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1956-1989

First Kádár led retributions against the revolutionaries. 21,600 dissidents were imprisoned, 13,000 interned, and 400 killed. But in the early 1960s, Kádár announced a new policy under the motto "He who is not against us is with us", a variation of Rákosi's quote: "He who is not with us is against us". He declared a general amnesty, gradually curbed some of the excesses of the secret police, and introduced a relatively liberal cultural and economic course aimed at overcoming the post-1956 hostility toward him and his regime. In 1966, the Central Committee approved the "New Economic Mechanism", through which it sought to overhaul the economy, increase productivity, make Hungary more competitive in world markets, and create prosperity to promote political stability. Over the next two decades of relative domestic quiet, Kádár's government responded alternately to pressures for minor political and economic reforms as well as to counter-pressures from reform opponents. By the early 1980s, it had achieved some lasting economic reforms and limited political liberalization and pursued a foreign policy which encouraged more trade with the West. Nevertheless, the New Economic Mechanism led to mounting foreign debt, incurred to subsidise unprofitable industries.



Facts

  • At least 2500 Hungarians died in the Hungarian Revolution of 1956 and 200,000 fled the country
  • Hungary was occupied by the Soviet Union in 1944

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