Civil-Democratic People's Republic of Hungary
After World War I similarly to
many other losers Hungary also invoked the so called "counter-government" the
Hungarian National Council opposing the official powers. It was formed on Oct 24, 1918 in
Budapest with Count Mihály Károlyi as president. The next day they announced a
proclamation of 12 points demanding as follows:
- change of the present governing system and parliament
- creation of an independent Hungary
- end to the war as well as to the union with Germany
- general, equal and secret voting rights
- self government of minorities
- freedom of unions, gathering and the press
- general amnesty
- quick economical reforms to avoid famine
- distribution of land
- acknowledgement of the new national states of the Ukraine, Poland, Tzech, Slavonic and
- new foreign policy to reflect on the pacific aims of the Hungarian democracy
- delegating of disarmament-friendly representatives to the peace congress
The so called "Mumms Revolution" ("Autumn Roses Revolution")
with civil democratic profile broke out during the night of Oct 30 with the leading forces
beeing the workers and the armed soldiers returning from the fronts. The revolution was
named after the fact, that the soldiers ripped off their royal and emperial crests and
replaced them with the commun autumn roses called Mumms, expressing with that their
refusal of present powers. There was no blood on the streets, but unknown armed men did
kill the Prime Minister Count István Tisza. (The new government has distanced himself
later from this fact.) This has given over the control to Károlyi and followers who were
quick in restoring peace and quiet. On Oct 31 Archduke József appointed Mihály Károlyi
as Prime Minister.
Austrian General Vitcor Weber has signed an armistice agreement for the Hungarians
as well on Nov 3, 1918 and following this on Nov 13 the demarcation lines were down along
the river Drava, Pécs, Baja and the rivers Maros-Szamos and Beszterce.
Charles the IV has suspended practicing his monarchial rights on that same day
trusting the nation with the choice of state form. On Nov 16 the parliament was dissolved
leaving the legal basis for creating a statehood to the legitime organ of the revolution:
the Hungarian Nation Council. The first "national decision" of the republican
government summarised their program that included creating a law-making system while
leaving open the question of the powers of the head of state:
"The Hungarian National Council as the will of the nation has brought about the
Art.I.Hungary is a sovereign People's Republic, independent from any other country.
Art.II.The folkrepublican constitution will be established at an urgently held
constitutonal national congress gathered based on the new voting rights.
Art.III.Until this constitutional national congress is in place and decides
otherwise, the nation's head of state count Mihály Károlyi presides over a peole's
parliament supported by a committee in charge of the Hungarian National Council.
Art.IV.The people's parliament should make urgent laws:
1.on general, secret, equal, immediate voting rights including women for the federal,
legal and local elections,
2.on freedom of press
3.jury trial by people
4.on freedom of gahering and unionising
5.on farmer's right to land
These laws are urgently required to be enforced.
Art.V.Any former laws contrary to be above shell cease immediately while other
jurisdiction stays in place.
Dated in Budapest on Nov 16, 1918."
Thus a legal framework of democracy has been established the system, however, found
it impossible to strengthen due to an adversary environment from the outside as well as an
inner economical threat of collapse. The "good old Antant" namely has held our
country under blocade making the change from war to peace economy even harder. The
government tried to help the situation with administrative measures. Intstead of market
economy we had rationing. With the production of agriculture declining we could but thinly
These continuing problems of inner and foreign policies have weakened people's
trust in the government. Already in the second half of November the opposition has started
organizing a counter revolution. Under the leadership György Szmrecsányi 2-3 thousand
supporters formed the Fraction of Awakening Hungarians as well as with disarmed
lieutenants the Hungarian National Defenceforce lead by Seargent General Gyula Gömbös.
The communists returned from Soviet-Russia lead by Béla Kun a socialdemocratic journalist
have formed the Hungarian communist party with the purpose of creating the proletarian
dictatorship. As rightwing conservative opposition of the government there was a Christian
Democratic People’s Party. The National Smallfarmers’Party under István Nagyatádi
Szabó has remained loyal to the government.
On Jan. 11, 1919 the National
Council has elected Mihály Károlyi as a temporary president of the republic. On the turn
of the years 1918-1919 within the government the social democratic party has taken over
the powers from the liberal democrate party of Károlyi. The new Prime Minister was Dénes
Berinkey, his task being to keep the radicalism of both the left and the right under rein
as well as to streghten the power. The HNGF was prohibited, the leaders of HCP were
imprisoned. By the time of the national congress elections there were many more new
parties and unions. In the meantime the neighbouring countries have almost managed to
occupy our country to the so called Trianon borders.
In the cities the workers’soviets have taken
over factories to ease the devastating famine, while in the country the peasants, also
without livelihood have started forming co-operatives with the landlords’properties. The
government was trying to help the laters with a democratic landreform by taking land with
compensation and leaving no more than 1,15-2,88 km (2) to the owners. Their plan was to
create family properties of about 30-115 thousand m2 making former peasants and war
veterans eligible. This program unfortunately has not been realised due to the fact that
shortly after the law was ratified, Károlyi’s democracy failed.