For a New and Bright Future: Propaganda in Hungarian Newsreels Between 1945 and 1954


  • Lajos Somogyvári



Newsreels, Propaganda, communist education, indoctrination


This study firstly emphasize the importance and relevance of analysing newsreels from a history of education aspect, which is a blind spot in the Hungarian research. The official Leninist ideology deeply influenced the genre, used as a channel of overall propaganda, during and after the communist takeover, between 1945 and 1954. Production and broadcasting depended on the political goals and turns of the Communist Party, combined simple messages with easily understandable narrative forms, to support campaigns, spread intended knowledge and so on. The footages has now digitized and open to access for everyone ( using the webpage, through a three-step data collecting and selection process, a database made, with 205 items to analyse. Three archetypes, basic storytelling forms are detected, I called them metaphorically One from the many, Occupying space and Learning society. The development and progression of the country after WW2 always represented in individual life-stories and personal backgrounds to get close these stories to the audience, trying to make Soviets and communists more popular. At the same time, more and more spaces are occupied by the new power, both physically and symbolically, for example the former castles became schools, training sites, etc., which signed the expropriation the past, too. Definition and scope of education extended in the discourses, because every member of the society would learn repeatedly the language of the new establishment. Propaganda and persuasion was overall in this process, one could not avoid interacting and reflecting somehow to this.


Download data is not yet available.


Barck, Simone; Classen, Shristoph and Heimann, Thomas. “The Fettered Media: Controlling Public Debate”. In Dictatorship as Experience: Towards a Socio-Cultural History of the GDR. Edited by Konrad H. Jarausch, 213-239. New York – Oxford: Berghahn Books, 1999.

Bene, Márton and Sükösd, Miklós. “A többiek is próbáltak híradót csinálni, de nemtudtak. Filmhíradók a koalíciós korszak médiamezőjében Magyarországon”,1945-1948 [“The others tried to produce news, but they could not. Newsreels in the coalition period media, Hungary, 1945-1948”]. Politikatudományi Szemle 29, no. 3 (2020): 75-104.

Berg, Raissa L. On the History of Genetics in the Soviet Union: Science and Politics. The Insight of a Witness. Washington: National Council for Soviet an East European Research, 1983.

Berger, Peter and Luckmann, Thomas. The Social Construction of Reality: A Treatise in the Sociology of Knowledge. London: Penguin Books, 1966.

Bottoni, Stefano. “Sovietization and Nationalism in Hungary”. The Historical Journal 52, no. 3 (2009): 789-797.

Braham, Randolph L. Education in the Hungarian People’s Republic. Washington: US Government, 1970.

Cerdán, Josetxo and Sánchez-Biosca, Vicente. “Newsreels, Documentary, Experimental Film, Shorts, and Animation”. In A Companion to Spanish Cinema. Edited by Jo Labanyi & Tatjana Pavlović, 521-542. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2013.

Corner, John. “Foreword”, in Researching Newsreels: Local, National and Transnational Case Studies. Edited by Ciara Chambers, Mats Jönsson & Roel Vande Winkel, v-viii. Cham: Palgrave Macmillan, 2018.

Crowley, David and Reid, Susan E. “Socialist Spaces: Sites of Everyday Life in the Eastern Bloc”. In Socialist Spaces: Sites of Everyday Life in the Eastern Bloc. Edited by David Crowley & Susan E. Reid, 1-22. Oxford-New York: Bloomsbury, 2002.

Dent, Bob. Painting the Town Red. Politics and the Arts During the 1919 Hungarian Soviet Republic. London: Pluto Press, 2018.

Enzensberger, Hans Magnus. “Scherbenwelt. Die Anatomie der Wochenschau”. In Einzelheiten. Hans Magnus Enzensberger (Frankfurt: Suhrkamp Verlag, 1962): 88-109.

Fitzpatrick, Sheila. “Ascribing Class: The Construction of Social Identity in Soviet Russia”. The Journal of Modern History 65, no. 4 (1993): 745-770.

Gentile, Emilio. “Die Sakralizierung der Politik – Einige Definitionen, Interpretationen und Reflexionen”. In Wege in die Gewalt – Die modernen politischen Religionen. Edited by Hans Maier, 166-182. Frankfurt am Main: Fischer Taschenbuch, 2000.

Gill, Graeme. “Changing Symbols: The Renovation of Moscow Place Names”. The Russian Review 64 (2005): 480-503.

Gluschenko, I. V. “The Soviet Educational Project: The Eradication of Adult Illiteracy in the 1920s – 1930s”. Russian Education & Society 57, no. 11 (2015): 911-953.

Goodman, Joyce. “Concentric Circles and Magnetic Currents: Moral Disarmament at the League of Nations International Institute of Educational Cinematography, 1931-34”. In Folds of Past, Present and Future: Reconfiguring Contemporary Histories of Education. Edited by Sarah Van Ruyskensvelde, Geert Thyssen, Angelo Van Gorp & Pieter Verstraete, 81-102. Oldenbourg: De Gruyter, 2021.

Grosvenor, Ian. “Back to the future or towards a sensory history of schooling”. History of Education 41, no. 5 (2012): 675-687.

Hollander, Paul. “Reflections on Communism. Twenty Years after the Fall of Berlin Wall”. Center for Global Liberty & Prosperity: Development Policy Analysis no. 11 (2009): 1-25.

Ifjúságunk válasza Rákosi elvtársnak: jobban dolgozunk – jobban tanulunk [Our youth is answering Comrade Rákosi: we will work better – learn better]”. Szabad Ifjúság [Free Youth], 2, no. 136 (1951): 3.

Johnson, Mark S. “From delinquency to counterrevolution. Subcultures of Soviet youth and the emergence of Stalinist pedagogy in the 1930s”. Paedagogica Historica, 32, sup.1 (1996): 283-303.

Jowett, Garth S and O’Donnell, Victoria. Propaganda and Persuasion. London: SAGE, 2015.

Kenez, Peter. The Birth of the Propaganda State: Soviet Methods of Mass Mobilization, 1917-1929. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985.

Ķestere, Iveta; Stonkuviene, Irena and Rubene, Zanda. “The New Soviet Man With a Female Body: Mother, Teacher, Tractor Driver…”. Acta Paedagogica Vilnensia 45 (2020): 97-109.

Ķestere, Iveta and González, Manuel Joaquín Fernández “Educating the New Soviet Man: Propagated Image and Hidden Resistance in Soviet Latvia”. Historia scholastica 7, no. 1 (2021): 11-32.

Kotkin, Stephen. Magnetic Mountain: Stalinism as a Civilization. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1995.

Kovács, András Bálint. “Adalékok az ötvenes évek magyar filmhíradójának ikonográfiájához [Comments on the iconography of Hungarian newsreels in the 50s]”. In A művészet katonái. Sztálinizmus és kultúra [Soldiers of the arts. Stalinism and culture], Edited by György Péter & Turai Hedvig, 91-98. Budapest: Corvina, 1992.

Landwehr, Achim. Historische Diskursanalyse. Frankfurt am Main: Campus Verlag, 2008.

Lenin, V. I. “Better Fewer, but Better”. In Lenin Collected Works, Vol. 33. August 1921 – March 1923. (Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1973): 487-502.

Lenin, V. I. Collected Works, Vol. 42. Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1977.

Mincu, Monica. “Communist education as modernisation strategy? The swings of the globalisation pendulum in Eastern Europe (1947-1989)”. History of Education 45, no. 3 (2016): 319-334.

Nora, Pierre. “Between Memory and History: Les Lieux de Mémoire”. Representations 26 (1989): 7-24.

Pinfold, Debbie. “‘Das Mündel will Vormund sein’: The GDR State as Child”. German Life and Letters 64, no. 2 (2011): 283-304.

Pótó, János. Az emlékeztetés helyei. Emlékművek és politika [Sites of Remembrance. Statues and Politics]. Budapest: Osiris, 2003.

Pronay, Nicholas. “British Newsreels in the 1930s. 2. Their Policies and Impact”. History 57, no. 189 (1972): 63-72.

Ruzsa, Bence and Szabó, Zoltán András. Egy évszázad Kistarcsán [A Century in Kistarcsa]. Kistarcsa: Kistarcsai Kulturális Egyesület, 2020.

Somogyvári Lajos, “Az úttörőmozgalom ikonikus helyei. Sajtófotók felhasználhatósága a múlt feltárásában” [The Iconic Places of Pioneer Movement. How to use press photos in the exploration of the past]. Történelemtanítás

[Teaching History] 6, no. 1-2 (2015). http://www.folyoirat.tortenelemtanitas. hu/2015/07/somogyvari-lajos-az-uttoromozgalom-ikonikus-helyei-06-01-08/ (accessed 21 November, 2021).

Somogyvári, Lajos, “Lenin as a Child. Visual Propaganda and Pedagogy”. Acta Paedagogica Vilnensia 42 (2019): 29-42.

Takács, Róbert. “Tehenészgiccs a kultúra bölcsőjébe. Amerika-kép Hollywoodon innen és túl 1945 és 1948 között a koalíciós pártok napilapjainak tükrében [Trash and kitsch in the cradle of culture. Images of America through the lenses of Hollywood, on the pages of daily coalition newspapers, 1945-1948]”. Médiakutató 15, no. 3 (2014): 65-78.

Vörös, Boldizsár, “Különböző politikai hatalmak – ugyanabban a fővárosban. Szimbolikus térfoglalási akciók Budapesten 1918–1919-ben” [Same Capital – Different Power. Symbolic Occupation Activities in Budapest, 1918-1919], in Tömegek és ünnepek [Masses and Celebrations]. eds. Csúri Károly, Orosz Magdolna and Szendi Zoltán (Budapest: Gondolat, 2009): 15-31.

Warmington, Paul; Angelo van Gorp and Grosvenor, Ian. “Education in motion: uses of documentary film in educational research”. Paedagogica Historica: International Journal of the History of Education 47, no. 4 (2011): 457-472.

White, Hayden. Metahistory: The Historical Imagination in Nineteenth-Century Europe. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1973.

Winkel, Roel Vande “Nazi Newsreels in Europe, 1939-1945: the many faces of Ufa’s foreign weekly newsreel (Auslandstonwoche) versus German’s weekly newsreel (Deutsche Wochenschau)”, Historical Journal of Film, Radio and

Television 24, no. 1 (2004): 5-34.

Withers, Charles J. W. “Place and the ‘Spatial Turn’ in Geography and in History”. Journal of the History of Ideas 70, no. 4 (2009): 637-658.




How to Cite

Somogyvári, L. (2022). For a New and Bright Future: Propaganda in Hungarian Newsreels Between 1945 and 1954. Historia Y Memoria De La Educación, (16), 233–266.