The Road Back to Budapest
Smithsonian, April 1985

In Budapest an anti-Soviet revolution triumphed in 1956) and was savagely crushed, yet it made its mark on Hungary's history.

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FROM THE TOP of Gellert Hill, where once again the bronze figure of a Soviet soldier stands guard before the female statue of Freedom, the city of Budapest is breathtaking. The Danube, so far as I know, is never blue. But from here, on hazy summer mornings, it shades to a blue-gray as it flows under its six handsome bridges, past a new ziggurat-like hotel and the delicate spires and filigree of Hungary's Parliament building. If Paris was worth a Mass to France's Henry IV in 1593, it is easy to imagine, even putting Soviet oppression aside, why Budapest was worth a mass uprising to patriotic workers and students 30 years ago, and a massacre to the Russians who crushed the revolt.

As a journalist I saw some of that fighting. Now, looking at Budapest for the first time in 20 years, like so many recent visitors from the West I am astonished. Today Budapest is a city transformed. The shattering damage that certain quarters took during the struggle between Hungarian freedom fighters and Russian tanks in 1956 has been richly repaired. With buildings going up and fancy shops along Vaci Utca practically spilling merchandise onto the sidewalks, the place has the look of a rich, carefree, crowd-filled Western city.

Much has been made of these changes, and so should be, and of Janos Kadar, Hungary's aging Communist leader. A worker turned politician, in 1956 Kadar was judged a traitor, a liar and a betrayer of friends. Now he stands forth as a man of wisdom and political genius. With the 80,000 Red Army troops still stationed in Hungary acting as a permanent damper on any lingering Hungarian hopes of real independence, Kadar has tried to make the country forget 1956 while applying a certain amount of common sense, fair dealing and free enterprise. Over the past two decades he has kept the country peaceful and Communist, while turning it into the easiest-going, freest and fiscally fanciest member of the Soviet Union's still grim East European bloc.

In America, for those who remember Hungary at all, there has been a tendency, of late, to view the 1956 uprising as premature and a bit feckless, above all as an impediment to good international relations and trade. Before the trip to Budapest, a State Department man told me, "Now we have the best relations with Hungary ever. But for 20 years things were absolutely poisoned by the Hungarian Revolution.  lt has absolutely nothing to do with Hungary today."

Maybe so.  At the moment, though, while Hungarian citizens are fairly free to make fun of their government, it is still virtually taboo to write or speak in public about the revolution of 1956. School history books still dismiss the subject in a paragraph as a "fascist counter-revolution." About 40 percent of the population is 30 or under, with no memories of the event. "They're just vaguely aware of it," a student told me. "Something that happened with the Russians a long time ago."

Budapest is filled with statues and monuments, including several to Louis Kossuth, Hungary's combined Lafayette and George Washington, who led a successful revolt against the Habsburg emperors in 1848, only to have Hungary crushed again by a Russian army sent by Czar Nicholas I. Yet today Budapest has nothing to commemorate those Hungarians who fought for freedom in 1956. The only public monuments linked to workers and students who fought and died then are those erected to their enemies, the handful of secret police killed in the struggle (think of Bunker Hill marked only with tributes to George III's Redcoats).

Attempts to brush the 1955 revolution under the rug of history will probably fail. For it was arguably the bloodiest, most decisive and above all most revealing explosion of the Cold War thus far. Everyone has now more or less grown used to the Cold War. But revisionist historians notwithstanding, it was a Soviet creation that came as a dreadful surprise to the Western democracies. In the early days the whole thing seemed so outrageous and so unnecessary that logic could hardly be brought to bear on it. Nobody could make a sensible guess about the range of Soviet fear and suspicion, or about whether the Soviet Union was capable of change.

After Budapest the picture came starkly clear. Oppressed satellite nations had some bargaining power with Moscow, but permitting a multiparty system appeared as deadly to Communism as water to the Wicked Witch of the West. And if accommodation failed, the Soviet Union would risk almost anything to hold its East European empire, while the United States could do nothing about it.

The 13 days that shook the Communist world began rather like an uplifting scene from a Cecil B. DeMille extravaganza. Streams of students, and some workers, swelling into a crowd of thousands marching ten abreast, poured across the city's great bridges and through Budapest's wide streets toward the Parliament building.

They carried posters and waved Hungarian flags from which the Communist star had been snipped out with scissors. They sang patriotic songs and shouted slogans: "Russki go home!" "Disband the AVO!" (the old acronym for the security police whose initials had already become AVH). "We want Nagy!", a reference to Imre Nagy, a studious man with a walrus mustache who, though he had lived for 15 years in Moscow as a Russian citizen, was known as the most liberal of Hungary's notably savage Communist Party leaders. More than 10,000 crowded into Kossuth Square beside the Parliament building. They were genial. They simply had a petition, with a list of demands they wanted the government to listen to. These included the return of Nagy to power; the eventual withdrawal of the Red Army, which at the time had two divisions outside Budapest; an end to the power of some 35,000 security police whose use of kidnapping, torture, and terrorism had turned the lives of thousands of Hungarians into a nightmare. (Hungary's population was, and is, 11 million. On an American scale an equivalent secret­police force would be more than 750,000 men.)

Such demands were not extreme. The demonstrators were not exactly asking for Eisenhower Republicanism. They just hoped to ease the worst of the Stalinist abuses. The tide seemed to be shifting in Eastern Europe. The American Secretary of State, John Foster Dulles, had grandly talked about "rolling back the Iron Curtain."  Most important, the new Soviet Party Secretary, Nikita Khrushchev, had been struggling to get his country to give up many of Stalin's policies.

Stalin had thrown Marshal Tito of Yugoslavia out of the Comintern and tried to have him murdered because Tito said he wanted to run his own Yugoslav Communist Party in his own Yugoslav way. But in May of 1955, Khrushchev journeyed to Belgrade and reinstated Tito. "My father's socialist house," he declared, "has many mansions." Khrushchev began letting people out of the gulags to which Stalin had permanently consigned millions of Russians. He had quickly moved to spring Hungary's neighbor Austria from the limbo of four-power occupation, making her a free but essentially neutral state.

Yet on October 23, the day the crowd massed in front of Hungary's Parliament, Party Secretary Erno Gero, a hard-lining Stalinist, refused to treat the list of demands seriously. Instead, Gero threatened the petitioners and called them "enemies of the people." When they left Kossuth Square it was late in the day. They were angry now and full of energy.

Thousands headed for the Budapest radio station to demand that a petition be read over the air. The frightened station director at first agreed, then trickily had the reading put on a loudspeaker so the crowd could hear, but without actually broadcasting it. Someone in the crowd had a radio and discovered the ruse. Bricks began to fly. In the building the beleaguered AVH initially used blanks and tear gas, but finally fired bursts of gunfire into the crowd. Now a few Hungarian soldiers joined the rebels. Others handed their weapons over to the crowd, which eventually blasted the AVH from the radio building.

Enraged groups dashed to Stalin Square and began fruitlessly smashing at a 24-foot bronze statue of the Soviet dictator with bricks and sledgehammers. A worker with an acetylene torch, slicing the statue off at the ankles, finally brought it crashing down to be spat upon, dismembered, the parts paraded through the streets.

Raids on state arsenals began; weapons were handed out to anyone who wanted them, and the rebellion started in bitter earnest. By the next day two mechanized Russian divisions stationed nearby had been called into Budapest by the Hungarian Communist government. Fifty of the arriving Russian tanks rolled into Kossuth Square to encircle Parliament. Harassed by snipers, others took positions at crossroads or roamed the city trying to drive freedom fighters from the streets and impromptu strongholds. The Hungarian rebels, who had seen Soviet films about heroic guerrilla forces, began using homemade Molotov cocktails and now and then a captured antitank gun. Some Hungarian Army tanks joined the rebels too. During the next few days, just in the area around the Kilian Barracks on Ulloi Ut and the Corvin theater, the streets were strewn with the innards of Russian tanks and armored cars.

On October 24 the Soviet Union agreed to have Nagy put back in power. He declared martial law, but could not make it stick. He offered amnesty to any rebels who swiftly laid down their arms. There were no takers. Now the hope was that by yielding to a certain number of demands and promising to consider others, the Communist government might hang on to power and stabilize the country. On October 25 it was announced that the hated Gero was out as Party Secretary, to be replaced by Janos Kadar who, though he had once served as Interior Minister in charge of the security police, was counted as sympathetic because, in what has been aptly described as the "Shoots and Ladders" of Communist politics, he had also been imprisoned and tortured by the Stalinist wing of his party.

By October 25, too, communications with Western Europe were all but cut off. But the power of the revolution was now clear. Stones had been torn up to make street barricades. Contemptuously tossed on top were portraits of Stalin and Party Secretary Matyas Rakosi, the Hungarian Communist most hated by his countrymen. Thousands of Hungarian workers joined the fight, not only in Budapest but around the country. In Magyarovar in western Hungary, the AVH had used automatic weapons on a crowd that wanted to tear a Soviet star off the front of a local barracks. When the shooting stopped, 85 people, including women and children, were dead. In industrial Gyor and other large regional cities like Miskolc, the leading Communist officials simply went into hiding and citizen committees took control, electing their own leaders. Rebel newspapers, mostly just a few pages long, written and run off at night in temporarily commandeered print shops, began to appear - as did local rebel radio broadcasts - to counteract the official radio which did not tell what was going on.

Nagy was still the rebels' main hope. After the Russian Army was called in, however, their demands included the withdrawal of all Russian soldiers from Hungary, amnesty for everyone who took part in the revolution; the dismissal from the government of all the worst Communist Party leaders, and the creation of a cabinet that included non-Communists. Later, Nagy was able to say he would grant most of these things. But he was always a bit too late and there was always doubt that he could deliver on his word. Ill luck seemed to attend his appeals for confidence and order.

On October 25, for instance, a peaceable crowd heading for the Parliament building ran into a Russian tank. The tankers struck up a conversation and after a bit agreed to escort the group to Parliament. On the way they met other tanks. By the time they reached Kossuth Square, Hungarians were riding on the tanks. After they entered the square, gunfire broke out, no one knows exactly why. In a moment Russian tanks were firing away at each other and at nearby buildings. In a few minutes there were more than a hundred dead and dying and badly wounded men, women and children all over the square. The government radio, however, failed to report the event.

The first priority of Marxism-Leninism is that at all costs the Party must stay in power. The second is that the Party is always right. During the revolution, top Russian leaders Mikhail Suslov and Anastas Mikoyan shuttled in and out of Budapest. Once, for safety, they had to be brought from the airport in a Soviet tank. Yuri Andropov, the Russian Ambassador (later head of the KGB and still later General Secretary of the USSR), was always on hand. Before giving in to rebel demands, Nagy, still a good Party man, prudently checked things out with them. They lied to him, and both he and the world were fooled.

Khrushchev said: "... either stupid or soft ... "

The stakes were high. The Russians stood to lose not only their grip on the country, but perhaps much of their restive East European empire as well. Among hardliners, Nikita Khrushchev's soft reforms were blamed. It was clear that he would now have to be very hard indeed to cover himself. He was also afraid of losing face outside Russia. The capitalists "will say we are either stupid or soft," he confided to Tito.

A Russian plan to clamp the lid down on Hungary by quietly sealing the borders and overrunning the countryside with ten divisions had already been set in motion. But that would take time and at first was only a worst-case scenario. Meanwhile, they could slowly give in to the revolution's demands, playing for time, while the Hungarians and the world outside thought there was hope of accommodation. Nagy might quiet things down with limited concessions. If not, they could be sure he would eventually go too far, giving them an excuse to step in. They had still another problem. "No matter what government they form," the first rebel fighter I met in Hungary told me, "there is no strong leader the people can really trust. Except Kossuth, and he's been dead for 60 years."

Nagy didn't seem tough enough to the Russians.  Local Communists who were tough tended to be hated by the Hungarian people. Besides, who was such a patriot and so selfless or ambitious a Party member that he would now risk responsibility for losing Hungary and possible hanging as a Party scapegoat?

The Kremlin was fearful of Western interference or United Nations inquiry, both of which the freedom fighters, as they lost confidence in Nagy's authority, increasingly hoped for and openly courted. They were desperate. Soon the United States and the United Nations were to be preoccupied with the Suez crisis and a threatened war in the Middle East. But from October 24 on, the Hungarian-language version of Radio Free Europe, paid for by the American CIA, had worked around the clock, relaying news and dispensing encouragement and occasional advice to the rebels. "A political victory must follow an armed victory," one broadcast said, discussing possible plans for a new government. "Don't hang your rifles on the wall."

Day to day, with most communications cut, it was not clear in the West, or even inside Hungary, exactly what was going on. To understand it, as one journalist put it; was like "trying to interpret the groans and thumps of a fight in a locked closet." Officially the border was closed. But medical supplies and food began to come in from neutral Austria, and a trickle of journalists followed. With a friend, photographer John Sadovy, I walked into Hungary near Hegyeshalom at midnight in a late October rain. 

··When will you send guns?"

Hungarians tended to greet Western journalists then by asking "When will you send guns?" Like me, however; the bulk of the press did not get in until nearly the moment when it seemed that soon Budapest might not have to face Russian tanks again. An incredible thing had happened: the Russians had previously agreed to the disbanding of the security police and even the possibility of government by more than one party. Now, we learned, they had allowed Nagy to announce the one concession that gave the others meaning: withdrawal of Russian forces from Budapest, their eventual retirement from the whole country.

Late in the night, Soviet forces officially began to leave Budapest. This was the beginning of three intoxicating days when it seemed to the exhausted revolutionaries, and to the astonished world, that they had won. During this period a number of suppressed political parties were heard from for the first time since 1948 and nearly a dozen newspapers sprang up. In all, more than 17,000 political prisoners would be let out of jail.

Certain parts of the city looked as if they had been ravaged by full-scale war. Sidewalks were clogged with rubble. Gaping holes the size of trailer trucks had been punched in apartments by Soviet tank fire. Along Ulloi Ut and Jozsef Boulevard, Russian soldiers and Hungarians lay in broken postures; dead alongside their burned-out tanks, armored cars and self-propelled guns. Rebel work teams and curious citizens poked at the wreckage; inspecting, sometimes repairing and salvaging what they could. Men in white coats sprinkled snowy quicklime on the Hungarian and Russian dead. Small boys collected bullets.

Women in black were sweeping the doorways of blasted shops. An old man, carrying a paint pot, trudged from tank to tank and from gun to gun, methodically decorating each with the shield of Kossuth.

On one side street a woman stood over the body of her husband; weeping. A dead partisan lay in the sun. Someone had found the time to put a wreath of autumn leaves on his chest. At one corner young rebels had placed a captured antitank gun to command the street, and a gunner had hung on its barrel a sign from the Corvin Theater: "Special attraction. Held over three days." Storefronts were smashed, but stores had not been looted. Shopkeepers sometimes found notes explaining that a piece of merchandise had been taken to a neighbor's cellar for safekeeping.

The young street fighters were eager to explain how tanks had been destroyed by drawing their attention toward the upper windows of buildings so that youngsters could dash in at street level close enough to throw Molotov cocktails. When they spoke of Russians their anger was clear and hard, but when they gritted out the word "AVO," fear and rage were almost palpable.

Meanwhile, church bells were ringing in Budapest. High on Gellert Hill, across the river, tiny figures could be seen swarming around the big bronze figure of a Soviet soldier, put up in 1947 at the feet of Budapest's 130-foot-tall female statue of Freedom. Heavy lines, in the distance looking only the thickness of black thread, were tied to it. Hauling like slaves, the Hungarian crowds rocked the figure of the soldier back and forth until it fell.

Next day there were grim rumors, but still no Russian tanks or troops in Budapest. Groups of freedom fighters began to hunt out pockets of security police. Some were taken prisoner but some were killed, especially after a half-day siege of Communist Party headquarters on Republic Square.

For several days, the noise of Russian tanks and troops ranging the countryside was all but drowned out by the noise of public and private Russian assertions that the Red Army would soon be gone for good. Imre Nagy twice questioned Moscow about it and got the same answer. He repeatedly asked Andropov and was told the troops coming in were "just protection" for the troops going out. Uneasy, Nagy nevertheless appealed to the revolutionary groups to lay down" their arms, insisting the Russians had acceded to all Hungarian demands. He even sent Gen. Pal Maleter, a hero of the fighting around Kilian Barracks, to a meeting with Russian generals to arrange the final details of Russian withdrawal from the country. The Red Army brass had been claiming they wanted to delay departure until Communist statues had been set up again. They also wanted to arrange a good-bye military parade in Budapest.

On November 1 in Budapest, during an angry discussion with the Russians, Janos Kadar shook his fist and said, "I am a Hungarian. If you come in I will fight your tanks with my bare hands." Later, Kadar mysteriously disappeared. On the afternoon of November 4, Kadar's voice came over the radio broadcasting from a Russian command post outside the city. Calling for the creation of a new Hungarian communist party, he declared himself Hungary's new Premier. At almost exactly the same time fresh Russian divisions made their move on Budapest.

But by that time Nagy had already faced the fact of Soviet deception and betrayal, and taken the only course left to him. He declared Hungary's neutrality and took the country out of the Warsaw Pact.

This time there was nothing sporadic about the Russian attack. Soviet tanks rolled into town, blazing away at people and buildings as they came. The revolution was virtually crushed after three days. But the November calendar was to be full of last-ditch street fights, fires, imprisonments, mass deportation of students and workers to Russia: Kadar and the Red Army were kept busy, as Kadar put it, saving "the Hungarian proletarian dictatorship." Radio Moscow kept on claiming that the revolt was a counterrevolution, the work of America, West Germany, capitalism, fascism, "bishops, landowners and aristocrats." The free newspapers and political parties disappeared. The first wave of what would eventually be 200,000 refugees slipped into Austria.

General Maleter was seized while he sat negotiating with a Russian general. Imre Nagy took refuge in the Yugoslavian embassy. But on November 22, promised amnesty by Kadar, he emerged and was instantly picked up. Though now deposed in favor of Kadar, he was still popular, still a threat. Like Maleter, Nagy was eventually hanged.

Kadar, who was a metalworker by trade, wooed the armed workers. But all over Hungary they held out against him, defending their plants and going on strike. During the revolution they had for the first time freely elected their own leaders rather than put up with Party puppets. As the Red Army threatened to move against them they seemed entirely abandoned, except for Hungarian humor. At "Red" Csepel, a huge factory complex built as part of Matyas Rakosi's ill­fated instant industrialization of Hungary, the following sign went up: " The 40,000 aristocrats and fascists .... of Csepel are on strike."

Hungarians, those who fled to the West and those who stayed behind, felt, still feel, a deep bitterness, especially toward America. With some reason they believed that the United States encouraged their sacrifice, then failed to help. Chatter about rolling back the Iron Curtain was political eyewash of the sort understood (and largely forgiven) as campaign rhetoric in America, but taken seriously in beleaguered Hungary.

Courage and a sense of humor

When, on October 27, President Eisenhower conveyed to the Russian leaders that the United States was not looking for new allies in Eastern Europe, he mainly intended to make the Russians understand that they had nothing to fear from the West should they somewhat relax their stranglehold on Hungary. What the President's message really did was tell Khrushchev he could do what he had to do anyway - with impunity.

Courage never failed the Hungarians. Nor did a slightly self-deprecating gallows laughter in adversity. Contemplating their thousands of dead, the scores of smashed schools and hospitals, the 20,000 houses ruined or damaged, they said: "Know where we went wrong in October? We interfered in our own affairs."

No one could then imagine that history would provide their tragedy with a hopeful epilogue, or cast up the betrayer Kadar as the resourceful architect of Hungary's current measure of freedom and prosperity. Once the Red Army came back, Hungary was clearly going to continue as a communist country. The question was, what kind of a communist country would it be? For the first two years Kadar earned a nickname, "The Butcher," as he busied himself with repression, reviving a new incarnation of the Communist Party and (under a new name) the secret police. But he soon proved adept both at getting the Kremlin to let him change the inflexible doctrines of communism that so often have led to despair and bankruptcy. He also struck an unspoken deal with the Hungarian people: if they did not make trouble again, there was some chance of improving their lot.

There was, and is, no doubt about whether Hungary is communist. The land has been collectivized - individual ownership is strictly limited - and the state owns the major means of production. The government has - and sometimes uses - the machinery of repression. But, especially over the past 15 years, Kadar and a handful of brilliant Hungarian financiers have used the state's great power mainly to encourage, not stifle, individual initiative. The present economic system has been variously labeled as the New Mechanism and Goulash (or Paprika) Socialism. Hungarian experts sometimes describe it as "socialist, but with a tendency toward capitalism."

Visitors can see spectacular if superficial results in Budapest. Among people over 40, one senses a certain somberness. But in public the atmosphere is free and the streets are bustling, full of well-dressed, mostly cheerful people. Store windows are full of consumer goods, fancy dresses, modern gadgetry. Coffee- and pastry-minded clients of Gerbaud, Budapest's fin de siècle rival to Demels in Vienna, spill out onto beautiful Vorosmarty Square, their tables shaded by bright red, yellow, blue and white umbrellas, each one advertising a different product. Bookstores are jammed, though books critical of the Soviet presence in Eastern Europe are almost impossible to obtain.

Even Safeway-benumbed Americans may be bowled over by the overflow of food in Hungary: meats of all sorts at relatively low prices, mountains of mushrooms, piles of peaches, forests of fresh carrots. Hungary is invaded every week from both the East and West, with Russian shoppers dumbfounded by the range of choice in regional department stores, and so many Austrians crowding over the border to stock up that cars sometimes sit bumper to bumper for miles.

Outside the cities, people mainly work in farm cooperatives and collectives. Now, however, the collectives are run with an eye for profit (worker pay is partly based on productivity), and run, not as in the past by party hacks, but by trained agronomists or by able and successful peasants. Farm workers can receive small plots of land in the collective area, and are encouraged to work them after hours for their own advantage, selling what they grow at the market. Today there are 1.8 million such plots in use and small private producers turn out a third of all Hungarian food.

Similar incentive systems have been applied to industrial coops. Some 75 percent of all families have at least one extra job, some have two or three. There are no major private companies, but small associations of people can band together for after-work building, plumbing, contracting. Houses and residential condominiums are going up all over Hungary, many of them built in this way.

Some Party members hint darkly that Kadar, a dedicated communist who knew grinding poverty as a child and young man, has gone too far. "Western journalists crow embarrassingly over examples of free enterprise. Not long ago Kadar's clever financial expert, Janos Fekete, challenged a visiting U.S. press lord: "Why do you insist on calling 'capitalism' everything that is common sense?"

Hungary, however, has lately let prices rise to reflect the market, economically healthy but painful. Some Hungarians - mostly older people on pensions and those without the skill or enterprise to take on an after­hours job - are now suffering.

Critics of the regime cite these economic inequalities, widely regarded as the telltale marks of capitalism. They complain about Hungary's enormous loans: $11 billion so far, which subtle and skilled Hungarian financiers have extracted mainly from the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. They also remind each other that Hungarian freedoms, so markedly in contrast to other Eastern-bloc countries, are nonetheless partial and, above all, swiftly reversible.

Travel, for instance. Hungary no longer has a guarded fence along its western border. Far better than the Soviet Union or any Eastern European country, it has solved a problem that rightly gives the East a bad name - the fact that under other Communist regimes the people are not free to come and go because they cannot be counted on to come back at all. Each summer thousands of Hungarians drive into Western Europe. In theory, if you have Western currency, you can go abroad as many times as you can pay for it. In practice, most Hungarians are eligible only once every three years because it is only once every three years that they are permitted to convert Hungarian money into hard currency for a trip abroad. Hungarians have no personal passports, either. If they want to leave the country, they have to apply to the police for a travel permit, an easy and relatively diplomatic way of maintaining effective government control.

The rising costs of Soviet empire

The Soviet Union acquired its Eastern European empire as a defensive buffer. In its early days as an imperialist power, it rifled occupied territories for railroad tracks and raw materials, often forcing captive peoples to sell to Moscow at a loss, regardless of the hardship caused by the damage to local industries. Today Soviet methods and dealings are more complex. The empire, in fact, must often seem more trouble than it is worth. Experts in Sovietology point out, though, that Russian attachment to Eastern Europe is based on more than defense or economics. "The empire," Seweryn Bialer has written, "is perceived ... as the basis for the future expansion of Soviet rule and ... as confirmation of the historical trend toward the 'inevitable' victory of socialism over capitalism."

It cannot be lost on the Soviet leaders that the face and the future of international socialism would look a lot brighter if the Soviet Union and more of the Warsaw Pact nations could match the personal liberty and prosperity lately reached in Kadar's Hungary.

Kadar himself has been farsighted and skillful. But the great bargaining power that he had vis-à-vis the Soviet Union, and the power that still enables him to experiment with flexible, free-enterprising reforms, derives mainly from the willingness of Hungarians long ago to fight Soviet tanks practically with their bare hands. The revolution left behind the threat of future unrest if reforms were not made. It called the world's attention to the failure of Soviet policies.  It demonstrated that even in a police state fully equipped with ideology, propaganda and lack of squeamishness, there is a point beyond which you cannot drive a strong and unified people without a certain peril.


Additional reading:

  • Hungary and the Soviet Bloc by Charles Gati, Duke University Press, 1986
  • The Hungarian Revolution, Edited by Melvin J. Lasky, Praeger, 1957
  • The Soviet Paradox by Seweryn Bialer, Knopf,  1986
  • The Hungarian Revolution 1956 (Elite) by Erwin Schmidl and Lazlo Ritter, 2006
  • Revolution in Hungary by Erich Lessing, Thames & Hudson, 2006