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61. National Planning Office (Országos Tervhivatal), Established in 1947 after the Soviet pattern, the National Planning Office played an important part in transforming the Hungarian economy along Soviet lines during the period of the three-year plan (1947-9). Its activity in the early 1950s extended over the whole economy. It was in charge of proposing operative economic plans and of ensuring that the current five-year economic plan was implemented. Its president, chosen by Parliament, was a member of the Council of Ministers.
62. Nékosz (National Association of People's Colleges), The people's colleges established after the Second World War formed an association in July 1946. There were almost 200 of them, with over 10,000 students, mainly of peasant and working-class origin. Nékosz was set up by students of the István Györffy College, which had been active in the resistance to German occupation. It also had support from the Hungarian Communist Party and the National Peasant Party. Students were educated in their responsibilities towards the new social system, people's democracy. However, the movement was disbanded in September 1949, a year after the communists had criticized Nékosz sharply for representing communist ideas inconsistently and allowing other ideas to go unchallenged. The colleges belonging to Nékosz were nationalized and their autonomy eliminated.
63. Népszabadság (People's Freedom), The central daily paper of the HSWP first appeared on November 2, 1956, Sándor Haraszti was its first editor-in-chief. It was a continuation of Szabad Nép, whose volume numbering it took over after a while. The first issue controlled by the Kádárite HSWP appeared on 8 November. The chief of the editorial board was appointed by the HSWP Central Committee, which oversaw the board's work. It was the best-selling daily in the Kádár period with a circulation of more than 650,000.
64. Népszava (People's Voice), The paper first appeared in 1877 and became the central daily of the Social Democratic Party in 1880. Between the wars, it was the only legal daily paper of the labour movement. It was banned during the German occupation, but reappeared in 1945. When the Social Democratic Party was absorbed into the HWP in June 1948, the paper continued as the central daily of the official trade-union movement, Szot. It became the organ of the Social Democratic Party again during the revolution, but defeated the revolution it returned to trade-union control. Its name was changed to Népakarat (People's Will) on 4 November, but it returned to its original name in 1958.
65. One-party system, The Soviet type of state-socialist system formally placed power in the hands of a single party, the communist party (in Hungary, the HWP, and from November 1956 onwards the HSWP). In fact, the country was run by a handful of party leaders, who controlled every field of political and economic activity. In a multi-party democracy, national decisions are taken by the government and its administrative apparatus or in the legislature. In a Soviet-bloc country, they were taken by the leadership at communist-party headquarters. The government and legislature were confined to a secondary role of legitimizing, publicizing and implementing the party's decisions. In one sub-type of the one-party system (found in Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, East Germany and Poland in the Cold War period), there were other parties on paper, but these were simply adjuncts of the communist party, accepting its hegemony and operating only formally. The other European communist countries had just a single party (the Soviet Union, Albania, Hungary, Romania and Yugoslavia).
66. Party apparatus, The word apparatus originally denoted an organization representing social and political interests. It came to mean, in a pejorative sense, the organizational pyramid developed by the ruling communist party in a Soviet-style socialist state, whose members represent the party officially and carry out its orders with complete loyalty. (See also Akadémia utca party centre.)
67. Party Congress, Congress, the supreme body of a communist party, normally met every five years. Based on a report from the Central Committee, it evaluated the activity in the previous term, decided on the tasks for the coming term, and set the general line of party policy. Delegates were elected by the party branches in all the communities, factories, institutions etc. in the country. However, the list had to be endorsed by the Central Committee. Congress might also alter the party statutes. It elected the members of the Central Committee for the coming term. While Congress was still sitting, the Central Committee went on to elect the members of the Political Committee and the Secretariat, as well as the party general secretary (or first secretary) and his deputies. The main report to Congress was delivered by the party leader.
68. Peace priests, The Hungarian Workers' Party (MDP) began concerted efforts in the spring of 1950 to break the unity of the Catholic and other churches and gain support for the church policy of the communist government. The ~ were a way of harnessing the clergy prepared to cooperate with the Soviet-style state, using them to force other clergy to do the same, and through them, influencing churchgoers as well. The Hungarian Catholic Episcopacy in 1949 threatened to excommunicate priests who connived with the communists. The first assembly of ~ was convened on August 1, 1950, in an attempt to drive a wedge between the lower and upper clergy. The 273 participants adopted a declaration urging an agreement between the state and the church. The peace-priest movement started to publish its own paper, Kereszt (Cross), on 1 November. Similar assemblies continued to be held frequently until the 1970s, with participation serving as a character reference for the reliability and - progressive thinking - of priests. Those who refused to cooperate could expect harassment of various kinds.
69. People's courts (népbíróság), When accelerated criminal proceedings proved not to be a practical way of passing strict sentences on a mass scale, a legal decree of April 6, 1957 established a people's court at the Supreme Court. This was followed on June 15 by six others, attached to county courts (in Gyor-Sopron, Baranya, Csongrád, Pest and Borsod-Abaúj-Zemplén counties) and to the Capital City Court in Budapest. The decree limited the right of defence. Only advocates on an approved list compiled by the justice minister could appear for the accused. The penalties were increased and the scope for pleading extenuating circumstances was narrowed. The presiding judge was allowed to declare the collection of evidence complete as he or she saw fit, so that the examination of witnesses for the defence might be omitted altogether. The most blatant breach of accepted legal norms was to withdraw the ban on subsequently increasing a sentence on appeal. This meant that if only the defence appealed against a sentence, the appeal hearing might result in a stiffer sentence, even of death. The bench consisted of a presiding judge and two 'people's judges' (lay assessors). In many cases the latter had suffered by the October events, which under accepted legal norms would prevent them from serving. The People's Court Council of the Supreme Court passed a 1956-related death sentence as late as July 1961.
70. Petőfi Circle (Petőfi Kör), Petőfi Circle was founded in March 1955 as the debating club of Disz, with Gábor Tánczos as its secretary. For the young communists it offered a kind of forum for debate, remaining strictly within the bounds of the system. There was no real activity before the 20th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union took place. Thereafter, the communist reforms set about holding evening debates on questions that concerned large numbers of people. The debate in June 1956, on aspects of the press and information, was attended by over 7000. After that, the leadership of the HWP suspended the operation of Petőfi Circle, charging it with anti-party activity. It resumed in September, however. The last event, the doctors' debate, took place on the afternoon of October 23, 1956. By that time events had gone beyond the bounds of Petőfi Circle. The members of its leadership supported the Nagy government during the revolution. After the defeat, Petőfi Circle was accused of having undertaken conscious ideological preparation for the revolution, and several members of its leadership, such as Gábor Tánczos and András B. Hegedűs, were sentenced to several years' imprisonment.
71. Pioneer movement, The communist-led movement for 7-14-year-old boys and girls was established in 1946, with a centralized Hungarian Pioneers' Association (MUSZ) taking over from several hundred societies and organizations for children and young people. The new movement took over many of the trappings of the Scout movement, for instance its troop structure, style of uniform, campfires, tests and so on, but it was imbued with communist ideology. Its task was to raise its members in 'love and fidelity to the party and in proletarian internationalism'. MUSZ issued such periodicals as Pajtás (Pal), Tábortűz (Campfire), Kisdobos (Little Drummer - the name given to junior Pioneers), Dörmögő Dömötör (nickname for a bear) and Úttörővezető (Pioneer Leader).
72. Political officers, The Hungarian Army followed the Soviet example in appointing ~ to check on the reliability of commanders. These began to operate on February 19, 1949 with the abolition of education officers, taking over the functions of the Soviet commissars. ~ until 1953 were co-commanders exercising party direction and supervision in the army. After 1957, the ~ became known as political deputies and political workers.
73. Poznan workers' uprising, The workers of Poznan, Poland, took to the streets in large numbers on June 28, 1956, to protest against the declining standard of living. When the authorities failed to respond, their slogans became more radical and they began to voice political as well as economic demands. Several public buildings were occupied. Shots were fired by defenders of the Polish Internal Security Service premises, which prompted the demonstrators to arm as well and lay siege to the building. Soviet Marshal Konstantin Rokossowski (Rokossovsky), the Polish defence minister, brought up 10,000 soldiers, almost 400 tanks, several hundred armoured vehicles and even some planes against the largely unarmed demonstrators. More than 70 people were killed in the Poznan disturbances and over a thousand injured.
74. Presidential Council, The Presidential Council, established in Hungary in 1949 to replace the institution of president of the republic, was patterned after the Presidium of the Soviet Supreme. Apart from acting as a collective head of state, the Presidential Council exercised the functions of the legislature between the brief, quarterly sessions of Parliament, issuing legal decrees instead of acts. The members of the Presidential Council were elected by the new Parliament after general elections. Existing members were normally confirmed in office. The body was headed by the president of the Presidential Council, who had wide powers and normally belonged to the leading bodies of the HWP or HSWP as well.
75. Radicals and reformers, Those who advocated Western-style bourgeois democracy during the 1956 revolution were termed radicals, while those promoting alterations to the socialist system were called reformers. The latter sought changes in the ways that power was exercised, to bring the system closer to its proclaimed objectives and to national traditions. The reformers were unwittingly instrumental in preparing for the revolution, since they were the first to speak openly of the illegal acts and inhumanity of the Stalin-Rákosi system. Events overtook them on October 23, 1956, but many reformers thereafter went further than they had originally intended. The most important of the reformers were Imre Nagy and the group around him (Miklós Gimes, Géza Losonczy etc.)
76. Radio Free Europe (SZER), Established in Münich on May 1, 1951 with funding from the United States, the station broadcast to the countries of the Soviet bloc in their main languages. The Hungarian service, headed by Gyula Dessewffy (1909-2000, who had been an Independent Smallholders' Party (FKgP) politician until he left Hungary in 1947, commenced on October 6, 1951. The purpose of ~ was to assist and support peoples behind the Iron Curtain to struggle for their independence by broadcasting political, economic, social and entertainment programmes that gave accurate, objective information about events in East and West. The Hungarian service continued to operate in Münich until October 31, 1993.
77. Revolutionary Committee of the Hungarian Intelligentsia (Magyar Értelmiség Forradalmi Bizottsága, Established on October 28, 1956 at the Law Faculty of Loránd Eötvös University in Budapest, the committee embraced revolutionary organizations among Budapest university students and those associated with the people's colleges, the Writers' Union, the Journalists' Union and the Petőfi Circle, under the leadership of the reformist opposition within the party. It was headed by György Ádám and György Markos. On November 11, it joined the Writers' Union in issuing an appeal to the people in the name of the intelligentsia, declaring faith in the revolution and protesting against the terror of the Kádárite terror. On November 21, 1956, it turned into the Revolutionary Council of the Hungarian Intelligentsia, which operated more or less illegally. The president of the latter was the composer Zoltán Kodály, with Markos as general secretary.
78. Revolutionary Council of the Hungarian Intelligentsia (Magyar Értelmiség Forradalmi Tanácsa), See Revolutionary Committee of the Hungarian Intelligentsia
79. Revolutionary councils and committees, Bodies known as revolutionary or national councils or committees formed all over the country after October 23, 1956, to administer local communities. They generally resulted from elections held at rallies and demonstrations, and served to legitimize the revolution locally. On 28 October, the obtained recognition from Imre Nagy and his government. The councils were concerned mainly with three tasks. The first was to further the main goals of the revolution. The second was to preserve local law and order and prevent armed conflict, for instance by establishing a unit of the national guard. The third was to provide a local administration and settle local people's concerns. The formation and operation of these bodies, representing real, elected local government, caused the official system of local councils to collapse. Discredited officials were dismissed, ÁVH officers placed under protective detention, and weapons collected from communist cadres. They also ran the national guard and formed specialist sub-committees to conduct local affairs. Some revolutionary councils disbanded on 4 November, but most of them simply transformed themselves and carried on running their communities. The Kádár government issued an order on 10 November reinstating the old council system and restoring the officials in office on 23 October to their posts. However, it was mid-December before the authorities managed to squeeze the revolutionary bodies out of power. In many places elected representatives remained on the local council until March 1957.
80. Revolutionary National Defence Commission (Forradalmi Honvédelmi Bizottmány), Elected representatives of army garrisons, barracks and institutions met at the Ministry of Defence on October 31, 1956, to deprive the Stalinist generals of their influence and elect a revolutionary body in their place. The commission of 21, with General Béla Király as its chairman, demanded the removal of Soviet troops from the whole country and Hungary's withdrawal from the Warsaw Pact. The commission's objectives included taking command of the army.
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