Reform, murder and collectivization in a Hungarian village Cover Image
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Reform, murder and collectivization in a Hungarian village
Reform, murder and collectivization in a Hungarian village

Author(s): Gabor Csikos
Subject(s): History, Recent History (1900 till today)
Keywords: collectivization; land reform; micro-history; social conflicts; socialism; state-intervention

Summary/Abstract: In the mid-20th century major interventions were introduced in village life. The compulsory delivery system during the Second World War or the horrors of war also experienced by civilians were later burdened by land reform and the impatient communist will to modernize the countryside. Between 1945 and 1970 industrialization and collectivization reshaped village life, but farmers did not welcome these changes and mostly did not share the flamboyant visions of the socialist propaganda. This paper follows the approach of microhistory and with the help of archival findings attempts to show these turbulent years through the lens of a village in Middle – Hungary. Pusztamonostor was a relatively poor village with compound social stratification that included noble lords, well-to-do farmers and masses of agrarian proletariat. The land reform in 1945 and the launch of collectivization in 1948 resulted cumulative stress for the local society. This intense tension reached its climax with the murder of a communist cadre in 1949. His death was an opening to terror lead by the ÁVH (State Protection Authority) that aimed not only at finding the murders but the punishment of farmer elite and the promotion of collectivization. The study elaborates the possible reasons and social processes that ended up in a murder. How propaganda used the victim on its own purpose? Could it help collectivization? How did the village react? What happened to the perpetrators who labelled themselves “politically underdeveloped”? What effects this tragic event had on the communist party? And finally, why the victim did not become a socialist martyr?

  • Issue Year: 2020
  • Issue No: 1
  • Page Range: 76-89
  • Page Count: 14
  • Language: English