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Transcript

The
Hungarian
Uprising
1956

Hungarian Uprising 1956

Time-line

Map of Perspect-ives

Sour-ces

Quiz

Biogr-ahies

Sum-mary

Tasks

Could the US have saved lives if they intervened in the Hungarian Uprising?

Map of Perspections

SU perspective

The Soviets had four very important elements for the preservation of the communist system in the Eastern European (satellite) states. These four elements were: an effective and unified communist party leadership, a strong and determined state security force, a loyal and disciplined armed force and military leadership and a strict control of all media. Any hint of unrest in any of these four guidelines immediately set off warning bells in the Soviet government. The breakdown of all four of them at once, as happened in Hungary in 1956, left the Soviets with only two options: either accede to Hungary’s desire for independence and risk unleashing similar forces in Eastern countries or to reinstate their supremacy over the country with force. Hungary’s separation from the socialist bloc was unimaginable and had to be prevented at any price, so it was pretty clear what the Soviets would do and with the non-response of the West they gave the Soviets full assurance that if another conflict takes place in their empire, they will be free to react. With this in mind the Hungarian Uprising was an advantage for the SU, it gave them freedom to resolve internal matters without interference from the West.




General perception

After the outbreak of the armed uprising and Soviet intervention, Hungary’s fate was almost dependent on the reactions of the great powers. Those who took part in the Uprising were convinced by all of the US’ liberation propaganda that they would keep their promises to advocate the Hungarian people with armed assistance or that the US would at least employ all the political weapons to force the Soviet Union to agree to Hungarian’s independence, but nothing like that happened.

So after the attempted revolution, the Western press attacked the US government. They were accused of urging the Hungarians to revolt and then leaving them alone. The government replied with deep concern but stating that they never encouraged suicidal uprisings. It was clear now, that if there were to come up any similar uprisings, the revolutionaries could not expect help from the United States.

US perspective

The Uprising caught the US government completely by surprise. They were well informed about the political changes, indeed, but it was not expected that Hungary would stand up against the Soviet Union in an armed uprising. This event was against all interests, because it disturbed and stopped the then promising and successful détente between the East and the West. Only a more offensive approach from the West could have forced the SU to surrender Hungary. Such a move came with the considerable sums of money towards the funding of revolutionary radio stations and other such organizations. In all American political statements was the reference to liberation of the captive nation contained, which were transmitted to Eastern Europe. In the entire world was the illusion created that the United States, which had in fact never shown any real interests in the region, had made the liberation of these nations the cornerstone of its foreign policy. In reality, American foreign policy was based on the prevailing balance of power with the SU and the avoidance of a superpower conflict. So the United States sought an agreement for a peaceful coexistence. It was important to cover up the fact that they did not have unlimited possibilities to interfere in the Soviet sphere of influence. They could not risk a war to help Hungary, because the Soviets had climbed to the US’ level in the arms race and had even passed them. So the US tried to walk the tightrope of on the one hand appearing helping and encouraging to the eastern european countries and on the other side not to strain the relationship to Moscow any further.



Hungarian Uprising 1956

János Kádár

Imre Nagy

Mátyás

Rakosi

Imre Nagy

Birth: June 7th 1896

Death: June 16th 1958

biograPHY

Short Biographie

He was a Hungarian statesman, independent Communist and premier of the 1956 revolutionary government whose attempt to establish Hungary’s independence from the Soviet Union cost him his life.

After being a Russian captive in Word War I, he joined the Communists and fought in the Red Army. Nagy moved to Moscow in 1929. In late 1944 he returned to Hungary under Soviet occupation and helped to establish the postwar government there. He held several ministerial posts between 1944 and 1948. During that time he brought a few agrarian reforms on their way. Because of his steadfast support of the peasants’ welfare, Nagy was excluded from the Communist government in 1949 but was readmitted after making a public recantation. In 1953 Nagy became the second man, behind Rákosi, but upon his replacement Nagy became premier but then again was forced out because, due to his independent attitude, which is shown exemplary by his announced measures of political liberalization. During the Uprising in October 1956, the people fighting against the Soviet Union turned to Nagy for leadership, and he became once more premier of Hungary. On the last day of the unsuccessful uprising, he appealed to the West for help against the invading Soviet troops. He was, however, deposed by the Soviet Union in a huge military invasion of Hungary. After leaving his sanctuary in the Yugoslavian embassy he is deported to Romania, although he does not stay there for long. He was returned to Hungary, secretly tried for treason and executed and buried in an unmarked grave in 1958. In 1989 Nagy was posthumously rehabilitated by Hungary’s Supreme Court, and on June 16 of that year, exactly 31 years after his execution, he was reburied with full honors.

Imre Nagy Foto: no name by Katalin Jánosi under CC-BY-SA-4.0.

https://ungarn1956.zeitgeschichte-online.de/node/197 [28.05.22]

1956

What happend?

1956

What happend?

1945-1956

What happend prior to it?

since 1958

What followed?

The Hungarian Uprising 1956

Lina | Carla

1956, October 23rd

In the afternoon of the 23rd of October 1956 upon the publication of the sixteen points 20,000 people gathered next to the statue of a prominent leader of 1848. In the hours to the evening the number of protesters increased to the tenfold after the sixteen point manifest was read and they started to walk towards the parliament building. At 8 pm Ernö Gerö condemned the sixteen points on a radio broadcast leading to protesters trying to storm a radio station to broadcast the manifest, but the radio station was guarded by the secret police. A group tried to enter the building but were detained by the secret police. the confrontation got more intense and by 9:30 pm protesters were shot and killed by the secret police. The confrontation had escalated. Police cars were set on fire, civilians armed themselves with weaponry from military depots, then late at night the order came, that the Hungarian Military should back the secret police, but instead they joined the opposition and ripped the red star from their uniforms. This events forced Gerö to ask for military support from the Soviets.


1956, October 24th

2 am - Soviet tanks enter Budapest. All day long there would be fighting in the city. The role of Prime Minister goes to a new man: Imry Nagy, while Krushchev decides against the military intervention due to his belief that the Communist Party of Hungary still had the support of the majorty of the population. On a broadcast Nagy asks for the end of the violent fights and promises change. On the second day of trying to take over the Budapest Radio Station the plan is successful and another group tries to get power over the Communist Newspaper, but was again shot at.


1956, End of October

As a huge crowd continued to grow in front of the parliament building and the secret police started shooting at it and the fire was returned by armed crowd members Nagy holds talks with the Soviets negotiating a withdrawal of Soviet forces on the 25th and 26th. He then announces an immediate cease fire and the Establishment of democracy, freedom of speech and of religion. On the 30th Nagy takes first steps in the direction of democracy: he releases some political prisoners and asks for support of the revolutionary counsels. That same day the Soviets decide not to go against Nagys new government and negotiate peace. On the following day, more steps toward democracy are put on the way and it is announced that Hungary would withdraw from the Warsaw Pact and it was asked for the help of the UN.





1956 - The turning point

Due to mostly unknown reasons the Soviets changed their mind regarding the previously rejected intervention in Hungary on October 31st. One of the reasons probably was the fear of losing Hungary as a Eastern Bloc communist Country, which could inspire other countries to follow. So the Soviets deployed troops to Hungary and encircled Budapest. Upon the announcement of the new members of government, the new Minister of Defense and a delegation was invited to discuss a Soviet withdrawal in Tokol, but when they arrived they were arrested at midnight on November 3rd. In the early morning of the 4th of November Nagy calls out for help from the western world after the Soviets have slowly started to claim Budapest, but Nagy does not receive it because of a fear of a third world war. At 6 am Nagys Government was replaced by János Kádár and his Government, completely supporting the Soviet Union and communist idea. One stronghold after the other fell to the communists. At 8:07 am the Radio Station stopped broadcasting. Until November 10th fights would slowly die out in favor of the Soviet and on that date they arrested, imprisoned or deported thousands of members of the Uprising. Twelve days later János Kádár guarantied Nagy, who fled to the Yugoslav Embassy, save conduct to the border, but he was brought to Romania after getting captured immediately after leaving the embassy. Later in 1958 he was returned, tried and executed in secret in Budapest on June 16th.

The Consequences

Consequences

The number of casualties of the failed Hungarian Revolution of 1956:

2,500 Hungarian Soldiers

700 Soviet Soldiers

200,000 Hungarians fled their country

many thousands Hungarians arrested

hundreds of people were executed


The failed revolution and the brutality of the Soviets cowed the other satellite states behind the iron curtain and put the Hungarians under repression for decades.






October 23rd


In the afternoon of October 23rd 20,000 demonstrators move towards the Parliament Building after they had gathered next to statue of a prominent leader of the revolution 1848 and had heard Peter Veres read out the Sixteen Point manifesto. By 6 pm the number of participants had ten folded. Ernö Gerö, Party Leader at the time, condemns the Sixteen points on a radio broadcast two hours later. Out of the anger that the broadcast triggered a statue of Stalin was destroyed. Shortly after the Secret Police shoots protesters dead because of their attempts to gain power over the “Radio Budapest” Radio Station, which was secured by the Secret Police. The confrontation escalates and police cars are set on fire and demonstrators arm themselves with weaponry from military depots. Soldiers, who were ordered to restrain those revolutionaries did not obey and instead ripped of the red star of their uniform and became protesters themselves. Ernö Gerö feels forced by these events to ask for military help from the Soviets.


October 24th

His request is answered rapidly and by 12 am tanks and other military
forces are to be found at strategic points in the city of Budapest. Demonstrators are eager to resist and set up barricades. Between those intensifying confrontations Imre Nagy becomes Prime Minister and almost immediately demands the end of violence and promises reforms in a radio Broadcast and on the other side Krushchev due to his belief that the majority of the Hungarian Population is still on the side of the Communist Party decides against the any further military support. On the second day of trying to get hold of the power over the Budapest Radio Station they manage to be successful and encouraged by this another group tries the same at the building of the Communist newspaper leading to them being shot at again.

End of October

The shooting of a demonstrating crowd in front of the Parliament building by the Secret Police leads to the final escalation of the Uprising and is answered by the return of fire by armed crowd members on the 25th. Nagy believing, he has the support of the US negotiated the withdrawal of Soviet forces and tanks from Budapest on the following day and on the 28th of October he announced that from now on Hungary would be a democracy, establishing freedom of speech and religion. Also, he declared a cease fire. Further demonstrating the reform to become a democracy Nagy banned the laws preventing the founding and existence of more than one party and set political prisoners free and. Giving the population the feeling of being included he calls in the local revolutionary councils to support him. In the end of October 1956 there were counter attacks on Communist supporters, who then were killed or arrested brutally. At this point the Soviets agreed not to remove Nagy and his government and announced their readiness to negotiate a peaceful solution in writing. On October 30th Nagy informs the public of the decision to withdraw from the Warsaw Pact and the request for help from the UN.



Sep. 1944 - Feb. 1945, Budapest Offensive

During secret negotiations between a Hungarian delegation and the Soviet Union concerning an armistice (beginning in September) after Soviet troops invaded Hungary, the Hungarian and German troops provoke a major strike on the Soviet forcing them to gather their forces and gaining time for the Hungarians to negotiate. The Soviets strike back soon and by December 26th Budapest is surrounded. A week later on December 31st a provisional Hungarian Government declares war on Germany and thereby the switch of sites to the Soviets. In the following months the surrounded German troops would try to brake the siege, but every attempt would fail until they accept defeat on February 13th. The Budapest Offensive created big casualties on both sides.


1947- 1949

The Communist Party, lead by Mátyás Rakosi, gains more and more power and slowly becomes more brutal condemning opponents and members of the church to a life of terror, fear of imprisonment, torture, exil and assassination. On August 20th 1949 Mátyás Rakosi announces that Hungary now has a one party system, the party being the Hungarian Socialist Workers' Party, that has shown great loyalty to the Soviet Union before. The Upheavel continues and Hungary moves closer to the Soviet Union in regards to almost every aspect.


1953-1955

On March 5th Stalin dies and Georgy Malenkov takes over his power, but on September 8th Nikita Krushchev forces him to give him his power. On May 14th the Warsaw Pact enters into force giving Hungarians hope for more respect for their country, due to clauses demanding respect for the independence and sovereignty of states.


1956

On February 14th Krushchev opens the Communist Party Congress with a speech honoring the fallen members of the party, that had died since the last congress. Stalin was among the mentioned, but he was not given special treatment. Eleven days later, on the 25th Krushchev gave another speech containing criticism and the denunciation of Stalin. He gave that speech in privat and only to some chosen delegates, but still the content spread fast and vast leading inhabitants of the Eastern Bloc to hope for less strictness in the regime. On July 18th the Stalin supporter Rakosi was replaced by his deputy Ernö Gerö, after being forced to resign, but Gerö was not popular among the people and discontent grew even further once he was in office. In the months July to October different events occurred depicting the wish of loosening the communist regime and becoming more liberal and more independent of the Soviet Union.

At the peak of this motion stand the sixteen points drown up by students of the Technical University of Budapest. Those points contained demands of reform, such as the freedom of speech, free elections, a living wage, the readjustment of production quotas and the withdrawal of soviet forces.







Mátyás Rakosi

Birth: June 7th 1896


Death: June 16th 1958

biograPHY

Short Biographie

Rákosi was the communist ruler of Hungary from 1949 to 1956.


Since his youth he had been involved in leftwing politics and was a known supporter of Stalin.

In 1924 Rákosi returned by dispatch of Stalin to Hungary in an attempt to organize the Communist Party. He got arrested and sentenced to life-long imprisonment but served only 15 years. Finally returning to Hungary with Soviet troops in January 1944, Rákosi became secretary of the Hungarian Workers (Communist) Party from 1945 to 1948.

Then he reigned supreme as party chief from 1949 to 1953 (from 1952 also as prime minister).

He practically openly took over the leadership of the country himself, but in July 1953, following Stalin’s death, he was forced to relinquish the premiership to the reform-minded Imre Nagy. He remained party secretary, however, and in 1955 he was able to effect the dismissal of Nagy. The following year he was removed by Moscow from all party offices in order to placate the Yugoslav leader Marshal Tito, whom he had offended.

Rákosi’s enduring Stalinism and his subservience to Moscow had made him widely unpopular.

And, when revolution broke out in October 1956, he first was replaced as General Secretary and then fled to Vienna. There he lived for the rest of his life and died on 5 February 1971.

Short Biographie

He was a Hungarian statesman, independent Communist and premier of the 1956 revolutionary government whose attempt to establish Hungary’s independence from the Soviet Union cost him his life.

After being a russian captive in Word War I, he joined the Communists and fought in the Red Army. Nagy moved to Moscow in 1929. In late 1944 he returned to Hungary under Soviet occupation and helped to establish the postwar government there. He held several ministerial posts between 1944 and 1948. During that time he brought a few agrarian reforms on their way. Because of his steadfast support of the peasants’ welfare, Nagy was excluded from the Communist government in 1949 but was readmitted after making a public recantation. In 1953 Nagy became the second man, behind Rákosi, but upon his replacement Nagy became premier but then again was forced out because, due to his independent attitude, which is shown exemplary by his announced measures of political liberalization. During the Uprising in October 1956, the people fighting against the Soviet Union turned to Nagy for leadership, and he became once more premier of Hungary. On the last day of the unsuccessful uprising, he appealed to the West for help against the invading Soviet troops. He was, however, deposed by the Soviet Union in a huge military invasion of Hungary. After leaving his sanctuary in the Yugoslavian embassy he is deported to Romania, although he does not stay there for long. He was returned to Hungary, secretly tried for treason and executed and buried in an unmarked grave in 1958. In 1989 Nagy was posthumously rehabilitated by Hungary’s Supreme Court, and on June 16 of that year, exactly 31 years after his execution, he was reburied with full honors.

Fortepan -ID 79084 from: https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mátyás_Rákosi under CC BY-SA 3.0



János Kádár


Birth: May 26th 1912
Death: July 6th 1989

biograPHY


Short Biography


Twenty-one-year-old Kádar gets arrested for his communistic activities and sentenced to two years in prison, where he among others meets Mátyás Rákosi. During World War II he climbs through the ranks of the Communist Labour Party. In the following year he is arrested on a working trip, but he can flee and gets appointed Deputy Chief of the Police by the Budapest Central Committee a few days later. During the next years he climbs the ranks, but his career gets a major setback in his time as Minister of the Interior, due to his association with the Rajk Affairs leading to him being arrested, ripped of all his duties, and sentenced to life imprisonment, although he is rehabilitated, set free and even allowed to continue his political Career in 1954. He is able to use that possibility to climb the ranks even further and on October 30th, 1956, he becomes a member of the government and Minister of State, but he leaves Hungary and goes to the Soviets, who give him the head position of the counter-government just two day later. In 1988 he is appointed president of the Hungarian Labour Party, in which he functioned as first secretary in the past. After a long illness, Kádár passes away on July 6th, 1989, after he laid down all his offices in May.


A short Biographie


Twenty-one-year-old Kádar gets arrested for his communistic activities and sentenced to two years in prison, where he among others meets Mátyás Rákosi. During World War II he climbs through the ranks of the Communist Labour Party. In the following year he is arrested on a working trip, but he can flee and gets appointed Deputy Chief of the Police by the Budapest Central Committee a few days later. During the next years he climbs the ranks, but his career gets a major setback in his time as Minister of the Interior, due to his association with the Rajk Affairs leading to him being arrested, ripped of all his duties, and sentenced to life imprisonment, although he is rehabilitated, set free and even allowed to continue his political Career in 1954. He is able to use that possibility to climb the ranks even further and on October 30th, 1956, he becomes a member of the government and Minister of State, but he leaves Hungary and goes to the Soviets, who give him the head position of the counter-government just two day later. In 1988 he is appointed president of the Hungarian Labour Party, in which he functioned as first secretary in the past. After a long illness, Kádár passes away on July 6th, 1989, after he laid down all his offices in May.

János Kádár. Foto: Anefo, National Archives of the Netherlands under CC-BY-4.0.

Source: https://ungarn1956.zeitgeschichte-online.de/node/28

Task 1:
Briefly summarize the events of the Hungarian Uprising.

Task 2:
Describe and interpret the following caricature.

Task 3:
Position yourself on our guiding question and also in relation to the caricature.Weigh the pros and cons of Hungary becoming independent.

Sources of information

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Source of title cover: Unknown photographer, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:1956_a_budapesti_Szt%C3%A1lin-szobor_elgurult_feje_fortepan_93004.jpg, created: 23 October 1956, accessed 26/05/22