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Keywords:

  • communism;
  • political speeches;
  • charisma;
  • liminality;
  • archetype

This paper is an experiment in understanding the logic of communism from the perspective of political psychology. In Hungary, communism became a means for transforming the entire psychical make-up of a country in a moment of reduced intensity of consciousness, a transitory or liminal period, produced by the Second World War. In liminal conditions, unconscious impulses are set free that are channeled by the use of archetypical images. As an empirical case study, this paper discusses the speeches of the first post-war Hungarian Communist Party leader, Matyas Rakosi, delivered in the years immediately after the devastations of the war, in an effort to discern the techniques and mechanisms by which the Communist Party managed to capture the allegiance of a large segment of the population. The analysis of these speeches and their effects indicates that communism was not merely a consequence of Soviet occupation, and therefore the withdrawal of the troops did not eliminate the lasting, mostly hidden but still predominant, effects of communism on the countries that were in its grip.