17. Hungary (1918-present)

 

Crisis Phase (October 17, 1918-April 15, 1919): Hungary declared its independence from the Austria-Hungary Empire on October 17, 1918. Prime Minister Sandor Wekerle resigned on October 24, 1918, and the Hungarian National Council (HNC) headed by Count Mihaly Karolyi was established on October 25, 1918. Government troops and demonstrators clashed in Budapest on October 28, 1918, resulting in the deaths of three individuals. King Charles VII appointed Count Mihaly Karolyi as prime minister on October 31, 1918. Government troops suppressed rebellions in eastern Hungary in November 1918. The HNC proclaimed the Hungarian People’s Republic on November 16, 1918. Bela Kun established the Communist Party of Hungary (CPH) on November 24, 1918. Count Karolyi was elected provisional president by the HNC on January 11, 1919, and Dezso Berinkey was appointed prime minister on January 18, 1919. Government police and demonstrators clashed in Budapest on February 20, 1919, resulting in the deaths of six government policemen and arrest of 42 members of the CPH. Bela Kun established the communist Revolutionary Governing Council (RGC) after the government of Prime Minister Berinsky collapsed on March 20, 1919. President Karolyi resigned on March 21, 1919, and Alexander Garbai became president of the Hungarian Soviet Republic. The government declared war against Czechoslovakia on March 28, 1919, and Hungarian troops invaded Slovakia. Parliamentary elections were held on April 7-10, 1919, and supporters of Bela Kun won a majority of the seats in the soviet (worker’s council). Some 100 individuals were killed during the crisis.

Conflict Phase (April 16, 1919-August 6, 1919): Romanian troops intervened against the government of Bela Kun in southern Hungary beginning on April 16, 1919. Opponents of the government of Bela Kun, including Count Gyula Karolyi, Count Istvan Bethlen, and Admiral Miklos Horthy de Nagybanya, established a rival government in Arad, Romania (and later Szeged, Hungary) on May 5, 1919. The RGC collapsed on August 1, 1919, and Bela Kun fled into exile to Vienna. Gyula Peidl, a leader of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), formed a government as prime minister on August 2, 1919. Romanian troops occupied Budapest on August 4, 1919, and Istvan Friedrich formed a government as prime minister on August 6, 1919. Some 9,000 individuals, including 6,000 Hungarians and 3,000 Romanian troops, were killed during the conflict.

Post-Conflict Phase (August 7, 1919-September 18, 1922): Romanian troops withdrew from Budapest on November 14, 1919, and troops commanded by Admiral Horthy entered Budapest on November 16, 1919. Karoly Huszar, leader of the Christian Social Party (CSP), established an interim coalition government as prime minister on November 25, 1919. The Allied Supreme Council (ASC), which consisted of representatives from Britain, France, Italy, and the US, provided diplomatic assistance (diplomatic recognition) to the government of Prime Minister Huszar on November 26, 1919. Several individuals were tried for crimes committed during the dictatorship of Bela Kun between November 24 and December 12, 1919, resulting in the executions of fourteen individuals on December 19, 1919. Parliamentary elections were held on January 25-26, 1920, and the Independent Smallholders Party (ISP) headed by Istvan Szabo Nagyatadi won 91 out of 218 seats in the National Assembly. The Christian National Unity Party (CNUP) won 59 seats in the National Assembly. The SDP boycotted the parliamentary elections. Romanian troops completed their withdrawal from the country on February 25, 1920. Some 5,000 Hungarians were killed during the White Terror from November 26, 1919 to February 28, 1920. The National Assembly restored the Hungarian monarchy, and elected Admiral Miklos Horthy as regent and head-of-state on March 1, 1920. Prime Minister Huszar resigned on March 13, 1920, and Sandor Simonyi-Semadam formed a government as prime minister on March 14, 1920. Prime Minister Simonyi-Semadam resigned on June 27, 1920, and Count Pal Teleki formed a government as prime minister on July 19, 1920. Prime Minister Teleki resigned on April 13, 1921, and Count Istvan Bethlen formed a government as prime minister on April 14, 1921. Government troops suppressed an attempted rebellion led by former King Charles IV on October 20-24, 1921. The National Assembly approved the Dethronement Act of the House of Habsburg on November 3, 1921. The government banned the CPH in 1921. Prime Minister Bethlen joined the ISP, and the ISP was renamed the Party of Unity in February 1922. Parliamentary elections were held on June 2, 1922, and the Party of National Unity (PNU) won 143 out of 245 seats in the National Assembly. The country was admitted to the League of Nations (LON) on September 18, 1922. Some 5,500 individuals were killed in political violence between August 1919 and September 1922.

Post-Crisis Phase (September 19, 1922-February 12, 1939): The Socialist Workers’ Party of Hungary (SWPH) headed by Istvan Vagi was established in April 1925. Municipal elections were held in Budapest in May 1925. Parliamentary elections were held on December 8-18, 1926, and the PNU won 169 out of 245 seats in the National Assembly. The Christian Social Union (CSU) won 35 seats in the National Assembly. Prime Minister Bethlen resigned on August 19, 1931, and Count Gyula Karolyi formed a government as prime minister on August 24, 1931. Zoltan Boszormenyi established the National Socialist Hungarian Workers’ Party (NSHWP) in December 1931, and Zoltan Mesko established the National Socialist Peasant and Workers’ Party (NSPWP) in June 1932. Imre Sallai and Sandor Furst, leaders of the CPH, were executed by the government on July 29, 1932. Prime Minister Gyula Karolyi resigned on September 21, 1932, and Gyula Gombos of the PNU formed a government as prime minister on October 1, 1932. Admiral Horthy dissolved the National Assembly on March 5, 1935. Parliamentary elections were held on April 11, 1935, and the PNU won 170 out of 245 seats in the National Assembly. Prime Minister Gombos died of an illness in Munich on October 6, 1936, and Kalman Daranyi formed a government as prime minister on October 12, 1936. Prime Minister Daranyi resigned on May 11, 1938, and Bela Imredy formed a government as prime minister on May 14, 1938.

Crisis Phase (February 13, 1939-March 31, 1963): Admiral Horthy dismissed Prime Minister Imredy on February 13, 1939, and appointed Count Pal Teleki as prime minister on February 16, 1939. Prime Minister Teleki committed suicide on April 3, 1941, and Laszlo Bardossy formed a government as prime minister on April 4, 1941.  The government declared war against the Soviet Union on June 27, 1941.  Admiral Horthy dismissed Prime Minister Bardossy on March 6, 1942, and appointed Miklos Kallay as prime minister on March 7, 1942. German troops occupied the country on March 22, 1944, and Lt. General Doeme Sztojay formed a pro-German government as prime minister on March 23, 1944.  Admiral Horthy dismissed Prime Minister Sztojay on August 29, 1944, and appointed General Geza Lakatos as prime minister on August 30, 1944. Soviet troops invaded Hungary on September 23, 1944. German troops overthrew the government of Prime Minister Lakatos on October 15, 1944, and Ferenc Szalasi formed a government as prime minister on October 16, 1944 (Prime Minister Szalasi also succeeded Admiral Horthy as head-of-state on October 16, 1944). Bela Dalnoki Miklos formed a provisional national government in Debrecen on December 21, 1944, and Soviet troops occupied Budapest on February 13, 1945.  The Republic of Hungary was established on February 1, 1946.  Zoltan Tildy of the Independent Smallholders Party (ISP) was named president on February 4, 1946. Ferenc Nagy was appointed as prime minister on February 4, 1946. Hungary and the Allied countries signed a peace treaty on February 10, 1947, which provided for the withdrawal of Allied troops from the country within six months.  Prime Minister Nagy was accused of treason and removed from office on May 31, 1947, and Lajos Dinnyes was appointed as prime minister. Parliamentary elections were held on August 31, 1947, and the communist coalition won 271 out of 411 seats in the National Assembly.  President Tildy was forced to resign on July 30, 1948.  Cardinal Jozsef Mindszenty, the Roman Catholic primate in Hungary, was accused of treason on December 26, 1948.  Cardinal Mindszenty was sentenced to life imprisonment for treason on February 8, 1949.  Secretary-of-State Dean Scheson of the US condemned the trial of Cardinal Mindszenty on February 9, 1949.  The Pope condemned the trial of Cardinal Mindszenty on February 14 and February 20, 1949. The National Assembly was dissolved on April 12, 1949.  Parliamentary elections were held on May 15, 1949, and the communist-controlled People’s Independence Front (PIF) won 378 out of 395 seats in the National Assembly.  Secretary-of-State Dean Acheson of the US condemned the parliamentary elections as a “flagrant violation” of the political freedoms guaranteed in the Hungarian peace treaty.  Istvan Dobi of the Smallholders’ Party (SP) formed a government as prime minister on June 10, 1949.  Foreign Minister Laszlo Rajk was arrested and charged with treason on June 16, 1949, which resulted in a purge of the Hungarian communist party.  A new constitution was adopted by the National Assembly on August 18, 1949, and the country was renamed the Hungarian People’s Republic on August 20, 1949.  Arpad Szakasits was elected chairman of the Presidium on August 23, 1949.  Laszlo Rajk was sentenced to death for treason on September 24, 1949, and he was executed on October 15, 1949.  Arpad Szakasits, chairman of the Presidium of the Hungarian People’s Republic, resigned due to ill-health on April 26, 1950.  The government deported some 25,000 Hungarians from Budapest between May 21 to July 20, 1951.  Britain, France, and the US condemned the government on July 27, 1951.  Prime Minister Istvan Dobi resigned on August 13, 1952, and Matyas Rakosi was appointed as prime minister on August 14, 1952.  Prime Minister Rakosi was forced to resign on July 4, 1953, and Imre Nagy was appointed as prime minister on July 5, 1953.  Prime Minister Nagy was forced to resign on April 14, 1955, and Andras Hegedus was appointed as prime minister on April 18, 1955. Hungary joined the Warsaw Pact (WP) on May 14, 1955.  Some 2,000 members of the Communist Party of Hungary (CPH) were executed between 1949 and 1955.  Some 200,000 students and workers demonstrated in Budapest against the hardline-communist government on October 23, 1956, and Imre Nagy was reappointed prime minister the next day.  Britain, France, and the US referred the matter to the United Nations (UN) Security Council on October 27, 1956, but the Soviet Union prevented UN Security Council discussion of the matter.  Prime Minister Nagy promised free elections and the end of one-party rule on October 30, 1956.  On November 1, 1956, Prime Minister Nagy declared that Hungary had severed its ties to the WP, and established a non-communist government on November 3, 1956.  Some 200,000 Soviet troops intervened to suppress the rebellion on November 3, 1956.  Prime Minister Nagy was removed from office on November 4, 1956.  The UN Security Council voted to refer the Hungary matter to the UN General Assembly, which met in an emergency special session on November 4-10, 1956.  Janos Kadar became the new prime minister on November 9, 1956.  Soviet troops suppressed the rebellion on November 14, 1956, and some 190,000 Hungarians fled as refugees to Austria and Yugoslavia.  The Intergovernmental Committee for European Migration (ICEM) and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) provided repatriation assistance to some 195,000 Hungarian refugees between 1956 and November 2, 1957.  Some 3,000 Hungarians and 1,500 Soviet troops were killed during the rebellion.  Some 2,000 individuals were executed for their involvement in the rebellion.  The UN General Assembly established a five-member fact-finding mission (Australia, Ceylon, Denmark, Tunisia, Uruguay) headed by Alsing Andersen of Denmark on January 10, 1957. The UN fact-finding mission issued a report on June 20, 1957.  Ferenc Munnich was appointed as prime minister on January 28, 1958.  The Soviet Union announced that it was withdrawing some of its troops from the country in May 1958.  Former Prime Minister Imre Nagy, Major General Pal Maleter, and two other individuals were executed by the government on June 16, 1958.  Secretary-of-State John Foster Dulles condemned the executions on June 17, 1958, and President Dwight Eisenhower of the US condemned the executions on June 18, 1958.  Parliamentary elections were held on November 16, 1958, and the communist People’s Patriotic Front (PPF) won 338 out of 338 seats in the National Assembly.  On November 30, 1959, Janos Kadar, First Secretary of the Hungarian Socialist Workers’ Party (HSWP), declared that Soviet troops would remain in Hungary indefinitely.  Janos Kadar was appointed as prime minister on September 13, 1961.  Parliamentary elections were held on February 24, 1963, and the PPF won 340 out of 340 seats in the National Assembly.  In March 1963, the National Assembly approved amnesty for many of the anti-communists who were imprisoned following the 1956 revolution.  Some 62,500 individuals were killed, and some 220,000 individuals were displaced during the crisis.

Post-Crisis Phase (April 1, 1963-present): Prime Minister Kadar resigned, and Gyula Kallai was appointed as prime minister on June 30, 1965. Prime Minister Kallai resigned, and Jeno Fock was appointed as prime minister on April 14, 1967. Prime Minister Fock resigned, and Gyorgy Lazar formed a government as prime minister on May 15, 1975. Parliamentary elections were held on July 8-22, 1985. Janos Kadar, first secretary of the HSWP, was replaced as party leader by Prime Minister Karoly Grosz on May 22, 1988. Some 75,000 individuals demonstrated in favor of democratic elections in Budapest in March 1989. Janos Kadar died on July 6, 1989. The HSWP formally disbanded on October 9, 1989, and the Hungarian Socialist Party (MSP) was established. The Republic of Hungary was proclaimed on October 23, 1989, and Matyas Szuros was chosen as interim president.  Parliamentary elections were held on March 25 and April 8, 1990, and the Hungarian Democratic Forum (MDF), a center-right political party, won 165 out of 386 contested seats in the parliament. The MSP won 33 seats in the parliament. The Council of Europe (COE) Parliamentary Assembly sent observers to monitor the parliamentary elections, and reported that the elections were free and fair. Arpad Goncz of the Federation of Free Democrats (FFD) was chosen as interim president on May 2, 1990, and was elected president by the parliament on August 3, 1990. Jozsef Antall, leader of the MDF, formed a coalition government with two other parties on May 23, 1990. The National Assembly suspended Hungary’s membership in the Warsaw Treaty Organization (WTO) on June 26, 1990. Some 20,000 individuals demonstrated against the government of Prime Minister Antall in Budapest on March 25, 1992. Some 10,000 individuals demonstrated for freedom of press and media in Budapest on October 30, 1993. Prime Minister Antall died on December 12, 1993, and he was replaced by Peter Boross on December 21, 1993. Parliamentary elections were held on May 8-30, 1994, and the MSP won 209 out of 386 seats in the parliament. The FFD won 70 seats in the parliament, and the MDF won 37 seats in the parliament. The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Parliamentary Assembly (PA) and the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) established an election observation mission to monitor the parliamentary elections. Gyula Horn, leader of the MSP, formed a government as prime minister on June 14, 1994.  Regional elections were held on December 11, 1994. The OSCE/ODIHR established an election observation mission to monitor the regional elections. President Goncz was re-elected as president by the National Assembly on June 19, 1995.  Hungarians approved their country’s plan to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in a referendum on November 16, 1997. The British Helsinki Human Rights Group (BHHRG) sent observers to monitor the referendum. Parliamentary elections were held on May 10-24, 1998, and the Federation of Young Democrats (FDS)-Hungarian Civic Party (MPP) coalition won 147 out of 386 seats in the National Assembly. The MSP won 134 seats in the National Assembly. The OSCE/ODIHR sent eight long-term observers and 76 short-term observers from 21 countries headed by Dzsingisz Gabor of the Netherlands to monitor the parliamentary elections from April 10 to May 25, 1998. The BHHRG sent observers to monitor the parliamentary elections.  Viktor Orban of the was sworn in as prime minister of a coalition government on July 6, 1998.  Parliamentary elections were held on April 7 and April 21, 2002, and the FDS-MPP won 188 out of 386 seats in the National Assembly.  The MSP won 178 seats in the National Assembly.  The OSCE/ODIHR sent nine long-term observers headed by Linda Edgeworth of the US to monitor the parliamentary elections from March 13 to April 22, 2002.  Peter Medgyessy was approved as prime minister by the National Assembly on May 27, 2002.  A referendum was held regarding membership in the European Union (EU) on April 12, 2003, and some 84 percent of the voters supported EU membership.  Hungary formally joined the EU on May 1, 2004.

[Sources: Banks and Muller, 1998, 400-405; Beigbeder, 1994, 250-252; Bercovitch and Jackson, 1997, 85-86; Brecher and Wilkenfeld, 1997, 337-338, 604-605; British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), July 7, 1998, April 21, 2002, June 7, 2005; Butterworth, 1976, 217-219; Clodfelter, 1992, 980; Donelan and Grieve, 1973, 130-134; Facts on File, June 20-26, 1957, June 12-18, 1958, June 19-25, 1958; Ference, 1994, 213-253; Jessup, 1998, 290-292; Keesing’s Record of World Events, August 21-28, 1948, March 19-26, 1949, June 18-25, 1949, October 8-15, 1949, January 14-21, 1950, May 20-27, 1950, November 10-17, 1951, August 16-23, 1952, March 2-9, 1957, June 22-29, 1957, July 20-27, 1957, June 14-21, 1958, November 15-22, 1958, December 26, 1959-January 2, 1960, April 13-20, 1963, May 1994, July 1994, May 1998; Langer, 1972, 1019-1021, 1205-1207; Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) newsletter, April 1998, May 1998; Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Parliamentary Assembly (PA)/Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) press release, April 24, 1998, March 13, 2002; Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), Novmeber 17, 1997, May 22, 1998, May 25, 1998; Schmid, 1985, 26-29; Sugar et al. 1990; Tillema, 1991, 49-50; Weisburd, 1997, 211-213.]