Hungarian Revolution of 1956

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Hungarian Revolution of 1956
Part of the Cold War
Image:Hungarians inspecting a tank.jpg
Hungarians inspecting a captured Soviet T-34-85 tank in Budapest
Date October 23, 1956 - November 10, 1956
Location Hungary
Result Revolution failed
Casus belli State Security Police massacre of unarmed protestors
Combatants
Image:Flag of the Soviet Union.svg Soviet Union;
Image:Flag of Hungary 1949-1956.gif ÁVH (Hungarian State Security Police)
Image:Hungarian Revolution Flag of 1956.gif Ad hoc local Hungarian militias
Commanders
Ivan Konev Various independent militia leaders
Strength
150,000 troops,
6,000 tanks
Unknown number of militia and soldiers
Casualties
722 killed,
1,251 wounded<ref>Györkei, Jenõ, Kirov, Alexandr; Horvath, Miklos (1999). Soviet Military Intervention in Hungary, 1956. New York: Central European University Press, 350. ISBN 963-9116-36-X.</ref>
2,500 killed
13,000 wounded<ref name="UNchVnote8">UN General Assembly Special Committee on the Problem of Hungary (1957) Chapter V footnote 8PDF</ref>

The Hungarian Revolution<ref>Alternate references are "Hungarian Revolt" and "Hungarian Uprising"; "Revolution" is used as it conforms to both English (see U.S Department of State background on Hungary) and Hungarian ("forradalom") conventions. There is a distinction between the "complete overthrow" of a revolution and an uprising or revolt that may or may not be successful (Oxford English Dictionary). The 1956 Hungarian event, although shortlived, is a true "revolution" in that the sitting Government was indeed deposed. Unlike "coup d'etat" or "putsch" which imply action of a few, the 1956 revolution was effected by the masses.</ref> of 1956 was a spontaneous nationwide revolt against the Communist government of Hungary and its Soviet-imposed policies, lasting from October 23 until November 10,1956. It began as a student demonstration which attracted thousands as it marched through central Budapest to the Parliament building. A student delegation entering the radio building in an attempt to broadcast their demands was detained. When the delegation's release was demanded by the demonstrators outside, they were fired upon by the State Security Police (ÁVH) from within the building. The news spread quickly and disorder and violence erupted throughout the capital.

The revolt spread quickly across Hungary, and the government fell. Thousands organized into militias, battling the State Security Police (ÁVH) and Soviet troops. Pro-Soviet communists and ÁVH members were often executed or imprisoned, as former prisoners were released and armed. Impromptu councils wrested municipal control from the communist party, and demanded political changes. The new government formally disbanded the ÁVH, declared its intention to withdraw from the Warsaw Pact and pledged to re-establish free elections. By the end of October, fighting had almost stopped and a sense of normality began to return.

After announcing a willingness to negotiate a withdrawal of Soviet forces, the Politburo changed its mind and moved to quash the revolution. On November 4, a large Soviet force invaded Budapest, killing thousands of civilians. Organized resistance ceased by November 10, and mass arrests began. An estimated 200,000 Hungarians fled as refugees. By January 1957, the new Soviet-installed government had suppressed all public opposition. These Soviet actions alienated many Western Marxists, yet strengthened Soviet control over Central Europe, cultivating the perception that communism was both irreversible and monolithic.

Public discussion about this revolution was suppressed in Hungary for over 30 years, but since the thaw of the 1980s it has been a subject of intense study and debate. At the inauguration of the Third Hungarian Republic in 1989, October 23 was declared a national holiday.

Contents

[edit] Prelude

After World War II, the Soviet military occupied Hungary and gradually replaced the freely elected government with the Hungarian Communist Party.<ref name="UNPara47">"By 1948, leaders of the non-Communist parties had been silenced, had fled abroad or had been arrested, and, in 1949, Hungary officially became a People’s Democracy. Real power was in the hands of Mátyás Rákosi, a Communist trained in Moscow. Under his régime, Hungary was modelled more and more closely on the Soviet pattern. Free speech and individual liberty ceased to exist. Arbitrary imprisonment became common and purges were undertaken, both within and outside the ranks of the Party. In June, 1949, the Foreign Minister, László Rajk, was arrested; he was charged with attempting to overthrow the democratic order and hanged. Many other people were the victims of similar action.(1) This was made easier by the apparatus of the State security police or ÁVH, using methods of terror in the hands of the régime, which became identified with Rákosi’s régime in the minds of the people." UN General Assembly Special Committee on the Problem of Hungary (1957) Chapter II.A (Developments before 22 October 1956), paragraph 47 (p. 18)PDF</ref> Radical nationalization of the economy based on the Soviet model produced economic stagnation, lower standards of living and a deep malaise.<ref name="LibCongressHungaryEconomy">Library of Congress: Country Studies: Hungary, Chapter 3 Economic Policy and Performance, 1945-85 Retrieved 27 August 2006</ref> Writers and journalists were the first to voice open criticism, publishing critical articles in 1955.<ref>UN General Assembly Special Committee on the Problem of Hungary (1957) Chapter II.A (Developments before 22 October 1956), paragraph 49 (p. 18)PDF</ref> By October 22, 1956, University students had resurrected the banned MEFESZ student union,<ref name="Crampton295">Crampton, R. J. (2003). Eastern Europe in the Twentieth Century–and After, p. 295. Routledge: London. ISBN 0-415-16422-2.</ref> and staged a demonstration on October 23 which set off a chain of events leading directly to the revolution.

[edit] Postwar occupation

After World War II, Hungary fell under the Soviet sphere of influence and was occupied by the Red Army.<ref>The Library of Congress: Country Studies; CIA World Factbook Retrieved 13 October 2006</ref> By 1949 the Soviets had concluded a mutual assistance treaty with Hungary which granted the Soviet Union rights to a continued military presence, assuring ultimate political control.<ref>In 1949 the ruling communist parties of the founding states of the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance were also linked internationally through the Cominform Library of Congress Country Studies Appendix B -- Germany (East)</ref>

Hungary began the postwar period as a multiparty free democracy, and elections in 1945 produced a coalition government under Prime Minister Zoltán Tildy.<ref>Norton, Donald H. (2002). Essentials of European History: 1935 to the Present, p. 47. REA: Piscataway, New Jersey. ISBN 0-87891-711-X.</ref> However, the Soviet-supported Hungarian Communist Party, which had received only 17% of the vote, constantly wrested small concessions in a process named "salami tactics", which sliced away the elected government's influence.<ref>Kertesz, Stephen D. (1953). Diplomacy in a Whirlpool: Hungary between Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia, Chapter VIII (Hungary, a Republic), p.139-52. University of Notre Dame Press, Notre Dame, Indiana. ISBN 0-8371-7540-2. Retrieved 8 October 2006</ref>

In 1945, Soviet Marshal Kliment Voroshilov forced the freely elected Hungarian government to yield the Interior Ministry to the Hungarian Communist Party. Communist Interior Minister László Rajk established the Hungarian State Security Police (Államvédelmi Hatóság, later known as the ÁVH), which employed methods of intimidation, false accusations, imprisonment and torture, to suppress political opposition.<ref>UN General Assembly Special Committee on the Problem of Hungary (1957) Chapter II.N, para 89(xi) (p. 31)PDF</ref> The brief period of multiparty democracy came to an end when the Hungarian Communist Party merged with the Social Democratic Party to become the Hungarian Workers' Party, which stood its candidate list unopposed in 1949. The People's Republic of Hungary was declared.<ref name="UNPara47"/>

[edit] Political repression and economic decline

Hungary became a communist state under the strongly authoritarian leadership of Mátyás Rákosi. The Security Police (ÁVH) began a series of purges in which dissidents were denounced as “Titoists” or “western agents”, and forced to confess in show trials.<ref name="Tokes317">Tőkés, Rudolf L. (1998). Hungary's Negotiated Revolution: Economic Reform, Social Change and Political Succession, p. 317. Cambridge University Press: Cambridge. ISBN 0-521-57850-7</ref> Thousands of Hungarians were arrested, tortured, tried, and imprisoned in concentration camps or were executed, including ÁVH founder László Rajk.<ref name="Tokes317"/><ref name=lawsoc>Gati, Charles (2006). Failed Illusions: Moscow, Washington, Budapest and the 1956 Hungarian Revolt. Stanford University Press. ISBN 0-8047-5606-6. (page 49). Gati describes "the most gruesome forms of psychological and physical torture...The reign of terror (by the Rákosi government) turned out to be harsher and more extensive than it was in any of the other Soviet satellites in Central and Eastern Europe." He further references a report prepared after the collapse of communism, the Fact Finding Commission Torvenytelen szocializmus (Lawless Socialism): "Between 1950 and early 1953, the courts dealt with 650,000 cases (of political crimes), of whom 387,000 or 4 percent of the population were found guilty. (Budapest, Zrinyi Kiado/Uj Magyarorszag, 1991, 154).</ref>

The Rákosi government thoroughly politicized Hungary's educational system in order to supplant the educated classes with a "toiling intelligentsia".<ref>(Hungarian) In February of 1950, the Central Committee of the Hungarian Communist Party defined the supplantation of bourgeois leaders as its main goal. József Darvas, the Minister of Education and Religion from February 1950, wrote about secondary educational reforms in the pedagogical magazine Köznevelés (September 17, 1950): "The conversion of different grammar schools to industrial technical institutes, agricultural technical institutes, economical vocational high schools and training-colleges for school teachers and kindergarten instructors tends to the success of the five year plan by supplying many of the needed technicians." On October 30, 1950, new guidelines were set for the colleges and universities: Marxism-Leninism should be the main subject in all classes, and studying the Russian language became mandatory. By the end of 1951, 107 new course books were issued, 61 of which were translations of texts used in Soviet universities. The number of students had to be increased by an additional 30,000 over the next five years. Template:Cite journal</ref> Russian language study and Communist political instruction were made mandatory in schools and universities nationwide. Religious schools were nationalized and church leaders were replaced by those loyal to the government.<ref> Burant (Ed.), Stephen R. (1990). Hungary : a country study (2nd Edition). Federal Research Division, Library of Congress, 320 pages., Chapter 2 (The Society and Its Environment) "Religion and Religious Organizations"</ref> In 1949 the leader of the Hungarian Catholic Church, József Cardinal Mindszenty, was arrested and sentenced to life imprisonment for treason.<ref> Douglas, J. D. and Philip Comfort (eds.) (1992). Who's Who in Christian History, p. 478. Tyndale House: Carol Stream, Illinois. ISBN 0-8423-1014-2</ref> Under Rákosi, Hungary's government was among the most repressive in Europe.<ref name="UNPara47"/><ref name=lawsoc/>

The postwar Hungarian economy suffered from multiple challenges. Hungary agreed to pay war reparations approximating US$300 million, to the Soviet Union, Czechoslovakia, and Yugoslavia, and to support Soviet garrisons.<ref>The Avalon Project at Yale Law School: Armistice Agreement with Hungary; January 20, 1945 Retrieved 27 August 2006</ref> The Hungarian National Bank in 1946 estimated the cost of reparations as "between 19 and 22 per cent of the annual national income."<ref>Kertesz, Stephen D. (1953). Diplomacy in a Whirlpool: Hungary between Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia, Memorandum of the Hungarian National Bank on Reparations, Appendix Document 16. University of Notre Dame Press, Notre Dame, Indiana. ISBN 0-8371-7540-2. Retrieved on 2006-08-27. Retrieved 8 October 2006</ref> Moreover, Hungary's participation in the Soviet-sponsored COMECON (Council Of Mutual Economic Assistance), prevented it from trading with the West or receiving Marshall Plan aid.<ref>Kertesz, Stephen D. (1953). Diplomacy in a Whirlpool: Hungary between Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia, Chapter IX (Soviet Russia and Hungary's Economy), p. 158. University of Notre Dame Press, Notre Dame, Indiana. ISBN 0-8371-7540-2. Retrieved 10 October 2006</ref> Postwar economic recovery reversed under the Rákosi government. The Hungarian currency experienced marked depreciation in 1946, resulting in the highest historical rates of hyperinflation known.<ref>Magyar Nemzeti Bank - English Site: History Retrieved 27 August 2006 According to Wikipedia Hyperinflation article, 4.19 × 1016 percent per month (prices doubled every 15 hours).</ref> By 1952, disposable real incomes sank to two-thirds of their 1938 levels; whereas in 1949, this figure had been 90 per cent.<ref name="transformation">Transformation of the Hungarian economyThe Institute for the History of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution (2003), Accessed September 27, 2006</ref> By 1953, post-war Hungarian manufacturing output fell to one-third of pre-war levels.<ref>Kertesz, Stephen D. (1953). Diplomacy in a Whirlpool: Hungary between Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia. University of Notre Dame Press, Notre Dame, Indiana. ISBN 0-8371-7540-2. Retrieved 27 Aug 2006</ref> Manipulation of wage controls and different pricing systems for producers and consumers fueled discontent as foreign debt grew and the population experienced shortages.<ref name="LibCongressHungaryEconomy"/>

[edit] International events

On March 5, 1953, Joseph Stalin died, ushering in a period of moderate liberalization during which most European communist parties developed a reform wing. In Hungary, the reformist Imre Nagy replaced Mátyás Rákosi, "Stalin's Best Hungarian Disciple", as Prime Minister.<ref>Template:Cite paper</ref> However, Rákosi remained General Secretary of the Party, and was able to undermine most of Nagy's reforms. By April 1955, he had Nagy discredited and removed from office.<ref>Gati, Charles (2006). Failed Illusions: Moscow, Washington, Budapest and the 1956 Hungarian Revolt. Stanford University Press. ISBN 0-8047-5606-6. (page 64)</ref> After Khrushchev's "secret speech" of February 1956, which denounced Stalin and his protégés,<ref>Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev, First Secretary, Communist Party of the Soviet Union. "On the Personality Cult and its Consequences", Special report at the 20th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, February 24-25, 1956. Retrieved on 2006-08-27.</ref> Rákosi was deposed as General Secretary of the Party and replaced by Ernő Gerő on July 18, 1956.<ref>UN General Assembly Special Committee on the Problem of Hungary (1957) Chapter II.A (Developments before 22 October 1956), paragraph 48 (p. 18)PDF</ref>

On May 14, 1955, the Soviet Union created the Warsaw Pact, binding Hungary to the Soviet Union and its satellite states in Central and Eastern Europe. Among the principles of this alliance were "respect for the independence and sovereignty of states" and "noninterference in their internal affairs".<ref>Template:Cite web</ref>

In 1955, the Austrian State Treaty and ensuing declaration of neutrality established Austria as a demilitarized and neutral country. This raised Hungarian hopes of also becoming neutral and in 1955 Nagy had considered "...the possibility of Hungary adopting a neutral status on the Austrian pattern".<ref>UN General Assembly Special Committee on the Problem of Hungary (1957) Chapter VIII The Question Of The Presence And The Utilization Of The Soviet Armed Forces In The Light Of Hungary’s International Commitments , Section D. The demand for withdrawal of Soviet armed forces, para 339 (p. 105)PDF</ref> Austrian neutrality altered the calculus of cold war military planning as it geographically split the NATO Alliance from Geneva to Vienna, thus increasing Hungary's strategic importance to the Warsaw Pact.

In June 1956, a violent uprising by Polish workers in Poznan was put down by the government, with scores of protesters killed and wounded. Responding to popular demand, in October 1956, the government appointed the recently rehabiliated reformist communist Władysław Gomułka as First Secretary of the Polish Communist Party, with a mandate to negotiate trade concessions and troop reductions with the Soviet government. After a few tense days of negotiations, on 19 October the Soviets finally gave in to Gomulka's reformist demands.<ref name = satellite>Template:Cite web</ref> News of the concessions won by the Poles emboldened many Hungarians to hope for similar concessions for Hungary and these sentiments contributed significantly to the highly-charged political climate that prevailed in Hungary in the second half of October 1956.

[edit] Social unrest builds

Rákosi's resignation in July of 1956 emboldened students, writers and journalists to be more active and critical in politics. Students and journalists started a series of intellectual forums examining the problems facing Hungary. These forums, called Petõfi circles, became very popular and attracted thousands of participants.<ref>UN General Assembly Special Committee on the Problem of Hungary (1957) Chapter IX.B (The background of the uprising), para 384 (p. 123)PDF</ref> On October 6, 1956, László Rajk, who had been executed by the Rákosi government, was reburied in a moving ceremony which strengthened the party opposition,<ref>Andreas, Gémes; James S. Amelang, Siegfried Beer (Editors) (2006). "International Releatons and the 1956 Hungarian Revolution: a Cold War Case Study" (PDF). Public Power in Europe. Studies in Historical Transformations, p. 231, CLIOHRES. Retrieved on 2006-10-14.</ref> and later that month, the reformer Imre Nagy was rehabilitated to full membership in the Hungarian Communist Party.

On October 16, 1956, university students in Szeged snubbed the official communist student union, the DISZ, by re-establishing the MEFESZ (Union of Hungarian University and Academy Students), a democratic student organization, previously banned under the Rákosi dictatorship.<ref name="Crampton295"/> Within days, the student bodies of Pécs, Miskolc, and Sopron followed suit. On October 22, students of the Technical University compiled a list of sixteen points containing several national policy demands.<ref name=sixteen> Internet Modern History Sourcebook: Resolution by students of the Building Industry Technological University: Sixteen Political, Economic, and Ideological Points, Budapest, October 22, 1956 Retrieved 22 October, 2006</ref> After the students heard that the Hungarian Writers’ Union planned to express solidarity with Poland on the following day by laying a wreath at the statue of Polish-born General Bem, a hero of Hungary's War of Independence (1848-49), the students decided to organize a parallel demonstration of sympathy.

[edit] Revolution

[edit] First shots

Image:1956 Oct 23 Budapest Bem demonstration.jpg
Student demonstration under the Bem Statue on October 23, 1956
On the afternoon of October 23, 1956, approximately 20,000 protesters convened next to the Bem statue. Péter Veres, President of the Writers’ Union, read a manifesto to the crowd,<ref>Hungarian Revolt, October 23 - November 4, 1956 (Richard Lettis and William I. Morris, editors): Appendices Proclamation of the Hungarian Writers' Union (23 October 1956) Retrieved 8 September 2006</ref> the students read their proclamation, and the crowd then chanted the censored "National Song" (Nemzeti dal), the refrain of which states: "We vow, we vow, we will no longer remain slaves." Someone in the crowd cut out the communist coat of arms from the Hungarian Flag, leaving a distinctive hole and others quickly followed suit.<ref name="Heller">Heller, Andor (1957). No More Comrades. Chicago: Henry Regnery Company, pp. 9-84. ASIN B0007DOQP0.</ref>

Afterwards, most of the crowd crossed the Danube to join demonstrators outside the Parliament Building. By 6 p.m., the multitude had swollen to more than 200,000 people;<ref>UN General Assembly Special Committee on the Problem of Hungary (1957) Chapter II.A (Meetings and demonstrations), para 54 (p. 19)PDF</ref> the demonstration was spirited, but peaceful.<ref>UN General Assembly Special Committee on the Problem of Hungary (1957) Chapter II.C (The First Shots), para 55 (p. 20)PDF</ref>

At 8 p.m., First Secretary Ernő Gerő broadcast a speech condemning the writers' and students' demands, and dismissing the demonstrators as a reactionary mob.<ref>UN General Assembly Special Committee on the Problem of Hungary (1957) Chapter II.C (The First Shots), para 55 (p. 20)PDF</ref> Angered by Gerõ's hard-line rejection, some demonstrators decided to carry out one of their demands - the removal of Stalin's 30 ft(10 m)-high bronze statue that was erected in 1951 on the site of a church, which was demolished to make room for the Stalin monument.<ref>"A Hollow Tolerance", Time Magazine, July 23, 1965. Retrieved on 2006-10-23.</ref> By 9:30 p.m. the statue was toppled and jubilant crowds celebrated by placing Hungarian flags in Stalin's boots, which was all that was left of the statue.<ref>UN General Assembly Special Committee on the Problem of Hungary (1957) Chapter II.C (The First Shots), para 55 (p. 20)PDF</ref>

Image:Hungarians atop stalin boots 1956.jpg
Revolutionaries atop the remains of the Stalin statue

At about the same time, a large crowd gathered at the Radio Budapest building, which was heavily guarded by the ÁVH. The flash point occurred as a delegation attempting to broadcast their demands was detained and the crowd grew increasingly unruly as rumors spread that the protestors had been shot. Tear gas was thrown from the upper windows and the ÁVH opened fire on the crowd, killing many.<ref>UN General Assembly Special Committee on the Problem of Hungary (1957) Chapter II.C (The First Shots), para 56 (p. 20)PDF</ref> The ÁVH tried to re-supply itself by hiding arms inside an ambulance, but the crowd detected the ruse and intercepted it. Hungarian soldiers sent to relieve the ÁVH hesitated and then tearing the red stars from their caps, sided with the crowd.<ref name="Heller"/><ref>UN General Assembly Special Committee on the Problem of Hungary (1957) Chapter II.C (The First Shots), para 56 (p. 20)PDF</ref> Provoked by the ÁVH attack, protesters reacted violently. Police cars were set ablaze, guns were seized from military depots and distributed to the masses and symbols of the communist regime were vandalised.<ref>UN General Assembly Special Committee on the Problem of Hungary (1957) Chapter II.C (The First Shots), paragraphs 56-57 (p. 20)PDF</ref>

[edit] Fighting spreads, government falls

Image:Hungarian Free Radio.jpg
Hungarian Radio building (the banner reads "Free Hungarian Radio")
During the night of October 23, Hungarian Communist Party Secretary Ernő Gerő requested Soviet military intervention "to suppress a demonstration that was reaching an ever greater and unprecedented scale."<ref name = satellite/> The Soviet leadership had formulated contingency plans for intervention in Hungary several months before.<ref>Gati, Charles (2006). Failed Illusions: Moscow, Washington, Budapest and the 1956 Hungarian Revolt. Stanford University Press. ISBN 0-8047-5606-6. (page 160). Gati states: "discovered in declassified documents, the Soviet Ministry of Defense had begun to prepare for large-scale turmoil in Hungary as early as July 1956. Codenamed "Wave", the plan called for restoration of order in less than six hours...the Soviet Army was ready. More than 30,000 troops were dispatched to—and 6,000 reached—Budapest by the 24th, that is, in less than a day."</ref> By 2 a.m. on October 24, under orders of the Soviet defense minister, Soviet tanks entered Budapest.<ref>UN General Assembly Special Committee on the Problem of Hungary (1957) Chapter II.C, para 58 (p. 20)PDF</ref>

On October 24, Soviet tanks were stationed outside the Parliament building and Soviet soldiers guarded key bridges and crossroads. Armed revolutionaries quickly set up barricades to defend Budapest, and were reported to have already captured some Soviet tanks by mid-morning.<ref name="Heller"/> That day, Imre Nagy replaced András Hegedűs as Prime Minister.<ref>UN General Assembly Special Committee on the Problem of Hungary (1957) Chapter IV.C, para 225 (p. 71)PDF</ref> On the radio, Nagy called for an end to violence and promised to initiate political reforms which had been shelved three years earlier. The population continued to arm itself as sporadic violence erupted. Armed protesters seized the radio building. At the offices of the Communist newspaper Szabad Nép unarmed demonstrators were fired upon by ÁVH guards who were then driven out as armed demonstrators arrived.<ref>UN General Assembly Special Committee on the Problem of Hungary (1957) Chapter II.C, para 57 (p. 20)PDF</ref> At this point, the revolutionaries' wrath focused on the ÁVH;<ref>UN General Assembly Special Committee on the Problem of Hungary (1957) Chapter II.N, para 89(ix) (p. 31)PDF</ref> Soviet military units were not yet fully engaged, and there were many reports of some Soviet troops showing open sympathy for the demonstrators.<ref>UN General Assembly Special Committee on the Problem of Hungary (1957) Chapter IV.B (Resistance of the Hungarian people) para 166 (p. 52) and XI.H (Further developments) para 480 (p 152)PDF</ref>

On October 25, a mass of protesters gathered in front of the Parliament Building. ÁVH units began shooting into the crowd from the rooftops of neighboring buildings.<ref>UN General Assembly Special Committee on the Problem of Hungary (1957) Chapter X.I, para 482 (p. 153)PDF</ref> Some Soviet soldiers returned fire on the ÁVH, mistakenly believing that they were the targets of the shooting.<ref name="Heller"/><ref>UN General Assembly Special Committee on the Problem of Hungary (1957) Chapter II.F, para 64 (p. 22)PDF</ref> Supplied by arms taken from the ÁVH or given by Hungarian soldiers who joined the uprising, some in the crowd started shooting back.<ref name="Heller"/><ref>UN General Assembly Special Committee on the Problem of Hungary (1957) Chapter X.I, para 482 (p. 153)PDF</ref>

Image:1956 hungary freedomfighter.jpg
A Hungarian Revolutionary

The Parliament massacre forced the collapse of the government.<ref>UN General Assembly Special Committee on the Problem of Hungary (1957) Chapter II.F, para 65 (p. 22)PDF</ref> Communist First Secretary Ernő Gerő and former Prime Minister András Hegedűs fled to the Soviet Union; Imre Nagy became Prime Minister and János Kádár First Secretary of the Communist Party.<ref>UN General Assembly Special Committee on the Problem of Hungary (1957) Chapter XII.B, para 565 (p. 174)PDF</ref> Revolutionaries began an aggressive offensive against Soviet troops and the remnants of the ÁVH.

As the Hungarian resistance fought Soviet tanks using Molotov cocktails in the narrow streets of Budapest, revolutionary councils arose nationwide, assumed local governmental authority, and called for general strikes. Public Communist symbols such as red stars and Soviet war memorials were removed, and Communist books were burned. Spontaneous revolutionary militias arose, such as the 400-man group loosely led by József Dudás, which attacked or murdered Soviet sympathizers and ÁVH members.<ref>Cold War International History Project (CWIHP), KGB Chief Serov's report, 29 October 1956, (by permission of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars) Retrieved 8 October 2006</ref> Soviet units fought primarily in Budapest; elsewhere the countryside was largely quiet. Soviet commanders often negotiated local cease-fires with the revolutionaries.<ref>UN General Assembly Special Committee on the Problem of Hungary (1957) Chapter IV.C, para 167 (p. 53)PDF</ref> In some regions, Soviet forces managed to quell revolutionary activity. In Budapest, the Soviets were eventually fought to a stand-still and hostilities began to wane. Hungarian general Béla Király, freed from a life sentence for political offenses and acting with the support of the Nagy government, sought to restore order by unifying elements of the police, army and insurgent groups into a National Guard.<ref name=ng>Gati, Charles (2006). Failed Illusions: Moscow, Washington, Budapest, and the 1956 Hungarian Revolt (Cold War International History Project Series). Stanford University Press. ISBN 0-8047-5606-6. (pp. 176-177)</ref> A ceasefire was arranged on October 28, and by October 30 most Soviet troops had withdrawn from Budapest to garrisons in the Hungarian countryside.<ref>UN General Assembly Special Committee on the Problem of Hungary (1957) Chapter II.F (Political Developments) II.G (Mr. Nagy clarifies his position), paragraphs 67-70 (p. 23)PDF</ref>

[edit] Interlude

Fighting had virtually ceased between 28 October and 4 November.

[edit] The New Hungarian National Government

Image:Imre nagy1.jpg
Imre Nagy, head of the National Government formed on 27 October
The rapid spread of the uprising in the streets of Budapest and the abrupt fall of the Gerő-Hegedűs government left the new national leadership surprised, and at first disorganized. Nagy, a loyal Party reformer described as possessing "only modest political skills",<ref>Gati, Charles (2006). Failed Illusions: Moscow, Washington, Budapest and the 1956 Hungarian Revolt. Stanford University Press. ISBN 0-8047-5606-6. (page 52)</ref> initially appealed to the public for calm and a return to the old order. Yet Nagy, the only remaining Hungarian leader with credibility in both the eyes of the public and the Soviets, "at long last concluded that a popular uprising rather than a counter-revolution was taking place".<ref>Gati, Charles (2006). Failed Illusions: Moscow, Washington, Budapest and the 1956 Hungarian Revolt. Stanford University Press. ISBN 0-8047-5606-6. (page 173)</ref> Calling the ongoing insurgency "a broad democratic mass movement" in a radio address on October 27, Nagy formed a government which included some non-communist ministers. This new National Government abolished both the ÁVH and the one-party system.<ref>UN General Assembly Special Committee on the Problem of Hungary (1957) Chapter II.F (Political developments), paragraph 66 (p. 22)PDF</ref><ref>Zinner, Paul E. (1962). Revolution in Hungary. Books for Libraries Press. ISBN 0-8369-6817-4.</ref>
Image:1956 overrun communist headquarters.gif
Communist Party Headquarters in October, 1956
Because it held office only ten days, the National Government had little chance to clarify its policies in detail. However, newspaper editorials at the time stressed that Hungary should be a neutral, multiparty social democracy.<ref>UN General Assembly Special Committee on the Problem of Hungary(1957) Chapter XII.D (Reassertion of Political Rights), paragraph 583 (p. 179) and footnote 26 (p. 183)PDF</ref> Many political prisoners were released, most notably József Cardinal Mindszenty. Political parties which were previously banned, such as the Independent Smallholders and the National Peasants' Party, reappeared to join the coalition.<ref>UN General Assembly Special Committee on the Problem of Hungary(1957) Chapter II.F (A Brief History of the Hungarian Uprising), paragraph 66 (p. 22) and footnote 26 (p. 183)PDF</ref>

Local revolutionary councils formed throughout Hungary, generally without involvement from the preoccupied National Government in Budapest, and assumed various responsibilities of local government from the defunct communist party.<ref name=rc>UN General Assembly Special Committee on the Problem of Hungary (1957) Chapter XI (Revolutionary and Workers' Councils), paragraph 485-560 (pp. 154-)PDF</ref> By October 30, these councils had been officially sanctioned by the Hungarian Workers' (Communist) Party, and the Nagy government asked for their support as "autonomous, democratic local organs formed during the Revolution".<ref name=rc/> Likewise, workers' councils were established at industrial plants and mines, and many unpopular regulations such as production norms were eliminated. The workers' councils strove to manage the enterprise whilst protecting workers' interests; thus establishing a socialist economy free of rigid party control.<ref>UN General Assembly Special Committee on the Problem of Hungary (1957) Chapter II.E (Revolutionary and Workers' Councils), paragraph 63 (p. 22)PDF</ref> Local control by the councils was not always bloodless; in Debrecen, Gyor, Sopron, Mosonmagyaróvár and other cities, crowds of demonstrators were fired upon by the ÁVH, with many lives lost. The ÁVH were disarmed, often by force, in many cases assisted by the local police.<ref name=rc/>

[edit] Soviet perspective

On October 24, the Presidium of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union discussed the political upheavals in Poland and Hungary. A delegation in Budapest reported that the situation was not as dire as had been portrayed. Khrushchev stated that he believed that Party Secretary Ernő Gerő's request for intervention on October 23 indicated that the Hungarian Party still held the confidence of the Hungarian public. In addition, he saw the protests not as an ideological struggle, but as popular discontent over unresolved basic economic and social issues.<ref name = satellite/>

After some debate,<ref name = presidium1030>Template:Cite web</ref> the Presidium at first decided not to remove the new Hungarian government and on October 30, adopted a Declaration of the Government of the USSR on the Principles of Development and Further Strengthening of Friendship and Cooperation between the Soviet Union and other Socialist States, which was issued the next day. This document proclaimed: "The Soviet Government is prepared to enter into the appropriate negotiations with the government of the Hungarian People's Republic and other members of the Warsaw Treaty on the question of the presence of Soviet troops on the territory of Hungary."<ref>Declaration of the Government of the USSR on the Principles of Development and Further Strengthening of Friendship and Cooperation between the Soviet Union and other Socialist States October 30, 1956, Printed in The Department of State Bulletin, XXXV, No. 907 (November 12, 1956), pp. 745-747, Accessed 2006-10-19</ref>

Although it was widely believed that Hungary's declaration to exit the Warsaw Pact caused the Soviet intervention, minutes of the October 31 meeting of the Presidium record that the decision to intervene militarily was taken one day before Hungary declared its neutrality and withdrawal from the Warsaw Pact.<ref name = presidium>Template:Cite web</ref> A hard-line faction led by Molotov was pushing for intervention, but Khrushchev and Marshal Zhukov were initially opposed. However, several key events alarmed the Presidium and cemented the interventionists' position:<ref>Template:Cite web</ref>

  • Simultaneous movements towards multiparty parliamentary democracy, and a democratic national council of workers, which could "lead towards a capitalist state." Both movements challenged the pre-eminence of the Soviet Communist Party in Eastern Europe and perhaps Soviet hegemony itself. For the majority of the Presidium, the workers' direct control over their councils without Communist Party leadership was incompatible with their idea of socialism. At the time, these councils were, in the words of Hannah Arendt, "the only free and acting soviets (councils) in existence anywhere in the world".<ref>Arendt, Hannah (1951 (1958 edition)). Origins of Totalitarianism. New York: Harcourt, pp. 480-510. ISBN 0-15-670153-7.</ref><ref>Template:Cite journal</ref>
    Image:Andropov.jpg
    Yuri Andropov, Soviet Ambassador to Hungary
    1954-1957
  • The Presidium was concerned lest the West might perceive Soviet weakness if it did not deal firmly with Hungary. Khrushchev reportedly remarked "If we depart from Hungary, it will give a great boost to the Americans, English, and French—the imperialists. … To Egypt they will then add Hungary."<ref name = presidium/>
  • Khrushchev stated that many in the communist party would not understand a failure to respond with force in Hungary. De-Stalinization had alienated the more conservative elements of the Party, who were alarmed at threats to Soviet influence in Eastern Europe. On June 17, 1953, workers in East Berlin had staged an uprising, demanding the resignation of the government of the German Democratic Republic. This was quickly and violently put down with the help of the Soviet military, with 84 killed and wounded and 700 arrested.<ref>Cold War International History Project (CWIHP), Report from A. Grechko and Tarasov in Berlin to N.A. Bulganin, (by permission of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars) Retrieved 10 October 2006</ref> In June 1956, in Poznań, Poland, an anti-government workers' revolt had been suppressed by the Polish security forces with 74 deaths. Additionally, by late October, unrest was noticed in some regional areas of the Soviet Union: while this unrest was minor, it was intolerable.
  • Hungarian neutrality and withdrawal from the Warsaw Pact represented a breach in the Soviet defensive buffer zone of satellite nations.<ref>Template:Cite journal by permission of the Center for Security Studies at ETH Zürich and the National Security Archive at the George Washington University on behalf of the PHP network</ref> Soviet fear of invasion from the West made a defensive buffer of allied states in Eastern Europe an essential security objective.

The Presidium decided to break the de facto ceasefire and crush the Hungarian revolution.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref> The plan was to declare a "Provisional Revolutionary Government" under János Kádár, who would appeal for Soviet assistance to restore order. According to witnesses, Kádár was in Moscow in early November,<ref>Cold War International History Project (CWIHP), Working Notes from the Session of the CPSU CC Presidium on 3 November, 1956, with Participation by J. Kádár, F. Münnich, and I. Horváth, (by permission of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars) Retrieved October 8, 2006</ref> and he was in contact with the Soviet embassy while still a member of the Nagy government.<ref>UN General Assembly Special Committee on the Problem of Hungary (1957) Chapter II.J (Mr. Kádár forms a government), para 77-78 (p. 26-27)PDF</ref> Delegations were sent to other Communist governments in Eastern Europe and China, and to Tito in Yugoslavia, seeking to avoid a regional conflict, and propaganda messages prepared for broadcast as soon as the second Soviet intervention had begun. To disguise these intentions, Soviet diplomats were to engage the Nagy government in talks discussing the withdrawal of Soviet forces.<ref name = presidium/>

[edit] International reaction

Although the United States Secretary of State recommended on October 24 that the United Nations Security Council convene to discuss the situation in Hungary, little immediate action was taken to introduce a resolution.<ref>Template:Cite paper</ref> Responding to the plea by Nagy at the time of the second massive Soviet intervention on November 4, the Security Council resolution critical of Soviet actions was vetoed by the Soviet Union. The General Assembly, by a vote of 50 in favor, 8 against and 15 abstentions, called on the Soviet Union to end its Hungarian intervention, but the newly constituted Kádár government rejected UN observers.<ref>Hungarian Revolt, October 23 - November 4, 1956 (Richard Lettis and William I. Morris, editors): Appendices The Hungary Question in the United Nations Retrieved September 3, 2006 </ref>

The U.S. President, Dwight Eisenhower, was aware of a detailed study of Hungarian resistance which recommended against U.S. military intervention,<ref>Template:Cite web</ref> and of earlier policy discussions within the National Security Council which focused upon encouraging discontent in Soviet satellite nations only by economic policies and political rhetoric.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref><ref>Template:Cite journal</ref> In a 1998 interview, Hungarian Ambassador Géza Jeszenszky was critical of Western inaction in 1956, citing the influence of the United Nations at that time and giving the example of UN intervention in Korea from 1950-53.<ref name=cnn>CNN: Géza Jeszenszky, Hungarian Ambassador, Cold War Chat (transcript) November 8, 1998</ref>

During the uprising, the Radio Free Europe (RFE) Hungarian-language programs broadcast news of the political and military situation, as well as appealing to Hungarians to fight the Soviet forces, including tactical advice on resistance methods. After the Soviet suppression of the revolution, RFE was criticized for having misled the Hungarian people that NATO or United Nations would intervene if the citizens continued to resist.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref>

[edit] Soviet intervention of November 4

Image:Tanks return budapest 3 1956.jpg
Column of Soviet T-54 tanks re-entering Budapest on November 4, 1956

On November 1, Imre Nagy received reports that Soviet forces had entered Hungary from the east and were moving towards Budapest.<ref>UN General Assembly Special Committee on the Problem of Hungary (1957) Chapter VIII.D, para 336 (p. 103)PDF</ref> Nagy sought and received assurances from Soviet ambassador Yuri Andropov that the Soviet Union would not invade, although Andropov knew otherwise. The Cabinet, with János Kádár in agreement, declared Hungary's neutrality, withdrew from the Warsaw Pact, and requested assistance from the diplomatic corps in Budapest and the UN Secretary-General to defend Hungary's neutrality.<ref>Imre Nagy’s Telegram to Diplomatic Missions in Budapest Declaring Hungary’s Neutrality (1 November 1956) by permission of the Center for Security Studies at ETH Zürich and the National Security Archive at the George Washington University on behalf of the PHP network</ref> Ambassador Andropov was asked to inform his government that Hungary would begin negotiations on the removal of Soviet forces immediately.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref><ref>Template:Cite web</ref>

On November 3, a Hungarian delegation led by the Minister of Defense Pál Maléter were invited to attend negotiations on Soviet withdrawal at the Soviet Military Command at Tököl, near Budapest. At around midnight that evening, General Ivan Serov, Chief of the Soviet Security Police (NKVD) ordered the arrest of the Hungarian delegation,<ref>UN General Assembly Special Committee on the Problem of Hungary (1957) Chapter II.I, para 75 (p. 25)PDF</ref> and the next day, the Soviet army again attacked Budapest.<ref>UN General Assembly Special Committee on the Problem of Hungary (1957) Chapter II.I, para 76 (p. 26)PDF</ref>

This second Soviet intervention, codenamed "Operation Whirlwind", was launched by Marshall Ivan Konev.<ref>UN General Assembly Special Committee on the Problem of Hungary (1957) Chapter IV.E (Logistical deployment of new Soviet troops), para 181 (p. 56)PDF</ref> The five Soviet divisions stationed in Hungary before October 23 were augmented to a total strength of 17 divisions.<ref>Györkei, Jenõ, Kirov, Alexandr; Horvath, Miklos (1999). Soviet Military Intervention in Hungary, 1956. New York: Central European University Press, 350. ISBN 963-9116-36-X.</ref> The new Soviet troops, in order to ensure loyalty, had been transported from distant Soviet Central Asia, and many did not speak European languages. Many believed they were being sent to Berlin to fight German fascists.<ref name="Fryer">Fryer, Peter (1957). Hungarian Tragedy. London: D. Dobson, Chapter 9 (The Second Soviet Intervention). ASIN B0007J7674.</ref> By 9:30 p.m. on November 3, the Soviet Army had completely encircled Budapest.<ref>UN General Assembly Special Committee on the Problem of Hungary (1957) Chapter V.C, para 196 (pp. 60-61)PDF</ref>

At 3:00 a.m. on November 4, Soviet tanks penetrated Budapest along the Pest side of the Danube in two thrusts: one up the Soroksári road from the south and the other down the Váci road from the north. Thus before a single shot was fired, the Soviets had effectively split the city in half, controlled all bridgeheads, and were shielded to the rear by the wide Danube river. Armored units crossed into Buda and at 4:25 a.m. fired the first shots at the army barracks on Budaõrsi road. Soon after, Soviet artillery and tank fire was heard in all districts of Budapest.<ref>UN General Assembly Special Committee on the Problem of Hungary (1957) Chapter V.C, para 196 (pp. 60-61)PDF</ref> Operation Whirlwind combined air strikes, artillery, and the coordinated tank-infantry action of 17 divisions.<ref>Györkei, Jenõ, Kirov, Alexandr; Horvath, Miklos (1999). Soviet Military Intervention in Hungary, 1956. New York: Central European University Press, 350. ISBN 963-9116-36-X.</ref> The Hungarian Army put up sporadic and uncoordinated resistance. Although some very senior officers were openly pro-Soviet, the rank and file soldiers were overwhelmingly loyal to the revolution and either fought against the invasion or deserted. The United Nations reported that there were no recorded incidents of Hungarian Army units fighting on the side of the Soviets.<ref>UN General Assembly Special Committee on the Problem of Hungary (1957) Chapter V.B (The Second Soviet Military Intervention), para 188 (p. 58)PDF</ref>

Image:Nagy Imre final appeal.jpg
Imre Nagy broadcasts final appeal to Hungary and the world

At 5:20 a.m. on November 4, Imre Nagy broadcast his final plea to the nation and the world, announcing that Soviet Forces were attacking Budapest and that the Government remained at its post.<ref>UN General Assembly Special Committee on the Problem of Hungary (1957) Chapter VII.D (The Political Background of the Second Soviet Intervention), para 291 (p. 89)PDF</ref> The broadcaster, Radio Free Kossuth, stopped broadcasting at 8:07 a.m.<ref>UN General Assembly Special Committee on the Problem of Hungary (1957) Chapter VII.D (a silent carrier wave was detected until 9:45 am), para 292 (p. 89)PDF</ref> An emergency Cabinet meeting was held in the Parliament building, but was attended by only three Ministers. As Soviet troops arrived to occupy the building, a negotiated evacuation ensued, leaving Minister of State István Bibó as the last representative of the National Government remaining at post.<ref name="Bibo">Bibó, István (1991). Democracy, Revolution, Self-Determination. New York: Columbia University Press, pp. 325-327. ISBN 0-88033-214-X.</ref> Awaiting arrest, he wrote a stirring proclamation to the nation and the world.

At 6:00 am on November 4,<ref>UN General Assembly Special Committee on the Problem of Hungary (1957) Chapter VII.E, para 296 (p. 90)PDF</ref> in the town of Szolnok, János Kádár proclaimed the "Hungarian Revolutionary Worker-Peasant Government". His statement declared "We must put an end to the excesses of the counter-revolutionary elements. The hour for action has sounded. We are going to defend the interest of the workers and peasants and the achievements of the people's democracy."<ref>UN General Assembly Special Committee on the Problem of Hungary (1957) Chapter VIII.B, para 596 (p. 185)PDF</ref> Later that Evening, Kádár called upon "the faithful fighters of the true cause of socialism" to come out of hiding and take up arms. However, Hungarian support did not materialize; the fighting did not take on the character of a internally divisive civil war, but rather, in the words of a United Nations report, that of "a well-equipped foreign army crushing by overwhelming force a national movement and eliminating the Government."<ref>UN General Assembly Special Committee on the Problem of Hungary (1957) Chapter VIII.B (The Political Background of the Second Soviet Intervention), para 600 (p. 186)PDF</ref>

Image:1956 hungarians flee.gif
Hungarians flee as the revolution is crushed

By 8:00 am organised defence of the city evaporated after the radio station was seized, and many defenders fell back to fortified positions.<ref>UN General Assembly Special Committee on the Problem of Hungary (1957) Chapter V.C, para 197 (p. 61)PDF</ref> Hungarian civilians bore the brunt of the fighting, and it was often impossible for Soviet troops to differentiate military from civilian targets.<ref>UN General Assembly Special Committee on the Problem of Hungary (1957) Chapter V.C, para 198 (p. 61)PDF</ref> For this reason, Soviet tanks often crept along main roads firing indiscriminately into buildings.<ref>UN General Assembly Special Committee on the Problem of Hungary (1957) Chapter V.C, para 197 (p. 61)PDF</ref> Hungarian resistance was strongest in the industrial areas of Budapest, which were heavily targeted by Soviet artillery and air strikes.<ref>UN General Assembly Special Committee on the Problem of Hungary (1957) Chapter V.B (The Second Soviet Military Intervention), para 200 (p. 62)PDF</ref> The last pocket of resistance called for ceasefire on 10 November. Over 2,500 Hungarians and 722 Soviet troops had been killed and thousands more were wounded.<ref>Mark Kramer, “The Soviet Union and the 1956 Crises in Hungary and Poland: Reassessments and New Findings”, Journal of Contemporary History, Vol.33, No.2, April 1998, p.210.</ref><ref>Péter Gosztonyi, "Az 1956-os forradalom számokban", Népszabadság (Budapest), 3 November 1990.</ref>

[edit] Aftermath

[edit] Hungary

Image:János Kádár.jpeg
János Kádár, Hungarian Head of State from 1956 to 1988

Between November 10 and December 19, workers' councils negotiated directly with the occupying Soviets. While they achieved some prisoner releases, they did not achieve a Soviet withdrawal. Thousands of Hungarians were arrested, imprisoned and deported to the Soviet Union, many without evidence.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref> Approximately 200,000 Hungarians fled Hungary,<ref name="Cseresneyes">Template:Cite journal</ref> some 26,000 were put on trial by the Kádár government, and of those 13,000 were imprisoned.<ref>Molnár, Adrienne; Kõrösi Zsuszanna, (1996). "The handing down of experiences in families of the politically condemned in Communist Hungary". IX. International Oral History Conference, pp. 1169-1166. Retrieved on 2006-10-14.</ref> Former Hungarian Foreign Minister Géza Jeszenszky estimated 350 were executed.<ref name=cnn/> Sporadic armed resistance and strikes by workers' councils continued until mid-1957, causing substantial economic disruption.

With most of Budapest under Soviet control by November 8, Kádár became Prime Minister of the "Revolutionary Worker-Peasant Government" and General Secretary of the Hungarian Communist Party. Few Hungarians rejoined the reorganized Party, its leadership having been purged under the supervision of the Soviet Presidium, led by Georgy Malenkov and Mikhail Suslov.<ref name = situation>Template:Cite web</ref> Although Party membership declined from 800,000 before the uprising to 100,000 by December 1956, Kádár steadily increased his control over Hungary and neutralized dissenters. The new government attempted to enlist support by espousing popular principles of Hungarian self-determination voiced during the uprising, but Soviet troops remained.<ref>UN General Assembly Special Committee on the Problem of Hungary (1957) Chapter XIV.I.A, para 642 (p. 198), János Kádár's 15 points (4 November 1956)PDF</ref> After 1956 the Soviet Union severely purged the Hungarian Army and reinstituted political indoctrination in the units that remained. In May 1957, the Soviet Union increased its troop levels in Hungary and by treaty Hungary accepted the Soviet presence on a permanent basis.<ref>UN General Assembly Special Committee on the Problem of Hungary (1957) Annex A (Agreement between the Hungarian People Republic and the government of the USSR on the legal status of Soviet forces) pp. 112-113)PDF</ref>

Image:1956 Hungarian Refugees in Austria.jpg
1956 Hungarian Refugees fleeing into Austria

The Red Cross and the Austrian Army established refugee camps in Traiskirchen and Graz.<ref name="Cseresneyes"/> Imre Nagy along with Georg Lukács, Géza Losonczy, and László Rajk's widow, Júlia, took refuge in the Embassy of Yugoslavia as Soviet forces overran Budapest. Despite assurances of safe passage out of Hungary by the Soviets and the Kádár government, Nagy and his group were arrested when attempting to leave the embassy on November 22 and taken to Romania. Losonczy died while on a hunger strike in prison awaiting trial when his jailers "carelessly pushed a feeding tube down his windpipe."<ref>Fryer, Peter (1997). Hungarian Tragedy, p. 10. Index Books: London. ISBN 1-871518-14-8.</ref> The remainder of the group was returned to Budapest in 1958. Nagy was executed, along with Pál Maléter and Miklós Gimes, after secret trials in June 1958. Their bodies were placed in unmarked graves in the Municipal Cemetery outside Budapest.<ref name="BBCJune16">"On This Day 16 June, 1989: Hungary reburies fallen hero Imre Nagy" British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) reports on Nagy reburial with full honors. (Accessed October 13, 2006)</ref>

By 1963, most political prisoners from the 1956 Hungarian revolution had been released.<ref>Békés, Csaba, Malcolm Byrne, János M. Rainer (2002). Hungarian Tragedy, p. L. Central European University Press: Budapest. ISBN 963-9241-66-0.</ref> During the November 1956 Soviet assault on Budapest, Cardinal Mindszenty was granted political asylum at the United States embassy, where he lived for the next 15 years, refusing to leave Hungary unless the government reversed his 1949 conviction for treason. Due to poor health and a request from the Vatican, he finally left the embassy for Austria in September 1971.<ref>"End of a Private Cold War", Time Magazine, 1971-10-11. Retrieved on 2006-09-03.</ref>

[edit] International

Despite Cold War rhetoric by the West espousing a rollback of the domination of Eastern Europe by the USSR, and Soviet promises of the imminent triumph of socialism, national leaders of this period as well as later historians saw the failure of the uprising in Hungary as evidence that the Cold War in Europe had become a stalemate.<ref>Johns Hopkins University Professor Charles Gati, in his book Failed Illusions: Moscow, Washington, Budapest, and the 1956 Hungarian Revolt (see Further reading, below), agreed with a 2002 essay by Hungarian historian Csaba Bekes "Could the Hungarian Revolution Have Been Victorious in 1956?". Gati states: "Washington implicitly acknowledging the division of the continent into two camps, understood that Moscow would not let go of a country bordering on neutral but pro-Western Austria and an independent Yugoslavia, so it shed ...tears over Soviet brutality, and exploited the propaganda opportunities..." (p. 208)</ref> The Foreign Minister of West Germany recommended that the people of Eastern Europe be discouraged from "taking dramatic action which might have disastrous consequences for themselves." The Secretary-General of NATO called the Hungarian revolt "the collective suicide of a whole people".<ref>"How to Help Hungary", Time Magazine, 1956-12-24. Retrieved on 2006-09-03.</ref> In a newspaper interview in 1957, Khrushchev commented "support by United States ... is rather in the nature of the support that the rope gives to a hanged man."<ref>Simpson, James (1997). Simpson's Contemporary Quotations. Collins, 672 pages. ISBN 0-06-270137-1.</ref> Twelve years later, when Soviet-led forces ended a similar movement toward liberalization in Czechoslovakia, First Secretary Alexander Dubček, recalling the Hungarian experience, asked his citizens not to resist the occupation.

In January 1957, United Nations Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld, acting in response to UN General Assembly resolutions requesting investigation and observation of the events in Soviet-occupied Hungary, established the Special Committee on the Problem of Hungary.<ref>Template:Cite paper</ref> The Committee, with representatives from Australia, Ceylon (Sri Lanka), Denmark, Tunisia and Uruguay, conducted hearings in New York, Geneva, Rome, Vienna and London. Over five months, 111 refugees were interviewed including ministers, military commanders and other officials of the Nagy government, workers, revolutionary council members, factory managers and technicians, communists and non-communists, students, writers, teachers, medical personnel and Hungarian soldiers. Documents, newspapers, radio transcripts, photos, film footage and other records from Hungary were also reviewed, as well as written testimony of 200 other Hungarians.<ref>UN General Assembly Special Committee on the Problem of Hungary (1957) Chapter I.D (Organization and Function of the Committee), paragraphs 1-26 (pp. 10-13)PDF</ref> The governments of Hungary and Romania refused the UN officials of the Committee entry, and the government of the Soviet Union did not respond to requests for information.<ref>UN General Assembly Special Committee on the Problem of Hungary (1957) Chapter I.E (Attempts to observe in Hungary and meet Imre Nagy), paragraphs 32-34 (p. 14)PDF</ref> The 268-page Committee Report<ref>UN General Assembly (1957) Special Committee on the Problem of Hungary Accessed October 14, 2006</ref> was presented to the General Assembly in June 1957, documenting the course of the uprising and Soviet intervention, and concluding that the Kádár government and Soviet occupation were in violation of the human rights of the Hungarian people.<ref>UN General Assembly Special Committee on the Problem of Hungary (1957) Chapter II.N (Summary of conclusions), paragraph 89 (pp. 30-32)PDF</ref> A General Assembly resolution was approved, deploring the repression of the Hungarian people and the Soviet occupation, but no other action was taken.<ref>United Nations General Assembly, Thirteenth Session: Resolution 1312 (XIII) The Situation in Hungary (Item 59, p. 69 (12 December 1958)</ref>

Image:Time Man of the year 1957Hunagarianfreedom fighter.jpg
Time's "Man of the Year" for 1956 was the Hungarian Freedom Fighter<ref>"Man Of The Year, The Land and the People", Time Magazine, 1957-01-07. Retrieved on 2006-10-09.</ref>

At the Melbourne Olympics in 1956, the Soviet handling of the Hungarian uprising led to a boycott by Spain, the Netherlands and Switzerland.<ref>International Olympic Committee: Melbourne/Stockholm 1956 Did you know? Retrieved 13 October 2006</ref> At the Olympic Village, the Hungarian delegation tore down the Communist Hungarian flag and raised the flag of Free Hungary in its place. The delegation also insisted that the banned "God, Bless the Hungarians" (Himnusz) be used as the National Anthem during medal ceremonies. A confrontation between Soviet and Hungarian teams occurred in the semi-final match of the water polo tournament. The match was extremely violent, and was halted in the final minute to quell fighting amongst spectators. This match, now known as the "blood in the water match," became the subject of a 2005 documentary film called Freedom's Fury.<ref>Radio Free Europe: Hungary: New Film Revisits 1956 Water-Polo Showdown Retrieved 13 October 2006</ref> The Hungarian team won 4-0 and later won the gold medal. Several members of the Hungarian Olympic delegation defected after the games.

The events in Hungary produced ideological fractures within the Communist parties of Western Europe. Within the Italian Communist Party (PCI) a split ensued: most ordinary members and the Party leadership, including Palmiro Togliatti and Giorgio Napolitano, regarded the Hungarian insurgents as counter-revolutionaries, as reported in l'Unità, the official PCI newspaper.<ref>The following are references in English on the conflicting positions of l'Unità, Napolitano, Antonio Giolitti and party boss Palmiro Togliatti, Giuseppe Di Vittorio and Pietro Nenni.</ref> However Giuseppe Di Vittorio, chief of the Communist trade union CGIL, repudiated the leadership position, as did the prominent party member Antonio Giolitti and many influential Communist intellectuals, who later were expelled or left the party. Pietro Nenni, the national secretary of the Italian Socialist Party, a close ally of the PCI, opposed the Soviet intervention as well. Napolitano, elected in 2006 as President of the Italian Republic, wrote in his 2005 political autobiography that he regretted his justification of Soviet action in Hungary, and that at the time he believed in Party unity and the international leadership of Soviet communism.<ref>Napolitano, Giorgio (2005). Dal Pci al socialismo europeo. Un'autobiografia politica (From the Communist Party to European Socialism. A political autobiography) (in Italian). Laterza. ISBN 88-420-7715-1.</ref> Within the Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB), dissent that began with the repudiation of Stalinism by John Saville and E.P. Thompson, influential historians and members of the Communist Party Historians Group, culminated in a loss of thousands of party members as events unfolded in Hungary. Peter Fryer, correspondent for the CPGB newspaper The Daily Worker, reported accurately on the violent suppression of the uprising, but his dispatches were heavily censored;<ref name="Fryer"/> Fryer resigned from the paper upon his return, and was later expelled from the communist party. In France, moderate communists, such as historian Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie resigned, questioning the policy of supporting Soviet actions by the French Communist Party. The French philosopher and writer Albert Camus wrote an open letter, The Blood of the Hungarians, criticizing the West's lack of action. Even Sartre, still a determined communist, criticised the Soviets in his article Le Fantôme de Staline, in Situations VII<ref>Sartre, Jean-Paul (1956), L’intellectuel et les communistes français Le Web de l'Humanite, 21 June, 2005, Accessed 2006-10-24</ref>

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[edit] Commemoration

Image:1956flag.jpg
1956 Revolution Flag flying in front of the Hungarian Parliament Building

In December, 1991, the preamble of the treaties with the dismembered Soviet Union, under Mikhail Gorbachev, and Russia, represented by Boris Yeltsin, apologized officially for the 1956 Soviet actions in Hungary. This apology was repeated by Yeltsin in 1992 during a speech to the Hungarian parliament.<ref name = cnn/>

On February 13, 2006, the US State Department commemorated the Fiftieth anniversary of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution. US Secretary of State Rice commented on the contributions made by 1956 Hungarian refugees to the United States and other host countries, as well as the role of Hungary in providing refuge to East Germans during the 1989 protests against communist rule.<ref>American Hungarian Federation (2006-02-13). US State Department Commemorates the 1956 Hungarian Revolution. Press release. Retrieved on 2006-10-08.</ref> President George W. Bush also visited Hungary on June 22, 2006, to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary.<ref>International Information Programs (2006-06-22). Hungary a Model for Iraq, Bush Says in Budapest. Press release. Retrieved on 2006-10-14.</ref>

After the fall of the communist regime, the Republic of Hungary was declared on October 23, 1989, the 33rd anniversary of the Revolution, and Imre Nagy's body was reburied with full honors.<ref name="BBCJune16"/> October 23 is a Hungarian national holiday.

[edit] References

<references/>

[edit] Further reading

</div>
  • Arendt, Hannah (1951). Origins of Totalitarianism. New York: Harcourt, pp. 480-510. ISBN 0-15-670153-7.
  • Bekes, Csaba (Editor), Byrne, Malcolm (Editor), Rainer, Janos (Editor) (2003). The 1956 Hungarian Revolution: A History in Documents (National Security Archive Cold War Readers) (in English). Central European University Press, 600 pages. ISBN 963-9241-66-0.
  • Bibó, István (1991). Democracy, Revolution, Self-Determination. New York: Columbia University Press, pp. 331-354. ISBN 0-88033-214-X.
  • Gadney, Reg (October 1986). Cry Hungary: Uprising 1956 (in English). Macmillan Pub Co, 169 pages. ISBN 0-689-11838-4.
  • Gati, Charles (2006). Failed Illusions: Moscow, Washington, Budapest, and the 1956 Hungarian Revolt (Cold War International History Project Series) (in English). Stanford University Press, 264 pages. ISBN 0-8047-5606-6.
  • Györkei, Jenõ, Kirov, Alexandr; Horvath, Miklos (1999). Soviet Military Intervention in Hungary, 1956. New York: Central European University Press, 350. ISBN 963-9116-36-X.
  • Kertesz, Stephen D. (1953). Diplomacy in a Whirlpool: Hungary between Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia. University of Notre Dame Press, Notre Dame, Indiana. ISBN 0-8371-7540-2.
  • Michener, James A. (1985 (reissue edition)). The Bridge at Andau. New York: Fawcett. ISBN 0-449-21050-2.
  • Morris, William E., Lettis, Richard (Editor) (Reprint edition (August 2001)). The Hungarian Revolt: October 23 - November 4, 1956. Simon Publications. ISBN 1-931313-79-2.
  • Napolitano, Giorgio (2005). Dal Pci al socialismo europeo. Un'autobiografia politica (From the Communist Party to European Socialism. A political autobiography) (in Italian). Laterza. ISBN 88-420-7715-1.
  • Sebestyen, Victor (2006). Twelve Days: The Story of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution. New York: Pantheon, 340 pages. ISBN 0-375-42458-X.
  • Sugar, Peter F., Hanak, Peter, Frank, Tibor (Editors) (1994). A History of Hungary: From Liberation to Revolution (pp. 368-83) (in English). Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 448 pages. ISBN 0-253-20867-X.
  • United Nations: Report of the Special Committee on the Problem of Hungary, General Assembly, Official Records, Eleventh Session, Supplement No. 18 (A/3592), New York, 1957 (268 pages)PDF
  • Zinner, Paul E. (1962). Revolution in Hungary. Books for Libraries Press, 380 pages. ISBN 0-8369-6817-4.

[edit] External links

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  • Institute of Revolutionary History, Hungary A Hungarian language site providing historical photos and documents, books and reviews, and links to English language sites.
  • The Hungarian Revolt, October 23 - November 4, 1956 A Scribner research anthology of written sources on the Hungarian Revolt, edited by Richard Lettis and William I. Morris. Documents include radio broadcasts, newspaper and magazine articles, and portions of books on the revolt.
  • 1956 Hungarian Revolution Collection of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Cold War International History Project (Virtual Archive 2.0), containing documents and other source materials relating to the 1956 Revolution.
  • 1956 newspaper front pages Historic front pages from Hungarian newspapers, June to December 1956.
Published accounts
Commemorations
  • 1956 and Hungary: The Memory of Eyewitnesses - In Search of Freedom and Democracy The website of the international conference (September 28-September 29, 2006) to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the Hungarian Revolution of 1956. The conference will review the events of the 1950s era, based on the personal experience of those who left Hungary after the revolution, who found a new home in other countries, and have contributed to their development.
  • The 1956 Portal A resource for Hungarian-American organizations to highlight and promote their 1956 Hungarian Revolution commemoration activities, including 1956 photos, videos, resources, and events across the US.
  • Project 56 A multimedia project for the celebration of Hungarian life & culture with a focus on the Hungarian Revolution of 1956 and its aftermath.
  • CHR50 Festival of Freedom The Cleveland Hungarian Revolution 50th Anniversary Committee website describing planned events on October 21 and October 22, 2006 in Cleveland, Ohio, a city with many citizens of Hungarian heritage.

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ar:الثورة المجرية 1956 br:Dispac'h Hungaria ca:Revolució Hongaresa de 1956 de:Ungarischer Volksaufstand es:Revolución Húngara de 1956 eo:Hungara revolucio de 1956 fr:Insurrection de Budapest ko:헝가리 봉기 io:Hungaria-revolto ye 1956 id:Revolusi Hongaria it:Rivoluzione ungherese del 1956 he:המרד ההונגרי lt:Vengrijos revoliucija (1956) hu:1956-os forradalom nl:Hongaarse Opstand ja:ハンガリー動乱 no:Oppstanden i Ungarn 1956 pl:Powstanie węgierskie 1956 pt:Revolução Húngara de 1956 ro:Revoluţia ungară din 1956 ru:Венгерское восстание 1956 г. fi:Unkarin kansannousu sv:Ungernrevolten uk:Угорська революція 1956 р. zh:匈牙利十月事件

Hungarian Revolution of 1956

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