Hungary has been through her share of highs and lows as a nation but reflecting back upon the Revolution of 1956, Hungarians can take great pride in their history. The Hungarian Revolution of 1956 was crushed within weeks by swift Soviet military aggression and Russians troops would occupy the country for another thirty years. Although Hungarians can take victory in this defeat for what they did accomplish. The events in Budapest and all over Hungary in 1956 exposed to the west and to the rest of the world just how brutal Russia’s version of Communism was and how they governed their satellite countries. Hungarians had been terrorized and taken advantage of by Russia since being liberated by the Red Army in the final stages of World War II and they demanded change collectively as a nation. It was under these circumstances that Hungarians would rather die trying for change than live under Russian totalitarianism and their brutality for any longer.
There are a lot of questions regarding the Hungarian Revolution. What were the conditions that Hungarians lived under as a satellite country of Russia? Political and economic turmoil was devastating the country and the standard of living was at an all time low. How did a peaceful demonstration turn into a revolution? Who were the Hungarian rebels and what were they fighting for? At the time Russia described them as capitalists, fascists and counter-revolutionaries, not loyal Hungarians. What other events in the world were happening simultaneously making Hungary fight the Russians on their own? These questions will be the main focus of this paper. One thing to remember while reading this paper is that there is an obvious language difference in Hungarian and Russian names of institutions. Some acronyms make completely no sense when translated into English so I will use discretion when using acronyms in certain contexts. It is important for the uninformed reader to be brought up to date on the relatively recent history of Hungary in order to better understand the Revolution of 1956. Hungary was still a satellite country under control of the Third Reich during the latter stages of World War II in 1944. The then-current government under Hungarian Admiral Miklos Horthy had joined with the Axis Powers early in the war. This was done at a time when Germany looked as if they may win the war and Horthy thought Hungary might get land back that was lost after World War I. When Germany’s defeat became obvious, Horthy was unable to separate from the Axis Powers. His attempt for an Armistice with Russia was also rejected. The defeated German Army retreated into Austria on April 4th, 1945. Hungary’s future was uncertain prior to the end of World War II. The United States was closing on Hungary from the western border and the Soviets from the eastern and northern border. Russia happened to reach Eastern Hungary first, pushing the German’s out and proclaiming themselves liberators of Hungary. Just being freed of Nazi rule, Hungary was unlucky enough to become a satellite country of Russia and fall behind the Iron Curtain. As so-called liberators of Hungary, the USSR described their relationship with them as their big brother. They would ensure the security of Hungary against any outside aggression. At first this was not entirely a bad thing for Hungary. Although it would soon prove the only conflict they would have with outside forces was with Russia itself. This union was supposed to help jumpstart Hungary politically and economically in the rebuilding years after World War II. Instead their relationship helped Russia’s economic woes after the WWII, completely disregarding the well being of Hungary. This was the beginning of Soviet military occupation in Hungary that would last another forty years. Hungary was supposed to benefit economically and politically from their relationship with their big brother. From 1944 to 1948, politically this was the...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document