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Yearbook 1996

Hungary. According to, the country's finance minister Lajos Bokros resigned in February when he did not receive the support of Prime Minister Gyula Horn he wanted. Bokros wanted to lower social benefits to a level in line with the International Monetary Fund's wishes. Bokros was succeeded as finance minister by Péter Medgyessy.

Parliament approved in October a government proposal under which Hungary, as the first country in former Eastern Europe, pledges to compensate Jews who fell victim to the Nazi persecution in Hungary during the Second World War. Victims of the Nazi Hungarian allies, the crosses, will also be compensated according to the proposal.

1996 Hungary

Chaotic interwar period

The white terror became ruthless, but under Istvan Bethlen's rule of 1921-31 some political normalization was carried out. Social democracy and the professional organizations were allowed to function fairly normally in the cities, but not in the countryside, where general voting rights were still not implemented. The feudal structure was reintroduced and the major property owners dominated until the liberation in 1944-45. Foreign policy led the Hungarians to a tough fight for revision of the Trianon peace. This meant that large Hungarian minorities (a total of 60% of the original population) lived in Yugoslavia, Romania and Czechoslovakia. This struggle eventually led to an approximation to Mussolini's Italy and later to Hitler's Germany.

In the 1930s, Hungary went in a more overtly fascist and anti-Semitic direction during the reign of György Gömbös (1932-36), and there was a rivalry between the protean forces and bourgeois elements with sympathy for the Western powers. When, on April 3, 1941, the anti-German Prime Minister, Pal Teleki committed suicide and Hungary participated in Hitler's aggression against Yugoslavia, the fate of the old Horthy regime was sealed in reality.

The Hungarians took part in the Eastern Front, where they suffered heavy losses. The Jews were called in for special work brigades, although the Horthy regime refused to accept deportation to the concentration camps in Poland. The Hungarian Holocaust began only after the land was occupied by the Germans in March 1944.

The regent, Admiral Horthy, was ousted after making one last attempt to pull Hungary out of the war. On October 16, 1944, Nazi terrorist Ferenc Szalasi took power. He created a horror of terror while at the same time the Red Army advanced in Hungary during fierce fighting and on 13 February 1945 liberated Budapest. A democratic government was now set up, but it soon became apparent that the Communists, supported by Moscow, did not aim to establish a democratic regime. Yet, in many ways, the first post-war years were a constructive period of reform, until Moscow Communist Matyas Rákosi suppressed any opposition and tendency to think independently - both outside and within the Communist Party.

In 1946, a new constitution was adopted that made the country a People's Republic. In 1948, compulsory collectivization of agriculture began, and plans for the country's development were adopted, which, according to the Soviet pattern, emphasized the development of the heavy industry.

Shortly after Stalin's death in 1953, Matyas Rakosi was replaced by the moderate Imre Nagy at the Prime Minister's post. He tried to take a more liberal and consumer-friendly course. But Rakosi proved to be the strongest, and two years later excused Nagy from the party. Following the revelations of Stalin's terror at the Soviet Congress Communist Party's March 1956 tensions grew day by day. The intellectual Petöfi club was a center in the fight against Rakosi and Stalinism. The old dictator retired in favor of his faithful supporter, Ernö Gerö. But that was not enough, and in October a revolution broke out, which, with the military's help, initially brought Imre Nagy back to power at the head of a broad national coalition. (See the Hungarian Uprising).


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