attended by almost 200,000 people. This proved to be the preliminary skirmish of the Hungarian Revolution of 1956.
Fejto François, The History of the Peoples Democracies ( Paris, 1971); Gati, Charles Hungary and the Soviet Bloc ( Durham, NC, 1986).
Rakosi, Matyas ( 1892-1971). Rakosi was one of the founding members of the Hungarian Communist party in 1918 and was a commissar in Bela Kun's first communist government in March-August, 1919. After the collapse of the Hungarian Soviet Republic, Rakosi fled to the Soviet Union. He became a member of the Soviet Communist party. However, he had no talent for learning languages and spoke a broken Russian. In 1924, he was sent back to Hungary by the COMINTERN to bring the moribund underground Communist party back to life. He lasted for about a year. In 1925, he was arrested and sentenced to eight years in prison. When his term expired, he was retried and convicted of crimes that he had committed in 1919. This time, his sentence was life imprisonment. In 1940, however, Rakosi, together with other communists, was sent to the Soviet Union. He lived there through World War II as the first secretary of the Hungarian Communist party. By then, the original leaders of the Hungarian Soviet Republic were mostly dead. They had been killed in Joseph Stalin's purges of the 1930s.
Rakosi returned to Hungary in December 1944 as the leader of the reorganized Hungarian Communist party. He engineered the communist takeover of 1948. He liked to be called the "best pupil of Comrade Stalin," and he did indeed copy Stalin's terroristic methods completely. After 1949, he became the most outspoken, often vulgar opponent of Titoism and repeatedly denounced Josip Broz Tito and his entourage as the "chained dogs of the imperialists."
After Stalin's death, Rakosi's excesses were too much even for his Soviet patrons. In June 1953, he was summoned to Moscow with other Hungarian communist leaders and was ordered to pass the premiership to Imre Nagy (see Nagy, Imre), who had not been implicated in Rakosi's reign of terror. In 1955, however, Rakosi succeeded in maneuvering himself back to power and had Nagy expelled from the leadership and eventually from the party. He reversed Nagy's policies and threatened the population with the return of Stalinist terror. In the summer of 1956, however, he was finally ousted by the Soviet leaders and sent to the Soviet Union into exile. He died there in 1971.
Aczel Tamas, and Meray Tibor, The Revolt of the Mind ( London, 1961); Fejto François, The History of the People's Democracies ( Paris, 1971); Gati Charles, Hungary and the Soviet Bloc ( Durham, NC, 1986); Kovrig Bennett, Communism in Hungary from Kun to Kadar ( Stanford, CA, 1979).
Ranki, Gyorgy ( 1930-1988). Ranki came from a prosperous, middle class Jewish