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Communist excesses and the relaxation that followed Stalin's death in 1953 led to the Hungarian Revolution of 1956, the most significant anti-Soviet uprising of the postwar period.Put down by Soviet military intervention, it was followed by a brief period of retribution and then by a new communist regime under János Kádár (who ruled from 1956 to 1988), who initiated a policy of political liberalization (1962) and economic reform (known as the New Economic Mechanism of 1968).These efforts did result in temporary territorial gains in 1938-1941, but as these gains were achieved with German and Italian help, they landed Hungary in the unfortunate German alliance during World War II.After the war Hungary again was reduced in size and became one of the communist-dominated Soviet satellite states under the leadership of the Stalinist dictator, Mátyás Rákosi (who ruled from 1945 to 1956).At the end of the eleventh century they conquered and annexed Croatia as an autonomous kingdom, while in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries they extended their influence over Bosnia, Dalmatia, and northern Serbia—largely at the expense of the declining Byzantine Empire.Moreover, in the fourteenth century, under the Angevin rulers Charles Robert (who ruled from 1308 until 1342) and Louis the Great (who ruled from 1342 to 1382), they expanded their control over the newly formed Vlach (Romanian) principalities of Wallachia and Moldavia and for a brief period (1370-1382) even over Poland.
Learned estimates, however, put their numbers close to 100,000 (about one percent of the country's population), which still makes them the largest Jewish community in East Central Europe.
Medieval Hungarian traditions count even the fifth-century Huns among the Magyars' ancestors, but their immediate forebears arrived in the Carpathian Basin as late as the seventh century.
Known as the "late Avars," they established the center of their empire in the region that is part of modern Hungary.
The remaining 3.9 percent is made up of Germans, Slovaks, South Slavs, Gypsies, and Romanians.
Since the dismemberment of Greater Hungary after World War II—complemented by several waves of overseas emigration— about one-third of all Hungarians live abroad.
By the 1970s these reforms—supported by generous Western loans—made Hungary and its system of "goulash communism" the envy of the communist world.