The story of Josef Cardinal Mindszenty’s confrontations with Hungarian Communists immediately after World War II is a gripping tale of intrigue, deception, and power politics. After watching the recent documentary film 2000 Mules I was particularly intrigued by the many parallels between what we had witnessed in November, 2020 and the convulsions Hungary was subjected to during and after the 1947 election that ensconced a Soviet puppet state that would maintain its totalitarian grip over the Hungarian people for the next 42 years. At the time the only organized opposition to the Communist takeover came from the Catholic Church under the strong leadership of its Primate of Hungary, Cardinal Josef Mindszenty. Ultimately Mindszenty himself would be targeted by the Communists, arrested, and imprisoned for his intransigence towards the totalitarian ruling power.
But in order to show the world that a Communist takeover was “the will of the people” that crucial 1947 election had to be rigged to obtain the desired outcome. According to Dr. Nicholas Boer, a Catholic priest who was himself an important official in the Ministry of Education, “In the West and elsewhere, everybody knew that the Hungarian elections of August 30, 1947 took place under an anti-democratic electoral law (which excluded a considerable part of the voters)… We do not want to discuss in detail how the Communists committed numerous abuses with the so-called “blue slips” which enabled a man to vote at various polling stations several times.” Just an aside, as an election judge in Denver County in the early 2000s I personally witnessed something very similar to this after the county had abandoned precinct voting to set up various “polling stations” around the city. I remember reporting to my supervisor that the ticket given to a voter after initial check in then remained in the voter’s custody and could then be simply re-used at any other polling station to vote again without having to check in. My complaint was simply ignored.