(b. Terbegac (now Trebušovce, Slovakia), 1898; d. Budapest, 12 Mar. 1980)
Hungarian; General Secretary of the Hungarian Socialist Workers' Party 1956 As a member of the illegal Hungarian Communist Party (HCP), Gerö spent much of the inter-war period either in Soviet exile or working for the Comintern in France, Belgium, and Spain. In 1944 he returned to Hungary as chairman of the HCP's provisional central committee. When Rákosi returned to Hungary in February 1945, Stalin insisted that he should have overall control of the HCP. Thereafter Gerö was his loyal second in command. In 1950 he became member of the ‘Defence Committee’ alongside Rákosi, and Mihály Farkas, the Minister of the Interior. This triumvirate was the real centre of power in Hungary, bypassing the party's Central Committee and Politburo. Gerö had supreme control of the economy and supported a brutal and rapid industrialization programme which did much to destabilize the country by the mid-1950s. In 1952 he announced at the HCP's Second Party Congress that he would transform Hungary from a peasant country to a modern ‘country of iron and steel’ within four years. In 1953 he became Minister of the Interior, a move which Rákosi intended to stem Imre Nagy's power. When Rákosi resigned as General Secretary on 18 July 1956 Gerö received Soviet support to replace him. He intended to make concessions to the workers, but to continue with the forced collectivization of agriculture. He was unable to stop mounting unrest and demands for his replacement by Imre Nagy. In early October 1956, Gerö and Kádár were in Moscow where they pressed for Nagy's return to the party as the only way of calming the unrest. On 25 October 1956, when the Hungarian uprising had started, the Soviet authorities insisted that Gerö resign as General Secretary in favour of Kádár and follow Rákosi into exile in the Soviet Union. He was expelled from the party in 1962.