a  b  c  d  e  f  g  h  i  j  k  l  m  n  o  p  q  r  s  t  u  v  w  x  y  z  
101. Workers' Militia (Munkásőrség), This was a voluntary armed force designed to consolidate and protect the authority of the Kádár government. After a resolution had been passed by the HSWP Provisional Executive Committee on January 29, 1957, the Presidential Council issued a legal decree on February 19 (No. 13/1957) establishing the Workers' Militia. The first national commander was Colonel Lajos Halas. Direct party control was exercised through the Administrative Department and the Party and Mass Organizations Department of the HSWP Central Committee, and at local level by county party committees. The Workers' Militia remained a loyal supporter throughout the Kádár period, but its significance decreased as the regime consolidated and the militia members aged. Parliament disbanded it in October 1989 without appointing a successor organization.
102. Writers' Union (Magyar Írók Szövetsége, Írószövetség), The Free Union of Hungarian Writers, founded in 1945, was a professional body representing the interests of writers. Its significance increased after the communist take-over, when it became a vehicle for imposing Stalinist literary policy. However, several members championing the policies of Imre Nagy after 1953, and in the autumn of 1956, some non-communist writers joined its leadership. In January 1957, the Interior Ministry suspended its operations, due to the part it had played in the revolution and the preparations for it. This was followed by a ban in April. More than ten members were received prison sentences. The Writers' Union was reconstituted in the autumn of 1959 by the HSWP. The weekly paper of the Writers' Union between 1950 and 1956 was the Irodalmi Újság (Literary Gazette), which was intended to propagate communist literature and culture. It published mainly short pieces of literature, reviews, political journalism, and articles on literary policy and aesthetics, in line with the expectations of the Rákosi period. The board of editors changed several times during the paper's existence. In 1955, a majority on the board was obtained by adherents of Imre Nagy, who had already been dismissed as prime minister. They turned the paper into an advocate of reforms within the existing system, so that it played an important part in the period leading up to the revolution. During the revolution itself, a special issue was published expressing faith in the ideas behind the revolution and the policy of the Nagy government. On November 4, 1956, some of its editors emigrated to the West, where they joined earlier emigré Hungarian writers, poets and journalists in a fortnightly Irodalmi Újság that kept alive the spirit and ideas of 1956. The first 'emigré' issue appeared in London on March 15, 1957. The editorial offices moved to Paris in 1962. The Irodalmi Újság became one of the most influential and discriminating Hungarian emigré journals. The last issue appeared in 1989.
103. 1945 general elections, The first post-war parliamentary elections in Hungary were held on November 4, 1945. Although the country was under Soviet military occupation at the time, these were free, democratic, multi-party elections, whose results were recognized also by the Western powers. The winner was the Independent Smallholders' Party (FKgP), which received an absolute majority of the votes cast (57.03 per cent). The Social Democratic Party (SZDP) came second with 17.41 per cent, the Hungarian Communist Party (MKP) third with 16.95 per cent and the National Peasant Party (NPP) fourth with 6.87 per cent. Under a prior agreement, these four parties formed a coalition government, in which the Communists took several key portfolios, including the Ministry of the Interior.
104. 1959 amnesty, The first, partial amnesty after the 1956 Revolution was declared in the spring of 1959, thanks to 'the swift political and economic consolidation', according to Legal Decree No. 12/1959. It freed those who had received relatively short terms, as well as juveniles and some cases justified on humanitarian grounds (elderly prisoners, pregnant women, mothers of small children, etc.), irrespective of the length of their sentences. Also released were prisoners sentenced after 1956 by special courts (see accelerated criminal proceedings, summary justice, people's courts), who had subsequently shown 'serious signs of reform' while serving their sentences. Quite a large group of prisoners convicted by summary courts for concealing weapons were released at this time.
105. 1960 amnesty, A second partial amnesty was ordered on April 1, 1960, to mark the '15th anniversary of the country's liberation' (i.e. the expulsion of the German forces by the Red Army at the end of the Second World War; this was marked on 4 April as a national holiday.) Like the other post-1956 amnesties, it was not confined to those condemned in connection with the uprising. For instance, Paragraph 2 of the order released prisoners convicted after the Second World War of war crimes or crimes against the people, if they had served at least ten years of their sentence.
106. 1963 amnesty, Foreign and domestic political developments in 1963 led to a 'grand' amnesty of those imprisoned for acts committed in 1956. The superpowers had recovered from the Cuban missile crisis of October 1962, while the ruling HSWP had pronounced that the foundations of socialism had been laid. So both sides were inclined towards a settlement that would end Hungary's diplomatic isolation. Secret negotiations between Hungary and the United States had begun in 1960. Then in the autumn of 1962, the United States persuaded the UN General Assembly not to place the Hungarian question on its agenda. The new UN Secretary-General, U Thant, received an invitation to visit Budapest. However, even at this stage the Kádár government was not prepared to forgive and pardon everyone who had taken part in the 1956 revolution. There were exceptions to the amnesty that left several hundred '56-ers still captive. On the other hand, those released included Second World War criminals who had served two-thirds of their sentences. Unrestricted freedom was restored to those 'who in abusing their power had violated socialist legality'. The amnesty excluded '56-ers classed as recidivists' anyone who had already received an enforceable prison sentence since 1951, whatever the charge. Also excluded were any of those convicted of involvement in the revolution who had also been charged with a serious crime (murder, robbery, etc.) That meant most of the armed revolutionaries remained in prison, including the conscript soldiers who had obeyed their officers' orders on 4 November to engage Soviet troops. Finally, the amnesty did not apply to treasonable acts after May 1, 1957, for instance an appeal to an international organization on behalf of convicted revolutionaries or those undergoing prosecution. At this stage, historians are still unable to say precisely when the final '56-er was released from prison. One prisoner, known to have been released on May 14, 1974, was probably not the last.
prev 1 2 3 4 5 6
Copyright © 2004 Public Foundation of the Documentary and Research Institute of the 1956 Hungarian Revolutioncredits