This Day in the Law
October 23

Republic of Hungary Officially Declared by President Mátyás Szurös (1989)

On October 23, 1989, President Mátyás Szurös officially declared Hungary the "Republic of Hungary" and abandoned all reference to the former communistic state of the "Hungarian People’s Republic." So, Hungary became a democratic state and abandoned its ties to communism through this announcement.

Hungary was originally a province of the Roman Empire. Over time, Hungary was invaded by different tribes and civilizations, including the Magyars, Mongols, Turks, and others. The borders of Hungary and it affiliations changed with that of its rulers.

In World War II, Hungary joined the communist Axis Powers of Germany, Italy, and others against the Allies. After World War II, Hungary had to give back all the territory it had acquired in the previous decade and pay millions in reparations. Then, the Communist Soviet Party seized control of Hungary’s government. By 1949, Hungary officially became a one-party communist state. However, over the next four decades the political tide would eventually turn.

By the late 1980s, the people in Hungary gained enough political power to resist the communists. In May 1989, Hungary tore down a U.S.S.R. communist fence along the Austrian border and set an example for Eastern Germany.

On this day, October 23, President Mátyás Szurös officially declared Hungary as a democratic country. Hungary also amended its October to allow for a multiparty state. In 1999, Hungary joined NATO, and in 2004, it joined the European Union.

Today, Hungary has a population of around 10 million people and over 2 ½ million live in the capital of Budapest. Hungary is also one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world where people are drawn to its beautiful natural scenery and affordable accommodations.