Veronika Eszik: In Fiume’s Shadow: The Regional Consequences of the Industrialization of the Hungarian Port in the Age of Dualism
Developing Fiume into an international port was one of the achievements of the Hungarian state that was acclaimed by the wider public in the Age of Dualism. The scale of the industrialization process is well illustrated by the fact that by 1891 the population of the city increased threefold as compared to the population at the time of the Compromise of 1867, and it became the second most industrialized city in Hungary based on the proportion of its industrial layer. Fiume’s significance, however, can be also gauged by other means that its position in the hierarchy of Hungarian cities. The city was also an integral part of the Croatian urban network and had major influence on other seaside settlements in its vicinity. This influence was partly exerted through the population employed by the industrial establishments of Fiume and commuting from the Croatian villages nearby. On the other hand, the fact that all infrastructural development was channeled into the city put it into an unbeatable position of advantage compared neighboring cities that formerly ranked similarly. The biggest loser in the process was Zengg (Senj). The study focuses on Zengg’s loss of position: primarily concentrating on the regional realignment as a consequence of Fiume’s industrialization, it sidesteps the praise of Fiume’s nation-wide significance and nuances the usual perception of the port city being isolated from its environment. The aim of the study is to find out how an industrial city’s centrally determined development is experienced by the neighboring region and its former trade hub, what narratives are created to describe its changing position, and how they respond to their new problems. The first part of the study concentrates on the narratives, while subsequent sections delve into the city’s problem-solving strategies.
Miklós Tömöry: “Strive to Unite”: Competing Trade Associations in Újvidék between 1860 and 1872
The study provides an overview and analysis of the attempts to reorganize the industrial society of the free royal town of Újvidék (Novi Sad) in the period between the launch of the 1860 trade regulations and the 1872 enactment of the first Industrial Code. By this time, the craft guild framework was exhausted and the freedom to pursue industry was guaranteed with certain limitations. In the economic situation usually perceived as a period of crisis by the contemporaries, the first rivaling organizations identifying themselves as trade associations were conceived amidst visions of future prosperity. As Senator Béla Peák’s inaugural speech – quoted in the title of the present study – suggests, the Újvidék Trade Association was set up to unite the entire industrial society of the city, even though in practice the membership was dominated by the German- and Hungarian-speaking elites. The Serbian Trade Association (1867–1869) and the Serbian Craftsmen’s Union (1870) were called to life as alternatives to the Gewerbeverein. The rivalry between these organizations was closely intertwined with the bitter political strife between the Serbian liberals and the German and Hungarian elite fighting for the leadership of the town after the Compromise of 1867. Public discourse in Hungary was much preoccupied with the aspirations of Újvidék’s liberal mayor, Svetozar Miletić to make the town into a Serb national center, as well as with his subsequent suspension from office, which was thematized along with the questions of minority rights and the limits of urban autonomy. In this context, the study analyses the attempts at uniting traders and tradesmen in Újvidék, and the contrasting visions of the past and future, which reflect both an idealized image of guilds and national concord and the faith in the imminent prosperity these associations have ahead of them. Concerning the Serbian unions, it is worth to note how their leaders, prominent liberal and socialist intellectuals, argued for the separate unionizing of Serbian tradesmen and to what extent their vision was implemented.
Zsombor Bódy: “Toeing the workers’ line”: Technocracy, Party, and the Functions of Skilled Workers and Entrepreneurs in the Ikarus Body and Vehicle Manufacturer between 1947 and 1953
The study reflects on the unrest that broke out on a payday at the Ikarus plant on Christmas 1951. Based on the analysis of this event, the paper presents how the laborers, especially the skilled workers, experienced party ambitions that were increasingly affecting their workplace after the nationalization of the factory, permeating decisions made about manufacturing processes and delimiting their discretion regarding wages – one of the reasons for the tensions emerging on the factory floor. The skilled workers, however, faced more than just the factory's leadership. As the study demonstrates, besides the party-dependent nationalized economic governance, technocratic groups played an independent role in the vehicle industry, specifically in the Ikarus plant. From the beginning, nationalized economic governance necessitated a technocratic layer of society, which had emerged long time before the 1960s. The first professional organizations and the specialized public of the engineering sector were formed as early as the end of 1940s. Based on these, technocrats became independent and self-governing factors in the industry. The study shows that after nationalization some of the entrepreneurial functions in the factory were taken over by the technocratic leadership, which meant that their influence increased compared to the former period of market economy. In order to limit the power of the party in their plant, the technocrats cooperated with the skilled workers who were dissatisfied with their worsening position but were indispensable for the given technological manufacturing processes.
Cecília Sándor: Industrial Boom in Csíkszentsimon: The History of the Starch- and Spirit Factory between 1940 and 1975
The Starch- and Spirit Factory of Csíkszentsimon (Sânsimion) was the most important determinant of social life and lifestyle for the local community and the neighboring settlements. Its establishment was intimately bound to the nineteenth-century industrialization plans and waves of Transylvanian modernization. The factory, built in 1941, was the enterprise of the Hungarian state. According to locals, it was “built by Hungarians for Hungarians” as a processing plant for the region’s potato yield and an opportunity to create jobs. After 1944 it was nationalized by the Romanian state and during the socialist industrialization effort it was further developed and extended. Based on interviews, archival records and private photographs, the study examines the local industrial boom and the history of the factory between 1940 and 1975. This historical reconstruction provides a glimpse into local investments and subsequent social changes as well as the cultural life of the local community. In this vein, the study traces the patterns of disintegrating rural lifestyle and the emerging worker identity, as well as the modernization processes transforming rural societies, as manifested in everyday life.
Zsófia Kisőrsi: From Village to Town: The Effects of Delayed Industrialization on the Employment of Commuting Women in Vas County (1960–1970)
The study primarily focuses on how the political elite of Vas County experienced the social impact of the county’s industrialization process – the involuntary industrial employment and commuting of village women – which was a taboo due to ideological and economic reasons in the 1960s. It first describes Vas, a county on Hungary’s westernmost border, and explains the chronological scope (1960–1970) of the research. It presents the industrial development and unique labor market of the county and continues with an overview of the concepts which determined the attitudes of the county’s leaders and of the local press under their supervision towards female industrial workers from the countryside. The study then turns to a detailed analysis of the ways in which the economic development brought about by socialist industrialization placed large portions of the county’s female population in an extremely vulnerable position. For a nuanced description of the tasks imposed upon commuting women, the study not only considers the different social roles of village and urban populations, but also provides a detailed gender-based overview of their social situation. It is based primarily on official records of the meetings of the Hungarian Socialist Workers’ Party’s (MSZMP) party committee, as well as those of the party’s Executive Committees of both Vas Country and Szombathely. The overall aim of the study is to expose the ways in which village women were placed in the labor market in the 1960s.