It became obvious during the weeks preceding the elections that the Smallholders’ Party had obtained the majority of the votes of our peasantry, and the majority of the small bourgeoisie.
Nevertheless, the Communist Party made use of the election results in order to strengthen its positions further. Therefore, it demanded the posts of Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior, which, after some delay, it obtained. In order to strengthen our influence within the Government, we created the Supreme Economic Council through which we gradually came to influence key positions in economic life. Thus, despite the election results, our Party extended its influence in the most important fields of Government power.
But officers and Horthyite Government officials began to flock back from the West. The purge of Government machinery slowed down. The old land-owners and their lawyers availed themselves of all kinds of legal claims to demand the restitution of their land from the new owners.
Under the impact of this situation, the new land-owners (who totalled more than 500,000) applied to the Communist Party for help.
At the same time we launched a counter-attack. In the villages and the towns we mobilised the masses, and in the form of “popular judgments” and “popular movements” we removed reactionary elements from the administration of villages and towns. Simultaneously with this action our Party launched a drive to unmask reactionary elements in the Smallholders’ Party. The Communist Party demanded that the Smallholders’ Party itself was to take steps against its reactionary elements to help ensure the result of the land reform, and dismiss from its ranks all the best-known reactionaries. These demands were openly supported also by the Left-wing of the Smallholders’ Party.
At the initiative of our Party a Left bloc was formed within the Independent Front early in March, 1946, which apart from the Communist party, the Social Democratic Party and the Peasant Parties, included also the T.U.C. The new organisation — the parties of which won nearly 42 per cent. of the votes at the elections — meant that the influence of the Communist Party on the workers’ class and the poor peasantry had increased.
To stress its demands, the Leftist bloc early in March arranged a demonstration of Budapest workers. At the threatening effect of the formidable mass meeting of more than 40,000 disciplined demonstrators the Smallholders’ Party had to comply with our demands and exclude 21 of its most compromised deputies. …
So, four months after the election victory of the Smallholders’ Party, a new turn came: not yet a general attack on capitalism, but we took vulnerable forward positions, which facilitated our progress towards the proletarian dictatorship.
In continuation of the successful counter-attack in March 1946, the unmasking, elimination and isolation of reactionary elements of the Smallholders’ Party continued without interruption. The Smallholders’ Party was continually compelled to exclude or eliminate individual members or groups of members thus compromised.
This work we called “Salami Tactics”, by which we cut out in slices reaction hiding in the Smallholders’ Party. In this incessant struggle we wore away the strength of the enemy, reduced his influence and at the same time deepened our own influence.