Party Leaders

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  • 2016. May 20.

Members of the supreme leadership of the Hungarian Communist Party and the Hungarian Socialist Workers’ Party Political Committee (Executive Committee, Temporary Executive Committee, Political Executive Committee), Secretariat, Organisational Committee The Hungarian Communist Party (MKP) and it successors, the Hungarian Workers’ Party (MDP) that included the Social Democratic Party after June 1948 and later the Hungarian Socialist Workers’ Party (MSZMP) which was formed amidst the revolution and war of independence 1956, but properly organised after the crush of the revolution copied the Communist Party of the Soviet Union a.k.a. All-Union Communist Party (bolsheviks) until 1952 in terms of politics as well as internal structure. Their official leading body was the Congress, which convened every second, third, from 1962 fourth and from 1970 fifth year. Between congresses it was possible to hold open party conferences (like in 1945, 1957 and 1988) which had similar rights to that of the congress. The Central Leadership (MKP, MDP) as well as the Central Committee (MSZMP) was elected by the congress, and it controlled party politics in the cycle. The main and the first secretary were elected by the Central Leadership of about 80-100 and the Central Committee from within at the congress. The most important operative bodies: the Political Committee, the Secretariat and the Organisational Committee (the latter functioned between 1946–1953 and November 1956 – February 1957) were also elected in a similar manner from a list of predetermined candidates. The most important body vested with authority in the Communist Party that functioned as the party of the state from 1948-49 was the Political Committee. In accordance with the organisational rules, the Political Committee ruled the party between two Central Leadership/Central Committee sittings. They also made decisions about practical, theoretical issues concerning the party as well as the country and had the final word in significant personal matters. The Political Committee was set up after the first national party conference of the Hungarian Communist Party on 22nd May 1945. The number of its members was around 10-15 including the alternate ones with counselling rights (between 1946 and 1970); its highest number was between 1948 and 1953, reaching 14-21 members. On 28th October 1956, it was replaced by a party leadership of six, however, the committee was not officially dissolved. It was re-formed with seven members as Executive Committee on 31st October 1956, when the renewed Hungarian Socialist Workers’ Party was founded. After the Soviet intervention on 4th November that crushed Imre Nagy's government it operated on as Temporary Executive Committee and its members were all replaced except for János Kádár. (The body had eight then from the end of February 1957, ten members.) At the national party conference of June 1957 they returned to the original name and the number of members from that time on was 13-15. At the national party conference of May 1988 that placed Kádár to the newly created position of party chairman as well as elected a Political Committee of 11, which number reduced to 9 by April 1989. From 24th June 1989 until its dissolution on 7th October the party was governed by a leadership of four along with the Political Executive Committee of twenty-one that was replaced by the Political Committee. The Secretariat that operated from 26th January 1845 (Main Secretariat between 1946 and 1948) attended ongoing issues. In the beginning, the functions and scope of the Political Committee and Secretariat were not separated, and the Secretariat can be considered as the most significant ruling body of the party between 1948 and 1953. After the turn of June 1953 the members of the Secretariat under the Political Committee were assigned certain work areas, and they supervised the departments of Central Leadership/Committee as well as various background organisations, institutes and regional bodies of the party. As opposed to members of the Political Committee, they attended their duties full time, which remained to be in practice until October 1989, the dissolution of the Hungarian Socialist Workers’ Party (except for in the years between 1957-1959). The number of members alternated between 3-5 until 1948, 8-9 until 1953, 3-7 until 1956 and 5-9 between 1957 and 1989. The Organisational Bureau was established on 1st October 1946, at the 3rd Congress of the Hungarian Communist Party in order to facilitate the work of the Political Committee and the Secretariat. Its main duty was defined as building the party, controlling and ruling units and organisations of the party directly. Its membership was around 7-15 with the alternating members. On 26-28th June 1953 the Central Leadership was dismissed and their functions were delegated to the Secretariat. At the first sitting of Temporary Executive Committee on 11th November 1956 it was re-established as part of the reorganisation of the Hungarian Socialist Workers’ Party, its main function was to build the party. The body of seven members operated only for three months until 26 February 1957, the establishment of the Secretariat. In this collection we intend to portray members of the above described bodies who played a major role in shaping Hungarian politics in the period between 1945 and 1989. In terms of the contents and style of biographies we attempted to blend the characteristics of encyclopaedia entries such as richness in details and accuracy with the less rigid style of almanacs, in order to paint mini portraits. As for the career progressions, we kept strictly to chronological order. When giving information on family background, we confined ourselves to indicating the names and occupations of parents; spouses, siblings, offsprings were only mentioned if they were part of the power elite of the party-state and the suppressing mechanisms in their own right. Printed or digital resources available on the internet, ones of secondary literature were primarily used, but – when considered necessary – archive researches were also conducted. The literature and resources are indicated at the end of the entries, after a list of politicians’ own works. .