Nagy, Ferenc (1903-1979). Ferenc Nagy was a leading member of the Smallholders party before, during, and after World War II. He opposed the Horthy-regime before the war and demanded land reform to create a strong peasant stratum in Hungary. During the last year of the war, especially during the German occupation of Hungary beginning in March 1944, Nagy went into hiding. He survived the war and was invited by the Russian occupational authorities to participate in the formation of the provisional government for Hungary on December 21, 1944. He was also a member of the provisional parliament formed at the same time. He was minister of reconstruction in 1945. He was the leader of his party during and after the first elections when his party won absolute majorities in both the municipal-and the national elections. Nagy was then elected president of the new parliament. In February 1946, he was appointed prime minister of Hungary.
Nagy was under great pressure by the communists to cooperate with them in Stalinizing Hungarian politics. He proved to be too weak to withstand the pressure and gradually gave in to every demand made by Matyas Rakosi (see Rakosi, Matyas). Nagy would have had difficulty in openly opposing the communists, however, because they were increasingly supported by the Soviet army occupying Hungary.
Nagy sacrificed many parliamentary deputies in order to stay in power. He even accepted the arrest of Bela Kovacs (see Kovacs, Bela), first secretary of the Smallholders party, a parliamentary deputy, who was charged by the Soviet KGB of antistate activities. In 1947, Nagy was on vacation in Switzerland, when he received notice that he was to be investigated for oppositional activities. He resigned on condition that his four-year-old son be delivered to him in Switzerland. His condition was fulfilled. He ended his life in exile in the United States.
Aczel Tamas, and Meray Tibor, The Revolt of the Mind ( London, 196 1); Nagy Ferenc, The Struggle Behind the Iron Curtain ( New York, 1948); Ferenc Vali, Rift and Revolt in Hungary ( Cambridge, MA, 1061).
Nagy, Imre (1896-1958). Nagy was born into a poor peasant's family. His father found occasional work on large estates and was also the blacksmith of his village. Nagy left his family's home in his early teens and found work in Budapest at the Hungarian Railroad Carriage Works. In 1914 he was drafted and sent to the Russian front during World War I. In 1916, he was captured. A year later, he joined the Bolsheviks and participated in the establishment of V.I. Lenin's regime in the newly formed Soviet Union.
In 1921, Nagy returned to Hungary upon instructions of the COMINTERN. He worked as an underground organizer of poor peasants in southwestern Hungary. He was about to be arrested, but learned of the police plans and fled to Vienna, Austria in 1928. By then, he was married and his wife and daughter accompanied him in his flight.
From Austria he returned to the Soviet Union. He worked at first at the Institute of