HUNGARY - 1956A REVOLUTION AND WAR OF INDEPENDENCE
Hungary after the Second World War• The Red Army was welcomed as liberators.• The Soviet Union influenced the Eastern-European countries politically, economically.
1949-1953: The Years of Stalinist Depression• There was a totalitarian, one-party system developed by Stalin.• The Soviet model was followed by Mátyás Rákosi, the Hungarian Communist party leader.• He drove his rivals into exile, prison or to death.
The Hungarian Economy• Forced collectivisation• Rapid industrialisation• The country of iron and steel• ‘Be a star worker!’• The Secret Police (ÁVH) wereeverywhere. Fear controlled the population, which sowed the seed of revolt.
1953-1955The new leadership (Imre Nagy) introduced popular reforms:• People could disband collectivefarms.• Free market was created.• Industrialisation slowed down.• Standard of living rose.• Labour camps were closed.
The first signs of changes• In 1956 Rákosi resigned.• Thousands attended László Rajk’s (former minister of home affairs) public re-burial.• People demanded changes throughout Europe.• The Polish example: limited independence from the Soviet Union.
• On 16th of October Hungarian students established MEFESZ (The Association of Hungarian University and College Students)16 demands to reform communist systeme.g. free speech, free elections, withdrawalof Soviet troops• organized a demonstration to supportPolish freedom fighters
23rd October• Peaceful demonstrations in Budapest.• Demonstrators wanted to broadcast their demands on the radio.• ÁVH (Hungarian Secret Police) opened fire to the peaceful protest. REVOLUTION
24-26th October•A general strike was called by workers.•The communist symbols were torn out of the Hungarian flag.•The monument of Stalin was smashed up.
• More and more people joined the freedom fighters: – Teenagers, children, – Students, – Policemen, – Soldiers.• They got guns by disarming ÁVH menin the streets and by raiding munitionfactories.
28th October – the first day of victory• Imre Nagy, re-elected Prime Minister, demanded: – removal of Soviet troops – disbanding of ÁVH – Soviet Army and tanks left Hungary
• People read uncensored papers, pamphlets ofthe news of the changes across the country.• Hungarians got reprieve, enjoyed the sense offreedom.• Imre Nagy reshuffled his cabinet.
Most of the communist countries wanted the Kremlin to use force tocrush the revolution in Hungary.Imre Nagy urged the United Nations to put the ‘Hungarian issue’ on its agenda.The American politicianspaid attention to the Suez Crisis instead.
Imre Nagy appealed to the world.Hungarians hoped some supportwould come from the West,BUT THEY WAITED IN VAIN…
• Imre Nagy and his followers were taken hostage and later sentenced to death.• Then thousands of people were arrested. 22.000 were sentenced, 13.000 were imprisoned and hundreds of them were executed. 200.000 Hungarians fled the country as refugees.
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