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Digital Archive International History Declassified

May 17, 1946

SPEECH BY MáTYáS RáKOSI, GENERAL SECRETARY OF THE HUNGARIAN COMMUNIST PARTY AT THE MEETING OF THE CENTRAL COMMITTEE, 17 MAY 1946

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    Speech by Mátyás Rákosi, General Secretary of the Hungarian Communist Party at the Meeting of the Central Committee, 17 May 1946.
    "Speech by Mátyás Rákosi, General Secretary of the Hungarian Communist Party at the Meeting of the Central Committee, 17 May 1946," May 17, 1946, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Archives of the Institute for Political History (AIPH), Budapest, 274. f. 2/34 https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/110985
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[...] Finally I would like to raise another question, which, like socialism, we have not spoken much about so far. This refers to the creation of a new International. The comrades know that the third International had to be dissolved, because progress proved that it damaged rather than benefited the growth of the communist parties. [...] When we arranged the third International, I remember the trouble we went to to show that we wanted a centralized, strong International with executive powers, similar to how Marx imagined the International in 1864, and not just the sorting office and so on that the second International became before the First World War. And this was the catastrophe of the third International. Because instead of every country looking separately for the conditions for revolution, and not trying the impossible task of centralizing and directing the whole movement, it directed it from the center. The result was that the parties gave up independent politics, continually looked in the direction of the center, and waited for its instructions. This view led the comrades to announce the discontinuation of the third International. And afterwards, now that the International has been discontinued, the parties are coming forth one after the other to say how the existence of the International limited their progress, e.g. most recently we heard from our Yugoslav comrades how much such a central institution held them back, which, unaware of local conditions, sometimes demanded quite the opposite of what they needed. So such an International can no longer be established. On the contrary, the International should be such that it does not hinder the progress of individual parties, that it provides a means for individual parties to execute the tasks leading to the liberation of the proletariat, bearing local circumstances in mind. I should immediately say that as far as this is concerned, the new International cannot be compared to the previous ones. This will not be an organizing body; its task will be to compose, to help in making objections, to communicate the good or bad experiences of one country's communist party to that of another country, that they should learn from their neighbors' experiences and losses. This will undoubtedly be very useful, as not just us, but communist parties the world over are beginning to feel that without the exchange of experiences and objections they cannot produce adequate plans on international questions. It is such an International that we now intend to establish, and this International will help rather than hinder the international communist movement. On the same note, the view will change that was widely spread at the third International, for example, that we have to wait for the conditions for revolution to appear in at least a bunch of countries, and only then can we instigate the revolution. I remember that when the situation was revolutionary in Germany in 1923, in all the neighboring countries we prepared for such revolutionary action, so that there could be a revolutionary situation in more than one country at the same time. I remember that in the Czech Republic, France and other countries where the situation was not nearly as developed as in Germany, we prepared assistance programs, similar uprisings, etc. History has shown that that was wrong. Now we are going to follow another route. Here I should immediately say that not many people are aware of this interpretation of the dissolution of the International, because they did not talk about it very much in this period and therefore completely incorrect views are spread amongst some of the parties. For example when we were with the Communist Party in Czechoslovakia and we tried to reconcile the Hungarian Communist Party's line on the question of the Hungarians in Slovakia with that of the Czechoslovak Communist Party, the comrades announced the theory that the International had to be dissolved, because the international aspirations [meaning "national aspirations" - Cs. B.] of the individual Communist Parties are so much at odds with each other, that they could not be fitted into the agenda of an International. Because of this they calmly recommended to us that we should attack the Czech Communist Party, while they attack the Hungarian Communist Party. We rejected this theory. We were convinced that this was wrong, and that Stalinist reasoning would say something totally different. There is not even a trace to show that the national aspirations of the particular communist parties do not fit into the International; it points to completely different reasons. Now that communist parties have everywhere become stronger and come to the fore, there should be pressure for the institution of the Communist International or some other international communist body. At the moment this is being disturbed by the whole list of parties preparing for elections. The comrades know that they are preparing for elections in France, Czechoslovakia and Romania, and that our comrades there are otherwise occupied. They are also occupied with the question of peace. But as soon as the elections die down and peace is agreed, at that moment this will come to the fore and then we will establish some kind of international body. One part of this conception is that in these changed circumstances, whenever a country achieves the conditions for the liberation of the proletariat or for socialism, this will be carried out, with no regard for whether the respective country is in a capitalist environment or not. This is also a new perspective, which simply means that in a country where as a result of the work of the communist party these conditions are present, it has to be realized. This is fresh encouragement for all Communist Parties, because now it will principally be dependent on their work whether or not the conditions for the liberation of the proletariat are created in their own country.