Interview with Balazs Apor, March 23, 2012
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Interview with Balazs Apor, Director of the MPhil program in European Studies at Trinity College Dublin. Interviewed conducted in Dublin, Ireland on March 23, 2012. Balazs Apor specializes in the history of East-Central Europe under communism, especially on the leader cult. He has co-edited two volumes, including The Leader Cult in Communist Dictatorships: Stalin and the Eastern Bloc (2004), and The Sovietization of Eastern Europe: New Perspectives on the Postwar Period (2008). He is currently at work on a monograph on the leader cult of the Hungarian Stalinist Matyas Rakosi.
How Apor came to the study of communist leader cults (1:00) How Apor's view of Rakosi and the leader cult has changed since starting work on it (2:20)How the assessment of Rakosi’s legacy has changed (or not) since 1956 (4:00) On the inadequacy of the term "cult of personality" versus "leader cult" (7:45) On the challenges of doing research on Rakosi's leader cult and what Apor found in his research that surprised him (11:15) The extent to which people were willing participants in leader cults and why (18:30) Comparison of Rakosi to other leaders like Miklos Horthy and Imre Nagy in terms of leader cults (29:25) On whether writing about the leader cult speaks to how Hungarians come to terms with their own history (45:15) On teaching East-Central European history in Ireland and where the field is headed (49:05)