Ferenc Nagy was born in Hungary in 1903. He became involved in politics and in 1930 he helped form the Smallholders Party. It drew most of its support from the peasants who formed more than 50 per cent of the country. However, until 1939, the ballot had been open in rural constituencies, and therefore large landowners were able to force most peasants to vote for the government party. The leaders of the Smallholders Party were mainly members of the middle class and their political views varied from liberals to socialists.
The Soviet Army invaded Hungary in September 1944. It set up an alternative government in Debrecen on 21st December 1944 but did not capture Budapest until 18th January 1945. Soon afterwards Zoltan Tildy became the provisional prime minister.
In elections held in November, 1945, the Smallholders Party won 57% of the vote. The Hungarian Workers Party, now under the leadership of Matyas Rakosi and Erno Gero, received support from only 17% of the population. The Soviet commander in Hungary, Marshal Voroshilov, refused to allow the Smallholders to form a government. Instead Voroshilov established a coalition government with Nagy as prime minister.
The Hungarian Communist Party became the largest single party in the elections in 1947 and served in the coalition People's Independence Front government. The communists gradually gained control of the government and by 1948 the Smallholders Party ceased to exist as an independent organization.
Ferenc Nagy emigrated to the United States where he died in 1979.