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. (March 2013)
As the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy collapsed in 1918, an independent Hungarian People's Republic was formed after the Aster Revolution. The official proclamation of the republic was on 16 November 1918 and Mihály Károlyi became its president. Károlyi struggled to establish the government's authority and to control the country.
"To Arms! To Arms!" Bolshevik Hungarian propaganda poster from 1919
An initial nucleus of a Hungarian communist party had been organized in a Moscow hotel on 4 November 1918, when a group of Hungarian prisoners of war and other communist proponents formed a Central Committee. Led by Béla Kun, the first members returned to Hungary, and on 24 November created the Party of Communists from Hungary (Hungarian: Kommunisták Magyarországi Pártja). The name was chosen instead of "The Hungarian Communist Party" because the vast majority of supporters were from the urban industrial working class in Hungary which at the time was largely made up of people from non-Hungarian ethnic backgrounds, with ethnic Hungarians only a minority in the new party itself. The party recruited members while propagating its ideas, radicalising many members of the Social Democratic Party of Hungary in the process. By February 1919, the party numbered 30,000 to 40,000 members, including many unemployed ex-soldiers, young intellectuals and ethnic minorities.
The party came to power as the only group with an organized fighting force and promised Hungary would be able to defend its territory without conscription. Kun promised military help and intervention of the Soviet Red Army, which never came, against noncommunist Romanian, Czechoslovak, French and Yugoslav forces.
Kun founded a newspaper, called Vörös Újság ("Red News") and concentrated on attacking Károlyi's liberal government. During the following months, the Communist Party's power-base rapidly expanded. Its supporters began to stage aggressive demonstrations against the media and against the Social Democratic Party. The Communists considered the Social Democrats as their main rivals, because the Social Democrats recruited their political supporters from the same social class: the industrial working class of the cities. In one crucial incident, a demonstration turned violent on 20 February and the protesters attacked the editorial office of the Social Democratic Party of Hungary' official paper, Népszava (People's Word). In the ensuing chaos, seven people, some policemen, were killed. The government arrested the leaders of the Communist Party, banned Vörös Újság and closed down the party's buildings. The arrests were particularly violent, with police officers openly beating the communists. This resulted in a wave of public sympathy for the party among the masses of Budapester proletariat. On 1 March, Vörös Újság was given permission to publish again, and the Communist Party's premises were re-opened. The leaders were permitted to receive guests in prison, which allowed them to keep up with political affairs.