Country Study, Hungary

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Country Study, Hungary Dmitri Maslitchenko Introduction to Hungary’s political history Hungary has had a long and volatile history of political and economic change. Hungary as a organized society dates back before 1000 AD and has been ruled by different monarchies and foreign regimes every since. This brief introduction will outline Hungary’s political and economic history starting with Hungary’s “Post-1945 World War II era”. During WWII Hungary fell under German control until the end of the war. After Germany’s defeat in WWII, a commission was established among allied forces (American, Soviet, and British) in which had ultimate sovereignty over the country. However, since the leader of the commission was a member of Stalin’s inner circle,

the Soviets exercised absolute control.(Wash. Post., 1) The Government that was provisionally instituted in Hungary after WWII was shortly dissolved and the Hungarian Communist Party replaced them in the 1945 elections. The (HCP)Socialist government had instituted radical land ownership reforms and had made many utilities, banks and heavy industries state ran. Then in 1949 at the beginning of the Post-Cold war era the Soviet’s gained control of Hungary and in 1949 Hungary adopted a Soviet-style constitution and formed the Hungarian People’s Republic. Hungary’s economic state up until the mid 1950’s was a economy similar to that of a Soviet modeled Centrally Planned Economy. However, the economy in the mid 1950’s had begun a rapid deterioration which led to more

political reforms for Hungary.(Wash. Post, 2) In the mid 1950’s Hungary attempted to withdraw from the Soviet sponsored Warsaw Pact and announced their neutrality and sought backing from the UN. However, the United Nations failed to respond, as they were preoccupied in other areas of the world. As a result of lack of UN support, Soviet troops invaded Hungary and regained control, during the invasion many Hungarians fled to other countries. This new Soviet culture in Hungary had a more liberal culture and economic path as did the Soviet regimes of the past. This Soviet government had become relatively complacent for the next two decades until about the early 1980’s. Start of Transition By the 1980’s Hungary’s government had some lasting economic reforms and was responding

to political pressure to encourage more trade with the west. This new plan to trade more with the west for economic stimuli led to huge foreign debt as a result of unprofitable industries. These new economic troubles as well as Hungary’s strong nationalism to control their own destiny were Hungary’s first steps to a Western style democracy. By the late 1980’s radicals with the party as well as intellectuals were calling for change. In 1988 civic activism had accelerated to an all time high and a Reform Socialist leader, Imre Pozsgay was elected. Along with a new leader, Hungary also adopted a, “democracy package”, which included: trade union pluralism, freedom of association, freedom of press, freedom of assembly, a new electoral law, and radical revisions to their

constitution.(Wash. Post,4) Hungary’s steps to a market economy In the following year the Hungarian parliament adopted legislation providing for multiparty elections and direct presidential elections. Hungary now had a new vision of government, the government now was to focus on human and civil rights, and to ensure the separation of powers among the executive, legislative and judicial branches. One major step for Hungary in asserting its move to a market economy was to restructure its national security. In doing this Hungary reduced it’s defense expenditure by 17% and reduced its armed forces by 30% between 1989 and 1992, thus dissolving their membership in the Warsaw Pact . Currently Hungary is trying to develop Western-style defense force to join NATO.(Wash. Post, 5)