Computer industry in the People's Republic

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Manufacturer of magnetic disks. (Repertory photo)

During the 1970s and 1980s a number of Hungarian companies took an active part in manufacturing computer accessories.

In the 1970s the most typical feature of the Hungarian industry was the system of state-owned companies, while in the 1980s new economical formations began to emerge as forerunners of capitalism. The country was opened to international financial and economic cooperation.

Although Hungary seemed to go its own way, its Western diplomatic and economic connections were most welcome to the Soviet Union. This was especially the case in the sphere of computer technology, where Hungarian intercession allowed the Soviet Union to circumvent the prohibition of the capitalist world – and thus seize modern technology.

The bureaucratic approach of companies from state socialist countries was typical for the manufacturers of the era. Bureaucracy created great difficulties for them in keeping the pace in this fast-developing branch of industry.

In spite of this, a number of companies developed and manufactured marketable products for years.

How to cite this page


Gábor Képes, 'Computer industry in the People's Republic', Inventing Europe,


  1. Magyar Optikai Művek. Accessed July 1, 2012.
  2. Raffai, Mária. A hazai számítástechnika története, 33-38. Alexander Alapítvány, 2005.

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Computers behind the 'Iron Curtain'

After the 1956 Revolution in the People's Republic of Hungary, Stalinist dictatorship was followed by a society that was ready to open towards the West. For this reason Hungary was sometimes called the "happiest barracks of the Soviet camp". Hungarian computer technology was both connected to the initiatives of the Eastern bloc countries, and also hurriedly following the West at the same time. By 1989 there were hundreds of thousands of computers in the country, and its computer technology was typically colourful and full of unique compromises between East and West.

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