Imre Nagy

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Imre Nagy (7 June 1896 – 16 June 1958) was a Hungarian communist politician who was appointed Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the People's Republic of Hungary on two occasions. Nagy's second term ended when his non-Soviet-backed government was brought down by Soviet invasion in the failed Hungarian Revolution of 1956, resulting in Nagy's execution on charges of treason two years later.


Early life and career

Nagy (Hungarian pronunciation: [ˈnɒɟ]) was born in Kaposvár, to a peasant family and was apprenticed to a locksmith. He enlisted in the Austro-Hungarian Army during World War I and served on the Eastern Front. He was taken prisoner in 1915. He became a member of the Russian Communist Party, and joined the Red Army.

Nagy returned to Hungary in 1921. In 1930 he travelled to the Soviet Union and joined the communist party. He was engaged in agricultural research, and also worked in the Hungarian section of the Comintern. He was expelled from the party in 1936 and later worked for the Soviet Statistical Service. Rumours that he was an agent of the Soviet secret service surfaced later, begun by Hungarian party-leader Károly Grósz in 1989 in an attempt to discredit Nagy.[1] There is evidence, however, that Nagy did serve as an informant for the NKVD during his time in Moscow and provided names to the secret police as a way to prove his loyalty (not an uncommon tactic for foreign communists in the Soviet Union at the time).[2]

After the war Nagy returned to Hungary. He was the Minister of Agriculture in the government of Béla Miklós de Dálnok, delegated by the Hungarian Communist Party. He distributed land among the peasant population. In the next government, led by Tildy, he was the Minister of Interior. At this period he played an active role controlling the expulsion of Germans.[3]

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