From the 1930s he had been a Communist. He lived in Košice and Prague then. He fought in the Spanish Civil War; later he moved to the Soviet Union. He returned to Hungary in late 1944, and became a member of the Central Committee, the Political Committee and the Secretariat of the Hungarian Communist Party from May 1945. In 1945 he became under-secretary of Home Affairs. In 1946 he was elected deputy secretary and became the chairman of the party's Management Committee.
He was Minister of National Defence between 9 September 1948 and 2 July 1953. He was one of the main instigators during the Rákosi era. [clarification needed] In 1956 he was expelled from the party and convicted. He was released from prison in 1961 and spent his last years working as an editor in Budapest. His son Vladimir was a colonel of security police during the Rákosi regime.