Murmur and Whispers: Public Opinion and Legitimacy Crisis in Hungary, 1972-1989

Rudolf L. Tökés


The collapse of public confidence in the political regime was a major, though not the only, precipitant of the radical political transformation of Hungary between 1989 and 1990. The purpose of this paper is twofold. It is to reconstruct and analyze the initially muted, but by the late 1970s semi-public, dialogue between the regime (by way of propaganda messages) and the public (by way of responses to survey questions) during the "mature" Kadar era in Hungary. The second objective is to trace the Hungarian people's beliefs about politics, society and living conditions, and the way these orientations changed between 1972 and 1989.

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