From “For a Lasting Peace, For a People’s Democracy
No. 9 (36), May 1, 1949

Strengthening the People’s Democratic Order

Matias Rakosi
General Secretary, Central Committee, Workers’ Party of Hungary

When tackling important and decisive tasks, the Hungarian Workers’ Party always explains them to the working masses. In this way it gives the working people an opportunity of discussing the questions raised, expressing their opinion and deciding their attitude. In connection with the forthcoming parliamentary election we submit these basics for the consideration of our people.

We have resolutely dislodged landlord-capitalist reaction and representatives of Western imperialism from the political and economic life of our country. The Three-Year Plan which was viewed sceptically not only by our enemies but sometimes even by our supporters, will be fulfilled seven months ahead of schedule.

We consider our economic achievements to be of the utmost importance, but we do not for a moment forget that the individual is the greatest asset of the people’s democracy. And that is why we consider the improvements in the public health to be no less important than our economic successes during the recent difficult years. We watch carefully not only the index of production in the coal and metallurgical industries but also the birth-rate and the death-rate of our people. And the fact that we have surpassed the pre-war level not only in the economic sphere but, also in the population increase, and in the sphere of public health, is an additional proof that our country is developing along planned and healthy lines in all spheres of life. The fact that we have now more marriages, that the birth-rate is higher and the death-rate lower than ten years ago, that we have been able to reduce infant mortality from 9 per cent to 6 per cent in Budapest – all this speaks of the vast improvement in the economic and living conditions of the working people.

Women are beginning to take an active part in the life of our country. In the past the Hungarian woman was shackled by capitalist exploitation; she did not enjoy equal rights with men, she shouldered the burden of family and household cares. We are interested in seeing that in every sphere of life women occupy a position in the national economy in keeping with their abilities, with their number and their importance.

It is no exaggeration to say that the strength of our people’s democracy can be numerically determined, like the temperature on a thermometer, by the role women play in it. And we shall ensure that the role of the working women in the life of our country grows rapidly in the future.

There has been a radical change in the people’s attitude to labour. More and more people are beginning to understand the connection between individual effort and the common cause. They have adopted a new attitude to work, their outlook has broadened, they see the connection between their personal work and building up the country, realising that by better work they can build a better future. The slogan, “Work better and you will live better” has acquired a new and profound meaning. Realisation of this meant that work is no longer regarded as something that has just got to be done; it is more and more becoming a matter of honour and glory, a great incentive in strengthening the nation and building Socialism; it has given rise to new methods. Thanks to this we are able to carry out the Three-Year Plan in 2 years and 5 months.

The international importance and prestige of our motherland grew accordingly as we put our house in order and strengthened the foundations of democracy. This was expressed in the treaties of friendship in defence of peace and for mutual aid that we concluded with the other People’s Democracies and, above all, with our liberator, the great Soviet Union. We signed such an agreement with our northern neighbour, the People’s Democratic Republic of Czechoslovakia. This agreement represents an outstanding achievement of the Hungarian people for, over a number of years, reaction prevented the working people of Hungary from establishing good relations with the working people of Czechoslovakia. This agreement is a big victory for Hungarian and Czechoslovak democracy, a victory opening the path to a deeper friendship between the two countries which complement each other. It represents a victory for the entire peace front, bringing the progressive forces still closer together at a time when such consolidation is particularly important.

In speaking of the gains of Hungarian People’s Democracy during the past four years we must not for a minute forget that we were able to achieve them only because we had the daily assistance and support of our liberator, the Soviet Union.

Five-Year Plan to Lay the Foundations of Socialism

The fulfilment of the Three-Year Plan will mark the end of the stage of rehabilitating our national economy. We are now entering a new period – the period of struggle to lay the foundations of Socialism in town and countryside. In this the fulfilment of the Five-Year Plan is a decisive factor.

Our Party wants to speed up the industrialisation of our country, end the backwardness of our agriculture and at the same time gradually abolish the differences between town and countryside. The Five-Year Plan also envisages the development of our army.

In 1954 industrial production will reach 230 per cent compared with the last pre-war year. Industrial development during the five years of the Plan will make as much headway as it did in all the fifty years up to World War Two. The result will be that our country will be transformed from an agricultural country with a developed industry into an industrial country with a developed agriculture. New industrial towns and districts will spring up. The social composition of the population will change, since 300,000 new workers will be drawn into industry to carry out the Five-Year Plan. The workers’ standard of living will improve: in the course of five years it will go up 35 per cent and by 1954 it will be 50 per cent higher than in the last pre-war year.

Great headway will be made in agriculture and stock breeding. The crop yield will increase by 27 per cent. The State farms will increase their crop by 80 per cent, the producers’ cooperatives by 35 per cent and the individual peasant households by 11 per cent.

The slow development of individual peasant households is due to the fact that over 80 per cent of them farm small plots. In such cases it is extremely difficult, and often impossible, to use modern agricultural machinery and the latest production methods. The scattered small peasant farms retard and hamper the rapid development of our economic life and the economic level of the people.

Our Party wants every working peasant to use modern means of production – machines. We want him to have everything that the town is capable of supplying. We want him to have electricity and water supply, doctors, hospitals, maternity homes, cinemas and sports grounds. We want him to have a radio set in his home, we want his sons and daughters to enjoy all the amenities of the town. We want him and his family to benefit from social insurance, old age pensions and all the State assistance which the city worker receives. The working peasantry can get these benefits only through the cooperatives. We are confident that sooner or later the working peasants will see this for themselves and will voluntarily, of their own accord, pass over to joint, socialised farming. We shall help them to do this but will avoid forcing them into joining the cooperatives.

Struggle for Peace and our Tasks

Peace is an essential prerequisite for carrying out the Five-Year Plan. I do not think we can be accused of harbouring military intentions against anybody. The reason why we are giving serious attention to developing our army should not be sought in military strivings. Hungary needs a strong army commanded by good officers from the ranks of the working people because a defenceless country tempts imperialist adventurers to indulge in all kinds of interference and provocation. We also need an army to defend our sector of the peace front against the imperialists – the instigators of war.

The U.S, magnates are out to achieve world domination. They hope to carry out their plans for world domination by unleashing a new world war. But the Soviet Union and the liberated countries of the people’s democracy are frustrating these plans. Another factor spurring them on in their war preparations is their fear of an economic crisis which they would like to stave off by increasing arms production. Finally, the warmongers are tempted by the profits that arms production yields.

The United States did not suffer from the two world wars. On the contrary, its propertied classes raked in enormous profits. According to American statistics, the U.S. armament kings made 38 billion dollars out of the first world war. Other figures show that the death of every soldier who fell in World War One brought the American magnates a profit of 3,800 dollars. World War Two was an even better bargain for the U.S. imperialists, since it gave them 52 billion dollars. And they are hoping that a third world war will give them even more.

The American imperialists particularly hate Hungarian People’s Democracy. Until the summer of 1947 when the traitor Ferenc Nagy was prime minister, American imperialism looked upon our country as its hunting ground. But we were able to uphold our independence. Our people drove out this traitor and puppet of the imperialists and the U.S. rulers have not forgiven us for this. That is why the people of Hungary are a special target. That is why they are not returning the property the German invaders looted from our country, that is why they are supporting all the forces obstructing the development of our working people. This explains the campaign they ran around the Mindszenty trial.

There is no need in Hungary to prove that the people’s democracy guarantees complete freedom of religion. Not a single person in our country has been persecuted because of his religious beliefs. This has been so in the past and this will be so in the future.

But should anyone, under the cloak of the Church, wage a struggle against the people’s democracy and serve foreign imperialists, should anyone try to harness us once again to the yoke of the big landlords and capitalists, preparing, for this reason, a new war against our country – then the mighty fist of democracy will clamp down on him with the same impact as it did on Mindszenty.

The American imperialists, of course, are hastening to the aid of their accomplice. That is why they have submitted the Mindszenty case to the United Nations, assuming that because they control a big majority there, they will succeed in setting Uno against us.

The Hungarian Government has decisively and unequivocably rejected this interference in our internal affairs. And in the future we shall continue to reject emphatically any similar attempts against the independence and sovereignty of the Hungarian People’s Republic. There is no slander crusade, no governmental note that could force us to deviate in the slightest from the path along which we have been advancing up to now or could force us to give up the struggle for the rights, independence and freedom of our working people.

We stand for peace and we shall spare no effort to secure this peace for our people who have suffered so much. That is why we take part in every movement to strengthen the camp of peace. We shall steadfastly defend our sector of the peace front. Our country represents a powerful bastion of the peace front and we shall guard this bastion the way it is guarded by the other progressive peoples headed by the invincible bulwark of our peace and happiness – the great Soviet Union.

In the forthcoming election the working people of Hungary will say whether they approve of our policy which boldly opposes the warmongers, a policy which is all for a constructive peace. Our people will vote for peace.

The parties of the Hungarian People’s Democracy have decided not to compete with each other in the election but to come forward with a common list of candidates.

The common list is based, of course, on a common election programme and common tasks on which all Hungarian parties are agreed. The common list of candidates, like the People’s Independence Front, shows that the consolidation of the democratic forces will continue, as in the past, to yield good results. But it also shows that there is a place for everybody in the People’s Front who wants to work in the interests of rehabilitating and developing our country.

This election will be a heavy blow against reaction: it will open new and greater possibilities for the development and flowering of democratic Hungary, for laying the foundations of Socialism in our country.

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