For decades, there has been an open debate among historians about whether there was democracy in our country in 1945, and if so, what those few transition years were like, and what caused the failure of democracy. The study, – instead of the democratic state of the electoral system, the rule of law, respect for freedoms, self-government and civil society organization, – attempts to highlight the presence or absence of democratic traditions, which is generally less attended to, but undoubtedly was also part of the failure of the democratic experiment in 1945.
Perhaps surprising, but the political and moral traditions of a society determine the chances for the development and survival of a democracy. In a corrupt, morally inferior society, it is more difficult to establish and operate democracy. Thus, democracy is guaranteed not only by the appearance of institutions and elections, but also by the thinking of the people living in it and by the norms that determine their behavior.
The study illustrates the peculiarity of Hungary with examples mostly from Szolnok that in the 20th century the interchanging systems were struggling with a serious deficit of democracy, and therefore no democratic traditions could be formed in the society, and in 1945 they could not go back to such antecedents. Therefore, after 1945, Hungarian society appears as corrupt as it did before 1945. Corruption has affected not only politicians but also those at lower levels of society and has engulfed society as a whole. Thus, in order to consolidate democracy, it will not be enough in the future to replace politicians and reform institutions, but the society as a whole must change too, especially in its way of thinking and behavior.
Keywords: Corruption, democracy, history of society, history of politics, history of mentality