Hungary in Revolution, 1918-19: Nine Essays

By Iván Völgyes | Go to book overview

Problems of Foreign Policy before the Revolutionary Governing Council

Zsuzsa L. Nagy


The Subject and the Sources

Today there already is a sufficient amount of literature available to discuss the international situation and foreign policy of the Hungarian Soviet Republic of 1919. The materials on which this essay is to be based are the minutes of the sessions of the Revolutionary Governing Council and its various committees including the United Central Executive Committee. To date only parts of these minutes have been published, although Hungarian studies of the soviet republic have utilized these sources adequately.

The Revolutionary Governing Council was established on March 21, 1919, replacing the previous government. Its president was Sándor Garbai; its membership consisted of twenty-nine people's commissars or deputy peoples' commissars who fulfilled ministerial or deputy ministerial functions. On the third of April the council changed its form, raising the number of commissars to thirty-four and the deputy peoples' commissars were elevated to the rank of commissar. While on March 21 there were only two Communist peoples' commissars and nine deputy peoples' commissars as members of the governing council, the following April their number was increased to thirteen and their position was strengthened by adequate representation of Left Social Democrats.1

The Revolutionary Governing Council was the real decision-making body, the responsibilities of which included all aspects of public and private life. It had to operate without a legal popular mandate for a significant period because the elections were not held until April 7-10, and, thus, the National Congress of Soviets (which fulfilled the functions of a parliament) was not convened until the middle of June.

The governing council, at least in the beginning, held daily sessions and had to take care of a tremendous number of problems. There also were a great number of political problems which required quick decisions and not every case was brought to the full sessions of the governing council. In order to facilitate decision-making, on April 12 a five-member Political Committee was established which held its first

____________________
1
Tibor Hajdu, A Magyarországi Tanácsköztérsaség [ The Soviet Republic of Hungary ] ( Budapest: Kossuth, 1969), pp. 45-46, 98 ff.

-121-

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