Dictionary of East European History since 1945

By Joseph Held | Go to book overview

ing new political landscape. Several independent trade unions made their appearance, and other groupings were also in the process of establishing themselves. In September 1989, prime minister Miklos Nemeth made the decision to permit the East German "tourists," who were pouring into Hungary in ever increasing numbers, to cross the border into Austria on their way to West Germany. This decision contributed to the collapse of the Honecker regime, followed by the end of the Czechoslovak communist system.

The Opposition and the communists in Hungary finally came to an agreement about the elections to be held in March 1990 and, if needed, runoff balloting a week later. In the elections, the Democratic Forum and its coalition partners, the Smallholders party, and the Christian Democrats, received 58 percent of the votes cast. Jozsef Antall (see Antall, Jozsef) of the Democratic Forum formed a coalition government with a platform of establishing institutions of a multiparty democratic political system and a market economy. The Communist party, which split at its October meeting into two new parties, one the Socialist party, and the other, comprising the hard-liners of the old Hungarian Socialist Workers party, received minimal support. The hard liners did not even succeed in placing their own deputies in the new parliament. The new regime moved slowly, however. At the time of this writing ( 1993), it has not yet completed its program of privatization of the economy.


Bibliography

Rothschild Joseph, Return to Diversity. A Political History of East Central Europe Since World War II ( Oxford, 1992); Swain Nigel, Hungary: The Rise and Fall of Feasible Socialism ( London, 1992).

Benke, Valeria (1920-). She was educated as an elementary school teacher, and in 1941, she joined the illegal Hungarian Communist party. Between 1945 and 1946, she was an instructor in the Central Party School in Budapest, while serving at the same time as secretary of the Hungarian Democratic Women's Association. Between 1954 and 1958, Benke was director of Hungarian National Radio, and she refused, on October 23, 1956, to broadcast the demands of students and workers. This led to the outbreak of street fighting in Budapest, and the shooting of unarmed students and workers in front of the radio's building by the secret police.


Bibliography

Aczel Tamas, and Meray Tibor, The Revolt of the Mind ( London, 1961).

Berend, T. Ivan (1930-). Berend was born to a middle-class family. He studied at Lorant Eotvos University in Budapest and joined the Hungarian Communist party while still a young university student. After graduation he became a member of the faculty of his alma mater and was appointed to the Historical Institute of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. In the 1960s, he became president of Karl Marx University of Economic Sciences in Budapest.

Berend became a prolific historian. He worked with Gyorgy Ranki, a contempo

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