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Muscovite Prelude.

Soviet Russia could have established a Communist dictatorship in Hungary right after the occupation of the country by the Red Army. This was probably not deemed opportune because of the various inter-Allied agreements and internal conditions in Hungary where the Communist Party had no significant popular support. The Muscovite satrap of Hungary, Matyas Rakosi, recently stated that the Communist Party, in the spring of 1945, was not able to win over the majority of the toiling masses to the aims of a proletarian dictatorship. He added that "the approval and support of the decisive majority of the toilers cannot be substituted even by the liberating intervention of the Soviet Army".1 Moreover, he explained, the Hungarian Communist Party "was burdened with the cares of ruling a state when it had as yet hardly any organizations".2

Instead of attempting to introduce the Soviet system in one sweeping move, the Kremlin decided to establish a coalition regime a course which corresponded to inter-Allied agreements. On December 5, 1944, a Moscow-trained Hungarian Communist leader, Erno Gero, presented a list of the designated cabinet members to the Hungarian armistice delegation in Moscow and to the Hungarian generals who had gone over to the Red Army after the armistice proclamation of Horthy. General Kuznetsov assisted on this occasion. Gero explained that the plan for a provisional government was formulated and a list prepared with the consent of the United Kingdom and the United States. General Bela D_lnoki Miklos, former commander of the first Hungarian Army, and J_nos Voros, former chief of staff of the Hungarian Army, accepted the proposed list and the positions offered to them. Miklos was designated prime minister, and Voros, minister of defense.3

The members of the armistice delegation asked for tventy-four hours in which to reply. A few hours later, however, the conference was to be continued. This time Molotov met with the delegation and stated that he was glad that the designated persons had accepted their positions in the cabinet. Count Geza Teleki attempted to decline the portfolio offered him, but was forced by threats to accept.4

This prelude in Moscow was closely connected with the activities of Communist agents in Hungary. Moscow-trained Communists, like Gero


and Imre Nagy, previous to the presentation of the cabinet list, were roving throughout eastern Hungary behind the Red Army, selecting members of the cabinet.

There moved with the Soviet Army into devastated Hungary, a group of Hungarian emigres, members of the 1919 Communist regime of Bela Kun the so-called Muscovites. They had become Soviet citizens some of them were members of the invading army and having been trained in Moscow were entrusted to apply the recipe for world revolutionary conquest as explained in the works of Lenin and Stalin. Some of them played an important role in the international Communist movement and had fulfilled missions as Communist organizers in various foreign countries. Besides their indoctrination, they had been deeply impressed in Russia by the purge of Bela Kun and other Hungarian Communists.5 Thus their only loyalty had been an absolute obedience to the Kremlin. The fact that they spoke Hungarian, had a Hungarian background, and were informed about conditions in the country greatly facilitated their task. Hungary, politically disintegrated, economically ruined, and occupied by the Red Army, seemed a good case where the teaching of Lenin and Stalin could easily be applied.

The Horthy regime in the 'twenties' and 'thirties' had suppressed the Communist Party, so the Communists could maintain in Hungary only a few underground cells. Between these cells and Moscow, an underground communications system had functioned. The returned emigres knew that these Communist groups could not possibly form the basis for the realization of their political aims. They did not follow the clumsy and violent policy of the 1919 Hungarian-Communist regime of Bela Kun, which had left such a deep feeling of resentment among the Hungarian people. To win sympathy and popular support they now advocated a coalition government, praised the principles of democracy, and even preached the necessity of collaborating with the Catholic Church. Communist brigades actually helped to restore destroyed churches. Such actions were greatly publicized. It was emphasized that the Russians wanted only to annihilate Fascism and did not intend to interfere with internal politics. Patriotic slogans were the order of the day. The bourgeois and peasant leaders of the underground parties were publicly extolled by the Communists as progressive and reliable democrats who were entitled to share in the leadership of the country. Thus in this first postwar period in Hungary the Communists acted with extreme caution and cunning. At that time the pattern of their later designs was anticipated by only a few people.

The sapping and undermining of democracy nonetheless had already begun. Communist good faith could not have been questioned publicly in any way. Freedom of speech did not exist. Even after the end of


Russian censorship the Communists effectively controlled the press through a system of licenses, allocation of newsprint, and the printers trade-union.

Pattern of Reorganization.

The political reorganization of the country was undertaken by the "Hungarian National Independence Front". This was a coalition established shortly after the German occupation of Hungary by the underground leaders of the Smallholder, Social Democrat, and Communist parties. The Communists organized in this period under the name of the Peace Party. Later, the National Peasant Party, and in December, 1944, the Citizen's Democratic Party, were also admitted into the Hungarian Front. Another important event in underground politics was the agreement of collaboration concluded between the Communist and Social Democratic parties.6 Point two of the agreement declared the necessity of merging the Communist and Social Democratic parties, in order to form a united revolutionary worker's party. The carrying out of the unification was left for the postwar period. Point eight provided for immediate unification of Hungarian workers through the tradeunions.

In the villages, towns, districts and counties occupied by the Red Army, so-called "national committees" immediately arose, with representatives of the former underground parties and the trade-unions. The committees were formed almost everywhere through the intervention of Communist emissaries, who did their best to select docile fellow travelers from all parties as members. The crippled transportation system was controlled by the Red Army. Joseph Gabor and, a few months later, Erno Gero both Muscovite Communists became the ministers of commerce and transportation in the provisional government. Freedom of movement was thus assured to Communist agents, who were supported in every respect by the occupying forces and spoke with authority to the terrorized population.

From the very beginning of the new regime, national committees handled all public affairs on the municipal level. In most places the committees were Communist-dominated. The situation was particularly anomalous in the villages where the vast majority of the peasants considered the Smallholder Party their own. The Communist Party had not previously existed in the villages and the Social Democratic Party had few, if any, members. The Peasant Party had just begun to organize. The peasants soon realized that through the national committees they were being ruled by a new oligarchy of incompetent persons, who were either of dubious reputation or else entirely unknown in the villages.


While Budapest and western Hungary were still in German hands, the Muscovite Communists, moving around behind the front in Russian army cars, picked up the available members of the former opposition parties and took them to Debrecen. There these former opposition politicians approved a Communist proposa] to convene a provisional national assembly.7 This seemed to be a sensible course under the circumstances.

In the larger villages and towns the national committees quickly organized meetings which elected representatives by acclamation.8 The Provisional National Assembly in Debrecen consisted of 230 deputies of whom 72 were Communists, 57 Smallholders, 35 Social Democrats, 19 representatives of trade-unions, and 12 members of the Peasant Party. The rest of the deputies were without apparent party affiliation. Seven Muscovite Communists became members of the Assembly. The elected representatives were transported by Russian army cars to Debrecen where they were lavishly entertained by the Russian High Command.

The Provisional National Assembly declared itself the sole representative of the sovereignty of the Hungarian State. Its speaker fulfilled an important role in the absence of a head of the state. At the first session of the Assembly, December 21, 1944, Erno Gero, as a leading Muscovite, emphasized that the policy of the Hungarian Communist Party was "a Hungarian, democratic, and national policy".9 The following day the Assembly fulfilled its two major tasks by electing a provisional national government and authorizing it to conclude an armistice agreement with the Allied powers.

Under the leadership of Foreign Minister Janos Gyongyosi, a new Hungarian delegation traveled to Moscow. Molotov's first question addressed to the second armistice delegation was whether or not they considered themselves a successor of Horthy's armistice delegation. Gyongyosi replied negatively and stated that the new democratic government of Hungary in no way considered itself as a successor of the Horthy regime. Thereafter Gyongyosi asked for a reduction of the reparations to be imposed on Hungary in view of the devastated country, a part of which was still under German rule. Molotov suddenly became severe and began to read from a sheet of paper: "Nobody attacked Hungary. Hungary attacked the Soviet Union. . . ." And so he continued to read a long list of accusations against Hungary. The Hungarians had to sign the text of the armistice as it was presented to them.10

When the Germans were driven out of Hungary and the Government could move to Budapest in March and April, 1945, the number of deputies in the Provisional National Assembly increased to 495. Together with the Social Democratic and trade-union representatives the


Communists had an absolute majority. Although the Assembly declared itself the only representative of the sovereignty of the Hungarian state, it actually delegated its power to a political committee and to the cabinet. The Government promulgated the most important reforms as decrees, subsequently approved by the Assembly. In the two short sessions of the Assembly, acceptance of the decrees and other proposals took place almost without debate. Ratification of the armistice agreement and of the declaration of war on Germany, agrarian reform, and establishment of a National Supreme Council for the exercise of the powers of the head of state were the most important legis]ative acts of the Provisional Assembly.

The constant effort of the Kremlin to give an appearance of legality to all its actions appeared clearly in this call for the National Assembly and establishment of a new government. The members of the Government were the same persons designated by Molotov in the name of the three major Allies on December 6, 1944. The Communist policy makers did their best not to irritate popular feelings, in order to gain the approval of the constitutionally minded Hungarian public. A constitutional setting was necessary for the birth of the new regime, to prove it a legitimate child of the Hungarian people.

The exterior appearance of the Provisional National Government was better than expected.11 Members were carefully selected in order to win the confidence of the public. In the cabinet the Communists and Smallholders each had two portfolios, the Social Democrats three, and the Peasant Party one. Besides these eight party men there were four nonparty men. Prime Minister Dalnoki Miklos had been the commanderin-chief of the first Hungarian Army and he surrendered to the Russians after the armistice proclamation of Regent Horthy. Two ministers, Janos Voros and Gabor Faragho, had also been generals during the Horthy regime. Count Geza Teleki, was a professor of geography and son of the popular late prime minister. Erich Molnar, labeled in Moscow as a Social Democrat, later turned out to be an old member of the Communist Party.

The most important portfolio, the Ministry of Interior, was given to Ferenc Erdei ostensibly a member of the Peasant Party, but actually owing exclusive allegiance to the Communist Party. Under his cloak and protection the Communists, from the outset, continued to organize the police all over the country. They dismissed as "fascists" the members of the old police force, and only members of the Communist Party could obtain a position of real importance in the new police force, even in the smallest villages. Rakosi stated that "there was one single organization over which our Party demanded full control from the very first


moment and refused to accept any coalitionist solution. This was the "State Defense Authority", i.e. the political police.12 The political police were organized practically as a branch of the Communist Party. If anyone objected to this Communist domination of the police, the usual reply was that the Communists had the expert knowledge necessary for purging Nazi collaborators and Fascists. Once the police force was purified, its control was to be transferred, they said, to a non-party organization. This never happened.

The whole political set-up created at Debrecen, and particularly the composition of the new government, demonstrates one of the main principles of Communist politics. It was and has remained a constant pattern to give formal authority to non-Communists, while retaining effective control in the hands of Communists or fellow travelers. In terms of real power the Communists in the new Hungarian Government had the most important positions.

Many times the Communists suggested names of suitable persons for high political positions, claiming that they would be acceptable to the Russians, whose good will, or at least tolerance, was a necessary condition for all governmental activities. A few months after their appointment the very same persons were forced to vanish from the scene under attack by the Communist-dominated press as "reactionary Fascists" working against the interests of the people. For example, as soon as Count Geza Teleki was elected president of the Civic Democratic Party, he became the target of concentrated Communist attacks. This procedure of gradual elimination has remained a constant Communist practice. The fate of politicians hence was most uncertain and unpredictable. Whether someone was a genuine patriot and selected as conservative window dressing or was a fellow traveler apparently made little difference. Nobody could foresee who would be thrown out when, how or why of the Communist-run train.

In countries occupied by the Red Army and ruled by Russian-dominated Allied Control Commissions, the freedom of choice in political matters was very limited. The Western powers themselves advised the non-Communist politicians to cooperate with the Communists in a coalition regime.13 In view of the conditions existing under Soviet occupation which were rapidly becoming worse, it was difficult to draw the line between the various categories of fellow-travellers and politicians intending to serve national interests, and the people who had to cooperate in order to exist.

The Debrecen Government endeavored to function under miserably difficult conditions. Even in matters such as office space, there was great difficulty. All governmental offices were crowded into one small building.



The effectiveness of governmental measures depended entirely on the goodwill of the Russians. Some destitute members of the Government even got clothes from the Red Army whose soldiers had "liberated" them from their belongings. The Government truly was not much more than a show window. There were no regular railroad, telegraph, or postal communications. The Official Bulletin published in Debrecen could not be distributed beyond the outskirts of the town. Real power lay in the hands of the occupying Soviet forces. In addition, the Communist-dominated local national committees and Communist-organized police actually administered the affairs of the country. Moreover, the Debrecen Government's feeling of deprivation and absolute dependency on the Russians had an important psychological impact even in the later period when the situation somewhat improved. Many non-Communist politicians came to realize that the Russians were all-powerful and that the existence of the new Hungarian state, emerging on the ruins of Axis-Satellite Hungary, depended entirely on Soviet Russia. The passive attitude of the Western powers greatly strengthened this view. It seemed in Debrecen that only a cooperative policy with the Soviet Union could assure the survival of the Hungarian nation after the catastrophe of the war. There was no other alternative but to try to get along with the occupying Soviet authorities, and this seemed no easy task considering the strongly anti-Communist attitude of the Horthy regime. In this situation the Hungarian Communists presented themselves as handy gobetweens. Some people hoped that they would represent Hungarian interests in Moscow.

When the government agencies moved to Budapest, the Russians, the Communist Party, and the various Communist-sponsored organizations already were occupying the best buildings. Since many government buildings were entirely destroyed during the siege, the government departments obtained only badly battered tenement houses. It was characteristic of the situation that the Foreign Ministry had to move into a shabby old apartment house, while the Communist-organized "Democratic Youth Movement" resided in a magnificent palace. This difference in location and equipment expressed the actual power position of the Communist Party and the government a fact which could not but impress the public mind.

A leading Moscovite, Zoltan Vas, was in charge of supplying Budapest with food. From the country and through the Red Army he could obtain some potatoes, flour, and other victuals. After the ordeals of the siege it seemed to the famine-threatened and thoroughly looted capital as if the Communists were the only good organizers and general benefactors. These transactions, however, had an interesting background.


During the war Hungarian authorities sabotaged agrarian exports to Germany. As a result of this policy, Hungarian livestock increased by 11 percent between 1940 and 1943, and at the time of the Russian invasion eighteen million metric quintals of cereals were hoarded in public stores.14 The Red Army seized this hoard, and also about one-half of the country's livestock. Part of it, however, was given as a loan to the supply agency headed by Zoltan Vas in Budapest. This act the newspapers hailed as the greatest gesture of Russian generosity. But the Hungarian Government was expected to make a return in kind.

The new regimes established screening boards in all branches of the public services, professions, and private firms. The political parties, members of the National Independence Front, and the trade unions sent representatives to the screening boards. The real meaning and the implications of the screening process were not realized by the non-Communist parties and the non-Communist members of the screening boards. As a result, the outcome was unpredictable. In a number of cases the verdicts of the boards were just. But frequently people with a doubtful or worse record were able to keep their positions while others were summarily dismissed. Often petty jealousies or Communist zeal prevailed over the facts. In all fairness one can say that the screening boards were asked to do the impossible. Party politicians were judging people not only for their actions but even for the motives of their actions when, apart from criminal cases, no standards were available. The excitement created by the screening had hardly died down when purges on new pretexts and mass dismissals brought it to a new pitch. This process disintegrated the national and municipal administration, weakened initially by the earlier flight of civil servants to the West.

Before the war Hungary had a non-party civil service. Now the Communists proposed that all important positions be divided among the parties. The non-Communist parties accepted this system, which theoretically would have secured a non-Communist majority in the administration and offered the opportunity to reward their own party men. But at the same time the Communists began to train a well indoctrinated Marxist elite for the various government positions.

It was taken for granted that the coalition parties would participate in organizing the new civil service, and in suggesting appointments for leading positions. But this general acceptance of a coalition type of spoils system 15 led to abuses and opened wide the door for Communist infiltration tactics, gradually assuring important positions to opportunists and to men owing exclusive allegiance to the Communist Party. Communist members of the cabinet, as a matter of course, filled their ministries with Communists. At the same time the Communist Party claimed



and obtained key positions in the ministries headed by non-Communist ministers.

The Communists were glad to support the nomination of incompetent non-Communists in the public service. In this troubled period the qualifications of sons, sons-in-law, and, in general, devoted party men were not questioned. The Communists were delighted to see this state of affairs and to support such appointments, because this was the surest way to demoralize the non-Communist forces and to strengthen the Communists' own grip on the country.

The predicament of civil servants who refused to sell themselves to a political party became increasingly difficult. In the first years toleration by the Communists was a necessity. But as soon as the Communists trained a reliable party man for a job, the bourgeois expert was attacked as a reactionary fascist and eliminated.

After a while the Smallholder Party, sensing the Communist tactics, attempted to defend competent officials in the course of various purges and dismissals. Although the Smallholder actions were successful in some cases, they could not change the over-all picture. One by one the Communists seized the key positions in the administration. Non-Communist cabinet members gradually became mere figureheads. The philosophy underlying the spoils system particularly favored the Communist plans; for as soon as a political leader was declared "undemocratic", his group was dealt with accordingly, and there were new vacancies for Communists in the administration.

Agrarian Reform.

In Hungary the large farm and big estate system had continued to exist for a variety of reasons. Since the number of landless laborers and those holding only a few acres amounted to three million, or nearly one-third of the population of the country, an agrarian reform was long overdue, mainly for social reasons. Moreover, in the completely devastated and disorganized country any revival of agricultural production would have been difficult without an agrarian reform. This was the basic program of the Smallholder Party, but the plan proposed by their members in Debrecen was rejected by the Communists. As the first important legislative act of the new regime, a most radical agrarian reform was promulgated on March 15, 1945, under the dictation of Marshal Klementy Voroshilov, Chairman of the ACC.16 This decree included many provisions with exclusively political objectives. The Communists combined the necessity of an agrarian reform with three major political goals; (a) liquidation of the old land-owning class, (b) winning the support of the landless peasantry, and (c) gaining gradual control of the whole



agrarian population. The average holding to be retained by the landowners was one hundred cadastral yokes (142 acres), but those who owned property over one thousand cadastral yokes (1420 acres) were deprived of all their land.17 The Communist Minister of Agriculture and the Communist-dominated national committees took care of the prompt and thorough execution of the law. In many places the local commandants of the Russian forces were ready to intervene and expedite matters. The actual execution of the agrarian reform often went beyond, and actually violated, the provisions of the law. The former landowners had no recourse whatsoever. In all, 642,342 persons received land under the agrarian reform.

Experts suspected this agrarian reform to be the first preparatory step toward the introduction of the collectivization of agriculture. The allotments, which were too small, and the whole structure and execution of the decree were designed first to get the support of the landless peasantry, and then to prove that small farms privately owned cannot successfully operate in modern agriculture. In 1945, however, the Communist Party was fighting for acceptance by the peasantry. It then claimed that the reform respected private property in land. Anyone who even hinted that this agrarian reform would necessarily be followed by collectivization was promptly denounced as a reactionary agitator and an enemy of the people.

This cautious policy was followed throughout 1945 and 1946. The official newspaper of the Hungarian Communist Party, Szabad Nep, described the final goal of the Communist agrarian policy in these words:

The time has come for us to present the peasantry with a new economic program, extending for a greater length of time. This will really serve the interest of the peasantry and its aim will be to turn the masses of working peasants into independent and prosperous farmers. The independent smallholder system is the best-suited to the particular Hungarian conditions and to the ideas of the Hungarian peasantry. . . . The land of small and medium peasants will never become the nest of corruption and exploitation. The defense of such property rights is the interest of the Hungarian democracy as well as that of the Communist Party.18

In 1946 the Communists were in desperate competition with the Smallholder Party and the views expressed in this article aimed to popularize Communist policy.



People's Courts.

The seizure of power by the Communists was facilitated by the people's courts. This was one of the first institutions introduced in all countries after Russian occupation. The activities of these courts contributed considerably to the creation of an atmosphere of fear, intimidation, and insecurity.

Originally the people's courts had been established to pass judgment on Hungarian war criminals.19 Most of them took refuge in Austria and were extradited by the American occupation authorities to the new Hungarian regime. The people's courts were organized by decree in January, 1945, at all the seats of courts of justice. Members were selected from a list prepared by the political parties who were members of the National Independence Front. Later a decree authorized the Trade Union Council to appoint a sixth member. This was one of the rare occasions when the Democratic Civic Party was mentioned among the members of the National Independence Front. Actually, however, the Democratic Civic Party was usually not given an opportunity to present candidates, and the fifth member was selected from another party. The people's court was presided over by a professional judge. Special people's prosecutors were appointed by the minister of justice to each people's court, while a National Council of People's Courts reviewed the sentences in case of appeal. Its members were appointed by the five political parties from persons who passed the bar examination.

In some countries, like Bulgaria, the People's Courts administered a large scale purge, with little regard for legal formality. In more constitutionally minded countries like Hungary, the formalities were better observed and the number of victims smaller. As of January 1, 1948, the people's courts in Hungary had pronounced death on 295 persons, of whom 138 were executed. Official statistics, of course, do not reveal the number of victims who perished in concentration camps and in the hands of the political police.

Beginning in 1947, the well-known "spy", "conspiracy", "treason", and "sabotage" trials were staged before packed courts. These trials were arranged at first for the elimination of democratic opposition and church leaders, and later for the liquidation of potential leaders of national Communist movements.

In this latter period, especially, the people's courts did not administer law or any sort of objective justice, but rather fulfilled the Communist party instructions labelled as "popular will" or "social interest". Eventually the people's courts came to consider all actual or potential opponents of the Communist dictatorship as "fascist traitors", and dealt with them accordingly.


Trade-Unions and Factory Committees.

In Hungary the number of organized Communist workers was not very significant before 1945. Hence the immediate unification of the workers through the trade-unions was advocated and effected. The Communist Party seized control of the trade-unions immediately after the end of hostilities. The Hungarian trade-union movement in the past had been intimately connected with the Social Democratic Party. Under the German occupation, the trade-unions were dissolved and their leaders arrested. The leader of the Social Democrats, Charles Peyer, who for twenty years had also been secretary-general of the Hungarian Trade Union Council, was interned in the Mauthausen concentration camp. In his absence, Arpad Szakasits, former editor of the Social Democratic Party newspaper assumed leadership of the Party. Szakasits was eager to accept Communist suggestions when he reorganized the party after the Russian liberation. Left-wing Socialists were put into almost all key positions. The moderate and independent elements of the party were considered rightist deviationists, traitors to the unity of the workers. They were not allowed to play any role. When in May, 1945, Peyer returned from the Mauthausen concentration camp, he was offered a diplomatic post as a means of honorable exile. He did not accept this offer but courageously carried on a losing battle. Eventually he was excluded from his own party and finally fled the country with a great many other Socialists. In his absence he was tried and sentenced as a spy and a traitor.

Membership in the thirty-one Social Democratic trade-unions in Hungary had dwindled to about 102,000 in 1944. Twenty new trade-unions were formed in 1945, and the over-all membership in the tradeunions rose to 850,596 that same year and to 1.288.095 in January of 1947. Unions appeared in all branches of the state administration, industry, and business. Practically all laborers and white collar workers had to belong to one of the unions, which soon became an important tool in the hands of the Communist policy-makers.20 Communists seized all the leading positions in the National Federation of Trade-Unions and in the Trade-Union Council. No genuine elections were held.

A delegate of the trade-unions sat on the screening boards and on the national committees on equal footing with the representatives of the coalition parties. Under these conditions Communists soon had an absolute majority in all agencies established by the coalition parties. The delegates of the trade-unions and of the Social Democratic Party were usually instructed by their pro-Communist central authorities to support the Communist point of view in the name of the unity of workers. Since the attitude of the National Peasant Party was uncertain, the Smallholder


representative most of the time remained isolated.

The trade unions obtained other important prerogatives, such as the monopolistic management of the labor exchanges. Moreover, the system of the collective agreements was introduced. Such agreements were negotiated and signed by the National Federation of the Free TradeUnions on behalf of the employees and by the employer's organization. As for the application and the interpretation of the agreements, disputes in doubtful cases were referred to the National Committee of Wages another Communist controlled organization. The system of collective agreements compelled the employees, whether manual laborers or white collar workers, to work 48 hours a week. Maximum and minimum wages were fixed among the different categories of the employees. Overtime work and shock-work was rewarded according to special rules. All workers were entitled to a vacation with pay of from six to twenty-five days. A decree introduced the system of the factory committees in all enterprises employing twenty or more persons. These committees were entitled to deal not only with questions relating to working conditions, economic and welfare interests of the employees, and production control but also with disputes between the employer and employees. Through the network of these committees the Communist Party found additional means to strengthen its control over the workers. Such committees were formed even at the universities and exercised control over many scholarly activities.

The trade unions and the factory committees manifestly purported to strengthen the position of the workers in relation to management, but eventually under them freedom was even more limited than before. Gradually they became tools in the hands of the Communist leaders, performing their duties under strict control and discipline. Strikes were forbidden. The Hungarian Communist leader, Matyas Rakosi, explained, according to H. F. A. Schoenfeld. American Minister to Hungary, that "strikes for the improvement of working conditions or higher wages were not permissible in Hungary; they were a luxury which only the American economy could afford".21 In this spirit the right of labor to organize freely for the protection of its own interests was entirely suppressed. It was argued on behalf of this policy that since the state belongs to the workers, they would wrong themselves by strikes. This situation is justified by Soviet philosophy, which affirms the right of a small Communist elite to take power in the name of the proletariat.


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