Dictionary of East European History since 1945

By Joseph Held | Go to book overview
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list became a weapon against the enemies of the communists, and only affiliating with the Communist or Social Democratic party could save the job of a person singled out.

The "B" list was administered by committees composed of representatives of all the coalition parties, but the noncommunist members of these committees were usually intimidated to go along with communist-inspired decisions. The "B" list was ended in 1947 when it was obvious that the communists would come into power regardless of the list.


Bibliography

Hanak Peter, "Hungary on a Fixed Course: An Outline of Hungarian History," in Joseph Held, ed. The Columbia History of Eastern Europe in the Twentieth Century ( New York, 1992), pp. 164-229.

Beginning of the Collapse of Communism. In May 1988, a conference of the Hungarian Socialist Workers party and its Central Committee ended in the change of the guard of the leadership. Not only was Janos Kadar, (see Kadar, Janos) the dictator of Hungary since 1956, removed, but 37 new members joined the Central Committee. Most of the new members had joined the party since 1985. The members of the Central Committee who were replaced by the newcomers included most of Kadar's cronies and supporters. The changes did not yet affect the party's position in society. It was, in 1988, still the dominant political group with 800,000 card-carrying members. But party discipline was breaking down. The reformists were out in the open and vigorously supported the necessary changes obstructed by the hard-liners. What was even more important, the political agenda was being set by forces outside the party's control. In July, the party accepted the economic program of the reformists. Yet, in June, a demonstration commemorating the murder of Imre Nagy (see Nagy, Imre) was broken up with great brutality.

On September 5, the Hungarian Democratic Forum, established by oppositional forces in 1985 at their meeting at Monor, transformed the organization into a quasipolitical party. The Central Committee of the Communist party then declared its readiness to talk to the opposition. At the end of September, another opposition group, the Alliance of Free Democrats, was established. In early November, the Smallholders party reemerged, and in January 1989, the Social Democratic party was reestablished. In March 1989, the Opposition Roundtable was created.

At first, the communist leadership was willing to talk only on its own terms with this group. Specifically, they wanted to pack the meeting with representatives of the communist front organizations. Finally, after protracted discussions, a formal meeting was announced on June 10. In the meantime, reform circles were formed within the Hungarian Socialist Workers party. They openly proclaimed that they had formed a faction, an act severely forbidden by Communist party traditions. In May, finally, the Central Committee declared it would hold a special congress in October.

In the meantime, another important movement was created, the Alliance of Young Democrats. The Endre Bajcsy-Zsilinszky Fraternal Society added color to the emerg

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