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"Everything was rethought much later": 60 years ago began the Hungarian uprising
Material posted: Publication date: 24-10-2016
60 years ago, on 23 October 1956, the uprising began in Budapest. Everything that happened in the subsequent two weeks have shown the world the resolve of the Soviet Union by any means to maintain Communist regimes in the Warsaw Pact countries. RT restored the course of events of those days and got acquainted with the eyewitnesses.

"The best disciple of Stalin"

After the Second world war, Hungary fell into the Soviet zone of occupation. 4 November 1945, the country held General elections to the Parliament. The majority of them received the Independent party of small owners, agricultural workers and citizens. The Communists also gained fewer votes. However, due to pressure from the Soviet leadership a majority of seats in Parliament in the rule of the Hungarian Communist party. In 1947, he held a second election, won by the Communist Hungarian workers party, which became the only legal political force. Its leader, mátyás rákosi had embarked on collectivization and industrialization and pursued a policy of terror, it was nicknamed "the best pupil of Stalin." Being in its hands the state security Department was keeping in fear the whole population.

In connection with the failure of the policy of rákosi accelerated industrialization and the General discontent of the Soviet leadership policy soon in his place was another Hungarian Communist Imre Nagy. In this post of the first Secretary of the Hungarian workers ' party remained for Rakosi. Nagy was a supporter of a more liberal policy: he ended political repression, lowered taxes, refused to industrialization — the country breathed a sigh of relief. Over time, positions Nadia weakened due to the pressure of rákosi and his supporters. In April of 1955 Imre Nagy was dismissed as Prime Minister and expelled from the party.

In March of 1956 in Hungary was established the Special corps of Soviet troops. It includes 2 th and 17-th guards mechanized divisions, 195-172 Yu-Yu aviation division and some other units. At this time President of the Hungarian government was andrás Hegedus, which immediately pushed the coalition led by Rakosi. The political regime in Hungary and re-hardened, which caused discontent of the population. Opposition sentiments were especially strong among the intelligentsia and students.

The beginning of the uprising

16 October 1956, a group of students of the University in Szeged left the Communist-Democratic Union of youth and revived the Union of students of Hungarian universities and academies which existed in the postwar years, and was abolished by the government. 22 October, students of the Budapest University organized mass demonstration and formulated a list of 16 demands to the authorities. Among them was the appointment of Imre Nagy, the Prime Minister and the withdrawal of Soviet troops. The next day in Budapest held another protest March, organized by the students.

In the night from 23 to 24 October, with the support of the Hungarian Communist party Prime Minister of the country was Imre Nagy. At the request of the first Secretary of the Communist party erne Gera in Budapest joined the Special corps of Soviet troops. Night in the city there were about 6 thousand troops, 290 tanks, 300 guns, and part of the 3rd infantry corps of the Hungarian people's army. Part of the military defected to the rebels.

The first victim

The first serious conflict between the rebels and Soviet troops took place on 25 October. Near the Parliament building in Budapest, the insurgents destroyed a Soviet tank, killing a soldier. Soviet troops immediately opened fire on the demonstrators, which led to hundreds of casualties among civilians. Despite the attempts of Prime Minister Nagy to stop fighting across the city continued shelling. At the initiative of the Soviet leadership, the new General Secretary of the Hungarian Communist party became Pro-Soviet minded Janos Kadar and Nagy remained Chairman of the government.He disbanded the state security Department, which led to the gradual cessation of hostilities with the military.

On 29 October, Soviet soldiers began to leave the city. One of them, albert White, later recalled:

"Rare patrols, especially at night, without shooting, there are wounded. But the time of active action on the part of the rebels was held. Started an underground war. Our unit was moved outside of the city, but the task of guarding the bridge over the Danube connecting Buda and pest, we had not removed. Being out of town, we met with the local population, who disapproved of the rebellion: "We grow bread, vegetables, raise children, and these events can't affect us," — said the people..."

"Operation Whirlwind"

October 30, Imre Nagy announced the creation in Hungary of a multiparty system and a coalition government, composed of representatives of several political parties. To further aggravation of the situation in the country was affected by the Suez crisis (29 October 1956, Israel, Britain and France attacked the USSR supported Egypt to seize the Suez canal). In response, the Soviet leadership took decisive action in Hungary.

At the meeting of the Presidium of the Central Committee of the CPSU, the Soviet leadership decided to overthrow the moderate mood of the government of Imre Nagy. In early November, the Chairman of the Hungarian socialist workers ' party was the Communist Janos Kadar. To quell the rebellion, Marshal Georgy Zhukov developed a plan for a military invasion of Hungary the 8th and 38th armies, is located in the Carpathian region. Operation to suppress the uprising was called "Whirlwind". On 1 November Hungary left the organization of the Warsaw Pact countries, while demanding the immediate withdrawal of Soviet troops from its territory.

Not all Soviet soldiers knew why they were sent to Budapest. One of them, Gennady terminal connection, recalled:

"When I, as a very young pilot, by order of flying on the suppression of the uprising, of course, I didn't realize that we are going to suppress people who are fighting for their rights and freedom. To the bone I was a Communist and was sure that we help our brothers Hungarians to fight the enemies. Then I didn't even think about how the events involved. For many of us it was some kind of game. Everything was reinterpreted much later."

"My nerves have passed"

On the morning of 4 November, the Soviet command ordered the troops to proceed to the beginning of the operation "Whirlwind". Three divisions entered the city and began to seize key installations. Members of the government of Imre Nagy negotiated with the Soviet representative in Hungary on the cessation of hostilities. But the attempt at a peaceful resolution of the conflict has not led to a positive result. Moreover, the defense Minister of a coalition government Fell Maleter was arrested by the KGB of the USSR during the negotiations. Imre Nagy, recognizing that the Soviet leadership is increasing its military presence, was granted asylum in the Embassy of Yugoslavia in Budapest.

Fighting continued in the city. One of the photographers who have appeared on the streets of the Hungarian capital, recalled the incident of the killing by insurgents of police officers:

"There were six young officers, one handsome. Their shoulder straps were torn. Quick dispute. We are not as bad as you think about us, give us a chance, they said. I was standing only a few feet from the group. Suddenly, one started to bend. They must be literally rested the barrel of his ribs, shooting. And they all fell like the cut stalks of corn. They were lying on the ground, and the rebels all larded with their lead... My nerves have passed. Tears rolled down his cheeks. For three years I was in the war, but have not seen anything that could compare with this horror. I saw a bullet enter the clothing of the people. See every bullet. And not so loud: they were shot point blank, so that the body served as a silencer. It lasted forty minutes".

"The situation was almost hopeless"

In the composition of the rebel army, resisted the Soviet troops, were students. One of them, Bel takes, described these events:

"We went back to the University on 4 November at noon to sleep. Inside were the military rebels. The atmosphere was very depressed. From the Windows of the University, we saw Soviet tanks that were destroyed all around. At this time we installed the antenna on the roof to adjust the transmission of the broadcast message in the city. Until the last moment I didn't want to take part in a military conflict, although perfectly aware of what is happening around horror. The people were oppressed. I understand that it's hard for us to resist Soviet troops, so I just continued to do their work for providing radio communication in the city with the outside world."

The shelling of Budapest lasted until November 14. Killing several thousand people. In addition, about 200 thousand Hungarians emigrated from the country, several thousand were arrested and imprisoned. 16 June 1958, Imre Nagy and his supporters were hanged.

The victims of the hostilities became like locals and the Soviet soldiers. The priest antal Kukla recalled:

"Representatives of the national guard were located in the neighborhood with our Seminary, the building of the law faculty. Some of them came to us to see how we can protect our building from attack. Before the attacks, on 4 November, we (the priests) were in different parts of the city, helping the wounded in hospitals. But the situation was almost hopeless. We could not foresee what will happen in the next minute but we've done everything we can to help people in need. Of course, we believed that the US and the Western countries will stand up for those fighting against the Soviet troops."

The Hungarian uprising of 1956, became a symbol of the victory of the Communist regime in Eastern Europe. But in the mid 1960-ies many of its members were pardoned and released by the government of Janos Kadar.

Edward Epstein


Tags: Europe , USSR

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