communists until his eliminationlthough Stalinist historians later made every attempt to obscure his role. ey man in the Cominternchief priorriend of Zinoviev, Bukharln and Karl Radek. From the limited evidence available, he appears to haveleft" Communist who conceived of the partyunited revolutionary party of the working class" and paid littleto winning the support of peasants. In
Hungary, wbero agricultureajor role, this concept would later beajor error bycritics.
Matyas Rakosi: Despite Kun's pre-eminence, it is clear that Matyas Rakosi quicklyey figure in the Hungarian section of the Comintern. Tho sonmall Jewish merchant, Rakosi, like Kun, had served in the Austro-Hungarian army until bis cap-turo bv tbe Russians This marked theepisode of his career. Ho received intensive Communist indoctrination and roturned to Hungary tomall role in the Bela Kun revolution. In the exercise of his reponsibilitles, he demonstrated the enormous energy, driving will and absolute loyalty to the Kremlin that qualified him for his subsequent leadership of the Hungarian party. He wont back to Russiaeported to tbe Third Cominternon the Hungarian revolution and soon became secretary of the Comintern's Executive Committee. During his later career, he gained increasingover the squabbling factions of tbo Hungarian party and outplayed his Comintern colloagues, hard-driving but austere Erno Gero and Jozsef Reval, theideologist of the group. At some tine he became identified with the opposition to Bela Kun. When and upon what grounds remain to bo ascertained from ovi-dence not presently available.
Rakosi's main quality, as it developed through the years,hrewdness and flexibility that enabled him to use people of all capabilities in the fulfillment of Soviet purposes. The most hated man in Hungary during the post-WW II years, he inspired terror by bis ability to outmaneuver, confuse and divide his enemies and effect bis own ends. There is no doubt that these qualities of Rakosicontributed to the establishment of Soviet power in Hungary. There is also no doubt that the methods which he used robbed the party of any real basis of popular support in tbe country. Rakosi never willingly surrendered one lota ofocal Communist who for any reason whatever possessed independent strength in Hungary. From the beginning, he relied on members of his own cliquo to conduct important liaison missions and selectedof minorityactive leadership in Hungary, In all these respects, Rakosi was tho close counterpart of Stalin.
c. Efforts of the Comintern to Develop the Hungarian Party: At the instance of Bela Kun, the Cominternumber of efforts totrongmovement in Hungary. Success was at best mediocre. Three persons were sent, one after another, to assume leadership of the disorganized and mutually hostile factions of theatyas) and Zoltan Szanto. All were arrested after brief periods of activity. 8 Kun himself was arrested in Austria while seeking to reorganize one dispersed faction of the party. Of those attempts, that of Rakosi was most successful.fter the Comintern had pronounced theof the Hungarianfirst of three dissolutions Imposed byarrived in Hungary, well supplied with money and aidos, channeled through Vienna. With him came his right-hand man, Zoltan Vas (nrf Weinberger). They joined one faction of the disorganized party and organized the first party congress, held secretly in Vienna in On their return to Hungary both were arrested, tried and sentenced to prison Where tbey remained.
3. Hungarian Nativist Communists
The depression of tbe early thirties gave somo impetus to Communism, which may also have profited from dimming memories of the Bela Kun revolution. mall contingent of fightingwas added to the illegal party from among students in Budapest and other large cities and among industrial workers. But the Party line propounded by Bela Kun remained essentially impotent to draw off real strength from the two majorparties then active inSocial Democrats, powerful in the growing Hungarian working class and theSmallholders, representing the cause of agrarian reform.
a. Laszlo Rajk: The outstanding Hungarian recruit of Communism at this period was Laszlo Rajk. Neither Jewish nor "Muscovite" but of German origin, heroduct of Communist Influence on Budapest college students. Apparently possessed of considerablecharm, he succeeded in collecting arounda group of "Hungarian" Communists, some of them his fellow students at Eotvos College. Expelled from school, he appears to have joined the construction workers union and become sufficiently active as an organizer to have been arrested by the police. Tho nature of his activities, however, is completely
obscuredesult of revisions of historyby official Communist historians who first sought to build up his reputation and then to blacken it completely.
b. Communist Labor Leaders: ew Communist personalities gained some stature in the labor unions during the early thirties.* Among them, Janos Kadar wasmportant ln terms of post-WW II politics. Of possible Yugoslav origin, he came from Fiume to Budapest where he became active in tbe steel workers union and, on the eve of WW II, an influential leader in thoparty organization. It is probable that he gained his abiding Interest in security matters at this period. He did not, however, succeed in achlovlng top party leadership.
Other prominent Communists also were active in labor union politics, often as allies of left-wing Social Democrats. These Individuals, after thetake-over, would be advanced as genuineof the working class and given positions of power In the new government.
4, Shift of Soviet Tactics to the "United" and "Popular" Front
The major shift of Soviet tactics to the "anti-fascist peoples front" line enunciated by Dlmitrov at the Seventh Comintern) bad drastic repercussions on the Hungarianccording to tbe historian of the period, Gyula Kallai: "It was the historical task of the Communist parties of various countries to outline and put Into practice these general principles in conformity with the peculiarin their respective countries." The "letter ofof6 conveying the new Soviet line instructed local leaders to abandon tbe long-standing concept of the small conspiratorial party working for Immediate world revolution and to Implement tactics calling for creationbroad
* Other Communists or crypto-Communlsts connected with trade unions Include the following: An tal Apro (constructionstvan Bata, Arpad Hazl, Istvan Hldasaroly Kiss (leatberworkers), Istvan Kovacs, Istvan Kristof (leather-workers), Jozsef Kobolozsef Hekisandor Hogradlabor Peter, Laszlo PirosMibaly Zsoflnyecz (foundry workers).
democratic national unity front" which would appeal to allof the population, including the peasantry. This programharp shift to the right in theoretical terms.
a- Repercussions of the Fall of Bela Kun: Bela Kunajor victim or the change in tactics. He wasfrom the Comintern leadership and put toll members of the Hungarian party's centralwere assumed to be guilty of Run's heresy. The party Itself was dissolved.
" Bela Kun was condemned7 meeting of the Cunditera presidium presided over by Georgy Dimitrov. At this meeting Manuilsky presented charges that Kun had sharply criticized the Comintern direction of Hungarian party work and had attributed this failure in part to the "weak representation of the Soviet Communist Party in the Comintern." unfortunately for Kun, the Soviet party's representative was Stalin. Run's explanation that he meant Manuilsky was thrust aside. While Kun was led away by NKVD men, the other delegates sat in frozen horror. Those delegates included Eugene Varga, his collaborator in9 regime and rehabilitator (Avro Tnomlnen, quoted by Daniel Norman, New Statesman and
** Stalin defined the Trotskyite deviationonsidering world revolution was necessary before Socialism could be built in the Soviet Union;enying the possibility of drawing the peasant masses into socialist construction;enying the necessity of iron discipline in the party and allowing freedom of factional groupings.
These dramatic proceedings ledrisis whose full extent was revealed only in the course ofof de-Stalinization "Leftist"denounced the sweeping use of "front" tactics outlined in Moscow and calledeturn to original Communist. the immediate revolutionary establishmentdictatorship of then the words of Gyula Kallai, the chief historian of the period, "some workers do not understand that the policynited front does not mean the abandonment of the class struggle, but on the contrary is the only logical form of class struggleivenhe dissenters were denounced as "Trotskyites" by the party leaders in Moscow.**
The full story of tho consequences of the fall of Bela Kun remains to be written. Its immediate effect was to split off "Trotskyite" factions who claimed to preserve tho original doctrine, to strengthen anti-Soviet elements in the party and to augmentrevulsion at Soviet policy. These divisivewere later blurred over by party historians ln an attempt to preserve the myth of party unity.
Matyas Rakosi was fortunate enough to beungarian prison during this period. He was thus enabled to escape the consequences of the Stalinist purges while acquiring the status of official martyr of the party. In the meantime, his "heroic fortitude" was carefully recorded for the Communist faithful by his secretary, Zoltan Vas.
5. "Front" Tactics in
The late thirties were the .heyday, of united front andfront tactics In Hungary. The attempt to build anparty organization, combat-ready for the hoped-for seizure of power, was postponed in favor of the broadest oossible front tactics aimed at influencing legal parties to endorse Communist objectives. Meanwhile, Communists rebuilt their basic cells at the lowest level for the eventual reappearance of the party. As Kallai explains, the party needed members who wore not known to the police in the event of war.
a- Moscow Leadership: In the absenceentral organ-ization in Hungary, direction of the party cells was maintained from Moscow probably via Prague. During this period, top command appears to have beenby Jozsef Revai with the possible concurrence of Erno Gero and Mihaly Farkas. The correctline was Imparted to Communists in Hungarylandestine publication, apparently printed in Prague from material furnished by Moscow.
Revai, the sonell-to-do Jewish familyommunist intellectual of some reputation, was the authorajor work on Marxism which was circulated in Hungary prior to the war. Gero was well known among Hungarian Communists as one of the original underground party leaders. Energetic, austere and fanatical, he reportedly had done organization work in Western European Communist parties prior to his participation in the Spanish Civil War as the Comintern representative. His Moscow training may have included
work at Eugene Varga's institute. Unlike Revai and Gero, Farkas apparently waseteran of9 revolution. ungarian Jew born in Slovakia, Farkas had come into the Hungarian party via tbo Czechoslovak party. During the early thirties heommunist youth organizer in Western Europe and, like Gero, participated in the Spanish Civil War. He may have been the party's contact man in Prague during this period. With Rakosi, these threeGero andthe top command of the Hungarian Communist party In the WW II and post-war period.
b. "United Front" Tactics: The new tactics imposed on Communists called for an energetic attempt tothe Social Democratic Party in order toa "united front" of workers. While these tactics failed to win support among reputable Social Democrats, thoy contributed to laying the foundation for future co-operation with left-wing socialists (notably Arpad Szakasits) and thus the post-war subversion of the Social Democratic party. Communiststeady attack on "right wing" socialist leaders in an effort to divide the workers from their leaders. They agitated for strikes. They loudly called for opposition to Hitler. Their divisiveharp counterattack from Socialspokesmen who pointed out that Soviet-inspired Communist tactics in Germany had largely contributed to the victory of Hitler
c. The Debrecen Communist Group: Communist tactics had somewhat greater success among Intellectuals and youth. roup of young intellectuals at theof Debrecen responded to Communist lures and identified themselves with popular front tactics aiming at the penetration of radical agrarian Members of this Communist cell, led by Gyula Kallal, were of irreproachable Hungarian stock, some of them Protestant in background. They thus constituted one of the few authentically Hungarian elements in the party.* The concern of these young men for.land-reform ideally, suited the party'sof attempting toootho-ld in left-wing agrarian circles.
* The Debrecen Communist cell Included, beside Kallai, Ferenc Donath, Geza Losonczi, Szilard UJhely and Sandor Zold.
Kallai himself co-operated with the so-called "village explorers" io forming the "March Front"7 and later worked on the Social Democratic newspaporhus personally epitomizing tho "anti-fascist popular front" approach. Kallai and other members of his group appear to have establishedwith Rakosi in prison, though the channels arc not known.
of the National Peasant Party: enabled tne "village explorers" to formPeasant party and thus laid thepenetration which enabled the Communists toorganization to undercut tbe Smallholders inli period. Certain of the agrarianVeres, Jozsef Darvas, Ferenc Erdei)with the Communists in the period of WW IIbecame for all practical purposes Communists.
of the Nazi-Soviet: ByMuscovite leaders were ready to reorganize ain Hungary. ew central committee wasthe condemnation of certain members of theapparently withdrawn the following year.
By virtue of the Nazi-Soviet non-aggression pact and the ensuing resumption of diplomatic relations between Hungary and the Kremlin, tbe Communist party gained much greater freedom of action and even began toa legal periodical (Gondolat). Communists nevertheless still were viewed with great suspicion by the regime: Kallai statesumber of leaders were arrested This period came to an end with the Hungarian declaration of war on the Soviet.
Although Communists continued to achieve their greatest success among youth and Intellectuals, their identification with the Soviet Union made them objects of suspicion at this time. As Kallai points out, after the signature of the Nazi-Soviet pact, it was difficult for Communists to convince workers tbat "Socialism and fascism are Inexorableoreover, the Soviet attack on Finland brought them
great unpopularity, it is difficult to avoid the conclusion that the party, on the eve of the Hungarian entry into the war,egligible factor inpolitics and important onlyenter of subversion serving Soviet interests.
"Popular Front" Tactics: Hungarians in the Spanish Civil
Tha Spanish Civil Warpecial training ground for the most enterprising Hungarian Communists during the late thirties.. Soviet support for the Spanish Republican government took the form of sponsoring the formation of an International Brigade including heterogeneous Communist and "liberal" elements from various countries. Approximately one thousand Hungarian volunteers joined the brigade, formed the so-called "Rakosi Battalion" and thus acquired paramilitary experience that was of major importance during WW II. The commander of the brigade was Ferenc Hunnich, former officer in the Bela Kun army and byommunist of international reputation. Both Erno Gero and Mihaly Farkas reportedly were involved in the fighting, Gero allegedly as special representative of the Comintern. Among the outstanding leaders of the Hungarians was thedapest youth and labor activist, Laszlo Rajk, who performed an excellent job as political officer of the Rakosi Battalion.
In French internment camps, following the close ofa number of tbe participants in the Spanish Civil war were brought into close contact with representatives of Western relief agencies, including Noel Field, and with Yugoslavof the International Brigade. During this, the stage was set for the later tragedies of manyveterans. In these internment camps, Rajk and certain other Hungarians participated in discussions of Communist theory with Yugoslav leaders and apparently formed personal friendships which later marked them as potentially unrollablc in the eyes of the Kremlin.*
Rot all thes the Civil War veterans were called, were involved in Western or Yugoslav contacts which later would be Judged treasonable. Some appear to have Joined
*the following Spanish Civil War veterans were implicated in the fall of Rajk and suffered death or imprisonmentesult: Sandor Cseresnyes, Frlgyes Major, Laszlo Matyas, Laszlo Marschal, Karoly Rath, Mihaly Szalvay, Andras Tompe, Imre Gayer.
French resistance forces. Nogradl)thus escaped the stigma of the internment camps. The alleged CominternErno Gero, returned immediately to the Soviet Union and thus vas available as secretary to Dimltrov or Manullsky, to act as mentor for the Hungarian party during tbe remaining years before the advent of var.
Moscov Direction of the Hungarian Party ln WW
a. Formation of the Foreign Committee of the Hungarian Communist Party: The advent of WW II for the first time enabled all elements of the "Muscovite"to gather in Moscow and following the Hungarian declaration of war on the Sovieto initiate intensive activity for Hungary's Matyas Rakosi returned to Moscow in0 in exchange for flags captured by the Russians ln their invasion of He immediately took over top leadership of all activities. The Foreign Committee of the Hungarian Communist Party was formed shortly thereafter. Thus, even prior to Hungary's entry into the war, Communist leaders in Moscow wererogram for action lnHungary.
These activities centered around the Comintern. Rakosi.ember of the Comintern, apparently did not in theory hold the position of bead of theparty but in practice he made blmselffor all details of action and propaganda. Gero, Farkas, Revai and Zoltan Vas worked closely vith bim. Folloving the dissolution of tbe, Gero may haveomevhat greater role ln directing propaganda aimed at Hungary.* There is no evidence, however, that he offered an opposition to Rakosi's leadership at any time. Instead, he appears to have acted as Rakosi's right hand man.
Wolfgang Leonhard, an East German party official vho defected to the Yugoslavstates that Gero at this timepropaganda issued by the National Committee for Free Leonhard asserts that Gero vas believed by the Germans to occupyery high position in the Communist organizatibn yhlch continued the vork of the Comintern after its dissolution (Die Revolution entlaesst ihre Kinder).
h Radio'- Direction of the important broad-casts to Hungary emanating from Radiofor the national hero of the Hungarian revolution ofconfided to two Hungarians who are thus marked out as nationalist-oriented, Ferenc Munnich and Imre Nagy. Munnich enjoyed considerable prestige among Communists throughout Europeesult of bis leading role in tbe International Brigade in Spain. Imre Nagy, like tbe other Muscovites, hadinor role In the Bela Kun episode and afterward had worked in the illegal Communist organizationmall provincial town (Kaposvar) prior to histo the Soviet Union. An authentic Hungarian peasant, possessed of considerable Jovial humor, Nagy was trained in Soviet agriculturalat the University of Moscow and reportedly hadollective farm inow he was brought forward to issue propaganda whose target was thepeasant and which strongly emphasized theIntention of breaking up large estates and giving land to the farmers.
Radio communications formed the principal link between the Muscovite directors of the Hungarian party and their followers in Hungary. ally newsIdeological discussions and directions foroperations and training were issued by this modium. Rakosi himself spoke frequently over Radio Kossuth and for the first timeelatively large audience in Hungary. These broadcasts emphasizedasicationalization of great industrial enterprises and land reform as the future program of tbe Communists in Hungary.
"Anti-Fascist" Indoctrination of Prisoners of War: From tbe scanty and poor evidence available, it ap-pears that the Foreign Committee concentrated onlikely candidates from0 Hungarian prisoners captured In tbo fighting around Stalingrad. Spanish Civil War veterans and members of minority groups serving in labor battalionsarticular target for the recruiters. At two "anti-Fascist" schools, these "volunteers" wero subjected toindoctrination and then parachuted into combat zones or Hungary as couriers or partisan-fighters. Direction of this training was in the hands of Oero, assisted by such fanatical Communists as Erzsebet AndlCS>
In addition to the schools for relatively low-level prisoners, there nay have been an Institution for more desirablo recruits. Reports referchool set up near Moscow at which Revai, Nagy, the Varga-tralned economist Istvan Fries and possibly Eugene Varga himself taught Hungarians.
Party Activities, in Hungary during WW II
a. Leadership of the Underground: The whole story of the wartime activities of the Communists in Hungary is clothed in mysteryesult of the editing of historical fact by Stalinist historians intent upon building up or denigrating key Individuals in the party, notably Laszlo Rajk. It is known tbat the party went underground following Hungary'sof war on the Soviet Union. Gyula Kallai, then linked very closely with left-wing Social Democrats and National Peasant Party leaders, appears to have exercised public leadership of the party. Twowho died in prison (Rozsa and Schonherz) were described as top party leaders, roup of labor union activists, including sevoral individuals who came to the fore after the war (Janos Kadar, Gabor Peter, Istvan Kovacs, Antal Apro) apparentlyajor role. The full and true story of these "vents remains to be written.
Many of tie tried leaders of the party spent the war years in prison. Rajk was arrested shortly after bis return to the country ln the autumn1 and remained under detention untilben he was turned over to military authorities andto Germany. Nevertheless, he continuedto maintain his connection with theduring this period. Certain other leadersfreeonger time and kept up liaison with Moscow, and probably with the Yugoslav partisans aa well. Kadar, ln particular, reportedly4 while seeking to contact the Yugoslavs.
b. Front Tactics: On the surface, Communists co-
opcrated with the Independence Movement led bywho opposed the alignment of their country
ny. Kallai put into effect the customary Concuriist tactics of supporting left-wing elements ln legal parties (Social Democrat, Independentand National Peasant parties) while attempting to divide the more radical elements in these parties from their "right-wing" leaders. These tactics ledatastrophe for the Communist organizationearly Kallai vas responsible for pushing an apparently Innocent nationalist celebration, onarch, into an anti-regime demonstration which was broken up by police. Communist plans for big May Day demonstrations keyed to the "peace" theme were also abortive. Police swooped down on party bead-quarters and arrested three Central Committee members of whom two (Rozsa and Schonherz) died ln prison. Kallai himself was arrested on charges of treason but reportedly was acquitted.
A special effort was made to infiltrate Spanish Civil Varparamilitarykey points in the labor movement. In tho countryside, Communists sought to penetrate and control the non-political Peasants Association, using as theirthe ostensible Smallholder party member, Istvan Dobl. These activities were closely supervised by the Foreign Section of the party ln Moscow by means of directives broadcast over Radio Kossuth, illegal publications and personal liaison, often by parachute drops.
C. Dissolution of the Party: Formation of the "Peace Party1': esult of steadily increasing police pressure, local Communists lost heart and in3 used the dissolution of tbe Comintern as an excuse for dissolving the official party organization. This move was latermost serioust may have marked Kallai for eventual punishment as "an unreliable cadre." ew organization almost Immediately took the place of tbe disbanded party under the name of the "Peace Party."
Formation of tbe Hungarian Independence)
a. Re-establishment of the Communist Party: Communist
resistance to the Germans was greatly stepped up after the German Intervention to coerce the Horthyon Only with tbe approach of Soviet armies to Hungary's borders, however, did these activities gain real impetus. The Communist party
was re-formed In September and the Communist youth organization was called into exist.Mice again. An official newspaper edited by Ferenc Donath also made its appearance. The new party took its place in tho Hungarian Independence Front, along with theSmallholders Party, the Social Democrats, and the National Peasant Party. Within the Front, Communists and left-wing Social Democratsvery closely and, in fact, onctober signed an agreement looking toward eventual union of both parties.
Possible Role of Laszlo Rajk: Actual leadership of the Hungarian underground in4 may have been exercised by Laszlo Rajk, although titular leader Gyula Kallal assumed public responsibility. Ostensibly confined in Margit-Korut prison, Rajk allegedlyeasure of liberty from Horthy's counterespionage chief who himself belonged to the resistance. Rajk, for example. Is credited with preparing the text of the agreement for eventual union of left-wing Social Democrats and Communists. Much research would be required to approximate the true story of Rajk's activities.
The "fcestero Communists": Somewhat peripheral to these activities but of later political Importance woreCommunist activitios in Switzerland. roup of left-wing students and intellectuals linked with the Hungarian Independence Front carried onactivities gearod into those of the Contemporary sources reported thatin the Bela Kun revolution (the Hajdu brothers) were connected with this group. Their local loader, Tiber Szonyi, achieved sufficient stature in theparty toelatively influential(chief of cadres) in the Hungarian party on his return at the close of the war.
<i. Resistance Fighters: Rapid organization of reslst-ance committees under tho aegis of the Frontln the Budapest district during the late autumn The official Communist account* states tbat sabotage units were formed under tbe direction of Martonormer Socialnewspaperman, Gyorgyungarian army officer and Lajosational Peasant Party Journalist from Debrecen. Members of the Communist youthandperformed these missions. Similar units were formed in Budapest suburbs. One unit of the auxllllary battalions of the mobile police, organized from leftist Jewish elements, sabotaged transport in and out of Budapest.
10. The Partisans in Rakosi's Calculations
Rakosi apparently planned to have Hungarian partisans operating from the Ukraine and Slovakiaunction with resistance fighters in Hungary. These plans were aborted by the direct German take-over of Hungary onctober and the impositionazi-style Arrow Cross party dictatorship. Nevertheless, during the next month underground leaders ln Budapest continued to make plans for a
* Kovacs and Florian, Champions hongrois de lale1
general rising while partisan forces led by Sandor southward from the mountains. Both schemesdiverse elements composing tbe Hungarianwere, however, unable to agreeate for a
In this situation, Rakosi, ln good Stalinist fashion, exerted himself to maintain control of the Hungarian He despatched an emissary, Istvan Kossa, through the lines to relmpose Moscow's leadership on the disorganized and demoralized Communists in Budapest.
Soviet forces at Szeged and in eastern Hungary made no effort to reach Budapest but permitted the underground to be crushed by the Germans and their Arrow Cross allies. Only after heavy fighting was Budapest taken by Soviet armies the following January. This procedure permitted the Kremlin to avert the dangerenuinely representative government being set up in Budapest. Instead, the Soviet leaders forced resistance representatives to come to Moscow to negotiate an armistice and agree to the formationand-picked Provisional National Assembly which convened at Debrecen in December under the guns of the Russian army. This policy resembles in its general outlines Soviet policy toward the Polish underground, the sacrifice of the Polish resistance forces under General Bor-Komarowski and the establishment of the Lublin government under complete Russian domination..
The actual military influence of the Hungarianand the underground resistance was minor. Nevertheless, the partisan and resistance leadershipeyrole ln founding tbe new Communist regime and imposing tho Muscovite leadership and Soviet alignment on the In the immediate postwar period, moreover,in resistance activities was the test forof Communists and Communist collaborators which gave
* Partisan leaders who later gained prominence, beside Nogradi, included the following: Andor Tompe, Nogradi's politicalGyula Uszta, Pal Maleter (prominent figure in6 revolution) and Istvan Dekan in northern Transylvania: Janos Ratulovszky andin theouSSR-'Mihaly-Szalvay, istvan Hosts* and Laszlo-Cseby ln Yugoslavia (Kovacs and fiorian. Champions Hongrois de la) liberie^)
the participants importance far out of proportion to their numbers.*
FORMATF THE HUNGARIAN WORKERS: PARTY
1- The Muscovite- Leadership of the Party
The Ruling Clique: The exiled Hungarian Communistso-calledthe victorious Soviet armies into Hungary.* The contingent of Gero, Revai, Farkas and Imre Nagy reached the country first, on the heels of Soviet troops arriving at Szeged. Rakosi himself came later and entered the ruins of Budapest after Its capture by the Soviet army. With Zoltan Vas, these men comprise tbe six major Muscovite leaders. With the top leaders came the secondary contingent of lesser Muscovites, "anti-fascist" trainees and partisans. Certain other high-ranking Muscovites arrived somewhat later to take over special assignments.
Under cover of the doctrine that all classes not actually tainted with fascism could work towardsocialism ln Hungary, the new leaders promptly began toroad "national front" program aiming at building up Communist strength and subverting existing legal parties. As Rakosi later described the process,ynically candid address ofhe minority Communist partyuthless program of splitting toeby Rakosi, "slicingtaking step after step to setdictatorship of the proletariat" called the Hungarian People.'s Democracy.
term "Muscovite" is used to designate individuals whoong period of time in the Sovietthe period of WWwho received special training to fit themeading role in the Hungarian party. Several of these individuals are believed to hold Soviet citizenship (Rakosi, Gero, Farkas andlthough apparently Imre Nagy does not.
On the arrival of the top Muscovite leaders from the Soviet Union, the local bigwig Communists found themselves pushed into the background. The returning
group of Stalinist functionaries, instead, took over key positions in party and government for themselves within the framework of the Provisional Government formed at Debrecen.* Rakosi, as secretary general, was tbe undisputed leader of the party; he took-over the key government post of deputy premier in Gero, Rakosi's right-hand man, assumed tbe Ministry of Trade and Communications, and soonthat he Intended to rule Hungary's economy and effectively integrate it with the Soviet economy. Reval maintained bis former role of chief party theoretician. Farkas's activities were more At first working onlyarty official, be was appointed, inolitical undersecretary in charge of police in the Ministry of the Interior. As party second secretary under Rakosi, be clearlyecisive influence over security matters. Zoltaneneral trouble shooter specializing in economic and financial operationslandestine sort, became mayor of Budapest and later head of tbe Supreme Economic Council. Among this ruling group, Erno Gero clearly was second only to Rakosi and to some observers during the early days of the Soviet occupation, he appeared more important than Rakosi.
b. "Rationalistic" Muscovites: Among'the top Muscovites, Imre Nagy appears from the outset to havepecial case. Brought along to Implement the land reform which was counted on to win peasant sympathies, be was appointed minister of agriculture In tbeProvisional Government and held this.post until In drafting the measures for landhe relied on young local Communists, notably Ferenc Dooath. Nagy next was appointed to the critically important post of minister of the interior in the cabinet of Premier Zoltan Tildy but held this position only four months, surrendering it -in6 to Laszlo Rajk. Characterized at that timestrong Hungarianagy gained someamong Communists although be appears to have been regarded by the general public asfrom the ruling clique. The reasons for hisof the ministry have never been clarified,
"* Only one local Communistest in tbe Debrecen Government. Erikery close associate of Rakosi, took the Ministry of Social Welfare which .was counted on to give the Communists essential personnel Information and provide themeans of awarding or withholding benefits as desired. Tbe all-important Ministry of tbe Interior was coafidedcong-time Communist collaborator, Ferenc Erdel.(National Peasant Party).
although speculation at that time attributed it to lack of energy or possibly lack of knowledge of local conditions. Nagy was demoted to tbe relatively innocu-oua position of speaker of the parliament. Hemaintained his post as chief party expert onquestions and continued to belong to the
Several other Muscovites prominent ln the first years of the Soviet occupation apparently were markedreater degree of Hungarian nationalism than was later considered safe by the regime or for other un-clarlfied reasons were denied the advancement which they considered they had earned. In some cases, the reasons may have been linked to the factional quarrels of the 'twenties or 'thirties. Feroncn others, ambitious individuals with good connections in the Soviet Union. the writer Gyula Hay) were pushed Into the background by rivals more closelywith Bakosi. Since these individuals observed Communist discipline, the character or oven the- of their dissension froa the ruling clique did not come to light until many years later.
* until the autumn/ this meant the Soviet Element of the Allied Control Commission headed by Soviet Marshal Voroshilov and his deputy (and successor) Colonel General Svlridov. During this period, Rakosi formed close personal ties with Voroshilov which continued after the marshal returned to Moscow. After the withdrawal of the Allied Control Commission, Soviet political and economicSoviet ambassadors beginning withan increasingly important role in advising and shoring up the dominant Muscovites.
- s -
c. Soviet Support for the Muscovite Clique: Prom the first day of the Communist regime In Hungary it was apparent that the authority of the ruling clique rested on the presence of Soviet armies and the emphatic assuraoce of Soviet political and economic support in moments of crisis.* Any withdrawal of Kremlin endorsement for
Bakosi personally would place hia at the aercy offorces in the party and the countryhole. Within certain limits, however, Bakosi clearly wasarge measure of autonomy in choosing methods and individuals to implement the prescribed over-all policies in Hungary.
2. Elements in the Party
Nativist Hard Core: The first task of thetotrong party mechanism to controlin the interests of the Kremlin. Theyfrom scratch. Theymall hard core
of Hungarian membersardened in tho school of illegality and accustomed to followingfrom Moscow. They could counttrong youth element recruited among resistance fighters, Spanish Civil War veterans and partisans. umber of fanatical Communists returning from German concentration camps mustered around the party leaders. Severalleaders who had spent the mar years in Hungary were popular among localLaszlo Rajk, Janos Kadar, Gyula Kallai, Gabor Peter and Marton Borvatb.* Nevertheless, popular support for thewas so small that their total popular vote In the relatively free elections5 wasr9 percent of the total.
Opportunists: The broad "front" policiesRakosi during the first years of Sovietindividuals of many types to join theHungarians accepted the new regimeeasure of genuino co-operation in thethe regime wouldeasonable courseHungary couldpeedy recovery fromof war and Soviet looting, andenter of cultural and economic life in the
"*" In tbe general distribution of rewards to faithful Communists, Rajk took over leadership of tbe Budapest party organization with Kadar as his deputy, pending Rajk's appointment as minister of the interior in Marton Borvath, resistance leader and reputed former Zionist, became editor of Szabad Nop and members of tbe Debrecen Communist cell received important' posts: Kallai and Losonczi were awarded key propagandaFerenc Donath was appointed to the Ministry ofSandor Zold to the Ministry of Interior and Szilard Ujbely to the Ministry of Social Welfare. Other local Communists were provided with seats in parliament or jobs io the party apparatus.
Danubian basin. Optimists even hoped that thiscould be effected with Western financialsince it was clear tbat the war-torn Soviet Union was in no position to furnish adequate economic support. Other individuals hastened to join the partyeans of continuing their careers in government, the army or business. arge number of peasants came inesult of tho land reform. One important source of recruits was tbe plethora of low-level and middle-level Arrow Cross members proscribed by the other parties. esult of these tactics, the total party membership rosey5 with its major strength concentrated in Budapest. By the time of the third Communist Party congress, held ln September andarty membership had attained.
Dissidents in the Party: Such extremearoused the anger of certain partyhad wanted to setRed Budapest"who probably fancied tbat they might havea greater degree from the Soviet conquest ofunidentified older veterans ofnd many youthful fanatics" youthto have become embittered at the tortuousby Rakosi. Extreme left-wingsupported by factory workers also gavewere subjected to arrests in5 and Such dissension evoked sharp criticism fromintent on building up party strength even
at the expense of orthodox theories.
Democratic Elements: The Hungarian WorkersSocial Democratic Party had longajorthe Communists. Their wide influence overworkers and in trade unions made them aespecially in view of the strongof their most reputable leaders.* said in2 speech: "Our real competitors
ln the ranks of industrial workers were tbe Social
The Social Democrats4 percent of the total vote inovemberne half of one percent greater than the Communists.
Democratic Their leaders would havethe American or British occupation of Hungary and their great majority hated the Soviet Union."
In this situation, the Communists stepped up divisive tactics aimed at achieving an eventual merger of the two parties. They forced the formationleftist bloc" including both tbe Social Democrats and the National Peasant Party as an initial means ofcontrol. Tbey purchased the support of certain trade union officials of Social Democratic antecedents by the gift of top factory management jobs. They bound collaborating left-wing leaders so closely to Communist policies that they were indistinguishable from party members. 8 the Communists, on Kremlin orders, were ready to effect the union of the two parties. SubservientSzakasits andthe party and cajoled the rank and file intoerger with tbe Communists to form tbe Hungarian Workers Party.
The new party nowembership of nearly one million. nited party, Communists maintained complete control over essential cadreand soon began to purge former Social Democrats of suspected loyalty. Although Szakasits and marosan were provided with high positions in tbe united party, they clearly were subordinate to Rakosi and his Muscovite cohorts. The effect of the merger therefore was to further increase unreliable elements in the party, although it subjected them to severe Communist discipline.
The Collaborators: Closely allied with the ruling Muscovite: clique :headed by; Rakosi.were-.aagroup^of collaborating members from the nominally non-Communist Rational Peasant Partyew figureheads forced over from the Independent Smallholders by brass-knuckle tactics of the Communists. Such collaborators were intended to undermine support from tbe majorityparty among the peasants and bourgeois elements by giving an appearanceenuine democratic basis for the regime. Among these, the former "village explorers" Ferenc Erdei and Jozsef Darvas played the most consistently important "front" roles.
The Security Police: In view of the diverse and mutually hostile' elements composing the party it is apparent that security police controls would be
* <iaoor Peter never attained Politburo status, although he belonged to the Central Committee of the party.
extraordinarily important ln tbe conduct of party affairs. For these reasons, the relationshipthe party leadership and the State Security Authority (ATO and later AVH) assumes major interest. Nominally subservient to tbe Ministry of the Interioihis organization actually became the special security arm of tbe party leadership against enemies within and without the party. Peter himself,ongtime Hungarian Communist of Jewish origin and underground fighter during WW II, reported,directly to the Central Committee or Bakosl (and probably Farkas) on all matters ofhe AVH thus acted as tho key mechanism forthe hegemony of the Rakoei-Gero clique over the party and country.
CHAPTER III COERCION OF NATIVIST ELEMENTS IN THE PARTY
1. Tbe Experiment with "National*
a. The "Hungarian Road to Socialism": For the first threealf years following tbe Soviet occupation,party leaders encouraged Hungarians to believe that their country would be allowed toungarian road to socialism" within tbeof political and economic ties with the Soviet Union. This doctrine, termed "nationalas held by large numbers of Hungarians flocking into tbe party ln the post-war years. It emphasized the immediateof effecting "bourgeois-democratic tasks" instead of striving for purely Communist goals. Although this doctrine stressed co-operation with the Soviet Union, it tended to emphasize differences between Soviet and Hungarian institutions. While endorsing harsh tactics against "enemies of the state", it assertedthat progress toward Communism could be achieved without "dictatorship of theterror. Finally, lt emphasized theof tbe peasant element in the "worker-peasant" alliance aad played down the necessity of In effect, national Communism took the view tbat the cause of Communism would best be served in Hungary If local needs and local situations were taken into account.
*National Communism has been definedregional or local interpretation of Marxist-Leninist theory, opportunistically adapted to achieve certain strategic objectives."
To emphasize their encouragement of national the Muscovites gave Increasing prominence to certain local leaders. Two "Hungarian" Communists were eminently,o^tbe^roleuofepresentof the nativist element innational Communist" of great ability and determination and leaderignificant faction ln the party, and Janosative Communist whose 'more, pliant personality and working-class background fitted him to symbolize Hungarian nationalism withouthreat to Soviet control.
Laszlo Rajk: Laszlo Rajk vas chosen to symbolize these policies. Upon his return to Hungaryhort period of internment in Germany he vas al-loved by the Muscovites to assume leadership of the Budapest part; organization. This step vas taken by party leaders fully avare that Rajk's tvo brothers both had been leading members of tbe Arrov Cross party. Inajk vasraised to the position of party secretary under Party Secretary General Rakosi. Then in6 Rajk vas installed In the keyposition of minister of interior, vhere his main task was to weed out politically unreliable elements in the government. As minister, he had charge of Hungary's police and frontier forces. Staunchly reliable to the cause ofhe Interpretedtook obvious pride, as he stated during9 trial, in the claim of"best Communist." But contemporary evidence bears out the view that heationally oriented Communist who honestly believed lt might betoungarian road to Socialism" and who challenged even strong man Rakosi on this score. This did not mean, however, that Rajk was in anysoft" Communist. As minister, he enforced completely ruthless policies.
National Communist Elements in the Party: The Muscovites permitted Communists of nationalist orientation to take key places In theand party. Rajk,vho possessod clear talents for organizations and was obviously allowed latitude in selecting bis subordinates. Installed former Spanish Civil Var comrades inposts in the civilsuch
elements long ago had been liquidated In tbe Stalinist purges in the Soviet Union. The nationally oriented Tlborepresentative of the Swiss emigration, had charge of the party's cadre section, subject to the supervision of more reliable Communists. Other non-Muscovites staffed the Foreign Ministry. Communists,ln the small; Hungarian .army, also -leaned toward national Communism: Inspector General Palffy-Osterreicher, who had set up the army'spolitical sectionas charged with .this crime 6 tbe nationalist elementsumber of significant power positions andtheirhis own organization in the Ministry of the Interior.
Rajk's popular following contained diverseranging from extreme left-wing Industrial workers of Budapest and other key centers of industry to former Arrow Cross members who supported the one outstanding non-Jewish leader of the party. He alsored theratio- cf Cor.mur.ist youth andwho had taken part in the resistance or servod as partisans. Peasants who had received farms under the land reform and joined the party may also have looked to Rajkossible opponent of Soviet-style collectivization. All in all, Rajk's support in the party roughly parallels that of Imre Nagy. To non-Communist Hungarians, however, he was anathema.
2. The Condemnation of National)
The break between Tito and Stalin in tho spring8 inovitably produced drastic repercussions on Hungary. Tbe increasing independence of Tito and his evident popularity among some Satellite Communists obviously had caused mounting concern to tbe Kremlin. From the Soviet viewpoint, thepoint may have come with Tito's visit to Budapest ina triumphal tour of other Satellitebeumultuous welcome.
The communique issued by the Comlnform onuneTito, made clear that the Soviet path to socialism was henceforth to serveodel for all the Satellites including Hungary. "Class struggle" was to be intensified. The alleged Yugoslav over-reliance on the peasantry as
"pillar of the state" was repudiated. The Yugoslav practice of subordinating, in appearance at least, the party to the Peoples' Front was oxpressly condemned. Tho role of the party was to be emphasized. All departures from Soviet party usages and procedures were castigated as "arrogance" or "nationalism."
This communiquehattering blow to hopes of moderate Communists that Hungarian national interests and not tho rigid imitation of the Soviet Union might form the basis of the new order in Hungary. The condemnation of Tito marked asunreliable all the Hungarian party leaders associated with national Communism. Rajk himself went to Moscow, probably in May, presumably to defend himself against such charges. He did not attend the Cominforin meeting in June that expelled tho Yugoslav party: the Hungarian representatives were threeFarkas. and Gero.
The beginning of the end for Rajk startedugust when,eported visit to Budapest from Soviet party leader Zhdanov, he was transferred from the Ministry of the Interior to the loss strategic post of minister of foreign affairs. he temporarily retained his Politburo and Orgburo the conclusive character of his fall was evident.
3. Establishment of "Dictatorship of the Proletariat"
The condemnation of national Communism was followedharp turn to the left in ideological terms and the impositionull-dress Stalinist type dictatorship with Rakosi as little Stalin. "Reactionary elements in theharp warning to fall into line from the trial of Cardinal Mindszenty in ew Communist-controlled Peoples'Independence Front was formed to maintain the pretextemocratic system, followed by Communist-style elections and the proclamation of aPeoples Democracy. In theoretical terms, this meant that tbe "dictatorship of the proletariat" had begun and Hungary now was to "build the foundations of socialism" along purely Soviot lines.
Ideological Czar Rovai stated the facts of Communist domination with complete frankness In the party's theoretical journal of The Communist party,inority party in parliament and government, guided andthe country by virtue of its decisive control of the police and the presence of Soviet troops, always ready to support party officials. He appealed to party members not to be squeamish about the use of force: "We must clearly realize that periods may come in our evolution when the chief function
of the dictatorship of the proletariat will consist of exorcising force agains: enemies from within nnd from without."
Revai's unvarnished warning to party members reportedly caused consternation among optimists in the party who still hoped that the term "peoples democracy" might include at least some elements of Western democracy. However, there was little they could do. Just to make the situation unmistakablyounting propaganda campaign called for "vigilance" against Yugoslavia, the West and internal enemies.
Destruction of .National Communist Elements in the)
a. The Rajk Trial: The regime now moved to eliminate the national Comir-unists from the government and party. ave of arrests culminated with the detention of Rajk, Inspector Goneral Palffy-Osterrelcher, Police Colonel Bela Korondy, party cadre chief Tibor Szonyi, his deputy Andras Szalal, Pal Justus of the Hungarian Radiozar Brankov, former counsellor of the Yugoslav In mid-Juno Rajk was expelled from the partyspy of foreign imperialist powers and Trotskyist agent." One-third of the party was purged.
Oneptember Rajk and his associates were brought to trial for treason, espionage and "activitiesto overthrow the democratic state order." Thoy were charged with plotting with Yugoslav and Western intelligence agencies toonspiracy of party, police and army groups to split the party, murder the Muscovite leaders and seize power in the interests of Tito and the "American imperialists." The prosecution sought to show that this conspiracy had been organized behind the back of party and government officials and without the knowledge of Soviet authorities. Anti-Zionist aspects of the trial wore played up as were tho alleged contacts of Rajk with Noel Field. "Evidence" produced in the Rajk trial boiled down to the fact that any contact with erstwhile frionds of the Soviet Onion constituted treason when Soviet policy was reversed. In this sense, Rajk was the scapegoat for the Bloc's condemnation of Tito.
All the major figures in the Rajk trial were put to death. Tho less important principals (Pal Justuszar Brankov) survived undor sentence of life imprisonment. urrber of middle-levol party and governnent officials, however, spent long years in prison but re-emerged during the New Course.
High-Love1 muscovltea Adversely Affected by the Now Party Lfnei The group of "Moderate" nationalist Muscovites, including Imre Nagy, was affectedby the shift lo Soviet policy but was oot destroyed, presumably because its members did notasic threat to Communist and Soviet control.
Imre Nagy was dropped from the Politburo9 as the defender of individual farming. As Rakosiat the party Central Leadership meeting ofagy was then accused of "right-wingviews, convicted ofanti-party behavior" and eliminated from the Politburo (though not from the Central Committee.) 1 Nagy was able, however, to work his way back to the Politburo, it is probable tbat Nagy, as the only one of tbe original top six Muscovites who enjoyed any popularity in Hungary, was too useful to be sacrlflcled at this time and had to be savod for future employment ln the eventhange ln Soviet policies.
Apanish Civil War veteran, General
of Police Ferenc Kunnlch, was caught ln the backwash
of the break with Tito, Munnlch, who had held the
Important Job of chief of Budapest police forces under
Rajk, was suddenly.assigned as minister to Finland and
later transferred to Sofia. He remained ln the latter
relatively insignificant positionhen he
was given the key post of ambassador to Moscow by Imre Nagy.
Another high-level Muscovite adversely affected by the repudiation of national Communism was theGyorgy Lukacs. In the scathing criticism by Revai in the winterukacs was madeestern-oriented Communistwho believedthird road to socialism" and "underestimated" Soviet culture. Roval demanded that all writers conform to Soviet usages and follow party dictation.
Advancement oi "Moderate
a. The Moderate Nationalist Leaders: The ruling Muscovite clique sought toretense of nationalist orientation andase of support in the party by promoting leaders of the moderate nationalist group to replace Rajk and the national Communists. egree of success ineriod but came to an end with the deterioration of international relations resulting from the Korean War.
The group chosen to represent this policy included Kadar, Kallai and other members of the Debrecengroup and the former Social Democrats Szakasits and Marosan. These individuals appear to have been rather closely connected with Jozsef Reval whoa marked influence during this period.
Kadar took over Rajk's place as minister of Interiornd thus assumed the position of leader of the moderates. Like Rajk neither Jewish norhis presence in this critical ministry wasto serveront to conceal rapid Sovletization of Hungary. Apparently leaninghard" llpe based on the industrial proletariat, Kadar appears to have gone along with the program of rapidunder the new Five Year Plan. In fact, his ministry soon lost even nominal control of thelthough some semblance of authority was reserved to Kadar personally. There is no evidence that he opposed Sovletization; in fact, his presence at the9 meeting of the Comlnform in Budapest indicates that be supported the condemnation of national Communism.
Gyula Kallai was also called upon to play anpublic role in maintaining the pretense of nativist representation. He took over tbe Ministry of Foreign Affairs following Rajk's removal on the eve of bis trial. In this position, he wasbarred from taking any independent initiative by the presence of the Muscovite Andor Berei as his first deputy. Other native Communists advanced during the courseound themselvesimilar.
b. Sovletization: The rapid and nearly completeion of Hungary was proceeding under cover of these moves. This in turn strengthened the position of the
Rakosi clique. Rakosi as party secretary general and deputy premier directed over-all policies. Gero's hold over the country's economic life vas strengthened by his assumption of the position of chief of the newly established Peoples Economic Council. Revai, appointed minister of peoples Culture inupervised intellectual life and indoctrination. Mihaly Farkas tookew sphere of responsibility inhen he became Minister of defense. His earlier involvement in security matters presumably gave him special qualifications for replacing "security risks" ln the armed forces. His military qualifications were less evident; he had fought in the Spanish Civil War but lacked formal military training.
Economic Sovietization contributed greatly toadherents of the Rakosi clique with jobs and Influence. Rapid plant expansion took place by virtue of the plans prepared by Gero. The new enterprises were stamping grounds of minor Muscovites andof the ruling group. Party activities were stepped up throughout the economy in an effort to induce workers to produce more and endure the regime. This aifoin provided adherents of Rakosi with positions.
6. Elimination of Moderate Nationalists
The advent of the Five Year Plan the sharp stepping up of planned industrial output targets in the winter1 and the mounting "class warfare" on the land resulting from forced collectivization of the peasantry appear to have led to the purge of the moderate nationalist group. Such individuals were gradually eliminated from all positions of power0 Even an obedient Communist tool like Kadarcould not be trusted to implement Soviet directives correctly.
The dreary series of purges opened with clean-ups in the army and the AVH. The last remaining high-level nativistincluding General Laszlo Solyom, Chief of Staff, werefrom the army ln the summer Next, certain AVH officials who had participated in the collection of evidence for the Rajk trial were eliminated. During this purge, Farkas succeeded ln gaining greater influence by installing his Pon as chief of the department of foreign Intelligence (including operations in Yugoslavia). Political reliability became the secret of success in the army and the security service.
In the autumnhe purge extended to the Social Democrats. Even such stalking horses for the Communists as
Arpad Szakasits and Gyorgy Marosan disappeared into prisonarrage of charges by Rakosi that they had been inwith British, American and Yugoslav espionage No doubt their availability as collaborators had been seriously impaired by the imposition of Soviet work norms and methods on Hungarian workers, although there is noevidence to show that tbey opposed these measures. The removal of the Socialfaceless collaborators-was accompanied by the Sovletization of the labor unions to give full control to the regime.
Tbe pretense of moderate nationalist representation in the party and government continuedew more months. When Kadar resigned as Minister of Interior In* he was replaced by ua.member bf the Debroconandord. at this point Imre Nagy returned to the government as minister of food, presumably because his talents could be put to good use in this sector.
The second Hungarian Workers Party Congressarked tbe end of the last showroadly-based party. Rakosi and his Muscovite colleagues held the stage, callingast speed-up In industrialization to meet with Soviet demands resulting from the Korean war. This appears to have been the last blow to the willingness of doctrinaires to draw upon moderate support, In the springne after another, the old-time Hungarian Communist labor and Intellectualistdisappeared into prison. By the end of the year, Kadar, Kallai, Zold, Losonczy, and Donath were in prison. Only Istvan Kovacs held out as an ostensible nativlst representative in the Politburo.
The elimination of the moderates evoked widespreadamong tbe populace and in tbe party itself. Theof Kadar instantly provoked violentthe party. Trials of the purgeos were held infear that publicity would leadchism_in thewhen Kadar was
believed to uave ueun executed, large numbers of threatening letters were addressed to party functionaries by individuals who signed themselves "Kadar Guard."
Kadar ostensibly was relieved at this time to accomplish "other importantstvan Kovacs was concurrently relieved of his position as secretary of the Greater Budapest partyfor tho same purpose. It has been speculated that both men took part in the purge of the Social Democrats.
CHAPTER IV THE STALINIST
Rule of the Rakosi-Cero Clique
With the elimination of the remaining moderate nationalists, Rakosi ruled Hungary with the aidmall band of Muscovites, among whoa Gero was clearly pre-eminent,ising group of young "hard" Communist careerists of pronouncedinimum of Hungarian national sentiments.* TheWorkers Party with its adjunct the AVH ran the Hungarianthe party in effect was the inner clique of
*Tbe Rakosi-Gero clique includes the following individualsspecial fields of interest (underlined names areidentified onovember by the central executive ofSocialist Workers Party as adherents of theof the Rakosi clique"): Erzsebet AndlcsAntal Aprondor Berei (economicihaly Farkas (security, militaryaffalrej, Istvan Fries (economic, matters, (over-fell -economic, dlcfectlon) t
and civil policendras Hegedusstvan Hidas (heavyarton Horvath (director of Szabadaroly Kiss (cadre and foreignozsef kobol (laborstvan Kossa (industry, general trouble shooter), Istvan Kovacs (party cadre matters), Istvan Kristofrik Molnar (foreign affairs, law andandor Nogradi (military politicalyorgy Non (ideology andaroly Oltaszlo Pirosozsef Revaiela Szalalela Veg, Zoltan Vas, Mihaly Zsofinyecz, Lajos Acs (party cadre affairs! and Istvan Hata (array). Certain of tEese Individuals (Apro, Kiss, Kobol, and Kristof) represent somewhat more moderate tendencies.
Industrial enterprises of the country, labor unions andwere firmly under control of the party overlords. Such young fanatics as Istvan Hidas and Andras Hegedus were pulled into the central committee01 and rapidly promotediew to taking over top partyof heavy industry and agriculture. Another newcomer,ero protbgi ^sd farmer chief cf the economicagency (State Controlas appointed minister of interior in
The partytaken over control of youth and regimented it in the Hungarian Youth Association (DISZ). Protegesela Szalai and Gyorgythe organization in the interests of the ruling clique. Factionalism among theembers was ruthlessly suppressed by continuedand para-military training on the Soviet model.
In the party, no opposition was permitted. Chiefof opposing tendencies were dead or ln prison; rank and file opponents wore reduced to silence. Rakosi, boasting of the success of his "salami slicing" methods, might better have described them as the destruction of every element which gave any popularity to the regime. It was only too plain to allthat Rakosi's assertion was brutally true that Communist power rested in the last analysis on the presence of Soviet troops.
2- Increased Pressure on the Rakosi Leadership (Spring-Summer
Despite the success of these control measures, from the early springakosi clearly was under sharp pressureesult of tho general deterioration of the country'sposition culminating in the disastrous crop failure Although his rigid dictatorship based on absolute control of the party and the AVH continued to function as before, the appearance of anti-Semitic pressures in the Bloc the fall of Ana Pauker in Rumania) threatened to encourage latent anti-Semitism in the Hungarian party as well as the nationhole.
3- Rakosi Asserts his Leadership
Signs appeared early2 that Rakosi might beloud but by autumn he clearly was in full control of the He assumed the premiership onugust, anderies of steps intended to enhance his own personal standing, strengthen the top party leadership, purge "Zionist" elements ln the AVH and improve the country's planning apparatus. His "salami tactics" speech ofebruary,received favorableafter long delay, in the party theoretical Journal of June-July. The fact that this comment was written by Istvan Friss, generally looked on as liaison man with the Kremlin, was interpreted as signifying that Rakosi'a ruthless methodsfull Soviet approval. Reinforced by this endorsement, Rakosi gave enthusiastic encouragement to.the "cult of" in Hungary.
4. Changes In the Relative Positions of the Top Party Leadership
Personnel shifts during the late autumn2 had theof bringing forward an inner group of top leaders as tho supreme heads of the government and party. This group included the Muscovites Rakosi, Gero, Revai andnot Mihaly Farkas or Zoltana group of local "hard" Communists (Hidas, Hegedus, Istvan Kovacs, Arpad Hazi and Karolyost of whom wore of non-Jewish background. An eight-man com-mitteo appointed onctober to consider the report on the applications ofh Congress of the Soviet Communist Party (CPSU) included Rakosi, Gero, Revai, Nagy, Hegedus, Hidas, Kovacs and Hazi. The Inner cabinet of five deputy premiers appointed onovember included Gero, Hidas, Nagy, Kiss and Hozi, presumably representing respectively over-all direction of industry, heavy industry, agriculture, foreign affairs and police and security affairs.
Up- grading of Imre Nagy: The re-emergence of Imre Nagy in the top echelon of the government and of the party pointed up the change in the relative standings of the hierarchy. His increased stature was emphasized by his being chosen to deliver the main address in honor of the Bolshevik revolutionovember). The speech itself followed tbe usual Stalinist pattern, stressingmade by Stalin, Malenkov, Bulganin and Rakosi at the party congress. Nagy's re-emergence suggests that the critical problems of Hungarian agriculture were under consideration but does not clarify the positions taken by the various policy makers either in the Soviet Union or in Hungary. Nagy himself hadroponent of individual farming5 but In more recent years had been Identified with the harsh crop-collection methods applied during2 drought. His attitude toward the forced-draft collectivization instituted during the fall2 is not known.
b. Status of Mihaly Farkas: The omission of Mihaly Farkas from the top party and government bodies appointedthe autumn is striking. His failure to be appointed deputy premier meant that no representative of theMinistry was included at this level. It is true that Farkas several days later was awarded thetitle of General of the Army and that he continued to hold bis position as minister of defense and polit-buro member until the following summer.
The Hungarian counterpart of the Soviet doctors* plothoroughgoing purge of Jewish elements in the AVH, Justice Ministry and,esser degree, the Foreign Ministry. This purge appears to have been staged by Rakosi and Farkas in an effort to support the anti-Zionist campaign in the Soviet
Jewish leadership in Hungary was particularlyoUaboratlonZionist" agencies. Hnlike the other Satellites, Hungary had never completely halted the opera-
n.fhCare organization, the American Joint Distribution Committee (known as Joint). Since the agreement with Joint was made by Zoltan Vas with the concurrence of Rakosi, and since Rakosi also assumed final responsibility for security police operations, any purge of "Zionist" elements in Hungary threatened to involve the very top of the hierarchy.
Si inore07er' was also deeply implicated in security police misdeeds. His son was chief of the important foreigndepartment of the AVH and Farkas long hadey supervisory role for the party.
The sequence of events as narrated by
shows that the purge began before Christmas', when Rakositho ftrrest of Gabor Pe'er, chief ofghThese orders were executed by Farkas and his son shortly after Christmas. Young Farkas an-
5 Beetin*AVHchiefs held onhat the arrests had been effected on the basis of evi-
by thGstees under
fcfonieonths Prior to their actual arrest. Farkas informed his colleagues that Peter had carried on awithin the AVH, was an American agent and bad been an informer under the Horthy regime.*
r?vealed to the publicarrage of antl-zionist and anti-Western propaganda published in comment on the
Soviet doctors' plot. Onanuary, Szabad Nep announced that In Hungary "the danger and possibility or bostTTe undermining work is much greater" than in the Soviet Union. Zionist plot" had been unearthed, centering in the American Joint Distribution Committee and supported byBritish and Israeli intelligence organizations. Theof several leaders of the Jewish community, including the brother-in-law of Zoltan Vas,were disclosed. Finally,anuary, the removal of minister oi justice Gyula Decsl was announced. In the meantime, both Peter and Vas had disappeared from tbe public view.
A new leadership replaced the Gabor Peter clique in the AVH, Laszlo Plros, former chief of the border guard and reputedof Gero, became acting commander. An alternate momber of the politburo and Moscow-trained partisan fighter in World War II, Plros fulfilled two major requirements: he represented the young "hard" party leadership and he was not apparently Jewish.
6. Removal of Zoltan Vas as Planning Chief
Tha possible ramifications of the alleged Zionist plotbe suggested without reference to the reported struggle between Zoltan Vas and Erno Gero to fix responsibility for the economic crisis which was reducing Hungary to bankruptcy. The tip-off was given by Gero io his November report to the central committee of the party. At that time, Gero sharply attacked the State Planning Office directed by Vas for poorGero himself, as economic czar, obviously bore final
The precise economic doctrines espoused by the two men are not known. Vas, as chief of the Supreme Economic Council until9 had been associatedumber of shady dealstouick forint to save the financially hard pressed regime. Gero, as chief of the Peoples Economic Council established9 appeared to follow more orthodox methods of industrialization. Vas, an opportunist of many skills and amazing political agility, probably was personally antipathetic to the rigidly puritanical Gero. Vas, moreover, was personally vulnerable: he had been closely related to several high-level defectors and was directly Involved in the security police purge through his connection with the Joint agreement.
Information on the possible backing of Gero byMoscow la scanty. I
I anaiws mat uero caned on Eugenecame to Budapest and underwrote
Gero's policies. This support emboldened Gero to continue his
report that Vas was dismissed
from the Planning UHlce alter Gero forced him to admit to "gaping indolence" in the discharge of bis duties. He vas replaced by Ferenc Hercog, an obscure functionary in the Planning Office.
Vas probably was saved from severe punishment by theof Rakosi and the death of Stalin. Although the report that Rakosi appealed to Suslov to save Vas from trial has not been confirmed, it is possible that Rakosi used this channel to save his old friend from involvement in tbe purge of Beriain Hungary.* esult, Vas' punishment was limited to dismissal from the Planning Office and banishment to the Komlo hard coal mines as director, presumably for the purpose of purging himself of guilt by demonstrating his meritsood Communist manager. Although his elimination from the polltburo was not immediately revealed, it vas clear that his careerop government and party official vas at an end.
7. Alleged Rakosl-Gero Rivalry
* vas was also said toersonal friend of Soviet Marshal Voroshilov and his wife.
It vould be an attractive hypothesis to speculate that the dismissal of Vas and the security police purge vere reflections of an alleged rivalry between Gero and Rakosi for top position in Hungary. During the winter and spring3 individuals who had been particularly associated withHazi and the nev planning chiefin the ascendant, vhile individuals vho had been closely associatedloud. There is, hovever, no firm evidence to substantiate this contention. It Is more likely that Rakosi, in order to cope with the desperate economic situation, sacrificed his friend Vas as he hadong line of earlier proteges. All evidence points to Rakosi and Gero working very closely together to setystem which would satisfy Soviet requirements and ensure the continued tenure of power by their own clique.
HE NEW COURSE:
1. Immediate Consequences of Stalin's Death
of the Ruling Clique: The abrupt announcementMarch that the old despot was dead gave ato the Rakosi clique. Rakosi went toattendedew protege, Rudolf Foldvari,out of tbe blue at this juncture. Thehigh position of Imre Nagy in the governmentwhen he was chosen to deliver theaddress in parliamentarch). Gero'sappeared unchanged. In short, the Rakosievery evidence of being In full control of
Reversal of the "Zionist Plot": Theto Stalin's death was tbe partial reversalHungarian "Zionist Plot." The party press onreportedoctor at the AVH hospitalarrested for Illegal use of "truth" drugs on and noted that two other doctors had beenat the same time. One of the latter bada denunciation of the arrestees In theplot. Later evidence identifiedlose associate of Gabor Peter. Peter was not released.
Six days later, the elusive Zoltan Vas wasrehabilitated. He appeared at the opening of parliament, smiling broadly and arm-in-arm with two old friends, lt appeared that certain members of the Rakosi clique had been saved by the opportune death of Stalin.
2. Indications of Vacillation and Lack of Directives
The three months following Stalin's deatheriod of confusion and conflicting "hard" and "soft" tendencies in Although proponents of the "hard" course appeared to bold the upper hand, representativesew "soft" approach began to raise their heads. This confused situation clearly indicated an absence of firm directives from Moscow and the consequent insecure position of Rakosi.
andinternationalism": Theline oi the new era was setRakosi ininhile he was stillentitled "Tho invincible Stalinist bannerinternationalism." Rakosi presentedthemes of Stalin worship, imitation ofUnion and denunciation of imperialism. no hint of softer policies to come.
The choice of Arpad Hazi, who was popularly crodlted with carrying out the anti-Zionist purge, to deliverpril "Liberation Day" address alsoictory for the doctrinaires. The speech gave evidence of last minutewas based almost entirelyery "hard" article Just published in the Comlnform journal by Szabad Mep editor Marton Horvath. Campaign speeches prior to theay elections likewise bore the stamp of the doctrinaires. The clearest ovldence of tbe continued domination of orthodox emphasis on heavy industry vas presented ln Rakosi's revelation of plans for the second Five Year Plan due to beginther articles and pronouncementsimilar Imprint.
First Evidence of the "Thav": The firstthe "thav" appears to be an article ofprilHay, first deputy minister of foreignthe satisfaction of the "constantlymaterial and cultural requirements of the iscussion of Stalin's EconomicSocialism, Hay underlined the theme that thethe primary duty of "caring for men,"veil-being and education of the people" and"ever-increasing quantities of consumers goods"people. Various other themes later IdentifiedNew Course were voiced by Hay in this article.*
himself was identified with the ruling Rakosi clique but as deputy foreign trade minister had stood somewhat out of the main line of "Stalinist" policies. During World War II, Hay had served in the Soviet Ministry of Foreign Trade under Mikoyan and, in the spring2 had attended the Moscow.ational Economic Conference. His emergence as harbinger of the New Course in Hungary assumes special interest in this
3. Prelude to the Announcement of the New Course
Immediate antecedents of the announcement of the New Courseeported major purge of tho judiciary and State Office (early June), isit by Rakosi accompanied by Farkas to Moscow (earlyounterpart trip of Voroshilov toune) and the sudden appearanceampaign of letters of complaint addressed by workers to the party. Those developments may have been accelerated by the East Germanofune and the Czech riots at Plzen at the end of May. Although evidence is lacking, these developments suggest that the party leaders may have received the nod from Moscow to go aheadrogram of conciliating the masses.
Onune, the New Course was directly foreshadowedzabag Nep article which asserted: "We realize that the stand-aroof living must be constantly raised. We haveesson from the people. Ineglect of the workers' interests is apt to seriously weaken the ties between the Party and the masses."
4. The New Course
a. The Program: The New Course, announced abruptly between the end of Juneuly, was designed to unify and revitalize the party through the formula voiced by Imre Nagy calling for the creationenuine popularand encouragement to the national pride of The counterpart of this political programore popular system of economics aimed.at giving better support to private farming in order to augment production and providing more consumer goods for the needs of the people. In the new terminology, the devils wereexcessive industrialization" and "mechanical imitation of the Soviet Union;" the magic words were "collectivesocialistnd "unity."
h. Rakosi and Nagy: The Hew Course was dominated by two personalities, Matyas Rakosi and Imre Nagy. Rakosi, the old master of Communist tactics, at the beginning obviously felt sure that he could control tho country's evolutioneriod of greater relaxation, through
his complete domination of the party network, and thus retire into the background without surrender ofpositions. The repeated endorsement given his leadership by Marshal Voroshilov and Suslov suggests that the Soviet party leadership approved of histo the problem of effecting the transition from the Stalin regimeew and as yet undefined era.
Imre Nagy, inas the least known of the major Muscovites who arrived in Hungary with the Soviet armies. In the popular mind, his identification with the land reform had been somewhat compromised by his harsh tactics as crop control minister. Nevertheless, he alone among the original top Muscovites enjoyedpopularity to enable him torogram of incentive measures intended to regain goodwill andproduction in Hungary. Moreover,oviet-trained agricultural expert, he had stature torogram designed to expand Hungary's agricultural He had given evidence of genuine leadership qualitiest other periods he had demonstrated his ability to perform an assignment competently.
Promiewpoint, Nagy at this time probably appeared to be personally weak and therefore well fitted toool of the party leadership. Still suffering from the stigma of9 censure, Nagy might beto show docility to party direction. Theself-confidence and authority which marked Nagy's career after the summer4 probably came as ato Rakosi.-'
5. Announcement of the New Course
The New Course was revealed in Hungary in twoparty reorganizationune and the government reshuffleuly. eeting of the centralisit by Rakosi to Moscow, outwardly drastic changes in the top party leadership were announced. Thirteen top-level polit-buro members were dropped, including three of the original six
top Muscovites (Farkas, Revai, Vas) and thecalled the politicalreduced to nine full members and two alternates. The orgburo was abolished, while thewas completely recast. Rakosi retained his leadership as party first secretary, with two rather obscure young men as secretaries. By these moves, the political committeeard core "collective leadership" while thewith expanded policy-making powers, was the docile instrument of Rakosi.
*mre Nagy' as Punier, spelled out thethe Mew Course. Concurrent changes in the governmentto streamline the governmental machinery. tne new cabinet underlined the continued control ofclique, although Rakosi himself was replaced bydeputy premiers wereand Hegedus. Gerokey post of minister of interior. Several youngmen assumed important ministries, notablyminister of agriculture and Bela Szalai as chief of theOffice. Revai left the Ministry of Peoplesdominant control continued to be exercised bv aRakosi, Gyorgy P S
a- Status of Farkas: Mihaly Farkas was dropped from the Politburo and lost his post as minister of defense. His lack of military training probably disqualified him for retention of tho defense post where he wasby an officer with better qualifications. His past association with security police matters may also haveerious liability in an epoch when the Kremlin sought to show Its repudiation of security policy tyranny by the dramatic purging of Beria and his associates. Doubtless he owed his restoration to high position to Rakosi. In any case, he was appointed secretary of the central committee onugust.
b* Gero as Minister of Interior: The appointment ofarty leader Gero as minister of interior and the concurrent incorporation of the AVH within thereflected the obvious concern of the ruling clique over retaining the closest possible control of the security police. According to
the moveictory for the 'avh itself, since it was enabled in this manner to establish control over
and to strengthen its own position witnin tho government. The acting chief of the
AVH, Laszlo Piros, became first deputy minister of Interior and later replaced Gero as minister. The .
continued exceptional jurisdiction of the AVH over
cases of anti-regime activity was assured by assigning to them, investigations of cases involving treason, espionage and "other especially dangerous anti-state criminal activity."
6. Rakosi's 11 July Pronouncement
Repercussions among middle and low level party leaderswith these developments were immediate and shattering. These functionaries obviously were unprepared for the sudden shift in tactics and apparent goals announced by Nagy. Tbey were not sure wbether there hadeal change in the party leadership itself. Officials in the countryside, faced with the unauthorized exodus of farmers from collectives, sometimes fled to the city. Tbe demoralization of the party officialsthe first serious blow to the party's hold on Hungary following Stalin's death.
In this situation, Rakosi took the rostrum onuly to reassure officials that the new policies were genuine but tbat basic Communist doctrines would not be sacrificed. He also asserted that high party officials eliminated from theand governmental posts had not been purged but merelyto other duties. Heoctrinaire.attitude on agricultural politics. "Thee declared, The leopard cannot change his spots."
Rakosi's move had two consequences. It clearly showed tbat only the old .master himself at this juncture was able to command the allegiance of the party machinery which he and hisassociates had brought into being. Upon tbe general public, however, tbe address produced an immediate dampening effect. Nevertheless, even Rakosi's partial endorsement of tbe new policies had the effect ln the long run of convincing thethat certain genuine benefitseal relaxation of tension were in prospect.
7. Doctrinaire Opposition to New Course Economic Policies
The basic lines of doctrinal opposition to New Coursepolicies became clear in October. At the meeting of the party central committee, "left-wing" critics apparently championed the view tbat only orthodox Communiststepped-up Industrialization andcure Hungary's basic economic ailment, low productivity. ore moderate group appeared to believe that concessions along Now Course
linesecessary temporary expedient to regain control of tbe situation prior to the inauguration of tbe Second Five Year Plan. At this meeting, Rakosi supported the Nagy policies.
Doctrlnarles: The spokesman for this groupto have been Istvanmysteriouswho long had acted as economic liaison man This group was subjected to sharp criticism
by the central committee resolution publishedovember for "lack of understanding, adherence to the old and accustomed way and even opposition." Singled out for special criticiem were the State Planning the Ministries of Heavy Industry, of Foundry and Machine Industry and tbe planning and financial section of tbe central
Doctrinaires: During the first months ofCourse Gero identified himself with aattitude toward the Nagy policies, in lineposition. It became apparent, however,sacrifice of orthodox industrialization policies
to the necessity of building up the agricultural sector and gaining popular goodwill was basically antipathetic to Gero. Nevertheless, in his Lenin Dayero performed self-criticism for past "exaggerated policy of socialist industrialization" at the expense of the standard of living of workers. He endorsed Nagy's policies) although with certain For example, he declared: "Every socialist country must support the peasants to thesmall farmers as long as they remain small farmers."
During the autumnarnings that "collectivemust be strengthened became increasingly frequent. These warningsrescendo in January on the eve of elections for delegates to the Third Party Congress due to meet in tho spring. The official party newspaper during this periodinstructed party members to unseat the "little kings" and "burocrats" who had domineered over the party and robbed members of initiative.
Repercussions of the Beria Case
Rakosi managed with his old skill tbe domestic repercussions of the Soviet announcement of Berla's execution. Onarch,
Hungarian authorities released the news that Gabor Peter hadentence ot life imprisonment for "crimes against the people andhile other former security police officials also had been given heavy sentences. Lesserinvolved in the "Zionist plot" were given shorter prison terms for such minor offenses as black-market operations. Some were released. The liquidation of Soviet holdings in Hungary also passed off without incident. Outwardly at least, ittbat Hungary might be throwing off the onus ofwithout serious political repercussions.
THE NEW COURSE: PHASE 2: NAGY ASSERTS LEADERSHIP
1- The Third Party0 May)
At the third congress of the Hungarian Workers Party, Rakosi clearly appeared to dominate the party. Just homeisit to Moscow with Nagy and Gero, Rakosi appeared in company with his old friend Voroshilov who acted as Soviet representative at the congress. Voroshilov's speech sharply underlined theof collective leadership, avoided personal endorsement of either Rakosi or Nagy, and emphasized Hungarian nationalincluding "traditional" Hungarian-Soviet friendship.
Rakosi's five-hour address was marked by emphaticthat new course tendencies would continue under the Second Five-Year Plan due to start6 in co-ordination with the other bloc countries. His stern warnings against "right-wing opportunistic" excesses, however, reveal that party leaders were seriously alarmed at evidence of relaxation of discipline coming to light in the party and nation. He emphasized the necessity of iron discipline" and declared: "The correct policy of our party must be defended against both left-wing and right-wing dangers and We musttand everywhere against the spirit of impermissible liberalism and forbearance which prevails in many places in our party and government." He disclosed that the very large number of withdrawals fromfarms was causing concern to the regime and made clear that collectivization would continue: "Notoment can we forget that this unavoidably is the road to build socialism in the countryside." He also revealedew Peoples Pront was to be formed in the near future.
Gero's report on Industrial problems was even morein tone than Rakosi's address, marking him clearly as the leader of theof the new course. He emphasized that the country's economicwere not being solved by the new measures but were even growing. He dwelt on declining productivity and risingcosts. His gloomy evaluation was echoed bv bis voune "hard" disciple, Istvan Hidas.
Imre Nagy, in his address to the congress, reflected greater authority than bad previously been noted by observers. In his
report on governmental policies, he laid major emphasis onseparation of government and party, stressed thelocal government organs and demanded much closerparty and government functionaries and the massespeople. It was evident that he interpreted his missionfor the establishment of popular confidence in thealthoughompletely "Leninist" sense. Thegaining this popularity was to be the new Peoplesbroad and all-inclusive mass movement, the backboneis the worker-peasant This definitiondiffered from the concept of Rakosi which remaineda party functionary.
Certain organizational changes were made at the congress which had the effect of strengthening collective leadership. The political committee was reduced to seven full members and two alternates.* The secretariat was stripped of itspowers, in theory at least, and under the revised party statutes became an administrative body.** Subsequent evidence suggests that elections to the central committee by the congress made it more responsive to the leadership of Imre Nagy.
2. EmergenceNagy Team"
members wore: Rakosi, Gero, Nagy, Farkas, Apro,
Hidas, Hegedus, Acs and Szalai; candidate members were Bata and Mekis.
** Rakosi and Farkas were the only well-known members of the secretariat. Other members were Acs, Veg and Matolcsi.
*** Szanto was subsequently elected to the party's central leadership at the third party congress. rother-in-law of Jozsef Revai, he was ambassador to Yugoslavia priorfter tho break with Tito, Szanto was appointed minister to Paris where he remained until his appointment to the information office.
The first significant appointment indicating that Nagy was beginning to buildpecial governmental team to implement his policies occurred prior to the congress. Onarch, Nagy appointed Zoltan Szanto toewly instituted information bureau reporting directly to the Council of The new bureau was at least nominally independent of the Ministry of People's Culture. Szanto's deputy, appointed somewhat later, was Mikloseading journalist who later took an important role In the so-called Writers Revolt. It seems possible that the Information office was one of the connecting links between Nagy, as head of the government, and the group of young Communist intellectuals who were pushing for reformate faster than the party leadership desired.
A second Muscovite who rose to high position during the Nagy era was Ferenc Munnich, Nagy's former colleague on Radio Kossuth during World War II. eptember, Munnich was chosen to serve as Hungarian ambassador to Hoscow, thusfor the firstank commensurate with the reputation he had enjoyed in earlier yearseading Hungarian The fact that both Szanto and Munnich, both Spanish Civil War veterans and "oldould presumably be acceptable to Tito may haveart in motivating these appointments.
A third Muscovite who seems to have prospered during the Nagy era was Laszlo Hay, long-time deputy minister of foreign trade whouly was advanced to full minister. It will be recalled that Hay's article of3 was one of the earliest public appearances of new course doctrine on consumers goods and welfare of workers.
Other individuals who now or later were closely identified with the implementation of the Nagy policies were hit- son-in-law Ferenc Janosi and several younger Communists Including Geza Losonczl and Ferenc Donath. Janosi occupied the position of first deputy minister of people's culture for the1ith the exceptionhort interval between March and3 when he was apparently replaced by Rakosi's protege Gyorgy Non. Losonczl and Donath had been closely associated with Nagy in the immediate post-war period during the implementation of the land reform and popular front policies.
Two of Rakosi's former closest associates were linked with the NagyFarkas and Zoltan Vas. Farkas appears to have been seeking to bolster his own position, exceedingly
shakyesult of mounting attacks throughout the bloc on past security police misdeeds. Zoltan Vas, opportunist and scapegoat for economic failures under the First Five-Year Plan, apparently also sought to work his way backosition of power by supporting Nagy. From4 he was attached to the Council of Ministers in an undefined economic capacity.
Party Dissension over Role of Patriotic People's Front
The first evidence that Nagy, in an effort to win popular support for the regime and implement new course policies, would attempt to circumvent Rakosi's directives appears in partyleading to the formation In August of the Patriotic People's Front (PPF). It is also possible that Nagy was able to exert greater influence on Szabad Nep during tbe summer. Observers noted that this newspaper began to show signs offreer criticism of conditions in Hungary.
As envisaged by Rakosi at the party congress, the front was designed to be another means of regimenting the public,in Communist-controlled mass organizations, for theof endorsing the government policies in the localelections scheduled forovember. According to Rakosi's report to the central committee onagy from the outset disagreed with tbe party leadership on the composition and functioning of tho PPF. Nagy, who was not present at the party meeting, had contended that the front must be formed by individuals and not mass organizations. Rakosi rejected this proposal on grounds that the PPF wouldival of the party itself. The matter appears to have been left in this form for consideration by the forthcoming central committee meeting.
4. The "Test of Strength" 3 October)
The meeting of the central committeectober was, in Nagy's phrase, the "test of strength" between new course adherents and their critics. An open clash apparently occurred when the latter demanded that curbs be placed on tho purchasing power of peasants in order to halt inflation. Nagy countered with strong arguments that the confidence of the peasants must not be destroyed by such measures if the regime hoped to increase agricultural production. Instead, their confidence must be
retained by augmenting tbe supply of consumers goods. He sharply condemned tbe defeoders of accelerated industrialization and charged such policies "undermined" the vorher-peasant alliance. He further charged: "The faults of our economic policy" and "mistakes in party leadership" had the same root: "one-man" leadership. This address, published in Szabad Nep onctober, vas the clearest statement to date of Kagy's doctrine.
Hagy vas able to carry tbe majority of the central committee along vith him, apparently over the bead of Rakosi. Theresolved to continue Nev Course policies and condemnedfostered by ideologically unsubstantiated and mistaken conceptions vhich mean to solve our difficultiesurtailment of purchasingis, by loverlng the standard of living of workers and peasants." Tbe resolution further excoriated theostered by those vho regard certain measures aiming at the development ofne-sided peasant policy." It called upon the political committee to formulate "within thisetailed program for the application of nev coarse policies. This resolution was published in Szabad Hep, three weeks after tbe meeting onctober.
All the top partypublishedof the central committee resolution, emphasizingfacets of the doctrine. Farkas, speaking to university activists ooctober, condemned "mechanical imitation of the experience of the Soviet Union" and made the point: "In our country the building of socialism proceeds ln an International context entirely different from that of the What was cor rect ln the Soviet Union had proved wrong in our country,istorically totally different situation." Zoltan Vas, in Szabad Nep onctober, laid himself open for future criticism by stigmatizing as "irrational" tbetoHungary asand of iron andnd ridiculing the great Stalin City (Sztallnvaros) show project. Brno Gero, who more than any other individual was responsible for "old course" policies, had the task of reaffirming the decisions of tbe central committee. He declared: "Those who stand in the way of party policy must be swept aside**?
irect warning to "left-wingstvan Frlss was relieved of his functions as chief of the party's economic and financial department and relegated to an honorary post.inisterial reshuffle placed Bela Szalai, former planning chief, at the head of the Ministry of Light Industry with the mission of stepping up consumers goods On the other band, tbe appointment of Andor Berel, an old-time associate of Gero, to replace Szalai as chief of the planning office was not reassuring to new course proponents. Moreover, Brik Molnar, Rakosi's long-time tool, now took over the Ministry of Justice.
This central committee meeting marks the high point of Nagy's control of the party. But the departure of party leader Rakosi for Moscow, either during or immediately after thecommittee meeting,lear warning that he wasconcerned over exaggerated new course tendencies and was consulting with friends in the Kremlin.
5. Patriotic People's Front
The two-month period during which Rakosi remained inwas the high point of the Nagy era. In Rakosi's absence, Nagy remade tbe PPF to conform with hiso embody "the poetic concept of the people's sovereignty" and, if possible, reawaken the genuine communist enthusiasm of the postwar period. Szabad Nop set the tone0 October editorial denouncing "left-Ting narrowmindedness, factionalism" and calling for party domination of tho new organization. Nagy induced the central committee to elect the author Pal Szabo as president of the PPF and, as secretary general, his own son-in-law, Ferenc Janosi. Nagy also induced the politburo to adopt as tbe official PPF organ, not Szabad Nep, but the unaffiliated newspaper Magyar Nemzet. The ostensibly-non-Communist editors of this newspaper were kept at the helm.
By these steps Nagy provided himselfoliticaland newspaper independent to some degree of Rakosi's control. From its first4he PPF strongly emphasized "Hungarian" themes that drew support from young party Intellectuals andorum for ambitious newcomers in tho countryside. its president. Pal Szabo, phrased"deliver the country from indifference, apathy andhe PPFlatform for opposition forces who had been barred from free expression by theof the Rakosi clique on intellectual life.
6- Release of "Victims of Stalinist Oppression"
Following the central committee meetingctober, Istvan Kovacs revealed that the regime had begun to release Communists "unjustly" Imprisoned on tho basis of evidenceby former AVH chief Gabor Peter and his associates. This move, intended to restore initiative and unity to the party, cameesult of Soviet pressure on the Rakosi The releases may also have been designed to facilitate the resumption of friendly relations with Yugoslavia.
Members of the nativist group arrested1 were the first to reappear. Janos Kadar was reportedly liberated in
September and was immediately appointed toistrict party organization in Budapest. Gyula Kallai was freed about the same time. Other party moderates were released concurrently. The institution of the PPFechanism where their services could be utilized pending their full rehabilitation by the party. Both Kadar and Kallai were elected members of the PPF council at its October congress.
Other political prisoners were liberated later in the autumn, including Noel and Berta Field "ormer Social Democratsyoytrj Marosan and" even right-wing socialists who had opposed fusion with the Communists were released in coming monthsove to evoke favorable comment from foreign socialists who had long agitated for the releases.
The liberation of large numbers of arrestees, many of them not completely rehabilitated, meant that many embittered, fearful men had beeneasure of freedom which might be withdrawn at any timehange of policy. For this reason, any future indications that the regime intended to revert to harsh coercive tactics might drive certain of these individuals to join with any resistance forces which might be available. But, more immediately important for tbe Rakosi leadership, the move greatly reinforced opposition forces within the party and pointed up the incongruity of continued retention of power by men who, like Rakosi andwere identified with the avowedly unjust punishment of former party leaders like Janos Kadar.
7. Status of Affairs,4
Foreigners noted during the summer and fallhange for the better in the well-being and self-confidence of Economic conditions were somewhat improved and consumers goods were more available. Peasantseal increase in their standard of living. These improvements were accompaniedrowing popular willingness to criticise the regime and demand changes in theompletely new system. Leaders of the PPF echoed these criticisms. Taking their cue from the far-reaching castigation of past and current mistakes embodied in the central committee's October resolution, these orators and writers touched on all aspects of the national
Nagy's opponents manifested growing concern over theeconomic situation in the country, rising unemployment resulting from economy measures, continued low laborand the growing independence of private peasants whoto be reaping the harvest of the new course. Themanagerial class, uneasy at the possibility that
de-emphasis od heavy industry would threaten its empire,measures for converting to consumers goods production. Spokesmen for this class even suggested that Implementation of the new course policies wouldomplete transformation of the whole Communist economic systemadio statement by Palunctionary in the Ministry of Internalovember). These fears were exacerbated by alarm at the political tendencies of new courseincreasing reliance on the PPP at the expense of the party and sharpening criticism of past mistakes. Orthodox Communists feared that encouragement of criticism would spark popular hatred ofand set off an explosion. To some Communists, theirappeared to be in danger.
Stinging criticism of the youth organization, DISZ, by PPF president Pal Szabo onovember and more moderate criticism by Parkas onctober, appear to have been the last straw. Minister of People's Culture Darvas, an old Rakosi puppet, onovemberesounding rebuke in the columns of Szabad Nep. Charging that public criticism stimulated by the new course was overstepping all bounds, he denouncedviews" in the cultural field and declared: "We will benless we oppose the petty bourgeois practice ofcriticism, demagogy, undermining of confidence,of our past achievements, petty bourgeois revisionism and the destruction of the faith and confidence of our people."
CHAPTER VII RAKOSI'S RETURN TO POWER
1. Rakosi Takes Over
Rakosi reinterveoed decisively to check growing crltlclsn encouraged by the PPF. Returning from Moscow onovembertrong Soviet endorsement, Rakosiecemberlashing onslaught on critics of the Communist youth "The party repudiates most sharply the attacks against DIS2e declared, "under the pretext of real failures of the organization, tend toward the elimination of DISZ and ths weakening of the party itself." The party clearly wasreluctant to surrender one lota of control over the youth organization and looked on proposals for reform as directed against the party itself.
pecial commemorative meeting of the Hungarianheld io Debrecen onecember, Rakosi made his return to the helm even more apparent. Heypically "hard" address, demanding strengthened discipline in all sectors of national life, greater emphasis on Industrialization and increased stress on collectivization. It was clear to all observers that Rakosi had openly taken charge.
Doctrinaire elements In the party who had remainedneutral in rocent months were encouraged by Rakosi'sby thehad been communicated totronger line against New Course tendencies. Nevertheless, it remained to be determined how far the reversal would involve changes in economic and political policies or how many individuals would be demoted. Party leaders at all levels showed major confusion In this situation.
The return to orthodox Communist emphasis on heavy industry was announced by Szabad Nep in its New Year's Day editorial. Rakosi spelled out the now line onanuary, peech to miners. He declared that "the vigorous program ofwould be followed during tbe Second Five-Year Plan due to begin These pronouncements resembled statements made by Khrushchev during December and January.
2. Condemnation of the Nagy Policies (March)
The demotion of Malenkov was announcedebruary; two days later Molotov referred to "serious shortcomings" in the Satellites. These Soviet moves vere immediately followed in Hungary by measures against Nagy and his adherents. Nagy's son-in-law Janosi was replaced as first deputy minister of people's culture onebruary by Rakosi's special protege Gyorgy Non. Onh, it was announced that Nagy was ill with coronary thrombosis. From this point until the autumn6 Nagy remained out of power.
Soviet endorsement of the forthcoming condemnation of Nagy took the unusual formarning article published in the Cominform Journal onebruary, two weeks before the meeting of the Hungarian central committee which pronounced the verdict on the Nagy policies. This article blasted Hungarian policies Implemented during the preceding eight months and sharplySzabad Nep for its attitude during this period. Atthe same time, Cominform chief Suslov spent some ten days In Hungaryhorough study of the political situation. He then threw his powerful support to Rakosi,reportedly counseling him to use moderation in dealing with the popular premier.
Condemnation of the Nagy policies by the central committee followedarch. This "Marchn the name of party "unity" andondemned the followingacrifice of heavy industry, which "also worked againstlight industry and defense:" xcessivegiven to free peasants at the expense ofeasures, taken ln connection with the PPF, aimed atthe party's importance and giving control of localorgans to the PPF committee. The resolution castigated nationalism and "chauvinism" as "among the most dangerousand declaredmerciless" battle must be waged on both tendencies. The resolution also criticized Nagy personally for: upporting anti-Marxist views ln his speeches and actions;ncouraging "petty bourgeois"to step up their activity against theto ignore the leadership of the working class;eading the working class Into error by demagogic promises. The March Resolution, however, did not reject the partyof3 instituting the New Course and reiterated policies of moderation.
Another charge reportedly levelled against Nagy wasagainst the AVH. This accusation apparently was not publicized.
The reference to nationalism was spelled out inpril editorial in Szabad Nep, which revealed that the condemnation was actually directed against the doctrine of "national The editorial asserted: "If we analyze the rightist views, we clearly see tbat they are aimed, willy-nilly, attbe party deviate from tho road followed by the Sovietat making Hungary follow another, the specifically Hungarian, road that was supposed to lead to socialism." This blast may have been directed at Farkas as well as Nagy.
Public Soviet endorsement of Rakosi was given by Marshal Voroshilovpril at the Liberation Day ceremonies. transmitted the express approval of the Soviet central committee for measures taken by the Hungarian party to correct "errors" in the economy and socialist structure of Hungary.
3. Party Condemnation of Nagy (April)
Party disciplining of the principal figures of the Nagy regime followed onpril at the meeting of the political committee. Nagy was expelled from the political committee, the central committee, "and every other function with which he was entrusted by the party." Farkas was expelled from the political committee and the secretariat but "entrusted vith other party work." Doubtless the leniency shown to Nagy and Farkaseflection of the current Soviet policy which required the greatest possible appearance of moderation be shown by Hungarian leaders.
The report of the central committee, published onpril, declared that Nagy had "turned against the party's policy, the teachings of Marxism and Leninism and theof the people." His activities, it asserted, "aimed at the bastion ofloading role of the working class and the party, the development of heavy industry and tho socialist reorganization of agriculture." 9 was cited as proof of bis long-standing unre-
e was excoriated for failing to learn from his faults: 'in fact, duringonths he aggravated these faults until.theyhole coherent system and* caused great damage to his country."
Nagy was replaced by the Rakosi protege, Andras Hegedus, as premier onpril. Hegedus1 nomination presumably signified the continued priority of agriculture, since he was anexpert. roduct of the Hungarian youth organization, ho presumably would be popular among younger party members. Finally,ewcomer, Hegedus was free of the onus of the Rajk case. Soviet wooing of Tito gave the last point Importance.
Defiance to the Central Committee: Nagy'sto appear before the political committee,that as head of the government he could not
be removed by the party, suggests that he felt confident of support within the party for himself and his policies. Rakosi's continued failure to force Nagy to do penance may indicate that the party leadership was unwilling to sacrifice the former premier, who hadymbol of "national Communism." As Rakosi explained, he hoped Nagy might "turn back" and try to make good "thedamage he caused to our party, people'sand our building of socialism." Nagy's continued defiance, however, encouraged his supporters to continue their resistance.
Condemnation of Farkas and Vas: The condemnationon grounds thatong time" he had"chief backer" of Nagy, had drasticthe Rakosi clique. Farkas had connectionsarmy circles. Hiseading AVH official, was related byhigh-ranking Muscovites and on friendly termsofficials. The fall of Farkas, therefore,he was temporarily saved from its worstby Rakosi, threatened to implicate other very
Zoltan Vas was also involved in the fall of Nagy. He was deprived of hie special position in the council of ministers and demoted to deputy minister of foreign trade. Tha conclusive nature of his condemnation was shown by the statement in the April Issue of the party theoretical journal which asserted that Vas' costiga-tion of Five-Year-Plan show projects reflected theof the class enemy and capitalistic circles which are trying to weaken the popular base of theby slander."
c. Continuedlusltlon of Munnich and Szanto: Uunnich nor'Zoltan SzanTo was injured by thoNagy. Uunnich continued to be ambassador toSzantominister to Warsaw in June.
Both men thus playuu important roles in linking Hungary with the Kremlin and Poland. Both men reappeared in Hungary on the evetbe revolutionb.
4. Increasing Emphasis on "HurU" Domestic Policies (June)
During the springungarian domestic policies took on an increasingly "bard" look, although party leadershow of continuing moderation. The apparatus of economicwas somewhat strengthened when in August the State Control Office was raised to the status of ministry with Arpad Hazi as minister, moreover, economic policies unveiled by the regime at the June meeting of the central committee implied the return of intensified industrialization and collectivization under tbe Second Five-Year Plan due to bogln
Erno Gero now openly supported these policies, although he attempted to maintain his "moderate doctrinaire" attitude. 2 Juno article in Szabad Nep commenting on the recent central committee meeting, he declared that socialist industrialization, better work by collectives and state farms and improvedof machine tractor stations must be the means ofseveral hundred thousand peaaant families" to Join collectives. He conceded that this would bring intensified pressure onbe peasantryhole. "Agriculturalcan be raisede declared, "only if we attain in the next fewhange in the socialistof agriculture as well. Imre Nagy and in general the rightist doviationists started from the assumption that we either build socialism io tbe villages, in which case agricul-turai production could not be raised, or wo raise agricultural production and yields and then it would-be impossible to build
socialism in theero thus decisively ranged himself on the side of the enemies of Nagy's agricultural policies.
This approach to Hungary's grave economic problems satisfied no one. Proponents of New Course policies were alarmed by the implications of the return to collectivization andwhile leaders of the Communist managerial class whose careers and advancement depended on expanding industry wereby the failure to speed up the returntronger emphasis on heavy industry. The cleavage in top party circles therefore remained acute.
5. The Yugoslav Issue
The Soviet rapprochement with Titoajor factor in Hungarian political life by the summer Since Tito was widely envied in Hungaryuccessful rebel against Kremlin controls, his courting by the Kremlin leaders exacerbatedand dissension already rampant in the Hungarian partyesult of the fall of Nagy and the general hardening of the domestic line which appeared ln sharp contrast to Sovietto the Yugoslavs. The pilgrimage of Khrushchev and his colleagues to Yugoslavia in May brought this confusionigh pitch, it afforded the highest possible affirmation that the doctrine of "separate roads to socialism" was again respectable as regards Yugoslavia.
The Hungarian party leaders were aware of their dilemma but clearly hoped to accommodate themselves to the new Soviet policies. The Rajk case nowajor stumbling block. It would be exceedingly difficult for Rakosi to do publicfor the death of Rajk without seriously damaging his authority. It became unmistakably clear, however, that nothing less thanublic repudiation would satisfy Tito. The Hungarian tactic of blaming the whole affair on Gaborfollowing the Soviet line onnot satisfactory.
President Tito spelled out his demands7 Julycharged that "certain men in neighboringHungary" were not pleased with the Improvement inrelations and "were intriguing under cover" Such men, he declared, who had sentencedto death, were afraid to admit their mistakes andnew path. "Theseito concluded, "will inevitablytheir own political traps'"
It soon became evident tbat the Hungarians were under strong Soviet pressure to improve relations, although at the moment only economic rapprochement was demanded. Theparty instituted special meetings to explain Soviet policy on Yugoslavia to party activists and blame8 break on Gabor Peter. Without fanfare, however, the party concurrently released minor victims of the Rajk trial.
Tito's intransigence unquestionably strengthened theof antl-Rakosi elements in Hungary who genuinelyin the possibility of national Communism and hoped for the relnstltutlon of the Nagy leadership.
6. Appearance of Revolutionary Elements: The Writers
The full Impact of the harsher policies designed to crush Nagy supporters fell on Hungarian intellectuals, especially the young Communist journalists and writers who looked for increased liberalization in Hungaryesult of the apparently more tolerant attitude of the Kremlin. From early spring onwards, the regime sought to convince the writers that they should fall into line and specifically support the party. When persuasion failed leading journalists were dismissed from Szabad Nep; books were banned; the party cracked down on the Writers' Union in an attempt to intimidate potentially rebellious elements.
Tbe actual starting point of the so-called Wrlters'Revolt appears to have been an article published by Gyula Hay in theeptember issue of Irodalni Ujsag, organ of the Writers' Union, dolcaring that excessive DuTelucratic restraints were destroying Hungarian literature as an art. The next number of the Journal carried an article by Laszlo BenjaminJozsef Darvas, minister of people's culture. The issue was suppressed by tho authorities.
Tho regime's attempt to discipline the writers provoked an outburst. eeting of the Writers* Association,held onovember, spokesmen of the party (Marton Hor-vath and Erzsebet Andlcs) were shouted down. roup of writersraft memorandum attacking the "necessity and right" of the party to direct literature. The
the basic position that acts of the Hungarian central committee conflicted with party policy and were "in direct contradiction" with the "broadminded approach towork practiced by the Soviet Union." The only means by which "wrong views" could bo defeated, creative cultural work developed and socialism advanced would be establishmentfree, sincere, healthy and democratic atmosphere imbued with the spirit of popular democracy."
7. Counteroffensive of the Party (November-December) i
In the face of the writers and their widespread popular support, the party leadership apparently carried out its counter-offensive with great caution. Although the partyesolution condemning the writers, it wasonlyong delay in theecember issuo of the writers journal, Irodalmi UJsag, no doubtesult of mounting dissension within the committee. It strongly appears that the Rakosi-dominated wing of the committee found it necessary to break the resistance of the pro-Nagy faction before steps could be taken to discipline the writers. Rakosi apparently resolved torastic lesson to opposition elements by finally cracking down on Nagy himself. pecial session of the centralecember, Nagy was expelled from the party. Thus, after eight months delay, the disciplinary action which should logically have been taken ln April was carried through. But the long delay and the semi-clandestine character of the move robbed it of much of its Impact.
The Rakosi-Gero leadership of the party nowampaign to daunt the opposition. ecember, party bigwig
istvan kovacseeting of budapest party activists with threats against the insurgents. he denounced leaders of the writers' revolt by name and declared that the writers' memorandum was an "anti-party" maneuver designed to encourage opposition to the party among the general public.
onecember the central committee resolution was finally published in irodalmi ujsag. this sweeping condemnationthe "greater part" of recent literature on the peasantry aseclared it was "political" in character, and scathingly denounced the individuals who had signed the writers' memorandum* "thist declared, "is an attack against the party and state leadership. it casts doubt on the right of the central committee to remove rightist opportunists from the board of editors of its own central this memorandum is in fact an anti-partyt the present time rightist opportunism manifests itself in the most dangerous, most undisguised and most organized form in the field of literary the central committee most emphatic-ably condemns this rightist
in consequence of the party decision, severalpeiled from the party. this move mar iced the open break between intellectuals backing imrend the party. it also had the effect ofroup of "outcasts" ready to resort to strong measures to secure assurance of their freedom and livelihood.
*the following individuals were condemned by name: tibor dery, zoltan zelk, tamas aczel, gyula hay and tibor heray.
DISINTEGRATION CF THE HUNGARIAN WORKERS4
1. Effects ofh Soviet Party
The dramatic revelation of the decanonization of Stalin by Khrushchev and Mikoyan ath party congress vastly sparked dissension in ths Hungarian Workers Party.* It sncour-agad opponents of Rakosi in the central committee to step up their attacks and gave heart to supporters of Imre Nagy. It stimulated Hungarian party members at all levels to demand drastic changes in the regimereatly accelerated speed. emphasisvariety of roads to socialism" encouraged nationalists to hope that there wouldenuine understanding of Hungary's problems and traditions in the forthcoming period.
Hakosi was clearly guilty of the crimes charged by Khrushchev against Stalin. He had encouraged the "cult of personality." He had condannad good Communists and Spanish Civil Bar veterans by tha use of fabricated evidence, notably Laszlo Rajk. He hadthose who tortured "innocentotibly the Farkases, He had supported the expulsion of Tito from the Cominform and, with Farkas, had led the chorus of denunciation against him. Rakosi's continued presence at the head of the Hungarian party therefore contradicted the new Soviet party line andan to resumption of party relations withTito made clear that he considered men likearrier. That Rakosi had done these things in response to Soviet orders only involved him further in the guilt of Stalin and "Beria." The rapid elimination of Rakosi from power thereforeest case of the genuineness of the reform policies promised by Khrushchev,
The revelations ofh party congress split theparty from top to bottom. The denigration of Stalin caused despair among party members of doctrinaire tendencies. Some reportedly even threatened to leave the party because "the negation of Stalin means the negation of Communism." On the other hand, the congress declaration produced jubilation among the supporters of Imre Nagy.
* Hungarian delegates to the congress were Rakosi, Szalai and KovaCS.
Other measures taken In connection withh partynave further encouragement to Rakosi's enemies. The formal rehabilitation of Bela Kun, effected by Eugene Varga ln Pravda onebruary, heartened "old Bolsheviks" longloud. Gyorgy Lukacs) to take more active roles in opposing tho Rakosi regime. Encouragement by the congress of far-reaching criticism and self-criticism spurred malcontents to use every avaialble medium to denounce the regime and notably sanctioned the scathing criticism voiced at tbe Petofl Club, tbe meeting place of tbe opposition.
ln the Control Committee
Reflections of this factionalism emerged sharply atarch meeting of the central committee following the Rakosi, backed by his proteges in theew central committee members. Morton Horvath, Erzscbet Andics) nnd in general by Gero, was the target of attacks calling for the punishment of Mihnly nnd Vladimir Farkas asmre Nagy allegedly appeared before the committee to request rehabilitation and attack tho "cult of personality." Although Nagy's request was rejected after heated debate, factionalism ln the governing body of the party now was rampant.
Liberals and Moderates
The basic line of cleavage lay between Rakosi, representingnd Imre Nagy, representingendencies which remained Communist but judging from Nagy's willingness to resort to extreme conciliatory expedients, might go very far to the right indeed. Between these extremes was the group of rehabilitated Communists headed by Janos Kadar.
Nagy's claims for full rehabilitation wereargethethe central committee, probably because they realized the tremendous popular enthusiasm for Nagy must be satisfied. There is little doubt, however, that leading party elements were greatly alarmed at the extremely "liberal" character of Nagy's own personal following. Those included the "outcast" young writers recently disciplined for challenging party control. Tibor Dery, Tibor Tardos, Miklosnd certain partially rehabilitatedwho supported his cultural and agrarian policies.
Vasarhelyi reportedly was expelled from the party prior to the CPSU congress for charging Rakosi with responsibility for the Rajk case.
yavmui I'-onaih. Tho Jervo/ Oi their allegiance lo Kngy was probably augmented by their exposed positionc eventeturn tooercive policies.
.i" ": i = *.
Outside the central committee was the important group of rehabilitated moderate nationalists (Janos Kadar, Gyula Kallai, Gyorgy Marosan) who had very strong support within the central committee. itter personal enemy of Rakosi, as yet held only the relatively minor post of party secretary for Pest county and apparently was ambitious for advancement. Hismay have been backed by Jozsef Revai, who had boon closely associated with this group ineriod.
The majority of the party's political committee (Acs, Hegedus Szalai, Hidas, Bata, Mekis, Kovacs and Piros) supported Rakosi pending orders from Moscow, although they personally opposed Rakosi's continued tenure of power. Most of these individuals owed their careers to Rakosi but they were prepared to overthrow himoment's notice.
4. The Kremlin's Dilemma
The balance of power clearly lay in the hand of the Kremlin. The Soviet directors of Hungary's fate, however, were caughtilemma. Moscow believed that only an experienced hand like Rakosi's could control the dangerous factionalism rampant in the Hungarian party and contain explosive nationalist tendencies encouraged by the current Soviet rapprochement with Tito. Yet the continued retention of Rakosi conflicted with the de-Stalinization pronouncements ofh Soviet Party Congress, exacerbated dissension in the Hungarian party and further undermined the prestige of the party among the Hungarian public.
A major stumbling block to tho Kremlin appears to have been the absenceuitable successor to Rakosi. Theof Imre Nagy, whose policies had been formally condemned, would amountoviet capitulation before the demands of Hungarian publicprocedure contrary to the whole conception of Soviet-Satellite relations. As the crisis within the Hungarian party grew worse, Janos Kadar may have beenas eventual replacement for Rakosi. He had the advantage ofolicy based on the industrial working class and he was still, asanageable by the Kremlin. The moment when he could assume this post appeared to be far off, since he had not yet been readmitted to any top governing body of the party.
In this situation, the "collective" leadership in Moscow continued to support Rakosi by public endorsements whilethe question of an eventual successor. Such vacillation only stimulated the opposition to Rakosi into more vehementfor his ouster.
5. Crowing Strength of the Anti-Rakosi Opposition
To most Hungarians, the elimination of Rakosi would have boon one guarantee that the Kremlin really intended to put an end to the oppressive Stalinist system and allow genuine "relaxa tion" in Hungary. The opposition therefore concentrated onfor the repudiation of Rakosi. It was further encouraged by the Joint Soviet-Yugoslav declaration ofune asserting tbat "the roads of Socialist development are different in differ ent countries and conditions" to believe that the Kremlin might really permit more liberal policies in Hungary.
During the spring, the opposition led by the writers broadened to include intellectuals, students, ex-partisans and numerous military officers. Intensified government economy measures resulting In the dismissal of many government officials also contributed to throwing these Individuals into the pro-Nagy opposition centered in the Petofi Club.
a. Rakosi Seeks to Conform with the Soviet Congress Line:
Confronted with mounting demands for his removal, Rakosi sought to convince the opposition that he was In fact complying with the directives of the Soviet congress. His report to the central committee's March meeting reflects this attempt to tailor the general line of policy, which continued to be on the March resolution5 while encouraging greater freedom of criticism and stepping up the rehabilitation of imprisoned individuals. The effect of this partial "thaw" was considerably marred by his repeatedthat Communist discipline must be maintained.
because Hungary wasransitional state between capitalism and socialism the "class enemy" in Hungary was stronger than in the Soviet Union and repressive measures against regime enemies were necessary.
Onarch, Rakosi fell in line with Soviet policies toward Yugoslavia by publicly rehabilitating Laszlo Rajk and performing self-criticism for his execution. Tho effect of this move was undercut by
Tbe Second -Ex-iters Revolt: Rakosi's failure toa bold program based on what optimistic Hungarian party members believed was the program ofh party congress evoked heightened opposition amongof the Writers Club who spearheaded the opposition. The writers organ Irodalmi Ujsag promptly retorted onarch with an attack cn "dogmatisms closelywith the cult of personality" and political control based on "pretensions of infallibility by party and state organizations." New recruits began to join the insurgent writers during March and April. Their attitude was well expressed by Tibor Tardospril article in Irodalmi Ujsag. Referring to his own past acquiescence in crimes committed In the name of party discipline, he wrote?
Yet the time came when we had discarded respect for humannd had sacrificed it to our faith /Th Communism7. We, who sometime long ago incuth had sworn by the tremendous power of thought, now stood with crystal-clear hearts but with emptyike amphorae in the glass cabinetuseum. And thesehorae nodded their consent to everything.
Rakosi Attempts tc Answer His Critics: Rakosi sought to answer his critics by convincing them that hehad thoroughly reformed, that the genuine policies of the Soviet congress were being carried out under his direction and by demonstrating the need fordiscipline. It nevertheless remained clear that Rakositalinist in economic theory and predisposition tc authoritarianhis emerges clearly in his major addrsss of the spring, made to Budapest party activists cnay. Rakosi declared that no fewerOO persons had been amnestied since the preceding November and criminal proceedings had been quashed0 others. He performed humiliating self-criticism. He promised that coercion would be played down. But he nettled his audience by reverting to self-justification and demands for It was new apparent to most observers that Rakosi had outlived his usefulness.
The Petofi Club: In this situation, the decisive center of organized opposition to Rakosi became the Petofi Club in Budapest. From the end of May, meetings organized under the sponsorship of the youth(DISZ) were transferred by party dissidents into
full-scale demonstrations against Rakosi during which representatives of many sectors of Hungarian society scathingly attacked the major evils of the past years and even unearthed party quarrels of the thirties. This freedom of debate was encouraged by Szabad Nep which as late as the third week in June characterized the Petofi Clubvaluable forum."
The Rajk affairavorite stick to beat the regime. For example, one dissident charged: 9 Rakosi said Rajkitoist;5 he said herovocateur; this year he calls him comrade." At another meeting, Hrs. Julia Rajk, widow of the national Communist, evoked tremendous applauseapacity audience which included many military offleers,with bitter charges that her husband had been murdered and demands for punishment of his murderers.
By the end of June, attacks on Rakosi at Petofi Club meetingslimax with shouts: "Down with the skin-haired fathead!"
Attack on Soviet Party Disciplining of Writers: The increasing self-assurance and radicalism of insurgent writers finally reached the stage of attacking theof creative thought by authorities of the CPSU. In early June, in answer to an articleoviet writer printed in Irodalmi Ujsag, organ of the Writers Club, some twenty Hungarian writerseply challenging the right of the party to dictate themes. Their attitudo toward the Hungarian regime was even more violent. By the end of June the Writersrefused even to conduct discussions with Hungarian party officials until the central committee resolution of5 had been withdrawn.
7. Continued Vacillation by the Kremlin
The Kremlin still vacillated on the problem of partyIn Hungary. In early June ex-Cominform chief M. A. Susloveek-long visit to Budapost, ostensibly on vacation, to survey the situation. During this visit, he held privatewith Imre Nagy and Janos Kadar. But when Suslov left Hungary without making any overt move, the evidence that the Kremlin might beuccessor to Rakosi stimulated the opposition into renewed vehemence.
Two weeksakosi and probably Gero and Hegedus went to Moscow for undisclosed reasons, following Tito's
triumphant visit to Moscow. Kadar was also said to be in the Soviet capital at this time. It appeared that the Kremlin still considered Rakosi indispensable.
y. Rakosi Reverts to Harsh Tactics
Developments in the Satellites reached fever-hoat in the last week ln June. In Poland, the Foznan riots of 2i; June coincided almost exactly with the most extreme anti-regime demonstrations at the Petofi Club ln Hungary. As reported by Poin Belgrade, thisune demonstration Luted nine hours, during which the full extent of party and popularto tho regime became apparent to the participants and to the regirao. The government spokosmen, Marton Horvath and Zoltan Vas were shouted down when they attempted to defend Rakosi's policies. limax, the demonstrators shouted: "Down with the regime: Long livegy'."
This demonstration evoked immediate repressive measures by the regime. Rakosipecial session of the central committee onune and forcodarshreportedly seen byew"anti-party manifestations" at the Petofi Club and calling on tho party central control commission to expel the ringleaders of the opposition, Tibor Tardos and Tibor Dery. The following day Szabad Nep published the central committee resolution andampaign against "right-wingaised the cry of "vigilance" and denounced the Petofi Clubotbed of dissension. 'These debates were attended not only by honest people who love thezabad Nep editorializeduly,
'but by individuals who oppose the Opportunist,
harmful and anti-party views were expressed by those who still maintain close and sympathetic contact with Imre Nagy, who has been expelled from the party because of his anti-Marxist views, his hostility to the party and his factionalism."
Rakosi appears to have beon trapped between tho growing violence of the opposition and Kremlin directives tohow of moderation. In this dilemma, he returned to Moscowuly. He returned to Budapest with the obviousof implementing very strong measures to cope with unrest. Possibly he received encouragementarsher policy from the authoritative Pravda editorial ofuly which reaffirmed the "unshakable solidarity of the socialistttacked the idea of national Communism, condemned the Petofi Club demonstrations and appeared to throw Soviet support behind leaders who wished to reimpose discipline on insurgents.
Fall of Rakosi
The drastic measures envisaged by Rakosi to crushapparently alarmed the Kremlin, which dispatched Mikoyan to Hungary to investigate the situation. Mikoyan reportedly arrived onuly, rejected Rakosi's proposal for the arrest ofersons, including some forty writers and possibly Imre Nagy, and apparently was sustained in his verdict by Khrushchev. It strongly appears that Rakosi was forced to resign as party chief when his plans for coping with thewere rejected. Rakosi's subsequent references to his guilt of "cult of personality" suggests that Mikoyan may have lectured him on the subject during his visit to Budapest.
At the meeting of tho central1akosi resigned as first secretary of the Hungarian Workers Party. In his letter of resignation, he confessed: "The bulk and effect of mistakes in the fields of personality cult and socialist legality were greaternd the harm done to our party in consequence of these mistakes was much more serioushought originally."
After thirty-six yearsajor leader of the Hungarian Communistrokenfor the Soviet Union.
as Party Chief
At this juncture, the Kremlinoldfull rehabilitation of Imre Nagy and the promotion of Janos Kadar to leadership of thehave saved the scraps of prejtige still remaining to the Hungarian party and convinced the Hungarian peopleenuine de-Stallnizatlon program was in sight. Instead, Mikoyan designated Gero as firstof the Hungarian party. By this move, which outraged the liberals and dissatisfied the moderates, he perpetuated the schism in the party leadership and laid the groundwork for revolution. Gero, the right-hand man of Rakosi in past years was knownactless though, hard driving doctrinaire with little sympathy for Hungarian national aspirations.
An Important place was nevertheless given to the moderate element. Janos Kadar, Gyorgy Marosan, and Karoly Kiss were admitted to the political committee and Gyula Kallai was elected to the central committee. The balance of power remained with Stalinists, however. The appointment of Jozsef Revai, well-known as spokesman for the dictatorship of the proletariat, also appeared to stregthen the Stalinist faction, although Revai had past connections with the Kadar group.
Gero nevertheless set out to give the appearance of greater liberalization without relaxation of vigilance. Warning that "it wouldery grave mistake If we failed to draw the necessary conclusions from the provocation in Poznan in our owno assured the party in hisuly speechthe post of first secretarylarge-scale process of democratization" would take place in Hungary.*
11. The Garo Policies
In line with this promise, the party leadership began toolicy of plcemeal de-Stalinizatlon. The central committos approved the disgrace of Mihaly Farkas and set in motion changes in the defense establishment. Farkas was reduced to the rank of private. Other high political officers wero replaced at this time. It appeared that the new centralwas intent upon Implementing de-Stalinization measuresuch faster rate thanprobablyaster rate than its nominal leader, Gero.
The regime also took steps to cope with the long-unsolved problems of the Hungarian economy or at least toeneral examination of the economic policies of Hungary prior
5The following were full members of the new politburo: Revai, Kadar, Kiss, Morosan, Acs, Hidas, Hegedus, Szalal, Istvan Kovacs, Apro; and alternate members: Bata and Mekis, All except Kadar, Marosan, Revai and Kiss had belonged to the previous political committee under Rakosi.
to the unveiling of the long-defe-red Second Five Year Plan. There wore no indications, however, that Gero himself had evolved economic policies which could answer the crying needs of the people.
In an effort to restore "unity" in the central committee and regain the support of the insurgent intellectuallst elements, tho party leadership directed overtures toward the "outcast" writers and the Nagy wing of the party. entral committee resolution published onuly took the initial step by promising concessions. In comment on this resolution, Szabad Nop editor Marton Horvath onugust admitted: "Never before in the history of the Hungarian party have the intellectuals shown such unanimity in opposing the party's management." By blaming this situationarge degree on Rakosi's misdeeds, the party left the door open to the rehabilitation of the It remained to be seen whether the attempt to make Rakosi the scapegoat for past evils would be any morethan Rakosi's own effort to foist the blame on Gabor Peter.
Indications that party leaders were prepared to bargain had the consequence of encouraging the appetite of theand thus forcing the regime to go beyond its original Intentions. Moreover, indications that the Kremlin itself was vacillatingrackdown on Polish insurgents andencouragoment of the "thaw" spurred the Hungarians toolder course. On the other hand, Gere's continued stress on doctrinaire considerations kept his opponents alive to the possibilityeturn to harsh measures might occur at any time, while increasing symptoms of tougher Soviettoward Yugoslavia made tbom feareversal might be fast approaching. These developments combined to make tbe next threeeriod In which hope and fear combined to produce reckless daring among the leaders of the Hungarian opposition.
12. The "Moderate Nationalist" Position
Janos Kadar, during the throe months before thocame to the front as the representative of Communist middle-of-the-road tendencies. Free of the taint ofe stood between the fundamentally doctrinaire position of Gero and the "liberal" stand of the Nagy adherents. This position appears to have, been endorsed by tho Kremlin, Judging from the reported remark of the Soviet ambassador that he "liked Kadar verynd the allegation that Mlkoyan had given his support to Kadar. In his first major political speech, made to miners in the north Hungarian industrial area onugust,
Kadar supported tbe line that Rakosi's crimes had caused tho exaggeration of New Course tendencies, but he appeared tolightly more liberal view of the internal Hungarianthan Gero. Significantly, he asserted: "You must not be afraid of listening to the opinions expressed by non-party workers and the PPF and of hearing from time to time views which are neither Marxist nor Communist." ign of his increasing stature ln the party, Kadar was chosen to bead the delegation sent to represent Hungary at the congress of the Chinese Communist party.*
To support tbe more moderate line, Gyorgy Marosan alsorominent role during the pro-revolutionary period. ormer left-wing Social Democrat, Marosan was counted on to exercise Influence over the dangerously antagonized Industrial working class. This line was spelled out by Marosan in Szabad Nep onugust when he declared; "Life has belled theview which holds that there are irreconcilable differences between Socialists and Communists."
13. Demands of the Nagy Faction
The strong pro-Nagy element spearheaded by liberal writers now revealed that its goals were full rehabilitation of Nagy and liberals who bad supported him. They alsofreedom of debate ln tbe Petofi Club. Their further objectives of political and economic liberalization and participation ln the government became apparent with the passage of time. Taken in the context of Nagy's known opinions
j +ke lext Budapesteptember and returned one month later. Zoltan Szanto and Istvan Hidas accompanied him. All three thus were absent from Hungary during the criticalof September and early October.
tartling outburst of nationalistoccurred when, under government auspices, the remains of Laszlo Rajk were solemnly reinterred in the national cemetery. The ceremony turnedammoth demonstration for Imre Nagy. This occurredoliday commemorating the execution ofgeneralsesult of the Russian Invasion to crush the Hungarian revolution. The dangerous Implications ofemonstration must have been fully apparent to those who staged it.
Budapest newspapers linked the demonstration with thetenure or power by. Gero and his associates. The trade union organ spelled out the warning: "History and the people have alreadyetrial. At this trial, those who caused their death are accused."
From this point forward, the party ceased to bo important; the Hungarian nation took over command of events.
Tbe successful defiance by tbe Poles of the Sovietstirred tho rising flames of Hungarian nationalism. The purge of Hilary Mine, the counterpart of Erno Gero as economic czar during the Stalinist period, evoked the following comment from the Budapest trade union newspaper Nepszava: "Our Polish comrades do not hesitate to draw the necossary conclusionsregard to persons involved, in removing obstacles to The bold challenge by Gomulka to Khrushchev onctober set the example for the Nagy faction in Hungary and led directly to the national demonstration ofctober whichthe revolution.
and Kadar Take Over
The climax followed rapidly. Ontudent demonstration honoring the Poles for their successful resistance to the Kremlin developedull-scale nationalistwhich demanded the withdrawal of Soviet troops, theof Imre Nagy to theew government, free elections and the return of the multi-party system of Rioting broke out and continued into the following day. Fighting began whon AVH troops fired on the demonstrators and Soviet troops stationed in Budapest entered into action tothe security forces. The revolution bad bogun.
on the relative place of agriculture and heavy industry in the economy and demands for full Intellectual freedom voiced by his adherents, the Nagy program by mid-September implicitly called into question basic Communist doctrines and ties with the Soviet Union.
it appears probable, nevertheless, that moderate elements in the central committee were giving strong support to Nagy's bid for leadership in the government, and that, inoalition of moderates and liberals had come into existence. The common Interest of both factions lay In their demand for political and economic policies suitable for Bungary, even at the expense of weakening ties with the Soviet Union.
14. The Yugoslav Factor
The rapprochement of the Hungarian party with the Yugoslav Communists, promised by Gero in hisuly speech, hung fire until mid-October.* It is true that the letter of apology for "slanders" against Tito was by far the strongest sent by any Bloc
*" The central committee resolution published onulythe question of permitted variations in socialism in an ambiguous fashion that would cover all eventualities:
Under specific Hungarian conditions of building socialism, tho partydoes not lose sightoment of the fact that it is ceaselessly strengthening the unity of thecamp, its relations with the Soviet Union, the countries of the socialist camp and socialist working class movements throughout the world. For this reason, the party once again intensified the struggle against manifestations of nationalism, chauvinism and anti-Semitism. .. The party is strengthening its ties with the CPSU because both the CPSU and the HHP hold identical views on every ideologicalthe assessment of the international situation and the perspectives of
party. Moreover, the appointneat Of Ferenc Munnich, ex-ambassador to the Soviet Union, as ambassador to Yugoslavia on ugust placed In Belgrade an Individual of sufficient stature and past connections with Tito to handle the delicate relations. Nonetheless, the actual meeting of leaders of the Hungarian regime with Tito was long delayed. The cooling of Soviet-Yugoslav relations, reflected ineptember circular letter from the CPSU central committee to Satellite parties actedamper to closer rapprochement. This circular warned the Satellite central committees against adopting Yugoslav practices and Instead, instructed them to look to the Soviet party for their example. Thereafter, the dramatic conversations of Khrushchev and Tito at Brlonl and Yalta gave impetus to Hungarian elements favoring increased liberalization.
Resumption of relations became closely tied to thoof Imreymbol of genuine liberalization ofpractices. Negotiations on both subjects appear to have beon conducted by Gero at conferences with Tito and Khrushchev at Yaltactober).* When the Hungarian delegation lod by Gero and Including Kadar, Kovacs, Apro and Hegedus finally left for Belgrade onctober, Nagy's readmission to the party was announced simultaneously in Budapest. At this point, however, the question of Yugoslav relations was secondary to dramatic Internal developments in Hungary.
15. The Eve of the Revolution
Decisive steps to de-Stalinize the Hungarian regime were taken ln early October while Gero and other top party leaders were absent in the Soviet Union. These included theof Imre Nagy, forecast in his defiant letterctober to the central committee announcing that he submitted to party discipline but refused tourther statement until full and free discussion was permitted. On the same day, Istvan Kovacs threatened to remove all Individuals who would not adjust to the liberalized party line. Concurrently high-level changes were effected in the Ministry of Defense. The following day, Vladimir Farkas was arrested.
1 Note that Gero left for the Soviet Unioneptember and remained there for one month. He therefore was absent from Hungary during tbe critical period.
Confronted with this crisis, the party central committee and politburo were called into hasty session on the nightctober. Panicky partyfor Soviet aid against the revolutionaries on tbe basis of tho Warsaw pact. During tbe stormy all-night session seven Stalinists wore thrown out of the political committee (Hidas, Mekls, Kovacs, Revai, Acs, Data and Plros) and replaced by two moderates (Szanto and Kobol) and one Nagyist, Losonczi. In tbe early morning hours, Nagy was chosen premier. The followingthe fighting mounting in violence, Rrno Gero was deposed as party first secretary and Janos Kadar elected in his place. The change in leadership came far too late to affect events. Thecontinued in spite of the party leadership.
DESTRUCTION OP THE HUNGARIAN WORKERS PARTY
The Hungarian national revolution ofovember destroyed the hard core leadership and subordinateof the Hungarian Workers Party, physically destroyed tbe old state security apparatus andeutralizedindependent of Moscow. The rising was national in character ant1-Communist and anti-Soviet, although Communist formations and discipline contributed to its Initial success. Manyand underground fighters who had aided Soviet armios in World War ZI. Colonel Pal Maleter and Major General Kovacs) took arms against the Soviet troops. The cadres of the youth organization formed the revolutionary committees of youth that bore the brunt of tho fighting.
1. Initial Co-operation of Liberals and Moderates ln Support of Revolution
The party leaders attempted in vain to control events. At first, the moderates and liberals of the Hungarian party worked together for reform and against the Stalinists. The revolutionary coalition in the central committee onctober called for the formationew government on the basis of "the broadest national foundations" which would initiatewith the Soviet Union to settle the futureof the two countries. The resolution further called for the withdrawal of Soviet troops after the restoration of order. It underlined the intenticn of the central committee andto defend the people's tbe Communist regime, and it asserted that opponents of the regime would bo "annihilated without mercy."
In line with thiseven-man committee was set up tonewHungarian Socialist Workerswhich would stand for "national independence and friendship with all countries." This Joint committee Included Nagy and his two closest adherents, Losonczl and Donath, the.old Bolsheviks
Gyorgy Lukacs aiid Zoltan Szanto and, representing the moderates,.
2. Increasingly Revolutionary Character of Nagy Government
In the new government ofctober, Nagy again held the
premiership. The "moderate" Ferenc Munnich, former ambassador
to Yugoslavia, took over tbe critical post of minister of
interior, thus symbolizing the union of the remaining wings of the party.
m tbe outsetore extreme position than the moderates. Onctober be declared that tho bloody fighting between revolutionaries and Soviet and AVH forces was due to "mistakes and crimes" of the past ten years, and denied that counterrevolutionary elements were behind the insurrection. He acquiesced in the destruction of the one-party system ofthe reformation of long-dissolved "bourgeois" parties and,ovember, the organizationabinet in which thero were only twoand his adheront Geza Losonczl. He assented to tbe suspension ofctober) and abolition of the crop collectionctober). He promised free elections, tbe formation of workers' management councils which had been set up throughout Hungary. He permitted the revolutionary reorganization of the Defense Ministry and tbe appointment of rsvolutionarios (Maleter and Kovacs) and ex-prisonersela Kiraly) to top military posts. ovember, presumably under the influence of extreme revolutionaries and faced with the build-up of Soviet armies, Nagy took the extreme step of proclaiming Hungary's withdrawal from the Warsaw pact and asking for the neutralization ofunder the protection of the United Nations. In an appeal to all Hungarians, he declared that the people of Hungary "desire the consolidation and further development of theof the national revolution without joining any power blocs."
3. Tbe "Moderates" Sabotage the Revolution
The "moderate nationalists" went along with the revolution upovember despite obvious misgivings. Kadar had repeatedly warned against the rise of "counterrevolutionarynd other moderates echoed his fears. The threat to Communism and the Soviet alliance implicit in Nagy's increasingly revolutionary moves led to their betrayal of tbe revolution. Possibly undor the influenceecond visit by Mikoyan and Suslov on 1Kadar and Munnich took steps toew government.
ovember, under protection of Soviet troops holding the Important railroad Junction of Szolnok, Kadar announced the formationRevolutionary Workers' and Peasants'Government" which included Ferenc Mucnich as minister of tho combinedand security forces and Gyorgy Marosan as minister of state. Several discredited "moderates" filled the remaining posts in tbe small cabinet (Imre Horvtth, Istvan Kossa, Antal Apro, Imre Dogoi and Sander Ronal). This government appealed for Soviet aid against the revolution, thus giving the legal pretense for the Soviet reconquest of Hungary.
of Nagy and His Adherents
As Soviet armies moved into actionovember, Nagyespairing appeal for aid "to the Hungarian people and the world." As Hungarians fought advancing Russian tanks, >agy and his closest associates fled to the Yugoslav embassy for protection. The were later surrendered by the Yugoslavs on the basis of an agreement with the Kadar government calling for theirovember). Soviet troops violated the understanding and carried Nagy and members of the group off to Rumania where they presumably remain pending future Soviet action.*
Soviet forces fought their way into Budapest against desperate resistance; "complete liquidation of thewas under way."
of the Stalinists
Of the former top Muscovites, Rakosi and Gero are believed to be in the Soviet Union. The Kadar regime has stigmatized them as "infamous leaders" and the trade-union newspaper has called for their trial for "crimes committed against tbe Hun-
EJheir fale wiil deDOnd O" the Kremlin. Mihaly and Vladimir Farkas and "many high-ranking officers of the AVH" are in prison with Gabor Peter and Gyula Decs! whilefor their trial are being made. Former high-levelof the Rakosi-Gero clique who, like Rudolf Foldvari,the revolution are now termed "political chameleons and careerists." Twelve high-ranking members of the clique were
The following individuals took refugo in the Yugoslav embassy and left it under terms of theovomber agreement: Imre Nagy, Geza Losonczi, Ferenc Janosi, Ferenc Donath, Sandor Haraszti, Szilard Ujhely, Miklos Vasarhelyi, Julia (Mrs. Laszlo) mjk, janos Szllagy and Gyorgy Fazekas. The following also took temporary refuge there and are presumably covered by the
agr^eTnt: Zoltan SzaDto- Gyorgy Lukacs, Zoltan Vas, Peter Erdes and Ferenc Nador. The communique of the Yugoslav State Secretariat for Foreign Affairs stated that members of Nagy's government first approached the Yugoslavsovember.
formally deprived of their positions by the government.* Lesser individuals have been ordered to return to the occupations they held before their rise in the party,
6. The Hungarian Socialist workers Party
The present Hungarian Socialist Workers Party headed by Kadar represents the last fragments of tbe center group of the old Hungarian Workers Party which once numbered one million members and now claims less than one hundred thousand. Its leadership is composed of individuals who like Kadar weroby Rakosi or like Munnich were in the background during the Stalinist era. Its second-level leadership consistsew hold-overs left alive and in the country by theof de-Stalinizatlon and revolution. Completely discredited by its resort to violence against Hungarian workers which it ostensibly represents, the party of Kadar and Munnich, torn by dissension, will be condemned to act as the Kremlin dictates. Kadar thus finds himself in the same position asdictator dependent upon Soviet troops forwithout the carefully trained Muscovite subordinates or well-integrated party machine of Rakosi and completely without the optimism that surrounded the early days of Communist domination of Hungary.
GyorgyLaszlo Piros, Bela Veg andOriginal document.