Forbidden Fruits of the Communist Countryside

communism, col war, countryside, hungary, budapest, usa, 1955, private tours, walking tour
Somewhere on the countryside, ca. 1955, Hungary.

The heat today in Budapest is unbearable. Let us refresh with a funny summer photo from the countryside, taken by the wife of an American diplomat in the mid 1950s during one of the rare countryside trips. This friendly Hungarian peasant lady and her husband hosted the Americans one afternoon and showed them around in their house and the surrounding fields, which was actually quite a dangerous thing for them to do.

After 1951 it was forbidden for Western diplomats to visit the countryside outside a 30 km radius of Budapest without a special permit and a detailed route plan.

This way the Communist government attempted to further isolate the Western diplomatic missions, and made it more difficult for them to observe important military, industrial and agricultural facilities in the country.

Because don’t forget: Stalin was still alive, the Korean War was raging, the Cold War was at it’s height, and yes, the Western diplomatic missions in Hungary were really interested about Hungary’s military and industrial capabilities. 

This cat and mouse game of the Western diplomats / military attachés and the counter-intelligence branch of the Hungarian State Security, the ÁVO, is one of the most interesting aspects of the Cold War happenings in Hungary, with a lot of funny and quite a few tragic episodes. I will be happy to tell you interesting details about this if you come to my walking tour, and I will even show you some surveillance photos.

So, do you think the Communists could prevent Western powers from gathering intelligence this way?

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