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How did the Cold War develop? 1943–56

The Teheran, Yalta and Potsdam Conferences

The attitudes of Stalin and Truman and the ideological differences between the superpowers.

The establishment and control of the Soviet satellite states

Cominform and Comecon.

The growing involvement of the USA in Europe

The Truman Doctrine

The Marshall Plan


The Berlin Blockade/Airlift

The formation of NATO.

Military developments and the beginnings of the arms race.

The impact of Soviet rule on Hungary


De-Stalinisation and optimism

The Hungarian Revolution: Nagy and his demands, Soviet reaction and uprising, the death of Nagy, the re-establishment of Soviet control and international

The Cold War, 1956 - 1969.

The Berlin Crisis

The refugee problem
Khrushchev's challenge to the USA
Summit Conference and Eisenhower
Challenge to Kennedy
Construction of the Berlin Wall and its impact
Kennedy's visit to Berlin, 1963.

The Cuban Missile Crisis

How did the USA react to the Cuban Revolution?
Why did Khrushchev put missiles into Cuba?
Why did Kennedy react as he did?
Who won the Cuban Missile Crisis?

How did the Cold War develop? 1943–56


Rakosi was born in 1892 in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. During the First World War he served in the army but was caputured by the Russians. His experience during the war radicalised him and upon his return to Hungary after the war's end, he joined the Hungarian Communist party. Rakosi quickly became a significant figure in the party and held government positions in the hosrt lived Soviet State of Bela Kun. He spent a short time in the Soviet Union after the fall of Bela Kun and returned to Hungary in 1924, only to be immediately imprisoned.

In 1940 Rakosi was part of an exhange between the Hungarians and the USSR. He returned to Moscow where he was considered to be the leader of the Hungarian Communist Party. As the Red Army entered Hungary, Rakosi was ordered to return to Hungary and organise the Communist Party. He engineered firstly an overall majority and in the following election managed to ensure that the Communists held most of the major posts in a coalition government.

As Prime Minister, Rakosi had the ability to choose who held privileged positions. He used this position to the advantage of the Communist party. In 1947, for example, he had the Foreign Secretary arrested, tried and executed for criticising the influence of Stalin on Hungarian issues. Rakosi opted to slowly but surely get rid of people who opposed a Soviet style government. He termed his method 'Salami Tactics' as he sliced off opponents one by one. In all it is estimated that around 2000 people were executed as part of Rakosi's attempt to impose a totalitarian regime in Hungary and over 200,000 were expelled from the Communist Party for not adhering to the official party line. An estimated 100,000 were also imprisoned whilst Rakosi was in charge.

Rakosi's hold on power waned following the death of Stalin. The new Soviet leadership promoted Collective Leadership and this resulted in Hungary shifting the way in which government was organised. From 1953, Rakosi retained the position of General Secretary of the Communist Party but was replaced as Prime Minister by Nagy. The two men had rather different views of how the country should be run and a power struggle ensued for the next 3 years.

Following the Hungarian Revolution, Rakosi was removed from power. It was evident that he did not have control of the party or the people. In 1962 he was expelled from the Communist Party. He did not return to front line politics and died in 1971.






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