Bela Kun


The Situation in Hungary

(15 November 1921)

From International Press Correspondence, Vol. I No. 8, 15 November 1921, p. 61.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.
Public Domain: Marxists Internet Archive (2019). You may freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit “Marxists Internet Archive” as your source.

The following article is part of a more comprehensive essay written by comrade Kun immediately after the latest Habsburg rebellion had been reported and at the moment that the royal troops were advancing on Budapest. The following excerpt gives a good analysis of the situation in Hungary.

Editor’s note


After the fall of the Soviet Republic the monarchist form of government was de jure set up in Hungary. The democracy, in whose name the counter-revolution had overthrown the Soviet Republic from within, could not last. After the social-democratic government had held out four days, the National Hungarian Kingdom was proclaimed by the White-Guard troops and the bureaucracy supported by the urban petty-bourgeoisie and the wealthier peasants. The commander-in-chief of the White Army was to be Regent until the election of the king.

The policy of the urban petty-bourgeoisie and the wealthier peasantry was sharply opposed to that of the big land-owners and the upper bourgeoisie. The White Terror troops who relied for their support on the two former classes not only menaced the lives of the capitalists of whom the majority were Jews, but even tried to consolidate the social basis of their rule by a distribution of land in the region between the Danube and the Theiss. Soon the feeble coalition of the petty-bourgeoisie and the peasantry was undermined because of the conflicting interests existing between the latter, producing the food, and the former, consuming it. The peasant-party demanded the suspension of food-requisitions; the urban petty-bourgeoisie, which consisted for the most part of government officials, etc. suffered hunger as the prices of food rose to a staggering height. As a consequence of the White Terror the workers could not exercise any political power. The big land-owners and upper bourgeoisie of Hungary took advantage of the conflict of interests, in order to try to wrest the power from the troops and the bureaucracy. The White Terror had indeed reestablished private property but it disturbed the capitalists by its legal and illegal measures.

Horthy depended for his support on the troops consisting oi former officers and of poor and wealthy peasants. The former officers of higher rank had been eliminated from these troops. New adventurous elements were in command. Horthy paid the troops with the right to plunder and by means of various measures at the expense of the capitalists. The big landowners were terrorized by the peasants who demanded agrarian reforms.

The big landowners and the capitalists united for the purpose of making secure their re-established order and inviolability by means of a Habsburg Restoration. The majority of the troops and the small landowners was for the free election of a king, the majority of the urban petty-bourgeoisie, deluded by nationalist ideas, and loath to yield peacefully to the paring off of Hungary’s territory, became supporters of the Restoration, from which it expected the reestablishment of Magyar domination over the nationalities which had in the meantime freed themselves. With the aid of the small peasant party and the White Guard troops Horthy frustrated the first attempt of the Habsburg rebellion. But for all that Count Bethlen, the Legitimist, and the Finance Minister Hegedus, representative of big capital, were able to seize power. (The retreat of these latter has not changed the relation of power among the classes.)

These two were backed by the leading politicians of the former Austro-Hungarian monarchy, Count Andrassy and Count Apponyi, Gustav Gratz, the representative of big industry (one of the representatives of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy at the Brest-Litovsk conference), and the former Habsburg generals. The most extreme Legitimist wing was under the leadership of Stefan Friedrich, the demagogic leader of a part of the rural petty-bourgeoisie, former Under-Secretary of State in the Karolyi cabinet, chief exponent of nationalist ideology and the real organizer of Count Tisza’s assassination.

The liberal urban petty-bourgeoisie which had united with the Social-Democrats in the “Liberal Coalitions”, never definitely demonstrated its sympathies for the republic.

The opponents of the Habsburg Restoration, the party in favor of the free election of a king, the party of small peasants, had supported the Legitimist government up to last month, even though with continuous friction. But this party also was strongly influenced by the large estate-holding elements belonging to it which inclined towards the Legitimist and Restoration idea.

In addition to all this almost the entire Magyar bourgeoisie of former Hungary, all the Hungarian and in part German officers of the old army, gathered on Hungarian territory. This bourgeois riffraff which expected from the Habsburg Restoration the re-establishment of the oppressive Magyar regime, was also one of the supports of Kaiser Karl.

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Last updated on 9 January 2019