- Hungarian Revolution of 1956
Infobox Military Conflict
conflict = Hungarian Revolution of 1956
partof = the
campaign = Revolution in Hungary
caption = Hungarians inspecting a captured Soviet tank in Budapest
date = 23 October – 10 November 1956
casus = State Security Police massacre of unarmed protesters
result = Revolution crushed
combatant1 = flagicon|Soviet Union|1955
flagicon|Hungary|1949 ÁVH (Hungarian State Protection Authority)
combatant2 = local Hungarian militias
commander1 = flagicon|USSR|1955
commander2 = Various independent militia leaders
strength1 = 150,000 troops,
strength2 = Unknown number of militia and rebelling soldiers
casualties1= (Soviet casualties only) 722 killed 1,251 wounded [cite book| last=Györkei| first=Jenõ | coauthors=Kirov, Alexandr; Horvath, Miklos | title=Soviet Military Intervention in Hungary, 1956 | publisher=Central European University Press | year=1999 | location=New York | pages=350 | isbn=63911636X ]
casualties2=2,500 killed (est.) 13,000 wounded (est.)UN General Assembly "Special Committee on the Problem of Hungary" (1957) PDF| [http://mek.oszk.hu/01200/01274/01274.pdf Chapter V footnote 8] |1.47 MiB ] The Hungarian Revolution of 1956 (Hungarian: "1956-os forradalom") was a spontaneous nationwide
revoltagainst the Stalinist government of Hungaryand its Soviet-imposed policies, lasting from 23 October until 10 November 1956. [Alternate references are "Hungarian Revolt" and "Hungarian Uprising"; "Revolution" is used as it conforms to both English [http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/26566.htm (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.] It began as a student demonstration which attracted thousands as it marched through central Budapestto the Parliament building. A student delegation entering the radio building in an attempt to broadcast its 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 Pactand 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 crush the revolution. On 4 November, a large Soviet force invaded Budapest and other regions of the country. Hungarian resistance continued until 10 November. An estimated 2,500 Hungarians died, and 200,000 more fled as refugees. Mass arrests and denunciations continued for months thereafter. 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, 23 October was declared a national holiday.
World War II, the Soviet military occupied Hungary and gradually replaced the freely elected government with the Hungarian Communist Party."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) PDF| [http://mek.oszk.hu/01200/01274/01274.pdf Chapter II. A (Developments before 22 October 1956), paragraph 47 (p. 18)] |1.47 MiB ] Radical nationalization of the economy based on the Soviet model produced economic stagnation, lower standards of living and a deep malaise .Library of Congress: Country Studies: Hungary, Chapter 3 [http://lcweb2.loc.gov/frd/cs/hutoc.html#hu0138 Economic Policy and Performance, 1945–85] Retrieved 27 August 2006] Writers and journalists were the first to voice open criticism, publishing critical articles in 1955. [UN General Assembly "Special Committee on the Problem of Hungary" (1957) PDF| [http://mek.oszk.hu/01200/01274/01274.pdf Chapter II. A (Developments before 22 October 1956), paragraphs 49 (p. 18), 379–380 (p. 122) and 382–385 (p. 123)] |1.47 MiB ] By 22 October 1956, University students had resurrected the banned MEFESZ student union,Crampton, R. J. (2003). "Eastern Europe in the Twentieth Century–and After", p. 295. Routledge: London. ISBN 0-415-16422-2.] and staged a demonstration on 23 October which set off a chain of events leading directly to the revolution.
After World War II, Hungary fell under the Soviet
sphere of influenceand was occupied by the Red Army. [The Library of Congress: [http://www.photius.com/countries/hungary/national_security/hungary_national_security_soviet_southern_grou~105.html Country Studies; CIA World Factbook] Retrieved 13 October 2006] 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. [ In 1949 the ruling communist parties of the founding states of the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance were also linked internationally through the Cominform[http://memory.loc.gov/frd/cs/germany_east/gx_appnb.html Library of Congress Country Studies Appendix B -- Germany (East)] ]
Hungary began the postwar period as a multiparty free democracy, and elections in 1945 produced a coalition government under Prime Minister
Zoltán Tildy. [Norton, Donald H. (2002). "Essentials of European History: 1935 to the Present", p. 47. REA: Piscataway, New Jersey. ISBN 0-87891-711-X.] 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. [cite book | last=Kertesz | first=Stephen D. | title=Diplomacy in a Whirlpool: Hungary between Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia, [http://www.hungarian-history.hu/lib/dipl/dipl08.htm Chapter VIII (Hungary, a Republic), p.139-52] | publisher= University of Notre Dame Press, Notre Dame, Indiana | year=1953 | id=ISBN 0-8371-7540-2 Retrieved 8 October 2006]
In 1945, Soviet Marshal
Kliment Voroshilovforced the freely elected Hungarian government to yield the Interior Ministry to a nominee of the Hungarian Communist Party. Communist Interior Minister László Rajkestablished 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. [UN General Assembly "Special Committee on the Problem of Hungary" (1957) PDF| [http://mek.oszk.hu/01200/01274/01274.pdf Chapter II.N, para 89(xi) (p. 31)] |1.47 MiB ] The brief period of multiparty democracycame to an end when the Hungarian Communist Partymerged with the Social Democratic Party to become the Hungarian Workers' Party, which stood its candidate list unopposed in 1949. The People's Republic of Hungarywas declared.
Political repression and economic decline
Hungary became a communist state under the severely authoritarian leadership of
Mátyás Rákosi. [Video: Hungary in Flames [http://files.osa.ceu.hu/holdings/selection/rip/4/av/1956-43.html] producer: CBS (1958) - Fonds 306, Audiovisual Materials Relating to the 1956 Hungarian Revolution, OSA Archivum, Budapest, Hungary ID number: HU OSA 306-0-1:40] The Security Police (ÁVH) began a series of purges of more than 7000 dissidents were denounced as "Titoists" or "western agents", and forced to confess in show trials, after which they were relocated to a camp in eastern Hungary.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] cite book | title =Budapest 1900: A Historical Portrait of a City and Its Culture | author= John Lukacs | publisher= Grove Press|date= 1994|ISBN 9780802132505|page=222]
From 1950 to 1952, the Security Police forcibly relocated thousands of people to obtain property and housing for the Communist Party members, and to remove the threat of the intellectual and 'bourgois' class. Thousands were arrested, tortured, tried, and imprisoned in
concentration camps, deported to the east, or were executed, including ÁVH founder László Rajk.cite book | last=Gati | first=Charles | title=Failed Illusions: Moscow, Washington, Budapest and the 1956 Hungarian Revolt | publisher=Stanford University Press | year=2006 | month=September | id=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).] In a single year, more than 26,000 people were forcibly relocated from Budapest. As a consequence, jobs and housing were very difficult to obtain. The deportees generally experienced terrible living conditions and were impressed as slave labor on collective farms. Many died as a result of the poor living conditions and malnutrition.
The Rákosi government thoroughly politicized Hungary's educational system in order to supplant the educated classes with a "toiling intelligentsia". [In February 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" (17 September 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 30 October 1950, new guidelines were set for the colleges and universities: Marxism-Leninism should be the main subject in all classes, and studying the
Russian languagebecame 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. cite journal | last= [http://tortenelemszak.elte.hu/intezet/segtud/kardos.html Kardos, József] | authorlink=| title=Monograph hu icon | journal=Iskolakultúra | volume=6–7 | issue=June-July 2003 | pages=pp. 73–80 | publisher= University of Pécs| date=2003 | url=http://epa.oszk.hu/00000/00011/00072/pdf/tan-konf-vita2003-6-7.pdf | accessdate=2006-10-09 ] 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. [ cite book | last=Burant (Ed.) | first=Stephen R. | title=Hungary: a country study (2nd Edition)| publisher=Federal Research Division, Library of Congress | year=1990 | pages=320 pages|url=http://lcweb2.loc.gov/frd/cs/hutoc.html, Chapter 2 (The Society and Its Environment) "Religion and Religious Organizations"] In 1949 the leader of the Hungarian Catholic Church, József Cardinal Mindszenty, was arrested and sentenced to life imprisonment for treason. [ 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] Under Rákosi, Hungary's government was among the most repressive in Europe.
The postwar Hungarian economy suffered from multiple challenges. Hungary agreed to pay
war reparationsapproximating US$300 million, to the Soviet Union, Czechoslovakia, and Yugoslavia, and to support Soviet garrisons. [The Avalon Project at Yale Law School: [http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/wwii/hungary.htm#art12 Armistice Agreement with Hungary; 20 January 1945] Retrieved 27 August 2006] The Hungarian National Bankin 1946 estimated the cost of reparations as "between 19 and 22 per cent of the annual national income." [cite book | last=Kertesz | first=Stephen D. | title=Diplomacy in a Whirlpool: Hungary between Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia, [http://www.hungarian-history.hu/lib/dipl/dipl16.htm#16 Memorandum of the Hungarian National Bank on Reparations, Appendix Document 16] | publisher=University of Notre Dame Press, Notre Dame, Indiana | year=1953 | accessdate=2006-08-27 | id=ISBN 0-8371-7540-2 Retrieved 8 October 2006] In 1946, the Hungarian currency experienced marked depreciation, resulting in the highest historical rates of hyperinflationknown. [Magyar Nemzeti Bank - English Site: [http://english.mnb.hu/Engine.aspx?page=mnben_1_jegybankrol&ContentID=2326 History] Retrieved 27 August 2006 According to Wikipedia Hyperinflationarticle, 4.19 × 1016 percent per month (prices doubled every 15 hours).] Hungary's participation in the Soviet-sponsored COMECON(Council Of Mutual Economic Assistance), prevented it from trading with the West or receiving Marshall Planaid. [cite book | last=Kertesz | first = Stephen D. | title=Diplomacy in a Whirlpool: Hungary between Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia, [http://www.hungarian-history.hu/lib/dipl/dipl10.htm#2 Chapter IX (Soviet Russia and Hungary's Economy), p. 158] | publisher=University of Notre Dame Press, Notre Dame, Indiana | year=1953|id=ISBN 0-8371-7540-2 Retrieved 10 October 2006] Although national income per capita rose in the first third of the 1950s, the standard of living fell. Huge income deductions to finance industrial investment reduced disposable personal income; mismanagement created chronic shortages in basic foodstuffs resulting in rationing of bread, sugar, flour and meat. [cite book | last=Bognár | first=Sándor | coauthors=Iván Pető, Sándor Szakács | title=A hazai gazdaság négy évtizedének története 1945-1985 (The history of four decades of the national economy, 1945-1985) | publisher=Budapest: Közdazdasági és Jogi Könyvkiadó | year=1985 | isbn=9632215540 pp. 214, 217 hu icon] Compulsory subscriptions to state bonds further reduced personal income. The net result was that disposable real income of workers and employees in 1952 was only two-thirds of what it had been in 1938, whereas in 1949, the proportion had been 90 per cent. [http://www.rev.hu/history_of_45/tanulm_gazd/gazd_e.htm Transformation of the Hungarian economy] The Institute for the History of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution (2003), Accessed 27 September 2006] These policies had a cumulative negative effect, and fueled discontent as foreign debt grew and the population experienced shortages of goods.
On 5 March 1953,
Joseph Stalindied, ushering in a period of moderate liberalization during which most European communist parties developed a reform wing. In Hungary, the reformist Imre Nagyreplaced Mátyás Rákosi, "Stalin's Best Hungarian Disciple", as Prime Minister. [cite paper | author=János M. Rainer | title = Stalin and Rákosi, Stalin and Hungary, 1949–1953 | date = Paper presented on 4 October 1997 at the workshop “European Archival Evidence. Stalin and the Cold War in Europe", Budapest, 1956 Institute | url =http://www.rev.hu/index_en.html | accessdate = 2006-10-08 ] 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. [cite book | last = Gati | first = Charles | title = Failed Illusions: Moscow, Washington, Budapest and the 1956 Hungarian Revolt | publisher = Stanford University Press | year = 2006 | month = September | id = ISBN 0-8047-5606-6 (page 64)] After Khrushchev's "secret speech" of February 1956, which denounced Stalin and his protégés, [cite news | last = Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev, First Secretary, Communist Party of the Soviet Union | title = On the Personality Cult and its Consequences | publisher = Special report at the 20th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union |date=24 February–25, 1956 | url = http://www.uwm.edu/Course/448-343/index12.html|accessdate = 2006-08-27] Rákosi was deposed as General Secretary of the Party and replaced by Ernő Gerőon 18 July 1956. [UN General Assembly "Special Committee on the Problem of Hungary" (1957) PDF| [http://mek.oszk.hu/01200/01274/01274.pdf Chapter II. A (Developments before 22 October 1956), paragraph 48 (p. 18)] |1.47 MiB ]
On 14 May 1955, the
Soviet Unioncreated 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". [cite web | last = Halsall | first = Paul (Editor)
title = The Warsaw Pact, 1955; Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance | work = [http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/mod/modsbook.html Internet Modern History Sourcebook] | publisher = Fordham University | month = November | year = 1998 | url = http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/mod/1955warsawpact.html | format = HTML | accessdate = 2006-10-08 ]
In 1955, the
Austrian State Treatyand ensuing declaration of neutrality established Austriaas a demilitarized and neutral country. [Video (in German): Berichte aus Budapest: Der Ungarn Aufstand 1956 [http://files.osa.ceu.hu/holdings/selection/rip/4/av/1956-29.html] Director: Helmut Dotterweich, (1986) - Fonds 306, Audiovisual Materials Relating to the 1956 Hungarian Revolution, OSA Archivum, Budapest, Hungary ID number: HU OSA 306-0-1:27] 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". [UN General Assembly "Special Committee on the Problem of Hungary" (1957) PDF| [http://mek.oszk.hu/01200/01274/01274.pdf 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)] |1.47 MiB ] Austrian neutrality altered the calculus of cold war military planning as it geographically split the NATO Alliance from Genevato Vienna, thus increasing Hungary's strategic importance to the Warsaw Pact.
In June 1956, a violent uprising by Polish workers in
Poznańwas put down by the government, with scores of protesters killed and wounded. Responding to popular demand, in October 1956, the government appointed the recently rehabilitated reformist communist Władysław Gomułkaas 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 Gomułka's reformist demands.cite web | title = Notes from the Minutes of the CPSU CC Presidium Meeting with Satellite Leaders, 24 October 1956 | work = The 1956 Hungarian Revolution, A History in Documents | publisher = George Washington University: The National Security Archive | date = 4 November 2002 | url = http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB76/doc5.pdf | format = PDF | accessdate = 2006-09-02] News of the concessions won by the Poles - known as Polish October- 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.Paweł Machcewicz, [http://www.culture.pl/en/culture/artykuly/es_1956_machcewicz 1956 - a european date] ]
ocial unrest builds
Rákosi's resignation in July 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. [UN General Assembly "Special Committee on the Problem of Hungary" (1957) PDF| [http://mek.oszk.hu/01200/01274/01274.pdf Chapter IX. B (The background of the uprising), para 384 (p. 123)] |1.47 MiB ] On 6 October 1956,
László Rajk, who had been executed by the Rákosi government, was reburied in a moving ceremony which strengthened the party opposition, [cite conference | first = Gémes
last = Andreas | authorlink = | coauthors = James S. Amelang, Siegfried Beer (Editors) | title = International Releatons and the 1956 Hungarian Revolution: a Cold War Case Study | booktitle = Public Power in Europe. Studies in Historical Transformations | pages = p. 231 | publisher = CLIOHRES | year = 2006 | location = | url = http://www.cliohres.net/books/1/13_Gemes.pdf | format = PDF| accessdate = 2006-10-14 ] and later that month, the reformer
Imre Nagywas rehabilitated to full membership in the Hungarian Communist Party.
On 16 October 1956, university students in
Szegedsnubbed 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. Within days, the student bodies of Pécs, Miskolc, and Sopronfollowed suit. On 22 October, students of the Technical University compiled a list of sixteen points containing several national policy demands. Internet Modern History Sourcebook: Resolution by students of the Building Industry Technological University: [http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/mod/1956hungary-16points.html Sixteen Political, Economic, and Ideological Points, Budapest, 22 October 1956] Retrieved 22 October 2006] After the students heard that the Hungarian Writers’ Unionplanned on the following day to express solidarity with pro-reform movements in Poland 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.cite book
last = Heller
first = Andor
title = No More Comrades
publisher = Henry Regnery Company
year = 1957
location = Chicago
url = http://www.historicaltextarchive.com/books.php?op=viewbook&bookid=13&cid=15#N_1_
pages = pp. 9–84
id = ASIN B0007DOQP0 ] 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; [UN General Assembly "Special Committee on the Problem of Hungary" (1957) PDF| [http://mek.oszk.hu/01200/01274/01274.pdf Chapter II. A (Meetings and demonstrations), para 54 (p. 19)] |1.47 MiB ] the demonstration was spirited, but peaceful.UN General Assembly "Special Committee on the Problem of Hungary" (1957) PDF| [http://mek.oszk.hu/01200/01274/01274.pdf Chapter II. C (The First Shots), para 55 (p. 20)] |1.47 MiB ]
At 8 p.m., First Secretary
Ernő Gerőbroadcast a speech condemning the writers' and students' demands, and dismissing the demonstrators as a reactionary mob. Angered by Gerő's hard-line rejection, some demonstrators decided to carry out one of their demands - the removal of Stalin's 30ft (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. [cite news | url = http://jcgi.pathfinder.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,841895,00.html | title = A Hollow Tolerance | publisher = Time Magazine| date = 23 July 1965|accessdate = 2006-10-23] 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.
At about the same time, a large crowd gathered at the
Radio Budapestbuilding, which was heavily guarded by the ÁVH. The flash point was reached as a delegation attempting to broadcast their demands was detained and the crowd grew increasingly unruly as rumors spread that the protesters had been shot. Tear gas was thrown from the upper windows and the ÁVH opened fire on the crowd, killing many.UN General Assembly "Special Committee on the Problem of Hungary" (1957) PDF| [http://mek.oszk.hu/01200/01274/01274.pdf Chapter II. C (The First Shots), para 56 (p. 20)] |1.47 MiB ] 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. 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. [UN General Assembly "Special Committee on the Problem of Hungary" (1957) PDF| [http://mek.oszk.hu/01200/01274/01274.pdf Chapter II. C (The First Shots), paragraphs 56–57 (p. 20)] |1.47 MiB ]
Fighting spreads, government falls
On 24 October, 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. That day, Imre Nagy replaced
András Hegedűsas Prime Minister. [UN General Assembly "Special Committee on the Problem of Hungary" (1957) PDF| [http://mek.oszk.hu/01200/01274/01274.pdf Chapter IV.C, para 225 (p. 71)] |1.47 MiB ] 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. [UN General Assembly "Special Committee on the Problem of Hungary" (1957) PDF| [http://mek.oszk.hu/01200/01274/01274.pdf Chapter II.C, para 57 (p. 20)] |1.47 MiB ] At this point, the revolutionaries' wrath focused on the ÁVH; [UN General Assembly "Special Committee on the Problem of Hungary" (1957) PDF| [http://mek.oszk.hu/01200/01274/01274.pdf Chapter II.N, para 89(ix) (p. 31)] |1.47 MiB ] Soviet military units were not yet fully engaged, and there were many reports of some Soviet troops showing open sympathy for the demonstrators. [UN General Assembly "Special Committee on the Problem of Hungary" (1957) PDF| [http://mek.oszk.hu/01200/01274/01274.pdf Chapter IV. B (Resistance of the Hungarian people) para 166 (p. 52) and XI. H (Further developments) para 480 (p 152)] |1.47 MiB ]
On 25 October, a mass of protesters gathered in front of the Parliament Building. ÁVH units began shooting into the crowd from the rooftops of neighboring buildings. [UN General Assembly "Special Committee on the Problem of Hungary" (1957) PDF| [http://mek.oszk.hu/01200/01274/01274.pdf Chapter X.I, para 482 (p. 153)] |1.47 MiB ] Some Soviet soldiers returned fire on the ÁVH, mistakenly believing that they were the targets of the shooting. [UN General Assembly "Special Committee on the Problem of Hungary" (1957) PDF| [http://mek.oszk.hu/01200/01274/01274.pdf Chapter II.F, para 64 (p. 22)] |1.47 MiB ] Supplied by arms taken from the ÁVH or given by Hungarian soldiers who joined the uprising, some in the crowd started shooting back. [UN General Assembly "Special Committee on the Problem of Hungary" (1957) PDF| [http://mek.oszk.hu/01200/01274/01274.pdf Chapter X.I, para 482 (p. 153)] |1.47 MiB ]
The attacks at the Parliament forced the collapse of the government. [UN General Assembly "Special Committee on the Problem of Hungary" (1957) PDF| [http://mek.oszk.hu/01200/01274/01274.pdf Chapter II.F, para 65 (p. 22)] |1.47 MiB ] Communist First Secretary Ernő Gerő and former Prime Minister
András Hegedűsfled to the Soviet Union; Imre Nagybecame Prime Minister and János KádárFirst Secretary of the Communist Party. [UN General Assembly "Special Committee on the Problem of Hungary" (1957) PDF| [http://mek.oszk.hu/01200/01274/01274.pdf Chapter XII.B, para 565 (p. 174)] |1.47 MiB ] Revolutionaries began an aggressive offensive against Soviet troops and the remnants of the ÁVH.
As the Hungarian resistance fought Soviet tanks using
Molotov cocktailsin 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. [Cold War International History Project (CWIHP), [http://www.wilsoncenter.org/index.cfm?topic_id=1409&fuseaction=va2.document&identifier=824CD4FC-EA38-D85C-19E642C601751C1F&sort=Collection&item=1956%20Hungarian%20Revolution KGB Chief Serov's report, 29 October 1956] , (by permission of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars) Retrieved 8 October 2006] Soviet units fought primarily in Budapest; elsewhere the countryside was largely quiet. Soviet commanders often negotiated local cease-fires with the revolutionaries. [UN General Assembly "Special Committee on the Problem of Hungary" (1957) PDF| [http://mek.oszk.hu/01200/01274/01274.pdf Chapter IV.C, para 167 (p. 53)] |1.47 MiB ] 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.cite book|last = Gati| first = Charles| year = 2006| title = Failed Illusions: Moscow, Washington, Budapest, and the 1956 Hungarian Revolt (Cold War International History Project Series)| publisher = Stanford University Press| id = ISBN 0-8047-5606-6 (pp. 176–177)] A ceasefire was arranged on 28 October, and by 30 October most Soviet troops had withdrawn from Budapest to garrisons in the Hungarian countryside. [UN General Assembly "Special Committee on the Problem of Hungary" (1957) PDF| [http://mek.oszk.hu/01200/01274/01274.pdf Chapter II. F (Political Developments) II. G (Mr. Nagy clarifies his position), paragraphs 67–70 (p. 23)] |1.47 MiB ]
Fighting had virtually ceased between 28 October and 4 November, as many Hungarians believed that Soviet military units were indeed withdrawing from Hungary. [Video: Revolt in Hungary [http://files.osa.ceu.hu/holdings/selection/rip/4/av/1956-44.html] Narrator:
Walter Cronkite, producer: CBS (1956) - Fonds 306, Audiovisual Materials Relating to the 1956 Hungarian Revolution, OSA Archivum, Budapest, Hungary ID number: HU OSA 306-0-1:40]
The New Hungarian National Government
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", [cite book | last = Gati | first = Charles | title = Failed Illusions: Moscow, Washington, Budapest and the 1956 Hungarian Revolt | publisher = Stanford University Press | year = 2006 | month = September | id = ISBN 0-8047-5606-6 (page 52)] 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". [cite book | last = Gati | first = Charles | title = Failed Illusions: Moscow, Washington, Budapest and the 1956 Hungarian Revolt | publisher = Stanford University Press | year = 2006 | month = September | id = ISBN 0-8047-5606-6 (page 173)] Calling the ongoing insurgency "a broad democratic mass movement" in a radio address on 27 October, Nagy formed a government which included some non-communist ministers. This new National Government abolished both the ÁVH and the one-party system. [UN General Assembly "Special Committee on the Problem of Hungary" (1957) PDF| [http://mek.oszk.hu/01200/01274/01274.pdf Chapter II. F (Political developments), paragraph 66 (p. 22)] |1.47 MiB ] [cite book | last = Zinner | first = Paul E. | title = Revolution in Hungary | publisher = Books for Libraries Press | year = 1962|id = ISBN 0-8369-6817-4 ] 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. [UN General Assembly "Special Committee on the Problem of Hungary"(1957) PDF| [http://mek.oszk.hu/01200/01274/01274.pdf Chapter XII. D (Reassertion of Political Rights), paragraph 583 (p. 179) and footnote 26 (p. 183)] |1.47 MiB ] Many political prisoners were released, most notably József Cardinal Mindszenty. [Video: Revolt in Hungary [http://files.osa.ceu.hu/holdings/selection/rip/4/av/1956-44.html] Narrator: Walter Cronkite, producer: CBS (1956) - Fonds 306, Audiovisual Materials Relating to the 1956 Hungarian Revolution, OSA Archivum, Budapest, Hungary ID number: HU OSA 306-0-1:40] Political parties which were previously banned, such as the Independent Smallholders and the National Peasants' Party, reappeared to join the coalition. [UN General Assembly "Special Committee on the Problem of Hungary"(1957) PDF| [http://mek.oszk.hu/01200/01274/01274.pdf Chapter II. F (A Brief History of the Hungarian Uprising), paragraph 66 (p. 22) and footnote 26 (p. 183)] |1.47 MiB ]
Local revolutionary councils formed throughout Hungary [Video: BBC "Report on the 1956 Hungarian Revolution" (1956)
George Mikes, correspondent [http://files.osa.ceu.hu/holdings/selection/rip/4/av/1956-01.html] Fonds 306, Audiovisual Materials Relating to the 1956 Hungarian Revolution, OSA Archivum, Budapest, HungaryID number: HU OSA 306-0-1:1] , generally without involvement from the preoccupied National Government in Budapest, and assumed various responsibilities of local government from the defunct communist party.UN General Assembly "Special Committee on the Problem of Hungary" (1957) PDF| [http://mek.oszk.hu/01200/01274/01274.pdf Chapter XI (Revolutionary and Workers' Councils), paragraph 485–560 (pp. 154-170)] |1.47 MiB ] By 30 October, 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". Likewise, workers' councilswere 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. [UN General Assembly "Special Committee on the Problem of Hungary" (1957) PDF| [http://mek.oszk.hu/01200/01274/01274.pdf Chapter II. E (Revolutionary and Workers' Councils), paragraph 63 (p. 22)] |1.47 MiB ] Local control by the councils was not always bloodless; in Debrecen, Győr, Sopron, Mosonmagyaróvárand 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.
On 24 October, the Presidium of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (the Politburo) discussed the political upheavals in Poland and Hungary. A hard-line faction led by Molotov was pushing for intervention, but Khrushchev and Marshal Zhukov were initially opposed. 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 23 October 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.
After some debate,cite web | title = Working Notes from the Session of the CPSU CC Presidium on October 30, 1956 | work = Cold War International History Project | publisher = Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars | date = 30 October 1956 | url = http://www.wilsoncenter.org/index.cfm?topic_id=1409&fuseaction=va2.document&identifier=6914DE3F-E92D-A351-187CEA2FF91AFD7A&sort=Collection&item=1956%20Hungarian%20Revolution&print=true | format = HTML | accessdate = 2006-10-20] [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/6061852.stm "When the Soviet Union nearly blinked"] , "BBC News", 23 October 2006.] the Presidium on 30 October decided not to remove the new Hungarian government. Even Marshal
Georgy Zhukovsaid: "We should withdraw troops from Budapest, and if necessary withdraw from Hungary as a whole. This is a lesson for us in the military-political sphere." They 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." [ [http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/mod/1956soviet-coop1.html 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] 30 October 1956, Printed in The Department of State Bulletin, XXXV, No. 907 (12 November 1956), pp. 745–747, Accessed 2006-10-19] Thus for a brief moment it looked like there could be a peaceful solution.
On 30 October, armed protestors attacked the ÁVH detachment guarding the Budapest Hungarian Workers Party headquarters on Köztársaság tér (Republic square), incited by rumors of prisoners held there, and the earlier shootings of demonstrators by the ÁVH in the city of Mosonmagyaróvár.UN General Assembly "Special Committee on the Problem of Hungary" (1957) PDF| [http://mek.oszk.hu/01200/01274/01274.pdf Chapter XI (Revolutionary and Workers' Councils), paragraph 485–560 (pp. 154-170)] |1.47 MiB ] Mark Kramer, [http://www.wilsoncenter.org/topics/pubs/ACF19B.pdf "New Evidence on Soviet Decision-making and the 1956 Polish and Hungarian Crises" (PDF)] , Cold War International History Project Bulletin, page 368.] The Institute for the History of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution: Part 3. [http://www.rev.hu/history_of_56/ora3/ora3_e.htm Days of Freedom] ] Over 20 AVH officers were killed, some of them lynched by the mob. Hungarian army tanks sent to rescue the party headquarters mistakenly bombarded the building. The head of the Budapest party committee, Imre Mező, was wounded and later died. [cite book | last = Gati | first = Charles | title = Failed Illusions: Moscow, Washington, Budapest and the 1956 Hungarian Revolt | publisher = Stanford University Press | year = 2006 | month = September | id = ISBN 0-8047-5606-6 (page 177)] cite journal | last = Parsons | first = Nicholas T | title = Narratives of 1956 | journal = The Hungarian Quarterly | volume = XLVIII | issue = Summer 2007 | url = http://www.hungarianquarterly.com/no186/18.html | accessdate = 2008-04-27 ] Scenes from Republic Square were shown on Soviet newsreels a few hours later. [
William Taubman: "Khrushchev. The Man and His Era" (2005), ISBN 9780743275644, page 296.] Revolutionary leaders in Hungary condemned the incident and appealed for calm, and the mob violence soon died down, [ [http://www.rev.hu/history_of_56/ora3/ora3_e.htm "3. Lesson: The Days of Freedom"] , "The Institute for the History of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution".] but images of the victims were nevertheless used as propagandaby various Communist organs.
On 31 October the Soviet leaders decided to reverse their decision from the previous day. There is disagreement among historians whether Hungary's declaration to exit the Warsaw Pact caused the second Soviet intervention. Minutes of the 31 October 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.cite web | title = Working Notes and Attached Extract from the Minutes of the CPSU CC Presidium Meeting, October 31, 1956 | work = The 1956 Hungarian Revolution, A History in Documents | publisher = George Washington University: The National Security Archive | date = 4 November 2002 | url = http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB76/doc6.pdf | format = PDF |accessdate = 2006-07-08] However, some Russian historians who are not advocates of the Communist era maintain that the Hungarian declaration of neutrality caused the Kremlin to intervene a second time. [Sebestyen, Victor, "Ungernrevolten 1956: Tolv dagar som skakade världen" (2006), p. 286. (Swedish edition of "Twelve Days: The Story of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution"), ISBN 91-518-4612-8. (Cites Borhi, "Hungary in the Cold War" (2004), p. 243-249.)] Two days earlier, on 30 October, when Soviet Politburo representatives
Anastas Mikoyanand Mikhail Suslovwere in Budapest, Nagy had hinted that neutrality was a long-term objective for Hungary, and that he was hoping to discuss this matter with the leaders in the Kremlin. This information was passed on to Moscow by Mikoyan and Suslov. [Mark Kramer, [http://www.wilsoncenter.org/topics/pubs/ACF19B.pdf "New Evidence on Soviet Decision-making and the 1956 Polish and Hungarian Crises" (PDF)] , Cold War International History Project Bulletin, page 369.] [Sebestyen, Victor, "Ungernrevolten 1956: Tolv dagar som skakade världen" (2006), p. 286.] At that same time, Khrushchev was in Stalin's Dacha, considering his options regarding Hungary. One of his speechwriters later said that the declaration of neutrality was an important factor in his subsequent decision to support intervention. [Sebestyen, Victor, "Ungernrevolten 1956: Tolv dagar som skakade världen" (2006), p. 286. (Cites Burlatsky, "Khrushchev and the first Russian Spring" (1991), p. 88-94.)] In addition, some Hungarian leaders of the revolution as well as students had called for their country's withdrawal from the Warsaw Pact much earlier, and this may have influenced Soviet decision making. [Johanna Granville, [http://www.h-net.org/reviews/showrev.cgi?path=12620949617664 "New Insights on the 1956 Crisis"] , January, 2000.]
Several other key events alarmed the Presidium and cemented the interventionists' position: [cite web | last = Rainer | first = János M. | title = Decision in the Kremlin, 1956 — the Malin Notes | work = Paper presented at Rutgers University | publisher = The Institute for the History of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution | date = 1996-11-01 | url = http://www.rev.hu/archivum/rmj1.html | accessdate = 2006-09-07 ]
*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
hegemonyitself. 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". [cite book| last = Arendt| first = Hannah | authorlink =Hannah Arendt | coauthors = | title = Origins of Totalitarianism | publisher = Harcourt| date = 1951 (1958 edition)| location = New York| url = | pages = pp. 480–510| id = ISBN 0-15-670153-7] [cite journal | last = Auer | first = Stefan | title = Hannah Arendt, Totalitarianism and the Revolutions in Central Europe: 1956, 1968, 1989 | journal = Eurozine|date = 2006-10-25| url = http://www.eurozine.com/articles/2006-10-25-auer-en.html | accessdate = 2006-10-27 ]
*The Presidium was concerned lest the West might perceive Soviet weakness if it did not deal firmly with Hungary. On
1956-10-29, Israeli, British and French forces invaded Egypt. Khrushchev reportedly remarked "We should reexamine our assessment and should not withdraw our troops from Hungary and Budapest. We should take the initiative in restoring order in Hungary. If we depart from Hungary, it will give a great boost to the Americans, English, and French--the imperialists. They will perceive it as weakness on our part and will go onto the offensive... To Egypt they will then add Hungary. We have no other choice."
*Khrushchev stated that many in the communist party would not understand a failure to respond with force in Hungary.
De-Stalinizationhad alienated the more conservative elements of the Party, who were alarmed at threats to Soviet influence in Eastern Europe. On 17 June 1953, workers in East Berlinhad 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. [Cold War International History Project (CWIHP), [http://www.wilsoncenter.org/index.cfm?topic_id=1409&fuseaction=va2.document&identifier=5034CF83-96B6-175C-9D4EF24C4DBDEABE&sort=Collection&item=Germany%20in%20the%20Cold%20War 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] In June 1956, in Poznań, Poland, an anti-government workers' revolt had been suppressed by the Polish security forces with between 57 Andrzej Paczkowski, "Pół wieku dziejów Polski", Wydawnictwo Naukowe PWN, Warszawa 2005, ISBN 83-0114-487-4, p. 203] and 78Ł. Jastrząb, "Rozstrzelano moje serce w Poznaniu. Poznański Czerwiec 1956 r. – straty osobowe i ich analiza", Wydawnictwo Comandor, Warszawa 2006] Norbert Wójtowicz, "Ofiary „Poznańskiego Czerwca”", Rok 1956 na Węgrzech i w Polsce. Materiały z węgiersko–polskiego seminarium. Wrocław październik 1996, ed. Łukasz Andrzej Kamiński, Wrocław 1996, p. 32–41.] deaths and led to the installation of a less Soviet-controlled government. 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 zoneof satellite nations. [cite journal | last = Okváth | first = Imre | title = Hungary in the Warsaw Pact: The Initial Phase of Integration, 1957–1971 | journal = The Parallel History Project on NATO and the Warsaw Pact | year = 1999 | url = http://www.isn.ethz.ch/php/documents/collection_4/texts/introduction_okvath.htm | accessdate = 2006-09-04 | format = dead link|date=June 2008 – [http://scholar.google.co.uk/scholar?hl=en&lr=&q=author%3AOkv%C3%A1th+intitle%3AHungary+in+the+Warsaw+Pact%3A+The+Initial+Phase+of+Integration%2C+1957%E2%80%931971&as_publication=The+Parallel+History+Project+on+NATO+and+the+Warsaw+Pact&as_ylo=&as_yhi=&btnG=Search Scholar search] 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] 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. [cite web | title = Overview | work = The 1956 Hungarian Revolution, A History in Documents | publisher = George Washington University: The National Security Archive | year = 1999 | url = http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB76/ | accessdate = 2006-09-04] 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, [Cold War International History Project (CWIHP), [http://www.wilsoncenter.org/index.cfm?topic_id=1409&fuseaction=va2.document&identifier=692581EC-A0E3-F953-CBB9FF5E9EDE78E8&sort=Collection&item=1956%20Hungarian%20Revolution 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 8 October 2006] and he was in contact with the Soviet embassy while still a member of the Nagy government. [UN General Assembly "Special Committee on the Problem of Hungary" (1957) PDF| [http://mek.oszk.hu/01200/01274/01274.pdf Chapter II. J (Mr. Kádár forms a government), para 77–78 (p. 26–27)] |1.47 MiB ] Delegations were sent to other Communist governments in Eastern Europe and China, seeking to avoid a regional conflict, and
propagandamessages 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.
According to some sources, the Chinese leader
Mao Zedongplayed an important role in Khrushchev's decision to suppress the Hungarian uprising. Chinese Communist Party Deputy Chairman Liu Shaoqiput pressure on Khrushchev to send in troops to put down the revolt by force. [ Philip Short, "Mao: a life" (2001), page 451.] [ John Lewis Gaddis, "The Cold War: a new history" (2005), page 109.] Although the relations between China and the Soviet Union had deteriorated during the recent years, Mao's words still carried great weight in Kremlin, and they were frequently in contact during the crisis. Initially Mao opposed a second intervention and this information was passed on to Khrushchev on 30 October, before the Presidium met and decided against intervention. [Sebestyen, Victor, "Ungernrevolten 1956: Tolv dagar som skakade världen" (2006), p. 247. ISBN 91-518-4612-8.] Mao then changed his mind in favor of intervention, but according to William Taubmanit remains unclear when and how Khrushchev learned of this and thus if it influenced his decision on 31 October. [ William Taubman: "Khrushchev. The Man and His Era" (2005), ISBN 9780743275644, page 297.]
On 1 November to 3 November, Khrushchev left Moscow to meet with his East-European allies and inform them of the decision to intervene. At the first such meeting, he met with
Władysław Gomułkain Brest. Then he had talks with the Romanian, Czechoslovak, and Bulgarian leaders in Bucharest. Finally Khrushchev flew with Malenkovto Yugoslavia, where they met with Tito, who was vacationing on his island Brioni in the Adriatic. The Yugoslavs also persuaded Khrushchev to choose János Kádárinstead of Ferenc Münnichas the new leader of Hungary. [Mark Kramer, [http://www.wilsoncenter.org/topics/pubs/ACF19B.pdf "New Evidence on Soviet Decision-making and the 1956 Polish and Hungarian Crises" (PDF)] , Cold War International History Project Bulletin, pages 373-374.] [Slobodan Stankovic, [http://files.osa.ceu.hu/holdings/300/8/3/text/118-1-194.shtml "Yugoslav Diplomat who Defied Soviet Leaders Dies"] , Radio Free Europe Research, 1982-08-05.]
Although the United States Secretary of State recommended on 24 October that the
United Nations Security Councilconvene to discuss the situation in Hungary, little immediate action was taken to introduce a resolution. [cite paper | author = Csaba Békés | title = The Hungarian Question on the UN Agenda: Secret Negotiations by the Western Great Powers 26 October–4 November 1956. (British Foreign Office Documents) | date = "Hungarian Quarterly" (Spring 2000) | url =http://www.rev.hu/index_en.html|accessdate = 2006-10-08 ] Responding to the plea by Nagy at the time of the second massive Soviet intervention on 4 November, 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. [Hungarian Revolt, 23 October–4 November 1956 (Richard Lettis and William I. Morris, editors): Appendices [http://www.historicaltextarchive.com/books.php?op=viewbook&bookid=13&post=2#N_1_ The Hungary Question in the United Nations] Retrieved 3 September 2006 ]
The U.S. President,
Dwight Eisenhower, was aware of a detailed study of Hungarian resistance which recommended against U.S. military intervention, [cite web | title = Study Prepared for US Army Intelligence "Hungary, Resistance Activities and Potentials" (January 1956) | work = The 1956 Hungarian Revolution, A History in Documents | publisher = George Washington University: The National Security Archive | date = 4 November 2002 | url = http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB76/doc1.pdf | format = PDF | accessdate = 2006-09-03] 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. [cite web | title = Minutes of the 290th NSC Meeting (12 July 1956) | work = The 1956 Hungarian Revolution, A History in Documents | publisher = George Washington University: The National Security Archive | date = 4 November 2002 | url = http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB76/doc2.pdf | format = PDF | accessdate = 2006-09-03] [cite journal | last = Borhi | first = László | title = Containment, Rollback, Liberation or Inaction? The United States and Hungary in the 1950s | journal = Journal of Cold War Studies | volume = 1 | issue = 3 | pages = 67–108 | year = 1999 | url = http://www.coldwar.hu/html/en/publications/rollback.html |accessdate = 2006-09-03 | format = dead link|date=June 2008 – [http://scholar.google.co.uk/scholar?hl=en&lr=&q=author%3ABorhi+intitle%3AContainment%2C+Rollback%2C+Liberation+or+Inaction%3F+The+United+States+and+Hungary+in+the+1950s&as_publication=Journal+of+Cold+War+Studies&as_ylo=&as_yhi=&btnG=Search Scholar search] | doi = 10.1162/152039799316976814 ] 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.CNN: Géza Jeszenszky, Hungarian Ambassador, [http://www.cnn.com/SPECIALS/cold.war/guides/debate/chats/jeszensky/ Cold War Chat (transcript)] 8 November 1998]
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 NATOor United Nations would intervene if the citizens continued to resist. [cite web | title = Policy Review of Voice For Free Hungary Programming from 23 October to 23 November 1956 (15 December 1956) | work = The 1956 Hungarian Revolution, A History in Documents | publisher = George Washington University: The National Security Archive | date = 4 November 2002 | url = http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB76/doc10.pdf | format = PDF | accessdate = 2006-09-02]
oviet intervention of 4 November
On 1 November, Imre Nagy received reports that Soviet forces had entered Hungary from the east and were moving towards Budapest. [UN General Assembly "Special Committee on the Problem of Hungary" (1957) PDF| [http://mek.oszk.hu/01200/01274/01274.pdf Chapter VIII.D, para 336 (p. 103)] |1.47 MiB ] Nagy sought and received assurances from Soviet ambassador
Yuri Andropovthat 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. [ [http://www.isn.ethz.ch/php/documents/collection_wapa/texts/formative_years.htm 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] Ambassador Andropov was asked to inform his government that Hungary would begin negotiations on the removal of Soviet forces immediately. [cite web | title = Andropov Report, 1 November 1956 | publisher = Cold War International History Project (CWIHP), www.CWIHP.org, by permission of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars | url = http://www.wilsoncenter.org/index.cfm?topic_id=1409&fuseaction=va2.document&identifier=82699F97-EC4B-54BD-C4D29366EA294161&sort=Collection&item=The%20Warsaw%20Pact | accessdate = 2006-09-04] [cite web | title = Minutes of the Nagy Government's Fourth Cabinet Meeting, 1 November 1956 | work = The 1956 Hungarian Revolution, A History in Documents | publisher = George Washington University: The National Security Archive |date = 4 November 2002 | url = http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB76/doc7.pdf | format = PDF | accessdate = 2006-09-02]
On 3 November, a Hungarian delegation led by the Minister of Defense
Pál Maléterwere 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, [UN General Assembly "Special Committee on the Problem of Hungary" (1957) PDF| [http://mek.oszk.hu/01200/01274/01274.pdf Chapter II.I, para 75 (p. 25)] |1.47 MiB ] and the next day, the Soviet army again attacked Budapest. [UN General Assembly "Special Committee on the Problem of Hungary" (1957) PDF| [http://mek.oszk.hu/01200/01274/01274.pdf Chapter II.I, para 76 (p. 26)] |1.47 MiB ]
This second Soviet intervention, codenamed "Operation Whirlwind", was launched by Marshal
Ivan Konev. [UN General Assembly "Special Committee on the Problem of Hungary" (1957) PDF| [http://mek.oszk.hu/01200/01274/01274.pdf Chapter IV. E (Logistical deployment of new Soviet troops), para 181 (p. 56)] |1.47 MiB ] The five Soviet divisions stationed in Hungary before 23 October were augmented to a total strength of 17 divisions. [cite book| last = Györkei| first = Jenõ| authorlink = | coauthors = Kirov, Alexandr; Horvath, Miklos| title = Soviet Military Intervention in Hungary, 1956| publisher = Central European University Press| year = 1999| location = New York| url = |pages = 350| id = ISBN 963-9116-36-X ] The 8th Mechanized Army under command of Lieutenant General Hamazasp Babadzhanianand the 38th Army under command of Lieutenant General Hadzhi-Umar Mamsurovfrom the nearby Carpathian Military Districtwere deployed to Hungary for the operation. [cite book | last = Schmidl | first = Erwin | coauthors = Ritter, László | title = The Hungarian Revolution 1956 (Elite) | publisher = Osprey Publishing | year = 2006 | month = November | id = ISBN 184603079X (page 54)] Some rank-and-file Soviet soldiers reportedly believed they were being sent to Berlinto fight German fascists.cite book
last = Fryer | first = Peter | authorlink = Peter Fryer | title = Hungarian Tragedy | publisher = D. Dobson | year = 1957 | location = London | pages = Chapter 9 (The Second Soviet Intervention) | url = http://www.vorhaug.net/politikk/hungarian_tragedy/9_the_second_intervention.html | id = ASIN B0007J7674 ] By 9:30 p.m. on 3 November, the Soviet Army had completely encircled Budapest.UN General Assembly "Special Committee on the Problem of Hungary" (1957) PDF| [http://mek.oszk.hu/01200/01274/01274.pdf Chapter V.C, para 196 (pp. 60–61)] |1.47 MiB ]
At 3:00 a.m. on 4 November, 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
Budaand 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. Operation Whirlwind combined air strikes, artillery, and the coordinated tank-infantry action of 17 divisions. [cite book | last = Györkei | first = Jenõ | coauthors = Kirov, Alexandr; Horvath, Miklos| title = Soviet Military Intervention in Hungary, 1956 | publisher = Central European University Press | year = 1999 | location = New York
pages = 350 | id = ISBN 963-9116-36-X ] 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. [UN General Assembly "Special Committee on the Problem of Hungary" (1957) PDF| [http://mek.oszk.hu/01200/01274/01274.pdf Chapter V. B (The Second Soviet Military Intervention), para 188 (p. 58)] |1.47 MiB ] At 5:20 a.m. on 4 November, 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. [UN General Assembly "Special Committee on the Problem of Hungary" (1957) PDF| [http://mek.oszk.hu/01200/01274/01274.pdf Chapter VII. D (The Political Background of the Second Soviet Intervention), para 291 (p. 89)] |1.47 MiB ] The radio station, Free
Kossuth Rádió, stopped broadcasting at 8:07 a.m. [UN General Assembly "Special Committee on the Problem of Hungary" (1957) PDF| [http://mek.oszk.hu/01200/01274/01274.pdf Chapter VII. D (a silent carrier wave was detected until 9:45 am), para 292 (p. 89)] |1.47 MiB ] 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 Bibóas the last representative of the National Government remaining at post.cite book | last = Bibó | first = István | title = Democracy, Revolution, Self-Determination | publisher = Columbia University Press | year = 1991 | location = New York | pages = pp. 325–327|id = ISBN 0-88033-214-X ] Awaiting arrest, he wrote For Freedom and Truth, a to the nation and the world.
At 6:00 am on 4 November, [UN General Assembly "Special Committee on the Problem of Hungary" (1957) PDF| [http://mek.oszk.hu/01200/01274/01274.pdf Chapter VII.E, para 296 (p. 90)] |1.47 MiB ] in the town of
Szolnok, János Kádárproclaimed 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." [UN General Assembly "Special Committee on the Problem of Hungary" (1957) PDF| [http://mek.oszk.hu/01200/01274/01274.pdf Chapter VIII.B, para 596 (p. 185)] |1.47 MiB ] 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 an 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." [UN General Assembly "Special Committee on the Problem of Hungary" (1957) PDF| [http://mek.oszk.hu/01200/01274/01274.pdf Chapter VIII. B (The Political Background of the Second Soviet Intervention), para 600 (p. 186)] |1.47 MiB ]
By 8:00 am organised defence of the city evaporated after the radio station was seized, and many defenders fell back to fortified positions.UN General Assembly "Special Committee on the Problem of Hungary" (1957) PDF| [http://mek.oszk.hu/01200/01274/01274.pdf Chapter V.C, para 197 (p. 61)] |1.47 MiB ] Hungarian civilians bore the brunt of the fighting, as Soviet troops spared little effort to differentiate military from civilian targets. [UN General Assembly "Special Committee on the Problem of Hungary" (1957) PDF| [http://mek.oszk.hu/01200/01274/01274.pdf Chapter V.C, para 198 (p. 61)] |1.47 MiB ] For this reason, Soviet tanks often crept along main roads firing indiscriminately into buildings. Hungarian resistance was strongest in the industrial areas of Budapest, which were heavily targeted by Soviet artillery and air strikes. [UN General Assembly "Special Committee on the Problem of Hungary" (1957) PDF| [http://mek.oszk.hu/01200/01274/01274.pdf Chapter V. B (The Second Soviet Military Intervention), para 200 (p. 62)] |1.47 MiB ] 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. [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.] [Péter Gosztonyi, "Az 1956-os forradalom számokban", "Népszabadság" (Budapest), 3 November 1990.]
Soviet version of the events
Soviet reports of the events surrounding, during, and after were remarkably consistent in their accounts. 36 hours after the outbreak of violence,
Pravdapublished an account which set the tone for all further reports and subsequent Soviet historiography:
# on 23 October, the "honest" socialist Hungarians demonstrated against mistakes made by the Rákosi and Gerő governments
# fascist, Hitlerite, reactionary, counter-revolutionary hooligans financed by the imperialist west took advantage of the unrest to stage a counter-revolution
# the honest Hungarian people under Nagy appealed to Soviet (Warsaw Pact) forces stationed in Hungary to assist in restoring order
# the Nagy government was ineffective, allowing itself to be penetrated by counter-revolutionary influences, weakening then disintegrating, as proven by Nagy's culminating denouncement of the Warsaw Pact
# Hungarian patriots under Kádár broke with the Nagy government and formed a government of honest Hungarian revolutionary workers and peasants; this genuinely popular government petitioned the Soviet command to help put down the counter-revolution
# the Hungarian patriots, with Soviet assistance, smashed the counter-revolutionThe first Soviet report came out 24 hours after the first Western report. Nagy's appeal to the United Nations, or that he was arrested, was not reported. Nor did accounts explain how Nagy went from patriot to traitor. [Pravda (Moscow), 4 November [227/228] : "WITHOUT THE SLIGHTEST DELAY"
Imre Nagy turned out to be, objectively speaking, an accomplice of the reactionary forces. Imre Nagy cannot and does not want to fight the dark forces of reaction ...The Soviet Government, seeing that the presence of Soviet troops in Budapest might lead to further aggravation of the situation, ordered troops to leave Budapest, but ensuing events have shown that reactionary forces, taking advantage of the non-intervention of the Nagy Cabinet, have gone still further...The task of barring the way to reaction in Hungary has to be carried out without the slightest delay -such is the course dictated by events...
http://www.hungarian-history.hu/lib/revolt/rev16.htm, retrieved 8 October 2007] The Soviet press reported calm in Budapest while the Western press reported a revolutionary crisis was breaking out. According to the Soviet account, Hungarians never wanted a revolution at all. [Barghoorn, Frederick. "Soviet Foreign Propaganda". Princeton University Press. 1964.]
Between 10 November and 19 December, 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. [cite web | title = Report by Soviet Deputy Interior Minister M. N. Holodkov to Interior Minister N. P. Dudorov (15 November 1956) | work = The 1956 Hungarian Revolution, A History in Documents | publisher = George Washington University: The National Security Archive | date = 4 November 2002 | url = http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB76/doc8.pdf | format = PDF | accessdate = 2006-09-02] Approximately 200,000 Hungarians fled Hungary,cite journal
last = Cseresnyés
first = Ferenc
title = The '56 Exodus to Austria
journal = The Hungarian Quarterly
volume = XL
issue = 154
pages = pp. 86–101
publisher = Society of the Hungarian Quarterly
url = http://www.hungarianquarterly.com/no154/086.html
date = Summer 1999
accessdate = 2006-10-09 ] some 26,000 were put on trial by the Kádár government, and of those 13,000 were imprisoned. [cite conference
first = Adrienne
last = Molnár
coauthors = Kõrösi Zsuzsanna,
title = The handing down of experiences in families of the politically condemned in Communist Hungary
booktitle = IX. International Oral History Conference
pages = pp. 1169-1166
year = 1996
location = Gotegorg
url = http://www.rev.hu/archivum/kzsma1.htm
accessdate = 2006-10-14 ] Former Hungarian Foreign Minister Géza Jeszenszky estimated 350 were executed. Sporadic armed resistance and strikes by workers' councils continued until mid-1957, causing substantial economic disruption.
With most of Budapest under Soviet control by 8 November, 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 Malenkovand Mikhail Suslov.cite web | title = Situation Report to the Central Committee of the Communist Party by Malenkov-Suslov-Aristov (22 November 1956) | work = The 1956 Hungarian Revolution, A History in Documents | publisher = George Washington University: The National Security Archive | date = 4 November 2002 | url = http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB76/doc9.pdf | format = PDF | accessdate = 2006-09-02] 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. [UN General Assembly "Special Committee on the Problem of Hungary" (1957) PDF| [http://mek.oszk.hu/01200/01274/01274.pdf Chapter XIV.I.A, para 642 (p. 198), János Kádár's 15 points (4 November 1956)] |1.47 MiB ] 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. [UN General Assembly "Special Committee on the Problem of Hungary" (1957) PDF| [http://mek.oszk.hu/01200/01274/01274.pdf Annex A (Agreement between the Hungarian People Republic and the government of the USSR on the legal status of Soviet forces) pp. 112–113)] |1.47 MiB ] The Red Crossand the Austrian Armyestablished refugee camps in Traiskirchen and Graz. 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 22 November 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." [Fryer, Peter (1997). "Hungarian Tragedy", p. 10. Index Books: London. ISBN 1-871518-14-8.] The remainder of the group was returned to Budapest in 1958. Nagy was executed, along with Pál Maléterand Miklós Gimes, after secret trials in June 1958. Their bodies were placed in unmarked graves in the Municipal Cemetery outside Budapest. [http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/june/16/ "On This Day 16 June 1989: Hungary reburies fallen hero Imre Nagy"] British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) reports on Nagy reburial with full honors. (Accessed 13 October 2006)]
By 1963, most
political prisoners from the 1956 Hungarian revolution had been released. [Békés, Csaba, Malcolm Byrne, János M. Rainer (2002). "Hungarian Tragedy", p. L. Central European University Press: Budapest. ISBN 963-9241-66-0.] 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. [cite news | title = End of a Private Cold War | publisher = Time Magazine|date = 1971-10-11| url = http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,903181,00.html | accessdate = 2006-09-03 ]
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. [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)] 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". [cite news | title = How to Help Hungary | publisher = Time Magazine | date =
1956-12-24| url = http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,808812,00.html | accessdate = 2006-09-03 ] 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." [cite book| last = Simpson| first = James | title = Simpson's Contemporary Quotations| publisher = Collins| year = 1997| url = http://www.bartleby.com/63/86/186.html| pages = 672 pages|id = ISBN 0-06-270137-1] 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. [cite paper
author = United Nations Secretary-General
title = Report of the Secretary-General Document A/3485
publisher = United Nations
date = 5 January 1957
url = http://www.un.org/depts/dhl/dag/docs/a3485e.pdf
format = PDF
accessdate = 2006-10-13 ] The Committee, with representatives from Australia, Ceylon (
Sri Lanka), Denmark, Tunisiaand Uruguay, conducted hearings in New York, Geneva, Rome, Viennaand 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. [UN General Assembly "Special Committee on the Problem of Hungary" (1957) PDF| [http://mek.oszk.hu/01200/01274/01274.pdf Chapter I. D (Organization and Function of the Committee), paragraphs 1–26 (pp. 10–13)] |1.47 MiB ] 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. [UN General Assembly "Special Committee on the Problem of Hungary" (1957) PDF| [http://mek.oszk.hu/01200/01274/01274.pdf Chapter I. E (Attempts to observe in Hungary and meet Imre Nagy), paragraphs 32–34 (p. 14)] |1.47 MiB ] The 268-page Committee Report [ [http://mek.oszk.hu/01200/01274/01274.pdf UN General Assembly (1957) "Special Committee on the Problem of Hungary"] Accessed 14 October 2006] 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. [UN General Assembly "Special Committee on the Problem of Hungary" (1957) PDF| [http://mek.oszk.hu/01200/01274/01274.pdf Chapter II. N (Summary of conclusions), paragraph 89 (pp. 30–32)] |1.47 MiB ] A General Assembly resolution was approved, deploring the repression of the Hungarian people and the Soviet occupation, but no other action was taken. [United Nations General Assembly, Thirteenth Session: [http://daccessdds.un.org/doc/RESOLUTION/GEN/NR0/747/56/IMG/NR074756.pdf?OpenElement Resolution 1312 (XIII) The Situation in Hungary (Item 59, p. 69] (12 December 1958)]
At the Melbourne Olympics in 1956, the Soviet handling of the Hungarian uprising led to a boycott by Spain, the Netherlands and Switzerland. [International Olympic Committee: Melbourne/Stockholm 1956 [http://www.olympic.org/uk/games/past/innovations_uk.asp?OLGT=1&OLGY=1956 Did you know?] Retrieved 13 October 2006] At the Olympic Village, the Hungarian delegation tore down the Communist Hungarian flag and raised the flag of Free Hungary in its place. A confrontation between Soviet and Hungarian teams occurred in the semi-final match of the
water polotournament. 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 several films. [Radio Free Europe: [http://www.rferl.org/featuresarticle/2006/05/0e5164bb-fd53-4562-88c5-9aac69e5845c.html Hungary: New Film Revisits 1956 Water-Polo Showdown] Retrieved 13 October 2006] [ [http://european-films.net/content/view/603/57/ Szabadság, szerelem (Children of Glory)] ] The Hungarian team won the game 4-0 and later was awarded the Olympic 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 Togliattiand Giorgio Napolitano, regarded the Hungarian insurgents as counter-revolutionaries, as reported in " l'Unità", the official PCI newspaper. [The following are references in English on the conflicting positions of [http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,808752,00.html "l'Unità"] , [http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/L26885200.htm Napolitano] , [http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,808824,00.html Antonio Giolitti and party boss Palmiro Togliatti] , [http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,868066,00.html Giuseppe Di Vittorio] and [http://www.britannica.com/eb/article-219206/socialism Pietro Nenni] .] However Giuseppe Di Vittorio, chief of the Communist trade union CGIL, repudiated the leadership position, as did the prominent party members Antonio Giolitti, Loris Fortunaand many other 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. [cite book | last = Napolitano | first = Giorgio | year = 2005 | title = Dal Pci al socialismo europeo. Un'autobiografia politica (From the Communist Party to European Socialism. A political autobiography) | publisher = Laterza | location = | language = Italian|id = ISBN 88-420-7715-1] Within the Communist Party of Great Britain(CPGB), dissent that began with the repudiation of Stalinism by John Savilleand 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; 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 Camuswrote an open letter, " The Blood of the Hungarians", criticizing the West's lack of action. Even Jean-Paul Sartre, still a determined communist, criticised the Soviets in his article "Le Fantôme de Staline", in "Situations VII". [Sartre, Jean-Paul (1956), [http://www.humanite.presse.fr/journal/2005-06-21/2005-06-21-809020 L’intellectuel et les communistes français fr icon] Le Web de l'Humanite, 21 June 2005, Accessed 2006-10-24]
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.
On 13 February 2006, the
US State Departmentcommemorated 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. [cite press release | title = US State Department Commemorates the 1956 Hungarian Revolution | publisher = American Hungarian Federation | date = 2006-02-13 | url = http://www.americanhungarianfederation.org/news_1956_StateDepartment_Reception_2006-02-13.htm|accessdate = 2006-10-08 ] US President George W. Bushalso visited Hungary on 22 June 2006, to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary. [cite press release | title = Hungary a Model for Iraq, Bush Says in Budapest | publisher = International Information Programs | date = 2006-06-22 | url = http://usinfo.state.gov/xarchives/display.html?p=washfile-english&y=2006&m=June&x=200606221431051CJsamohT0.2036402 | accessdate = 2006-10-14]
After the fall of the communist regime, Imre Nagy's body was reburied with full honors. The Republic of Hungary was declared in 1989 on the 33rd anniversary of the Revolution, and 23 October is now a Hungarian national holiday.
*cite book | last = Arendt | first = Hannah | title = Origins of Totalitarianism | publisher = Harcourt | year = 1951 | location = New York | pages = pp. 480–510| isbn= 0-15-670153-7
*cite book | last = Bekes | first = Csaba (Editor) | coauthors = Byrne, Malcolm (Editor), Rainer, Janos (Editor) | year = 2003 | title = The 1956 Hungarian Revolution: A History in Documents (National Security Archive Cold War Readers) | publisher = Central European University Press | pages = 600 pages | isbn= 963-9241-66-0
*cite book | last = Bibó | first = István | title = Democracy, Revolution, Self-Determination | publisher = Columbia University Press | year = 1991 | location = New York | pages = pp. 331–354 | isbn= 0-88033-214-X
*cite book | last = Gadney | first = Reg | month = October | year = 1986 | title = Cry Hungary: Uprising 1956 | publisher = Macmillan Pub Co | pages = 169 pages | isbn= 0-689-11838-4
*cite book | last = Gati | first = Charles | year = 2006 | title = Failed Illusions: Moscow, Washington, Budapest, and the 1956 Hungarian Revolt (Cold War International History Project Series) | publisher = Stanford University Press | pages = 264 pages | isbn= 0-8047-5606-6
*cite book | last = Györkei | first = Jenõ | coauthors = Kirov, Alexandr; Horvath, Miklos | title = Soviet Military Intervention in Hungary, 1956 | publisher = Central European University Press | year = 1999 | location = New York | pages = 350 | isbn= 963-9116-36-X
*cite book | last = Kertesz | first = Stephen D. | title = [http://www.hungarian-history.hu/lib/dipl/dipl00.htm Diplomacy in a Whirlpool: Hungary between Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia] | publisher = University of Notre Dame Press, Notre Dame, Indiana | year = 1953 | isbn= 0-8371-7540-2
*cite book | last = Michener | first = James A. | authorlink = James A. Michener | title =
The Bridge at Andau| publisher = Fawcett | date = 1985 (reissue edition) | location = New York | isbn= 0-449-21050-2
*cite book | last = Morris | first = William E. | coauthors = Lettis, Richard (Editor) | year = Reprint edition (August 2001) | title = The Hungarian Revolt: 23 October–4 November 1956 | publisher = Simon Publications | isbn= 1-931313-79-2
*cite book | last = Napolitano | first = Giorgio | year = 2005 | title = Dal Pci al socialismo europeo. Un'autobiografia politica (From the Communist Party to European Socialism. A political autobiography) | publisher = Laterza | location = | language = Italian | isbn= 88-420-7715-1
*cite book | last = Péter | first = László | title = Resistance, Rebellion and Revolution in Hungary and Central Europe: Commemorating 1956 | publisher = UCL SSEES | year = 2008 | location = London | pages = 361 | isbn = 978-0-903425-79-7
*cite book | last = Sebestyen | first = Victor | title = Twelve Days: The Story of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution | publisher = Pantheon | year = 2006 | location = New York | pages = 340 pages | isbn= 0-375-42458-X
*cite book | last = Sugar | first = Peter F. | coauthors = Hanak, Peter, Frank, Tibor (Editors) | year = 1994 | title = A History of Hungary: From Liberation to Revolution (pp. 368–83) | publisher = Bloomington: Indiana University Press | pages = 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 PDF| [http://mek.oszk.hu/01200/01274/01274.pdf (268 pages)] |1.47 MiB
* [http://www.wilsoncenter.org/index.cfm?topic_id=1409&fuseaction=va2.browse&sort=Collection&item=1956%20Hungarian%20Revolution 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.
* [http://www.flickr.com/photos/dbforum/sets/72057594070651030/ 1956 newspaper front pages] Historic front pages from Hungarian newspapers, June to December 1956.
* [http://libcom.org/library/hungary-56-andy-anderson Hungary '56] Andy Anderson's pamphlet, written in 1964 and originally published by
Solidarity (UK), about events of the Hungarian uprising of 1956, focusing on Hungarian demands for economic and political self-management. (AK Press 2002, ISBN 0-934868-01-8)
* [http://www.historicaltextarchive.com/books.php?op=viewbook&bookid=13 The Hungarian Revolt, 23 October–4 November 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.
* [http://www.vorhaug.net/politikk/hungarian_tragedy/ "Hungarian Tragedy"] An eyewitness account by Peter Fryer, correspondent for the British Communist Party's newspaper, "The Daily Worker".
* [http://www.rev.hu/ Institute of Revolutionary History, Hungary] A Hungarian language site providing historical photos and documents, books and reviews, and links to English language sites.
* [http://www.osa.ceu.hu/digitalarchive/av/index.html# OSA Digital Archive] Videos of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution
* [http://www.1956.pl/main,8.html Polish Hungarian conections in 1956 - "Common Roads to Freedom"]
* [http://www.osaarchivum.org/files/holdings/300/8/3/text/36-6-112.shtml RADIO FREE EUROPE Research] , RAD Background Report/29: (Hungary) 20 October 1981, A CHRONOLOGY OF THE HUNGARIAN REVOLUTION, 23-4 October November 1956, compiled by RAD/Hungarian Section-Published accounts
* [http://www.archive.org/details/1956_Hungarian_Revolution_as_Depicted_in_Newsreels "Universal Pictures and Warner Pathé newsreels regarding the revolution]
last = Haynes
first = Mike
title = Hungary: workers' councils against Russian Tanks
newspaper = International Socialism
url = http://www.isj.org.uk/index.php4?id=250&issue=112
* [http://www.geocities.com/socialistparty/LabHist/1956Hungary.htm A risen people – against Stalinism, for workers’ democracy] by Norma Prendiville, "Militant Irish Monthly" (December 1986). Account of the uprising emphasizing its socialist roots and the workers' councils.
* [http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/november/4/newsid_2739000/2739039.stm "On this day 4 November 1956: Soviet troops overrun Hungary"] (Accessed 12 October 2006) - British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) reports on the first day of the second Soviet intervention and the fall of the Nagy government.
* [http://af-north.org/other%20pamphlets/1956.htm "1956 - The Hungarian Revolution"] Published in the 1980s as No.1 in a series of Council Communist pamphlets, emphasizing the events of 1956 as a Hungarian workers' uprising.
* [http://www.snagov.ro/en/index.php?s=187 "Notes from Snagov" – by Nagy Imre] - Excerpts. In Snagov (near Bucharest, Romania) there exists a statue/monument erected in Nagy Imre's memory.
* [http://www.soumar.cz/?q=en/czechoslovakian-1956 Czechoslovakian 1956] About Czechoslovaks and Hungarians in 1956
* [http://www.rferl.org/featuresarticle/2006/05/0e5164bb-fd53-4562-88c5-9aac69e5845c.html Freedom's Fury] The 2005 documentary film depicting events surrounding the Hungarian-Soviet confrontation in the Olympic water polo tournament, now known as the "blood in the water match". Narrated by Mark Spitz, produced by Lucy Liu and Quentin Tarantino.
* [http://european-films.net/content/view/603/57/ Szabadság, szerelem (Children of Glory)] A 2006 semi-fictional film by Hungarian director Kriszta Goda, depicting the effect of the 1956 Revolution on members of the 1956 Hungarian Olympic water polo team. A few weeks after Revolution was crushed, the Hungarian players find themselves up against the Soviet Union at a semifinal match.
* [http://www.1956andhungary.hu "1956 and Hungary: The Memory of Eyewitnesses - In Search of Freedom and Democracy"] The website of the international conference (28 September–29 September 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.
* [http://www.hungary1956.com 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.
* [http://project56.org/ Project 56] A multimedia project for the celebration of Hungarian life & culture with a focus on the Hungarian Revolution of 1956 and its aftermath.
* [http://www.celebratingfreedom1956.org/ CHR50 Festival of Freedom] The Cleveland Hungarian Revolution 50th Anniversary Committee website describing planned events on 21 October and 22 October 2006 in
Cleveland, Ohio, a city with many citizens of Hungarian heritage.
* [http://www.freedomfighter56.com/en_stories_2all.html Freedom Fighter 56] Personal stories of survival and escape from participants in the events of 1956.
* [http://multiculturalcanada.ca/node/1521 1956 Hungarian Memorial Oral History Project] . Multicultural Canada oral history collection of 1956 Hungarian Revolution refugees in Canada.
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