Who's Who: Bela
Updated - Thursday,
29 November, 2001
Bela Kun (1886-1936), the
Hungarian revolutionary, was responsible for founding the world's second
communist government with the disintegration of the Austro-Hungarian
empire at the close of the World War One.
The founder of the
Hungarian Communist Party, Kun served in the Austro-Hungarian army with
the declaration of war in August 1914, until he was taken prisoner by the
Russians in 1916.
He played no further part in the war until the
Russian Revolution and the ascent of the Bolsheviks to power. He
thereafter returned to Hungary as an ally of the Bolshevik government,
with the intent of stirring a revolutionary uprising.
In this he
was remarkably successful. Having formed an alliance with the Social
Democrats Kun was able to form a coalition government that the Communists
quickly came to dominate.
In government however Kun found his
popularity waning with unpopular decisions to nationalise industry and
agriculture. Unrepentant, Kun maintain power through the ruthless
use of the armed forces.
Opposition continued to grow however and,
on 1 August 1919, Kun's government fell in the face of invasions from both
the Czechs and Romanians, not to mention the French-sponsored
counter-revolutionary force led by Admiral Miklos Horthy
de Nagybanya (which succeeded in establishing Horthy in government for
Fleeing to the Soviet Union, Kun established himself
as a party operator within Stalin's government. The circumstances
and date of his death remain unclear, but he is believed to have met his
end in one of Stalin's innumerable purges.
"ANZAC" was coined in 1915
from the initials of the Australian and New Zealand Army
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