back to article list

Anomie and the public transportation of Budapest. The effects of hyperinflation, 1945–1946

  • Print

This paper describes and analyzes the everyday effect of hyperinflation through the example of public transportation. In everyday life in Budapest, trams were traditionally the most important means of mass public transportation. The stressful atmosphere of tram journeys is revealed through the complaints written by passengers. In January 1946 the state extended the administration of instant punishment to the employees of the transportation company as well. The employees did not leave their job, because the company provided them with food. Hyperinflation loosened the ties within society, the traditional cooperation mechanisms of society became weaker, yet anomie did not lead to anarchy.

This story is about the micro impacts of the macro scale processes that baffled Eastern European Countries in the Soviet sphere of influence following World War II. What kind of macro scale processes are we talking about? The Eastern European extension of the Soviet Union’s economic and political influence behaved differently in countries that emerged from the war victorious from those that lost the war. The funding for the recovery of the Soviet economy was taken from Eastern European countries. In victorious countries like Czechoslovakia, Poland and Yugoslavia the economic and political transformation to conform to the reality of the new power structure progressed faster. These states had already carried out monetary reforms and nationalization in 1945, what’s more, they had introduced the framework for a planned economy earlier. In the years following 1945, reconstruction’s growing need for money caused financing by inflation in these countries as well.1

Nationalization and the introduction of a planned economy – i.e. the buildup of a new economic and political framework – progressed somewhat more slowly in those countries that lost the war. As far as these countries were concerned, the Soviet Union was interested in exploiting their economic resources as intensively as possible. In the years following 1945 the losers had to fulfill reparation payments, provide dismantled factories as war trophies, and sign economic contracts that were only beneficial for the Soviet Union. These liabilities forced the defeated countries to export capital in a situation in which restoration was also vital. And so inflation was much higher in these defeated countries compared to those that emerged victorious. In Hungary’s case, reparation payment amounted to 600 million dollars, in contrast to the 200 million dollar contractual obligation, according to calculations by László Borhi.2

Historical literature discusses Hungarian hyperinflation of 1945–1946 as a unique phenomenon.3The reasons for its occurrence were explained by the financing of Hungary’s war reparation payments (issuance of unsecured banknotes) as well as by expenditure related to the support of Soviet troops stationed in the country (between 500,000 and 700,000 people). The increasing inflation of the wartime Hungarian currency, the pengő, lasted from July 1945 until the end of July 1946. In the summer of 1946 people could purchase hardly anything in the shops in exchange for their pengős, practically the only available options were barter and the illegal black market. All this meant that masses of people living on fixed incomes were sinking deeper and deeper into poverty and had to exhaust their pre-war savings to make ends meet. Finally, on August 1, 1946, the introduction of the new currency – the forint (Ft) – put an end to hyperinflation.

This study aims to present the everyday effects of hyperinflation through the example of the public transportation of Budapest. Archive material in itself is not able to shed light on every detail of this story. The most precious part of the documentation – the minutes of the Directors Board Meeting of the Budapest Székesfővárosi Közlekedési Rt. (Budapest Transportation Company Ltd., hereinafter BESZKÁRT) – mainly reflect events from the point of view of the management struggling to keep the company going. Only partial archival data remained on several questions considered to be sensitive issues at the time (e.g. food supply of the employees of the company, discipline at work). Besides the written complaints of passengers, visual resources (photos, tram posters and drawings expressing the point of view of passengers) bear witness to the signs of social anomie and the everyday trials people were facing during the months of hyperinflation.

In everyday life in Budapest, trams were traditionally the most important means of mass public transportation.4 As a result of the war, BESZKÁRT suffered mainly from the loss of its rolling stock. During the siege of the capital city, 80 % of the tram cars were damaged, but the tram tracks remained in relatively good condition. By August 1945, of the 1860 damaged tram-cars the employees of the company put 1114 back into operation, which took an enormous effort. However, as a result of the provisional repair works, the number of functional tram-cars began to decrease as soon as the beginning of 1946. In January-February, 1946 only 830–920 tramcars operated on a daily basis.5 By April 1946 the tram system could only be sustained at the expense of eroding the rolling stock: trams were taken apart and their parts were used to mend broken vehicles.6 By July 1946 some 400 trams, which had been repaired in the course of the previous year, were unserviceable. The transportation overload of vechicles further accelerated their amortization. The tram track network did not suffer similar damage during the war. By the end of 1945, 90 % of the 191 km long electric street car system was in a serviceable condition. The quality decline of this network started in 1946 since the maintenance works of the previous year had failed to take place. In January 1946 the company had 18,000 employees. In 1945 the trams carried only some 208 million passengers. Performance boomed and in 1946 the trams covered as much as 80 million kilometers with as many as 410 million passengers.7 Nevertheless, this was still about 44 % less than the transport capacity registered in 1943.

The new board of directors of BESZKÁRT, which was owned by the capital city, started its operation at the beginning of August 1945, just before the local government elections held in the fall of that year. Political parties, the state and the leaders of the capital city all appointed their representatives to the board. Naturally, the company management and the representatives of the employees shared the workload of this body. The weekly board meetings were headed with great skill by Sándor Millok, a social democratic politician who managed to avoid the sharpening of political counter interests among the parties. During the period 1945–1946 board meetings were not characterized by heated debates. The board, in which the delegates of the parties were especially active, quite often failed to support the proposals of the operative leaders of the company. The majority of the board’s time was spent on discussing the current tariff increase. In 1945 alone, fares were increased eight times. During the period January 7, 1946 – July 9, 1946 tariffs were upped on 20 occasions. I present the increasing trend in travel fares by using one ticket type – the cheapest one available – as an example, the so-called through ticket. (Figure 1.) In 1944 the price of the ticket was 0.4 pengős. The data below were taken from a collection documenting the tram transportation of 1946 by compiling the passenger information posters, which were placed inside trams.

 

Table 1 The price of the tram through ticket in pengős in 19467

7 January 500
28 January 3 000
23 February 20 000
20 March 50 000
1 April 100 000
25 April 1 600 000
2 May 3 200 000
10 May 5 000 000
23 May 50 000 000
14 June 5 000 000 000
27 June 3 000 000 000 000
28 June 10 000 000 000 000
29 June 30 000 000 000 000
2 July 200 000 000 000 000
3 July 500 000 000 000 000
4 July 2 000 000 000 000 000
5 July 5 000 000 000 000 000
6 July 50 000 000 000 000 000
7 July 200 000 000 000 000 000
9 July 500 000 000 000 000 000

 

From July 9 the travel fares were not calculated in pengős anymore but in a new currency, the so-called Tax Pengő.9 From this point forward it is impossible to follow the up-to-date price increase in the archived documents. The reason for this is that information for the public about tram fares was not printed out each time it were changed, instead the company stuck the new rates on top of the old ones. (Figure 2.) The last known fare is from the period preceding the introduction of the forint on August 1. On July 25 one through ticket cost 500,000 Tax Pengős.

Theoretically BESZKÁRT had to maintain its operations from the revenues collected from travel fares.10 This, however, proved to be impossible, they even had to take out loans to be able to pay employees’ wages on time. The rate of tariff increase – due to political considerations – followed the rate of increase in wages but with a delay. The prices of raw materials and consumer goods demonstrated an even greater rate of increase. Lacking financial resources, BESZKÁRT was unable to purchase even the most necessary goods (gas and motor oil) during the winter of 1945–1946. In addition, in Hungary, due to the general lack of coal, the use of electric energy had to be limited as well. All this had an effect on mass transportation: during the bitterly cold winter months the trams did not run in the mornings in Budapest. The inhabitants of the capital city were cold, hungry and forced to take long walks on a daily basis.11

The operation of BESZKÁRT reached its worst stage in July 1946. At that point travel fares were 8 % of the price rate of 1938. The travel fares were insufficient for the maintenance of service operation even on the very day of their introduction. This was when the company management suggested – as a stopgap solution – to suspend traffic temporarily on a 41 kilometer network section. Given the incident-prone network of tracks, the missing street-cars and the limited number of ticket conductors, it was impossible to keep to the timetable. The board of directors did not agree to the suspension of operation because this plan was politically unacceptable. They decided to “maintain transportation at all costs even if it meant severe damage to the running stock” .12 Nevertheless, the limitation of public transport by tram had long been in existence. Following the forced outages of 1946 to save on electricity, the company operated a significantly lower number of trams (921 instead of 1027) than the number identified on the timetable. The month of July 1946 was made even more difficult due to the higher than average absence rate of employees: many of them returned to their homeland to give their families a hand in harvesting the crops.

 

Traveling conditions

On tram vehicles most often consisting of one car – apart from the driver – one conductor was on duty. The conductor basically had two tasks. Theoretically s/he had to get off at every stop and then – after making sure that the passengers were safely boarded – s/he was to blow a whistle for the driver to start the tram. During the time between the stops, the conductor walked through the car and sold tickets to passengers not having a season ticket. This work schedule worked well during the pre-war times when the trams were not overloaded yet. However, after the war the guards did not get off at every stop anymore because there were no guarantees that they had room when they wanted to get back on the tram. Instead, they leaned out of a window to start the tram. To reduce the crowdedness and to create more standing room, from February 1946 the company started to remove the middle row seats.

BESZKÁRT tried to have the police prevent passengers from traveling on the steps of the trams which was extremely dangerous.13 From time to time the management turned to the mayor to have the police deal with those traveling on the steps by heavily penalizing them. In August 1945 during a five-day action conducted by the police, masses of people taveling on the steps had their identity cards checked. But the police were also short of staff, they did not have the energy to focus on such insignificant matters. However, there were cases when the customers did not only occupy the steps in the direction of travel but also the opposite ones, moreover, they also climbed up on the roof.

Unfortunately the accident statistics of 1945–1946 cannot be compiled due to lack of data. The incomplete monthly reports which remained show an extreme and ever decreasing standard. Between November 21 – December 20, 1945 a total of 145 accidents of bodily harm occurred, of which 10 were fatal while 97 were severe. During the first three months of 1946 tram transportation was the cause of 502 accidents involving bodily injuries. Fifty died and 254 were severely injured. During this period of time, trams collided with other vehicles in 498 cases, the number of derailment cases was 131. Surprisingly, neither the managers of the company, nor the board of directors paid attention to the extreme injury indicators. No measures were taken to reduce the number of incidents.

The atmosphere on the trams was extremely tense. The stressful atmosphere and discomfort of tram travel are revealed by the complaints written by passengers. Interestingly enough it was not the circumstances of traveling (trams running rarely and overcrowded, service outages, accidents) that tested the tolerance level of passengers but the behaviour of conductors. Week in, week out, letters were sent to the company headquarters by upset passengers. The core message of these letters is the following: traveling by tram is not an enjoyable experience, why do conductors make it even more unpleasant? Don’t we have enough problems of our own, must we endure their rudeness as well? The passengers were convinced that the behavior of the conductors had changed over the previous years because they no longer wore individual identification numbers on their uniforms. Before the war there was a number on the hats of conductors. However, in 1945 one of the trade unions managed to get these identification numbers removed.14 Passengers frequently found themselves in a situation where they did not know who to complain about.

The conflicts between a conductor and a passenger almost always followed the same pattern: the conductor, irritated by the stressful work conditions swore and/or raised his hand against a passenger and the passenger found his behavior unacceptable. The second part of the conflict was spent on who was who and that the conductor should provide proof of identity immediately.

The increasingly rude tone used towards the end was also infused with political swearing and threats which had nothing to do with the original conflict. The written complaints mailed to BESZKÁRT are examples of verbal or, in certain cases, even of physical aggression. From the specific case descriptions here are some rather typical ones. Not one but two witnesses signed the complaint according to which the conductor tried to push off a passenger who was traveling on the tram steps while the tram was moving at high speed. In another case the conductor deliberately pushed off the hat from the head of a passenger thus forcing him to jump off the tram while the vehicle was in motion to save his hat for “a hat is priceless these days”.15

At another time, because the conductor was being rude, the passengers joined efforts and prevented the tram from leaving the stop. According to less extreme case descriptions the conductors gave the start signal to the driver while not every passenger who wanted to get on was able to board the tram. The company investigated the cases here and there but not too intensively. There was a general text according to which the conductor at fault was punished, reprimanded and was instructed to behave politely again.

There was one, albeit unusual, letter of praise as well addressed to BESZKÁRT requesting that a conductor should be rewarded for her outstanding behavior. The conductor lady was very polite – wrote the passenger – which was a rare experience to have on trams: “people from the countryside got on the tram with a big baggage and she treated them in the most polite manner possible and made sure that when these people were getting off, the whistle blower (the person whose job was to start the tram with a signal) did not start the vehicle, lest these people should fall off the tram, etc. This lady was behaving so nicely that several passengers noticed her and acknowledged appreciatively that such conductors also existed. I would have really liked to have all passengers traveling on that tram sign a sheet of appreciation.”16 An amusing incident related to this matter is that BESZKÁRT did not consider the rewarding of this conductor to be reasonable. The conductor lady only acted as we instructed her to behave, therefore she is not entitled to any special praise – reads the response of the company.

 

“the payment ethics of our passenger base are notoriously quite loose”17

As much as the passengers blamed the conductors, BESZKÁRT accused the passengers. The company incurred losses not only because the number of passengers traveling free of charge was high18

but also because of the characteristics of the tariff system. The response people gave to hyperinflation was reasonable, the number of pre-purchased tickets and one-week passes was showing a strong increase while the value of these items was declining. This was not cheating on their behalf, travelers simply took advantage of the opportunity. By May 1946 some 50 % of paying passengers traveled with a weekly pass.19 However, with the dynamic spread of weekly tickets the losses incurred by the company increased. In order to curb losses, the company limited the use of weekly passes, according to the new regulations weekly tickets could only be used for traveling to work and only those were entitled to purchase a weekly ticket who could show a proof of entitlement from their employer. Not surprisingly, the stricter rules imposed on people did not deliver any result. Employers also went along with the evasion of the regulations and issued their proof of entitlement enabling ticket purchasing to anyone without consideration. “The mass of requests placed for weekly tickets is ‘unprecedented and beyond all expectations’, ‘major companies, factories and even institutions in the capital city are issuing proofs by neglecting the rules.’” – states the record taken at the Board meeting held on June 18, 1946.20

The conductors also took advantage of the rapid tariff increase of tickets, while the management of BESZKÁRT was considering different actions to fend off the latest forms of fraud. This was a cat-mouse game in which it was always the company who was put at a disadvantage (was forced to take action). The fraudulent game conductors played was that on the day before a tariff increase they would purchase all of the tickets from their own budget and sell them to the passengers the next day at the new, higher rate. The counter action of the company: the conductors were only allowed to sell those tickets marked with a serial number, which they were given at the beginning of their shift each day. The conductors’ reaction to this measure was that they asked all passengers getting off the tram to return their tickets, which were then resold to the new passengers. This trick had a tradition at BESZKÁRT which can be traced back all the way to the 19th century. And the story went on and on.

The point of the passengers’ frauds was aimed at ways to avoid payment. Given the passenger overload on trams, the tricks were not too subtle. Since in a crowded tram car the conductor had difficulty moving around, s/he was not able to reach many passengers to check their tickets. Those traveling without a ticket – if caught red-handed – defended themselves by saying that they wanted to purchase a ticket but the conductor did not come to them. The response of the company was that they sent conductors to work in civilian clothing.21 The conductors monitored passengers on both ends of the tram in order to spot those who deliberately wanted to avoid ticket purchasing. They were relying on the movements of travelers to determine fare evaders. Not surprisingly, this way of ticket control did not deliver major results: in February 1946 only some 380 penalties were imposed. Naturally, travelers could also evade purchasing a ticket if they did not even try to get into the middle of the tram but they remained on the outer steps, or – which was extremely dangerous – they grabbed the rear bumper and sat on it. Considering the overcrowded tram cars, traveling on the outer steps did not automatically mean that those traveling there were all trying to avoid payment. The guards had a vested financial interest in the reduction of the free rider base because their salaries also depended on the number of tickets sold. According to an estimate by the board, the number of free riders was 15 % of the total traveler base. This was based on the data showing the rate of increase in the volume of tickets sold on one tram if two conductors were in service instead of one. However, the free rider counts carried out in March 1946 were not followed by the introduction of a second conductor. The company also lacked staff.

 

A crack in the wall of work culture

At the beginning, the company attempted to prevent the decline in work ethics and discipline by influencing the conscience of employees. (Figure 3) How is it possible that in 1944, while the war was still ongoing, the company was able to achieve a higher transportation performance with a lower staff than now in 1945–1946? Why were employees more disciplined back then and why aren’t they now? These were questions to which there was no simple response. “You worked more and better for those who had driven the country to ruin! This is the sad truth.” – reads a poster with a touch of reproach.22 These softer forms of pressure were not effective. In October 1945 BESZKÁRT had an – albeit failed – attempt to stop renunciations due to lack of labor by a bureaucratic ban. Referring to their public interest activity, the management was actively lobbying for the government to prohibit denunciation of their employees. However, their efforts failed. Nevertheless, as a result of declining social conditions, in January 1946 the state extended the administration of instant punishment to the employees of BESZKÁRT as well.23 From that point forward every employee who was caught stealing company property immediately faced instant punishment and the threat of the death penalty. No documents report on whether there were actual cases of this.

A very telling proof of the decline in the discipline at work is that the company introduced a separate bonus for all those who turned up at their workplaces on each workday. The relativity of the obligation to show up at work was triggered by the lack of food on a national level. In February 1946 one of the members of the board suggested that each employee should be given several days off every month in order to procure food. Naturally, such a regulation could not have been made. Absence from work could not have been legalized, nor could they have been penalized. The company management tacitly acknowledged this situation. In February 1946, they introduced a bonus which was 12,5 % of the monthly salary. The conditions of receiving the bonus were not strict. Theoretically only those who worked every workday were eligible for the bonus. Practically it was given to everyone.24 From the benefits encouraging employees to work those were the valuable ones, which were given in kind not in money. In 1945, as a Christmas gift, the employees were given a can of food, two eggs and some apples. In the spring of 1946 the company launched a work competition with the following prizes: 200–500 kilograms of coal, 200–500 kilograms of firewood and 10–20 liters of petroleum.

Therefore, due to the fact that wages lost their purchase power, the importance of having a job was not so significant. Wages barely covered the cost of a basic standard of living. Despite all this, employees did not leave their jobs in high numbers. The reasons for this were multifold. During the months of inflation, the small communities of BESZKÁRT employees attempted to get though the difficult times also by supporting and relying on one another. Instead of the depreciating value of wages, the fringe benefits of the employment became truly important.

BESZKÁRT provided food supplies – although at a low standard – to their employees. In the shops of the company the employees were able to receive their food rations. They were able to purchase a bread ration of 20 decagrams, or flour, lard, coffee substitute, etc. In addition to the food distribution shops, even more important were the canteens of the company. BESZKÁRT operated 12 company canteens where each employee and their family members received a hot plate of food for lunch. The extensiveness of canteen services is reflected in the fact that in December 1945, 48,000 portions of meals were consumed per day. This was enough to stay alive yet, quite naturally, it was not enough to trigger a sense of well-being.

But where was BESZKÁRT able to acquire food from? Theoretically the company – in possession of food purchase permits issued by the government – had to be served by the producers and vendors from the countryside. However, farmers were reluctant to sell their produce at a significantly lower price than the black market rates, therefore they denied having any stock. BESZKÁRT, however, had a great advantage: it owned transportation vehicles. The products located by the company’s procurement staff were transported to Budapest on company trucks. Buses, trucks, even trains pulled by BESZKÁRT’s own diesel engine ran back and forth several times a week between Budapest and target stations in the countryside. The company concluded barter agreements with the producers. From these affairs, only one of them survived in written form. The contract is not about food but firewood. The company transported the logged firewood to the capital city, in exchange the owner was to sell a part of the firewood cargo to BESZKÁRT at a lower rate than its black market price.

In order to eliminate the tension surrounding food supply, in the fall of 1945 BESZKÁRT gave permission to its employees to travel to the countryside on the food transporting trains.25 Employees had plenty of room in the empty cars running from Budapest to the countryside. However, problems occurred on the way back. The company procurement staff and the employees carrying increasingly large food packages cooperated in the distribution of storage space. All this resulted in the fact that less and less room remained for the transportation of products required for the public supply of employees. Due to transgressions, BESZKÁRT was imposing stricter controls over the use of the vehicles transporting the goods for travel purposes. They defined a top limit for the number of persons allowed on board, the weight of luggage allowed to be carried and finally, from April 1946 they refused to transport people altogether.

To sum up the content of the previous pages, in addition to impoverishment, the lack of goods and the decline of work culture, hyperinflation also had another consequence impacting the deeper levels of social structure. The rules of social cooperation – both written and unwritten – fell apart. All the players participated in the creative interpretation or avoidance of these rules, including private individuals, companies and, moreover, the state itself. Nevertheless, the methods and the tools were different depending on the possibilities and the power of the players. For instance, the method of the state power was that it kept moving the goalposts all the time adjusting them to the situation of the given moment. For example, the rule was that BESZKÁRT had to sustain its operations from its revenues. However, since this rule was impossible to adhere to, the state was continuously subsidizing the company. BESZKÁRT and Hungarian State Railways had a mutually accepted rule that – in possession of travel permits – the employees of the companies were able to travel from their home to their workplace by using each other’s services free of charge. In reality this meant that every railway or BESZKÁRT employee wearing a uniform travelled for free. This was all public knowledge, even the management of the transportation companies were aware of this rule breaking practice. What did the people do? They kept track of the changing rules and found ways to avoid them. When BESZKÁRT introduced the provision of a bonus in the case of employees who were not absent from work, the employees realized what this rule actually meant. It was not obligatory to go to work every day.

The traditional cooperation mechanisms of society became weaker, hyperinflation loosened the ties of society, yet anomie did not lead to anarchy. Many still remembered the similarly extreme inflation rates which evolved after the first world war. People had experience on how to survive such a situation. On the other hand, the people of Hungary had a very strong hope that after August 1, 1946, with the introduction of the new currency, their lives would get better. And indeed, as the new currency made its debut, shops were reopened, even though the world of food coupons did not come to an end for a very long time after that.

Several people voiced the experiences of BESZKÁRT regarding hyperinflation at a board meeting held on November 19, 1946. The company management is not only to ensure the prosperity of the company – stated one of the delegates – but should also maintain the peace of mind of its employees. Someone else talked about the fact that at the time of inflation the monthly wage of people had been equal to the price of half a kilogram of potatoes and that the time had come for people to live a decent life.26 In that situation demanding a decent life only meant: the shops are selling lard right now, the company should pay the year-end bonuses now. But this all leads us to another story.

What is this story actually about? In everyday life, hyperinflation was a temporary situation. Its outcome could be foreseen: the introduction of the new currency. It was extremely important, as it meant hope for everyone. The devaluation of money relativized the traditional cooperation mechanisms of society. Travel was stressful and hostile, moreover there were many serious and fatal accidents. The empolyees of BESZKART worked for food and a hot daily lunch instead of their wages. Discipline at work got weaker. Both the conductors and the passengers participated in swindles concerning tickets. The rules of public transportation were flouted regulary.

 


Zsuzsa Frisnyák. Born in 1960. A senior research fellow at the Institute of History of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. Until 1996 she was curator of the Transport Museum in Budapest. Her area of research is the history of transport and infrastructure in Hungary in the 19th and 20th centuries. Her Ph.D thesis was a historical statistical analysis of data about rail transported passengers and goods from the 19th century. Recent publications include “Közlekedés és politika. 1945–1989” (Transport and policy) Budapest, MTA Bölcsészettudományi Kutatóközpont, and “A magyarországi közlekedés krónikája 1750–2000” (Chronicle of Transport in Hungary 1750–2000) ed. Ferenc Glatz, Budapest, 2001.

 


ENDNOTES

1 According to data by Tamás Réti, the amount of money in Czechoslovakia in 1948 was nine times larger than ten years earlier. In Poland inflation was even higher. The soviet state claimed the German assets that were invested in Czechoslovakia and Poland during the war. Tamás Réti, A gazdasági rendszerváltás és a korlátozott szuverenitás Kelet-Európában 1945–1948 között.

2 László Borhi, Hungary in the Cold War 1945–1956, pp. 141–153

3 János Honvári (ed.), Magyarország gazdaságtörténete, pp. 447–451. Iván Pető and Sándor Szakács, A hazai gazdaság, pp. 58–60. William A. Bomberger and Gail E. Makinen, The Hungarian Hyperinflation, pp. 803–804, 806–807. William A. Bomberger and Gail E. Makinen, Indexation, Inflationary Finance.

4 This study does not focus on bus travel which was marginal at the time, being limited on only one or two operating lines. Similarly, it fails to include the discussion of the metro line because the performance of these two means of mass transportation cannot be compared to that of the tram. Nevertheless, the crisis situation outlined in this study was also relevant and observable in the case of these two public transport modes in the city.

5 Minutes of the BESZKÁRT Board of Directors Meeting taken on February 12, 1946. BFL. XI. 1919. c. 145. doboz.

6 Minutes of the BESZKÁRT Board of Directors Meeting taken on April 12, 1946. and Economic audit of the BESZKÁRT BFL. XI. 1919. c. 15. doboz.

7 István Káposztás, “A fővárosi közlekedés,” p. 286.

8 Source of data: Collection called “Hirdetmények 1946.” (Public advertisements 1946) Private ownership.

9 Beatrix Paal, “Measuring the Inflation of Parallel Currencies,” p. 4.

10 Minutes of the BESZKÁRT Board of Directors Meeting taken on Januar 8, 1946. BFL. XI. 1919. c. 15. doboz.

11 Passengers understood the reason for the limitations in traffic but not its method. Why didn’t they stop the tram service in the evening hours? During the day we must go about collecting food and „long distance walking impacts people who are particularly suffering with run down shoes or having no shoes at all.” Letter of Mrs. József Kismarosi to BESZKÁRT on December 13, 1945. BFL. XI. 1519.h. 145. doboz, 010108/1945.

12 Minutes of the BESZKÁRT Board of Directors Meeting taken on July 2, 1946. BFL. XI. 1919. c. 16. doboz.

13 The letter of BESZKÁRT to the Mayor of Budapest, 3 Januar 1946. 1289/1946. BFL XI. 1919. h. 146. doboz.

14 The company explained the disappearance of ID numbers by claiming that they received a high number of groundless complaints. In reality, the objective was to make it difficult for passangers to file a complaint.

15 Complaint of passengers to the Directorate of BESZKÁRT, December 10, 1945. BFL. XI. 1519.h. 145. doboz 010541/1945.

16 Irén Gerecze to the management of BESZKÁRT, December 6, 1945. BFL. XI. 1519.h. 145. doboz 010194/1945.

17 The letter of BESZKÁRT to the Mayor of Budapest, May 22, 1946. XI. 1519.h. 147. doboz, 003800/1946.

18 Approximately 19 % of the passengers did not buy a ticket. Minutes of the BESZKÁRT Board of Directors Meeting taken on February 12, 1946. BFL. XI. 1919. c. 15. doboz.

19 Minutes of the BESZKÁRT Board of Directors Meeting taken on May 22, 1946. BFL. XI. 1519.c. 16. doboz.

20 Minutes of the BESZKÁRT Board of Directors Meeting taken on June 18, 1946. BFL. XI. 1519.c. 15. doboz.

21 Memo about checking of passengers, October 31, 1948. BFL. XI. 1519. n. 3. doboz.

22 Past and present. The dark side of reconstruction. BESZKÁRT poster, 1945. Collection called “Hirdetmények 1946.”

23 Announcing instant punishment. Proposals. January 4, 1946. BFL. XI. 1919. h. 146. doboz.

24 Decree No. 3213/1946 on the Provision of bonuses and the regulation of fringe benefits. BFL. XI. 1519.h. 147. doboz.

25 Decree, December 29, 1945. 000110/1946. BFL. XI. 1919. h. 146. doboz.

26 Minutes of the BESZKÁRT Board of Directors Meeting taken on November 19, 1946. BFL. XI. 1619.c. 17. Doboz

 

List of Figures

Figure 1. Passenger information poster placed inside trams. Fares of July 2, 1946.
Source: Collection called “Hirdetmények 1946.” Private ownership.

Figure 2. Passenger information poster put up inside trams. The current fares of the day were stuck over the previous ones. At the very top the status of July 25, 1946 is shown.
Source: Collection called “Hirdetmények 1946.”

Figure 3. BESZKÁRT propaganda poster to improve discipline at work, 1946. The text says: “Tram Conductor Colleagues! We were able to perform the checking and handling of the tickets of (...) one million passagers by putting (...) conductors into service per day. (...) however for the same task we had to employ (...) people per day. Any further decline in the performance may result in a breakdown of service!”
Source: Collection called “Hirdetmények 1946.” Private ownership.

 

LIST OF RESOURCES

Budapest City Archives. Budapest Székesfővárosi Közlekedési Rt. BFL. XI. 1519.c. 14–17. doboz, 1519. h. 145–147. doboz, 1519.n. 3, 15 doboz.
Collection called “Hirdetmények 1946.” Private ownership.
Newspaper: Ludas Matyi, Szabad Száj, Pesti Izé.
www.fortepan.hu

LIST OF REFERENCES

Aldcroft, Derek H. (2001) The European Economy 1914–2000 (London-New York: Routlege).

Berend, T. Iván (2006) An Economic History of Twentieth-Centrury Europe (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press).

Bomberger, William A. and Gail E. Makinen (1980) “Indexation, Inflationary Finance, and Hyperinflation: The 1945–1946 Hungarian Experience,” Journal of Political Economy, vol. 88, no. 3, pp. 550–560.

Bomberger, William A. and Gail E. Makinen (1983) “The Hungarian Hyperinflation and Stabilization of 1945–1946,” Journal of Political Economy, vol 91, no. 5, pp. 801–824.

Borhi, László (2004) Hungary in the Cold War 1945–1956 (Budapest-New York: Central European University Press), pp. 352+8.

Botos, János (2006) A korona, a pengő és a forint inflációja 1900–2006 (Budapest: Szaktudás Kiadó Ház).

Frisnyák, Zsuzsa (2001) A magyarországi közlekedés krónikája 1750–2000 (Budapest: MTA TTI).

Frisnyák, Zsuzsa (2011) Közlekedés, politika 1949–1989 (Budapest: MTA BTK Történettudományi Intézete).

Honvári, János (ed.) (1997) Magyarország gazdaságtörténete a honfoglalástól a 20. század közepéig (Budapest: Aula kiadó).

Juhász, Erzsébet K. (1996) “A budapesti közforgalmú közlekedés újjászervezése 1946-ban,” Városi Közlekedés, pp. 173–177.

Káposztás, István (1988) “A fővárosi közlekedés felszabadulás utáni történetéből (1945– 1967),” Új Magyar Központi Levéltár Közleményei 3, pp. 279–318.

Paal, Beatrix (2000) “Measuring the Inflation of Parallel Currencies: An Empricial Reevaluation of the Second Hungarian Hyperinflation,” Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research SIEPR Discussion Paper No. 00–01. http://siepr.stanford.edu/publicationsprofile/669 (last accessed 8.9.2015)

Pető, Iván and Sándor Szakács (1985) A hazai gazdaság négy évtizedének története 1945–1985 (Budapest: Közgazdasági és Jogi Könyvkiadó).

Réti, Tamás (1991) “A gazdasági rendszerváltás és a korlátozott szuverenitás Kelet-Európában 1945–1948 között,” Közgazdasági Szemle, pp. 1143–1158.

Siklós, Pierre L. (1989) “The End of the Hungarian Hyperinflation of 1945–1946,” Journal of Money, Credit and Banking vol. 21, no. 2, pp. 135–147.

 

logo studies


This article has been published in the fourth issue of Remembrance and Solidarity Studies dedicated to the memory of economic crisis.

>> Click here to see the R&S Studies site

 

© ENRS 2011-2017 | Design: m.jurko | Code: feb