István Dobi

István Dobi
3rd Prime Minister of the Second Hungarian Republic
In office
10 December 1948  20 August 1949
Preceded by Lajos Dinnyés
Succeeded by Himself, as Chairman of the Council of Ministers
Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the People's Republic of Hungary
In office
20 August 1949  14 August 1952
Succeeded by Mátyás Rákosi
3rd Chairman of the Presidential Council of the People's Republic of Hungary
In office
14 August 1952  14 April 1967
Preceded by Sándor Rónai
Succeeded by Pál Losonczi
Personal details
Born (1898-12-31)31 December 1898
Szőny, Kingdom of Hungary, Austria-Hungary
Died 24 November 1968(1968-11-24) (aged 69)
Budapest, Hungary
Nationality Hungarian
Political party Independent Smallholders' Party (1916-1949)
Hungarian Working People's Party (1949-1956)
Hungarian Socialist Workers' Party (1956-1968)
The native form of this personal name is Dobi István. This article uses the Western name order.

István Dobi (Hungarian pronunciation: [ˈiʃtvaːn ˈdobi]; 31 December 1898 – 24 November 1968) was a Hungarian politician who was the Prime Minister of Hungary from 1948 to 1952. He was the first Communist to hold the post, joining the party shortly after it seized full control of the country in 1949.

Early life

Dobi originated from a poor peasant family and was born in Szőny, Hungary. He finished primary school and in 1916 came into contact with the peasant movement. He supported the Hungarian Soviet Republic and in 1919 he was imprisoned for the first time. Upon his release, he was active in peasant and social democratic politics from the early 1920s and under police surveillance for this. He later worked as a casual laborer and became a farmer by occupation. Although he was not a Communist, he was arrested several times during the regency of Miklós Horthy.

World War II

During the war he became one of the leaders of the Hungarian resistance until he was called up for duty, returning in the summer of 1945. By the end of World War II he had become a leading member of the Smallholders Party, which achieved a majority in general elections. Dobi was a member of the left-wing faction of that party, and advocated cooperation with the communists.

Post war

With the Smallholders being a part of Hungary's post war coalition government, Dobi served as Minister of Agriculture.

As a leading member of the Smallholders' left wing, Dobi contributed some much needed legitimacy to the Communist-dominated government. Due in part to his strong support of the Communists, he replaced fellow Smallholder Lajos Dinnyés as prime minister in December 1948, helping preside over the final stage of the Communists' complete takeover of the country.

In terms of allegations of collaboration with the party, the New Hungarian Encyclopedia says: "Following the ousting of the Smallholders Party right wing elements, he was selected to be president. Under his direction the party was cleansed of its reactionary elements and it became part of the program for building a people's democracy with the Communists."

After all non-Communist parties were formally disbanded in 1949, Dobi joined the Communist Party. In 1952, he gave up the prime ministership because Communist Party boss Mátyás Rákosi wanted that post for himself. Dobi was then promoted to Chairman of the Presidential Council (de facto president of Hungary) from 1952 until his retirement in April 1967. Through taking on numerous other high-profile roles, he eventually became the second or third most powerful man in Hungary. He supported the crushing of the Hungarian Revolution of 1956. He was a winner of the Lenin Peace Prize in 1962. He died in Budapest in 1968.


Political offices
Preceded by
Béla Kovács
Minister of Agriculture
Succeeded by
Károly Bárányos
Preceded by
Árpád Szabó
Minister of Agriculture
Succeeded by
István Csala
Preceded by
Lajos Dinnyés
Prime Minister of Hungary
Succeeded by
Mátyás Rákosi
Preceded by
Sándor Rónai
Chairman of the Hungarian Presidential Council
Succeeded by
Pál Losonczi
Party political offices
Preceded by
Zoltán Tildy
Chairman of the Independent Smallholders' Party
Succeeded by
party dissolved
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