Underground Streams

National-Conservatives after World War II in Communist Hungary and Eastern Europe
$100.00 / €95.00 / £81.00
Publication date: 
366 pages

The authors of this edited volume address the hidden attraction that existed between the extremes of left and right and of internationalism and nationalism under the decades of communist dictatorship in Eastern Europe. One might suppose that under the suppressive regimes based on leftist ideology and internationalism, their right-wing opponents would have been defeated and ultimately removed. These essays, on the other hand, recount the itinerary of survival and revival of “right-wing” thought and activities under communist dictatorship. Resistance and accommodation are explored in the various phases from the Stalinist era to the demise of the Soviet Bloc, with the continuity provided by tacit or concealed right-wing discourses receiving particular consideration. The Eastern European right, both in its conservative and fascist version, centered on nationalism, a legitimizing factor that increased with the downfall of the regimes, and the authors thus accord nationalism special attention.  

Two documentary sources for these essays that stand out are files of the security services and the exceptionally rich Oral History Archive compiled by the 1956 Institute in Budapest, Hungary.

List of Acronyms and Abbreviations 

Introduction - Underground Streams: National-Conservatives after World War II in Communist Hungary and Eastern Europe
János M. Rainer 

Part One. The Right-Wing Tradition in Eastern Europe after 1945 

Chapter One: The Romanian Ideology: Merging Political Extremes in a National Stalinist Discourse
Vladimir Tismaneanu and Bogdan C. Iacob 

Chapter Two: Absent Traditions: Right-Wing Strands in Slovakian Politics
Attila Simon 

Chapter Three: A Round-Trip through the Czech Lands: The Origins of a Liberal Right Revolution
András Schweitzer 

Chapter Four: Conservative Right-Wing Political Thinking in Hungary after 1945
János M. Rainer 

Part Two. Right-Wing Enemies through the Lens of State Security

Chapter Five: Social Resistance under the Kádár Regime and the “Right-Wing” Enemies of State Security
Krisztián Ungváry

Chapter Six: Christian Democrats under Fire from the Political Police, 1945–1989
Gábor Tabajdi 

Chapter Seven: “Petty” Arrow Cross Supporters in the Interior Ministry Files
András Lénárt and Rudolf Paksa 

Part Three. Personal Life Paths and Strategies 

Chapter Eight: “I Was Brought up the Old Way, I’m a Conservative”: A Middle-Class Christian Looks Back on His Life
Zsuzsanna Kőrösi 

Chapter Nine: A Nationalist of Successive Periods: Miklós Mester (1906–1989)
Katalin Somlai 

Chapter Ten: From Right to Left—or Not? Béla Csikós-Nagy, a Paradigmatical Opportunist of Transition
Iván Miklós Szegő 

List of Contributors 

“A highly innovative edited volume that fills an important gap of our knowledge with regard to the continuities and discontinuities of interwar right-wing radicalism with the communist and post-communist ideological configurations. Focusing on the Hungarian case, it also offers a comparative regional context and a number of fascinating biographical portraits of intellectuals and experts, linked to the radical right, who managed to continue their career after 1945 as well.”
“Focusing largely but not exclusively on the Hungarian right wing’s ideas and activities since World War II, this important volume offers valuable background to the current Hungarian government’s political orientation. Particularly helpful is the discussion of the ideas and activities of the so-called populist writers (népi irók) who advocated—as the current Hungarian government does—a “Third Road” approach between East and West.”