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Hungary from the Nazis to the Soviets: The Establishment of the Communist Regime in Hungary, 1944-1948

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
ISBN-13: 978-0521857666
ISBN-10: 052185766X
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Editorial Reviews


"The study under review here is a fine account of the struggle for Hungary's future after World War II, a transitional period when noncommunists believed they could overcome overwhelming odds and obtain a modicum of independence and political pluralism for their country. While more information might well surface one day from Soviet archives and modify what we now know, and other scholars might and indeed should scrutinize the motives and activities of the United States in greater detail, Hungary from the Nazis to the Soviets is going to the be the standard work on the subject for years to come." - Charles Gati, Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, Washington, D.C.

"Kenez deserves praise for judicious and clearly written account of Hungary's traumatic absorption into the Soviet-Communist sphere"
Bennet Kovrig, The International History Review

"Illuminating book....a valuable contribution to the ongoing debate."
-Mark Kramer, American Historical Review

"In this lucid, thorough text, Peter Kenez argues that Moscow, not Budapest, decided Hungary's postwar fate, but also that Soviet policy was improvisational rather than deterministic." -Andrea Orzoff, German Studies Review

Book Description

This is the first book in any language to describe in detail the establishment of the communist regime in Hungary. Hungary was the last ally of Nazi Germany, and as such suffered dreadful destruction in course of the fighting during the last year of the war. The war discredited the political and social elite and gave opportunity for a new beginning. Early optimism in democratic circles, however, quickly dissipated. The communists, who had negligible indigenous support, with the help of the Soviet Army in a short time managed to destroy any organized opposition to their taking power. .

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 324 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press (May 22, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 052185766X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521857666
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,247,478 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Hardcover
I read this book both as a person who lived through the times described and as an academic observer of kindred subjects for the past five decades. The country discussed in this volume is Hungary, the years are 1944-48 during which the country was taken through its fate and fortunes from the fascist dictatorship of the Arrow Cross to full-blown communism under the sponsorship of the U.S.S.R. Though its focus is on one country, the message of the narrative far exceeds the narrow geographical and chronological boundaries of the subject. The text is illuminating not only as a study of a small country, but also as history that sheds more light on the beginnings of the cold war and on Soviet strategies of establishing one-party governments in the eastern half of Europe.

For years academic discussions on this subject pivoted around two questions. One, did the USSR have an expansionist design for these countries early on, and two, would more circumspect or courageous attitude on the part of Hungarian politicians of the transitional period have prevented the eventual outcome of full-blown communism? Kenez's answers to these questions are straightforward: Soviet strategies were contingent on world political events, and two, once the decision was made, no amount of clever maneuvering could have prevented the imposition of communist government. The proof for conclusions unfolds through a book that cleverly blends analytic and chronological elements. While the Soviets are mulling over the implications of the advance of their armies deep into Central Europe, unforeseen developments in local and international politics shape their tactical and strategic decisions.
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