Hungary 1968: Reform and the Challenge of the Prague Spring
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By 1968, as Békés argues in this chapter, Hungary was the most de-Stalinised country in the Soviet bloc and it had also gained a sound reputation in the international arena. A radical economic reform was introduced exactly at the time of the changes in Czechoslovakia in January 1968. The challenge of the Prague Spring forced Hungarian leader, János Kádár, to secretly mediate between Prague and Moscow from the outset until mid-August with the aim of avoiding an eventual military ‘option’. This pragmatic approach was in stark contrast with the belligerent attitude of the Polish, East German and Bulgarian leaderships resulting in a serious intra-bloc conflict threatening the fate of the Hungarian reforms themselves. Thus, eventually Hungary agreed to take part in the invasion.