In its application to the Communist-controlled "people's democracies," the concept of national security requires complete redefinition. The classical conception of national security, by which is meant the security of a nation from the danger of foreign subjugation, cannot be unequivocally applied to Hungary, since the term implies the existence of national sovereignty. Because of the status of the People's Republic of Hungary within the Soviet orbit, one can speak of national security only in the sense of the security measures instituted by the regime for the perpetuation of its own power and in response to the military requirements of the Soviet bloc as determined by the Soviet Union.
The most salient feature of the dictatorship imposed upon the people of Hungary is the universal sense of insecurity. If the masses of this totalitarian society are insecure and afraid of the arbitrary and omnipotent state, its leaders are extremely apprehensive lest hostile elements penetrate the fabric of the state machinery. To prevent such penetration and to guard the newly created institutions of popular democracy, the rulers of the People's Republic of Hungary have not only established an apparatus of terror and surveillance, but have also set up a tightly knit network of propaganda and indoctrination to gain the allegiance and loyalty of their subjects. The primary objective of this complex system of political and police control is to absorb the entire population within the framework of the new regime.
With certain minor exceptions to fit local conditions, the pattern pursued by the Hungarian Communists was similar to that followed by their counterparts in most of the countries now in the Soviet orbit. Hiding behind the facade of parliamentary democracy, they managed gradually to infiltrate the entire network of government. Acquiring control over the Ministry of the Interior and thereby over the chief instrument for the seizure of power, the police force, the Communists soon transformed themselves from a ruling minority into a dominating majority. This process was facilitated by systematic Communist infiltration of the parties composing the government coalition, which were converted into docile instruments of political domination.