One of the “Little Stalins” installed to power in the wake of the Red Army’s march toward Germany during the closing months of World War II, Mátyás Rákosi certainly shared his sponsor’s brutality. Crude in his behavior, a trait he nurtured as a badge of his lower-class status, Rákosi helped fashion Hungary’s Socialist catastrophe. Employing identity politics and “salami tactics” Rákosi slowly sliced away all those opposed to collectivism. Fear, intimidation, and death were considered necessary tools in his effort to build a classless society. From his rise to leadership in 1945 to his forced exile in 1956 hundreds of thousands of Hungarians were either imprisoned or executed.