A Hungarian Concept of Security

  • Pierre Lemaitre


Of all the socialist states, it is Hungary that has adopted most elements of the Western politico-economic system; it has indeed developed a new concept of socialism. These facts are widely recognised. What is less well known is that even before Gorbachev came to power in the Soviet Union, and as early as the first half of the 1980s, a new outlook on international security was discernable in official Hungarian articles. This new outlook was presented alongside the traditional Marxist-Leninist discourse on war, peace and peaceful coexistence. The new concept stresses, for example, that the Warsaw Pact and NATO are peace-keeping forces — quite a novelty, given that traditional Marxist-Leninist thinking defines the military forces of capitalist states as aggressive; they are considered the instrument of a social system inherently prone to war. According to the new Hungarian concept, ‘the socialist community is invariably … in favour of world political stability’,1 and also favours stable economic development in the capitalist states. From the perspective of traditional doctrine, this is wishful thinking; capitalism is crisis-ridden and ‘moribund’.2


Foreign Policy Reform Process Capitalist State Socialist Country International Security 
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Notes and References

  1. 1.
    József Balázs, ‘A Note on the Interpretation of Security’, Development and Peace, vol. 6 (Budapest, Spring 1985) 145.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    G. Ziborov, ‘Ideological and Political Aspects of War and Peace’, International Affairs, no. 1 (Moscow, January 1983) 93.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    This study forms part of the research project, Non-Military Aspects of European Security, at the Centre for Peace and Conflict Research, Copenhagen. The theoretical framework for this article is partly the one developed by the project: Egbert Jahn, Pierre Lemaitre, Ole Wæver, ‘European Security — Problems of Research on Non-Military Aspects’, Copenhagen Papers, no. 1 (Copenhagen, 1987), and partly by the current author, Pierre Lemaitre, ‘A Model For Analyzing The Development Of The Soviet Concept of Security And Arms Build Up’ (forthcoming). I am indebted to my colleagues for comments on earlier drafts for this article.Google Scholar
  4. 5.
    I am indebted to Egbert Jahn for drawing my attention to this article. The representativity of the article has been checked by (a) comparing the analysis in the article used with articles on the same subject from that period, (b) asking top party officials and foreign civil servants, (c) asking well informed scholars and dissidents. For the new Hungarian security concept, see also the analysis by Pal Dunay, Hungary’s Security Policy, Hamburger Beiträge, Heft 17 (Hamburg, 1987) and the study by László Kiss (Chapter 9) in this volume. And Külpolitika, ‘International Security’ (Budapest, 1988) special issue on international security, especially the articles by Gyula Horn, László Kiss and László Valki.Google Scholar
  5. 7.
    P. H. Vigor, The Soviet View of War, Peace and Neutrality (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1975). Egbert Jahn, ‘Die Einfluss der Ideologic auf die Sowjetische Aussen- und Rustungspolitik’, Osteuropa (May, June and July 1986).Google Scholar
  6. David Holloway, The Soviet Union and the Arms Race (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1984). Ziborov, ‘Ideological and Political Aspects’ (Note 2).Google Scholar
  7. 8.
    Alexei Arbatov: ‘Military Doctrines’, in USSR Academy of Sciences & Institute of World Economy and International Relations (ed.), Disarmament and Security. Yearbook 1987 (Moscow: Novosti Press Agency, 1988).Google Scholar
  8. P. H. Vigor, Soviet Blitzkrieg Theory (London: Macmillan, 1983). James McConnell, ‘The Irrelevance Today of Sokolovskiy’s Book, Military Strategy’, Defense Analysis, vol. 1, no. 4 1985, 243–54.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Michael MccGwire, Military Objectives in Soviet Foreign Policy (Washington D.C.: Brookings, 1987).Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Mark N. Katz, The Third World in Soviet Military Thought (London: Croom Helm, 1982).Google Scholar
  11. 16.
    Gyula Horn, ‘Détente and Confrontation in East-West Relations’, The New Hungarian Quarterly, Budapest, vol. XXVII, no. 102 (Summer 1986) 38.Google Scholar
  12. 26.
    Ronald D. Asmus, ‘East Berlin and Moscow: The Documentation of a Dispute’, Radio Free Europe Research Release, RAD Background Report, 158 (Munich, 25 August 1984).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Centre for Peace and Conflict Research 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Pierre Lemaitre

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