Communism in Hungary
1949 - 1989
Introduction to Communism // 1947
After World War II, the Paris Peace Treaties of 1947 established that Hungary again lost all the territories that it had gained between 1938 and 1941. During this time, Hungary was aligning itself more and more with the Soviet Union, which was trying to slowly introduce Communism to Hungary.
Hungarian People's Republic // 1949
Before the Uprisings // 1949 - 1956
The state had nationalized most of the economy by 1950. A lot of Hungary's resources were spent on building new industries from scratch, rather than embracing the country's traditional economic strengths such as textiles and agriculture.
Imre Nagy became the new prime minister and struggled with Rákosi for power. Nagy relaxed state control over the economy, politics, and society, encouraging the people to speak up about reform that they wanted. He increased the production and distribution of consumer goods and reduced tax burdens. Nagy quickly gained widespread popularity with these small but meaningful changes.
Uprising and Revolution // 1956
Post-Revolution // 1956 - 1989
Kádár introduced a relatively liberal cultural and economic course aimed at overcoming the post-1956 hostility towards him and his regime. Over the next 20 years, the government responds to public demands with minor political and economic reforms.
The "New Economic Mechanism" was established to improve Hungary's economy and increase productivity, making Hungary more competitive and stronger in the international market. Despite its benefits, the New Economic Mechanism led to increasing foreign debt.
Hungary began to suffer from inflation during the 1980s, which especially hurt those on fixed incomes. The inflation, coupled with foreign debt, led to widespread poverty and calls for more reforms. Kádár fell from power in 1988 and was replaced as the General Secretary of the Communist Party. This was a time of great political and economic chaos.
End of Communism // 1989
The new Republic of Hungary now had civil rights and a balance of power that allowed for a more democratic government. More political parties, other than Communists, were allowed to form and obtain power. Democracy and capitalism began to replace Communism. Overall, the transition to a multi-party democracy (caused by internal pressure for change and the collapse of Communism) was a peaceful one in Hungary.