|Preceded by Lajos Dinnyes|
Succeeded by Matyas Rakosi
Name Istvan Dobi
|Preceded by Sandor Ronai|
Role Hungarian Politician
Succeeded by Pal Losonczi
|Succeeded by Himself, as Chairman of the Council of Ministers|
Born 31 December 1898 Szony, Austria-Hungary (1898-12-31)
Died November 24, 1968, Budapest, Hungary
Political party Independent Smallholders, Agrarian Workers and Civic Party (1916–1949)
István Dobi ([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.
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.
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.