the future of Hungary. This meeting represented a catharsis for the movement, similar to what happened to another populist movement, the German Independent Youth movement in 1913 at the Hohe Meisner. In both cases, a lot of talk led to no action. During World War II, especially after Hungary was occupied by the Germans in March 1944, young populists joined the resistance. They were led by brave young men such as Sandor Kis and Pal Jonas, both of whom were to play major roles immediately after the end of the war in Hungarian politics. Both were eventually forced to leave Hungary by the communists. The populists' program was used to some extent by the communists after 1945, to win the peasantry over to their side. But the populists were simply brushed aside and were not given leading roles in politics and society.
After 1989, the populists reemerged and moved more to the right of the political spectrum. Some of their leaders, such as, for instance, Istvan Csurka, became outspoken, racist-nationalists with a large following. They represent an extreme that threatens Hungary's progress toward democracy.
Borbandi Gyula, Der Ungarische Populismus ( Mainz, 1976); Oltay Edith, "Hungary: Csurka Launches National Movement," Radio Free Europe Research Report 2.13 ( March 26, 1993), pp. 25-31.
Pozsgay, Imre ( 1933- ). Pozsgay was of the generation that hardly knew any system but socialism He grew up in Somogy county where he joined the Hungarian Socialist Workers party and became a small time apparatchik. In 1970, he began his rise in the communist apparatus. In that year, he was appointed a member of the party's Central Committee, in charge of the operations of the Patriotic People's Front. Two years later, he joined Janos Kadar's (see Kadar, Janos) cabinet as minister of education and immediately introduced a series of reforms in the stagnant educational system.
Pozsgay soon sought contact with the populist writers who had been relegated to the background by the regime. He also became friendly with intellectuals who were chafing under the restrictive policies of the regime. Pozsgay used the front as a shield for nonconformist intellectuals and encouraged them to step over the limits set by Gyorgy Aczel (see Aczel, Gyorgy), the ideological guru of the Kadar government.
By the mid- 1980s, Pozsgay had become the spokesman for reform communists. In 1988, he shocked the Kadar regime when he declared that the "events" of 1956 represented a genuine popular uprising against an oppressive system.
By the end of the 1980s, Pozsgay was in the forefront of reform communists, urging the party leaders to abandon their monopoly of political power and to move toward the establishment of a pluralistic democracy. In 1989, Pozsgay was one of those who engineered the dissolution of the Hungarian Socialist Workers party. He became a leading spokesman for the new Hungarian Socialist party that separated from the hard-liners.
Pozsgay ran for the presidency of the new Hungarian republic; however, he was
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Publication information: Book title: Dictionary of East European History since 1945. Contributors: Joseph Held - Author. Publisher: Greenwood Press. Place of publication: Westport, CT. Publication year: 1994. Page number: 287.
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