Food Deprivation and Social Stratification in Prewar Hungary

Michael Sozan


The purpose of this paper is to examine patterns of nutrition within a village community in Hungary during the interwar years (1919-1945). At that time Hungary acquired its present-day borders and came to be ruled by an inflexible government reluctant to carry out badly needed reform. Hungarians experienced a wide range of problems, one of which was rural poverty. One index of poverty is food deprivation which can be assessed from contemporary documents as well as the testimony of those who experienced it. Peasants during these years suffered grave food shortages and became the most discontented segment of society. Had the regime listened to their complaints, the post-World War II communist regime would have had less reason and fewer allies to apply the amount of force it did for the reorganization of rural society.

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