Mittwoch, 28. Oktober 2015, 18:30 - 20:00 iCal

Geschichte am Mittwoch - Geschichte im Dialog

A thought decision to be made. Environmental Protection in state-socialist Hungary

Universität Wien - Institut für Geschichte, HS 45
Universitätsring 1, 1010 Wien


Viktor Pál: We know little of the environmental history of pollution in state socialism. In this presentation I aim to analyze the environmental history of water and industrial pollution in Hungary between the kick-off of the First Five Year Plan in 1949 and Hungary’s admittance to the International Monetary Fund in 1982.

Based on previously undiscovered production and environmental protection documents I aim to re-assess the environmental account of state-socialism. Even though state socialism were viewed as contradictory production systems to capitalism during the Cold War, this research points out that state socialist Hungary employed similar environmental protection policy measures and technologies than capitalist countries that would provide remedy for water pollution problems during the 1960s and 1970s. What differed – were decision making mechanisms.

By the early 1980s several quality indicators of the Rhine River began to improve as a result of extensive restructuring and clean-up efforts in Switzerland, France, and Germany. At the same time East-Central European economies slipped into decline which had devastating impact on environmental protection.

This presentation aims to provide answers why did environmental protection in Hungary end-up as a fiasco, instead of a success story.



Geschichte am Mittwoch


MMag.Dr. Andrea Brait
Institut für Geschichte