Istvan Szabo was born in Hungary in 1893. He became involved in politics and joined 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 Hungarian Uprising began on 23rd October by a peaceful manifestation of students in Budapest. The students demanded an end to Soviet occupation and the implementation of "true socialism". The following day commissioned officers and soldiers joined the students on the streets of Budapest. Stalin's statue was brought down and the protesters chanted "Russians go home", "Away with Gero" and "Long Live Nagy".
On 25th October Soviet tanks opened fire on protesters in Parliament Square. One journalist at the scene saw 12 dead bodies and estimated that 170 had been wounded. Shocked by these events the Central Committee of the Communist Party forced Erno Gero to resign from office and replaced him with Janos Kadar.
Imre Nagy now went on Radio Kossuth and promised the "the far-reaching democratization of Hungarian public life, the realisation of a Hungarian road to socialism in accord with our own national characteristics, and the realisation of our lofty national aim: the radical improvement of the workers' living conditions."
On 3rd November, Nagy announced details of his coalition government. It included Szabo, Janos Kadar, George Lukacs, Anna Kethly, Zolton Tildy, Bela Kovacs, Geza Lodonczy, Gyula Keleman, Joseph Fischer, Istvan Bibo and Ferenc Farkas. On 4th November 1956 Nikita Khrushchev sent the Red Army into Hungary and Nagy's government was overthrown. Szabo was arrested and remained in prison until 1959.
Istvan Szabo died in 1976.