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He was born in Abaújszántó in 1904 and became a Communist in the 1930s. He lived in Košice and Prague then. He fought in the Spanish Civil War; later he moved to the Soviet Union. He returned to Hungary in late 1944 and became a member of the Central Committee, the Political Committee and the Secretariat of the Hungarian Communist Party from May 1945. In 1945 he became under-secretary of Home Affairs. In 1946 he was elected deputy secretary and became the chairman of the party's Management Committee.
He was Minister of National Defence from 9 September 1948 to 2 July 1953. He was one of the main instigators during the Rákosi era.[clarification needed] In 1956 he was expelled from the party and convicted. He was released from prison in 1961 and spent his last years working as an editor in Budapest, where he died in 1965. His son Vladimir was a colonel of the security police during the Rákosi regime.
- Hollander, Paul (1999). Political Will and Personal Belief: The Decline and Fall of Soviet Communism. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. p. 247. ISBN 978-0-300-14420-8.