Dictionary of East European History since 1945

By Joseph Held | Go to book overview

defeated by the successful efforts of the Alliance of Free Democrats, who obtained a sufficient number of signatures for a referendum that placed the right of electing the president in parliament. The parliament then proceeded to elect a member of the Alliance of Free Democrats for the presidency, Arpad Goncz (see Goncz, Arpad). After his failure, Pozsgay semi-retired from politics. In 1992, however, he participated in the establishment of a new party, called the Democratic party, that is preparing for the new elections due in 1994.


Bibliography

Pataki Judith, "Hungary: Domestic Political Stalemate," Radio Free Europe Research Report 2.1 January 1, 1992), pp. 92-95; Swain Nigel, Hungary: The Rise and Fall Feasible Socialism ( Oxford, 1992).

Provisional Government of Hungary in 1944. Formed on December 21, 1944, in the east Hungarian city of Debrecen (by then under Soviet occupation), the provisional government was established through sponsorship by the Soviet government. Its members were recruited from the Hungarian Communist party, the Independent Smallholders party, the Social Democratic party, the National Peasant party, and the Civic Democratic party. Heading the government was General Bela Miklos, a soldier from the Horthy regime who changed sides during the last months of the war.

The authority of this government was limited. At the time of its formation, the western part of Hungary was still occupied by the Germans who were fighting a bitter rearguard actions against the Soviet army. One of the first acts of the new government was the establishment of a political police, that soon came under the control of the communists. It would have been easy for the communists to seize power right after World War II, but they were restrained by Joseph Stalin, who was not yet sure of the extent of Soviet power in Eastern Europe.

The provisional government proved itself to be extraordinarily effective in restoring essential services for the population. By mid-1945, the cities were being supplied with essential foodstuffs, even if these were less than plentiful. The bridges connecting the two halves of the capital city over the Danube river, destroyed by the retreating Germans, were being rebuilt, and the recovery of the economy was on its way. The provisional government also introduced land reform, providing incentives for the peasants to increase their production. By the time the elections took place, the foundations for Hungary's recovery from the devastations of the war were well in place.


Bibliography

Fejto François, The History of the People's Democracies ( Paris, 1971); Nagy Ferenc, The Struggle Behind the Iron Curtain ( New York, 1948).

Rajk, Laszlo, ( 1909-1949). Rajk was a university student in Budapest in 1930 when he joined the underground Communist party. In 1936, he was sent to Spain to fight in the civil war and, at the end of the war, he ended up in a French prisoner of war camp. He escaped from the camp in 1941 with the help of an American, Noel Field,

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