(b. Kaposvár, southern Hungary, 7 June 1896; d. Budapest, 17 June 1958)
(Hungarian; Prime Minister 1953–5, 1956) Nagy was the son of poor peasants who apprenticed him to a locksmith at the age of 10. Until 1914 he worked as a mechanic. During the First World War he was wounded on the eastern front and sent as a prisoner to Siberia. After the October Revolution of 1917, Nagy joined the Bolshevik Party and the Red Army. Later he became a Soviet citizen. He returned to Hungary in 1923 to develop the illegal Hungary Communist Party. He was imprisoned in 1927, but escaped to Austria the next year. From 1930 to 1944 he lived in Moscow, where he studied agriculture and worked for the Institute of Agrarian Sciences.
Nagy returned to Hungary in 1944 with the Red Army. In the first post-war coalition government, he was Minister of Agriculture, and was responsible for the implementation of far-reaching land reform, as the great noble estates were split up. In 1946 he was briefly Minister of the Interior, before Rákosi removed him in favour of the more ruthless Rajk and he became Speaker of Parliament. In 1949 Stalin criticized Nagy for his opposition to the rapid collectivization of agriculture and he was removed from government office. Nagy's fortunes improved when Malenkov became Soviet Prime Minister. In July 1953 Malenkov encouraged Rákosi's replacement as Hungarian Prime Minister by Nagy. Nagy cut back on Rákosi's harsh programme of agricultural collectivization, much reduced the terror of the secret police, and eased press censorship. In February 1955, eleven days after Malenkov's fall in the Soviet Union, Rákosi removed Nagy from office. Amid charges of ‘Titoism’, Nagy was expelled from the Communist Party in November 1955. After Khrushchev's denunciation of Stalin at the 20th Party Congress of the CPSU, pressure mounted within Hungary for Nagy's reappointment. In October 1956 anti-Stalinist demonstrations in Budapest marked the start of the Hungarian Uprising. On 24 October the Communist Party reinstated Nagy as premier in an attempt mollify the population. From the start, Nagy was the prisoner of popular demands. He provided the Soviet Union with a pretext for intervention when he announced Hungary's withdrawal from the Warsaw Pact and desire for neutrality. On 4 November 1956 the Red Army invaded Hungary and Nagy took sanctuary in the Yugoslav Embassy, emerging after eighteen days under a Soviet safe conduct. He was seized and deported to Romania. In 1957 the Soviet authorities returned him to Budapest, where he was secretly tried. He was executed on 17 June 1958 and fully rehabilitated in 1989.