Antall, Jozsef

▪ 1994

      Hungarian politician (b. April 8, 1932, Budapest, Hung.—d. Dec. 12, 1993, Budapest), as prime minister of Hungary (1990-93) and the longest-serving postcommunist leader in Eastern Europe, maintained stability in the country at a time when other Eastern European countries were struggling, often violently, to introduce democracy after decades of communist repression. Antall was serving as chairman of a revolutionary committee at the Eotvos Gymnasium at the outbreak of the Hungarian Revolution of 1956, when the people overthrew the communist regime (which was reinstated seven days later by the Soviets). He was suspended from his job and banned from teaching and publishing until 1963. Earlier, he had studied humanities and political science at the Lorand Eotvos University in Budapest before working as an archivist, librarian, high-school teacher, and director of the capital's Semmelweis Medical History Museum. He prided himself on his knowledge of Hungarian history, starting with the kings. After becoming aware of the first cracks in the Communist regime, Antall joined the centre-right Democratic Forum Party, was elected party chairman in 1989 after exhibiting his skills as a negotiator in the roundtable talks that led to the March 1990 multiparty elections, and became prime minister following his party's victory in those elections. As prime minister, Antall guided Hungary on a conservative course and one that welcomed foreign investment and an alliance with Western European countries. In 1990 he was diagnosed with cancer, the disease that claimed his life.

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▪ prime minister of Hungary
born April 8, 1932, Budapest, Hung.
died Dec. 12, 1993, Budapest

      politician and prime minister of Hungary from 1990 until his death in 1993.

      Antall was the son of a government official who aided Polish refugees and Jews during World War II. Trained as a history teacher, archivist, librarian, and museologist, Antall taught for a time in a Budapest grammar school. For the active role he played in the Hungarian uprising of 1956 (Hungary), he was barred from teaching and publishing. After the latter ban was lifted in 1963, he published hundreds of studies and articles. From 1964 to 1990 he worked at the Semmelweis Medical Historical Museum, Library, and Archives, becoming its general director.

      In the late 1980s, as democratic organizations began to re-emerge in Hungary, he first made contact with the Independent Smallholders' Party, the leading noncommunist party of the postwar period. He then joined the Hungarian Democratic Forum (Magyar Demokrata Fórum; MDF), a newly organized movement that soon became the most influential independent political force outside the ruling communist party. Antall led the MDF delegation at the talks preparing the country for the transition to democracy, and on October 21, 1989, he was voted president of the MDF. He strove to turn the movement into a centre-right party patterned after those of western Europe.

      When the MDF won the free parliamentary elections of 1990, Antall became prime minister at the head of a coalition with the Smallholders and the Christian Democrats. His goal was to create a democratic state that acknowledged and incorporated Hungary's distinctive characteristics. He placed primary importance on political stability, the revival of the historical continuity that the communist era had interrupted, the improvement of relations with Hungarians living outside Hungary, and party unity. In 1990 he was awarded the Robert Schuman Prize for his work in promoting European unity.

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Universalium. 2010.

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  • József Antall — Infobox Prime Minister | name=József Antall order=1st Prime Minister of the Republic of Hungary term start =May 23, 1990 term end =December 12, 1993 predecessor =Miklós Németh successor =Péter Boross birth date =birth date|1932|4|8|mf=y birth… …   Wikipedia

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