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János Kádár

Kádár, János (yäˈnôsh käˈdär) [key], 1912–89, Hungarian Communist leader. In 1932 he joined the then illegal Communist party and held high government and party posts from 1942, becoming home secretary in 1948, when the Communist party took control in Hungary. In 1951, Kádár was accused of pro-Titoism and imprisoned until 1954. After his release he quickly regained power, becoming a member of the party's central committee in July, 1956, and first secretary of the party (the Socialist Workers' party from Sept., 1956) in October. In the Hungarian revolution of 1956, Kádár at first aligned himself with the rebels and joined the cabinet of Imre Nagy. However, in November he formed a countergovernment with Soviet support, and Soviet troops crushed the revolt. In 1958 he tried and executed Nagy and other leaders of the revolt. Kádár resigned as premier in 1958 but resumed that post from 1961 to 1965. In 1962 he carried out a drastic purge of former Stalinists. During his rule, Kádár remained a consistent supporter of Soviet foreign policy; he supported the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968, and many Hungarians never forgave him for his role in the 1956 uprising. Yet, from the early 1960s until his ouster in 1988, Kádár's social and economic policies were, by Soviet-bloc standards, relatively liberal. Under his rule, Hungary became known as the freest and most modern of the Eastern European countries.

See his Socialist Construction in Hungary (tr. 1962), On the Road to Socialism (tr. 1965), and Selected Speeches and Interviews (1985); C. Gati, Hungary and the Soviet Bloc (1988).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: Austria and Hungary, History: Biographies


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