1st Edition

The Sovietization of Rural Hungary, 1945-1980 Subjugation in the Name of Equality

    In this book the experiential history of the Soviet-style social transformation projects between 1945 and 1980 is discussed through the example of rural Hungary.

    The book interprets state socialism as a (modernization) project. Existing socialism was a form of dictatorship in which authorities sought to transform the mentalities of their subjects from the individual level to the global scale. This project depended on socio-economic homogenization; one important method of asserting state power was the transformation of property rights (land redistribution, collectivization). Communist modernization discriminated against the inhabitants of rural areas, who were the primary victims of collectivization and the discriminatory effects of the rules implemented by policymakers. The resulting radical changes in peasant lifestyles would become a source of social pathologies. However, not the authorities but contemporary scholars considered the social costs of these actions. The book aims at Weberian disenchantment and contributes to the deconstruction of the common image of Hungarian socialism, "the happiest barrack."

    The intended audience includes readers at the graduate level in the fields of history, political science, and anthropology, general readers interested in the history of communism. It is hoped that the research questions inspire new research for exploring convergent and divergent elements in social transformation in former communist countries.

    1. Introduction. Perspectives, Realms of Experience, and the Horizons of the Future 2. The End of the War—The Beginning of Sovietization: “Land Reform,” the Crippling of the  Church, and the Breaking of the Traditional Elites (1945–1948) 3. Class Warfare in the Hungarian Village (1948–1956): An Experiential History of the First  Wave of Forced Collectivization 4. The Revolution of 1956 and the Second Wave of Forced Collectivization (1959–1961) 5. The Two Pillars of Anti-Rural Policy: Welfare Programs and Settlement Initiatives 6. The Socialist Village: The Long-Term Consequences of Collectivization 7. Our Conclusions


    Gábor Csikós (1985): Psychologist and Historian (PhD). Senior lecturer at Károli Gáspár University of the Reformed Church in Hungary Psychology Institute and research fellow at the Institute of History. His main research interest is the impact of historical traumas on mental health.

    Gergely Krisztián Horváth (1974): Sociologist and Historian (PhD, habil) Senior research fellow at the Institute of History and head of the research in MTA Lendület 10 Generations Research Group. He focuses on long-term trends in social development. His latest book: Wiens Anziehung (2022)

    József Ö. Kovács (1960): Historian (DsC): Professor at PPKE and Scientific Director of the NAH. His main research interest is the Social History of Hungary in the 19th and 20th Centuries. His latest monograph – A paraszti társadalom felszámolása – was published in 2012.