Hungary National History


Hungary had been an autonomous kingdom within the Austro-Hungarian Empire since 1867. It had it’s own government, legal and financial systems but no armed forces of its own. Following defeat in the First World War, an independent Hungarian Republic was declared on 16 November 1918. In March 1919 the Hungarian Communist Party took power and established a Hungarian Soviet Republic. An attempted invasion of Slovakia to set up another Soviet Republic was followed by an abortive invasion of Transylvania in July 1919. The Romanians then occupied southern Hungary and forced the communists to flee abroad on 1 August 1919.

A new reactionary government was installed, which quickly approved the Treaty of Trianon, by which Hungary was reduced to less than one-third of it’s pre-war area. Continued economic decline led to an increasing fascist influence in government and consequent alliances with Germany and Italy. Hungary regained southern Slovakia and part of Ruthenia in 1938-39 and nearly half of Transylvania in 1940. In 1941 it gained part of Yugoslavia and participated in the German invasion of Russia. In March 1944, Hungary came under German military occupation, but was liberated by the Soviet Red Army from December 1944.

In November 1947, the communists took power and declared a People’s Republic. In 1955 Hungary signed the Warsaw Pact treaty. On 22 October 1956, a full-blown popular revolution involving millions of Hungarians put a liberal government in power. The Hungarian revolution was crushed by a Warsaw Pact invasion in November-December 1956. Over 20,000 Hungarians died in the ensuing repression. From late 1961 onwards, some degree of political freedom was allowed. In 1968, the government introduced economic reforms to allow industrial enterprises to become self-financing.

In May 1988 reform minded communists took control and in October 1989 parliament ‘disestablished’ the communists as the ruling party. Free elections in March 1990 were won by a free-market group which proceded to introduce economic liberalisation and privatisation. The Warsaw Pact was dissolved in March 1991. Hungary became a probationary member of NATO in July 1997 and a full member on 12 March 1999.

[To be rewritten]

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