Hungary Table of Contents
Article 70 of the Constitution states that the "defense of the country shall be the duty of every citizen of the Hungarian People's Republic. Citizens shall perform military service on the basis of the universal system of the draft." Therefore, according to the National Defense Act of 1976, male citizens become eligible for military service after January 1 of the year in which they turn eighteen. In 1988 about 75,300 males turned eighteen, of whom 25 percent--the highest percentage among the Warsaw Pact armies--could be expected to be found unfit for military service because of health problems. More than 32 percent of conscripts were twenty-two years old, showing that many men were able to defer their military service for educational or other reasons.
Young men were liable for national service conscription until age twenty-three and subject to call-up in times of an emergency until age fifty-five. Those whose military service had been interrupted or postponed were liable for conscription until age twenty-eight, although draft evaders were liable for conscription until age forty. Women from ages eighteen to forty-five in medical professions and women professionals within the Ministry of Interior were automatically registered for military service but could serve only in time of war and then only in noncombatant functions.
Before 1980 all recruits served for two years except those who had a completed their higher education; these recruits served for eighteen months. In 1980 the term of conscription was reduced to eighteen months but remained at twenty-four months for those conscripted into the air force. Recruits having children served even less time. In the late 1980s, call-up occurred twice a year, in February and in August.
Reserves consisted of physically fit men who were not currently serving in the armed forces. Men who had never been drafted could be called up for six months of reserve training until age forty. Officers who had served could be called up every five years for a four-month period of refresher training, while NCOs and privates could be so trained for up to three months every five years. All physically fit males could be called up at least once a year for maneuvers lasting no more than twenty days, although legally, if necessary, they could serve for a full year. Conscripts could be kept an additional two months after completing national service.
Data as of September 1989