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The influence of L.Rajk’s trial on Hungarian foreign policy in the late 1940s to the early 1950s.

The role of Mátyás Rákosi and the Soviet counsellors in the process of preparation for L.Rajk’s trial in 1949.

June 2012 | #24

by: Kaori Kimura
pp: 27
ISSN: 2038-632X

Paper's frontpage


Although there were several kinds of cruelty during the Second World War, Yugoslavia and Hungary had close relations from 1945 to June 1948. However, everything was changed after the decision of the second meeting of Cominform. It had a great inference on Hungarian diplomacy toward Yugoslavia and Hungary took the lead in active anti-Yugoslav propaganda by Stalin during the late 1940’s and the first 1950’s.
László Rajk’s trial in 1949 marked the start of cruel series of death sentences, life sentences and long-term imprisonments in Hungary. Along with a strong anti-Yugoslav media campaign, there were frequent incidents along the border, which worsened Yugoslav-Hungarian relations and brought them to the brink of armed conflict.
L.Rajk was the Minister of Interior and was one of those communists who had strong links to Yugoslavia. In August 1948, after a visit to Moscow, he was suddenly removed from the post of Minister of Interior and placed in the post of Minister for Foreign Affairs, which had much less involvement in Hungarian politics. On 30th May 1949, L.Rajk, several members of the Hungarian Workers’ Party and several Yugoslavs were arrested.  They were officially charged with espionage on behalf of western powers, with the goal of the physical destruction of M.Rakosi, of creating a faction in the Hungarian Workers’ Party and of separating Hungary from the socialist sphere.
The most interesting fact in L.Rajk’s trial was not that L.Rajk admitted that he planned to divide the Hungarian Workers’ Party, but that he mentioned Tito and the Yugoslav communists during the preliminary investigation. Moreover, there were two Yugoslavs, Lazar Brankov and Milan Ognenovich, who was also arrested with L. Rajk as accomplices in his plot. And they all mentioned a relationship between Rajk and Tito in court.
Nowadays, it is a generally accepted opinion that Rajk’s trial was one of the biggest anti-Yugoslav campaigns at that time and that MatyasRakosi played the main role in the process of the preparation for Rajk’s trial. Moreover, there is several evidence that could be proof of the fact that Rakosiasked Moscow to give him advice to carry out the trial.
The aim of this paper is to analyse relations between Hungary and Yugoslavia, paying attention to L.Rajk’s trail, which became the crucial trigger of the deterioration of Yugoslavia-Hungarian relations, and the role of MátyásRakosi and the Soviet counsellors in the L.Rajk’s trial.The author of the paper tried to write it on the base of Russian, Hungarian and Serbian archive documents.  



Hungary, Yugoslavia, public trials, communist party, L.Rajk’s trial, 1949, the Soviet Union, M. Rakosi

Table of contents

1. Introduction
2. Yugoslavia-Hungarian relations from 1945 to 1948
3. Conflict between Soviet Union and Yugoslavia
4. Conflict between Yugoslavia and Hungary
5. L.Rajk’s trial and its character
6. The truth of L.Rajk’s trial; preparation for the trial and its influence on politics in the countries of “People’s Democracy
7. Conclusion – For what reason was it necessary for M.Rakosi to carry out Rajik’s trial?

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