The Hungarian Revolution or Uprising of 1956 (Hungarian: 1956-os forradalom or felkelés) was a spontaneous nationwide revolt against the government of the People’s Republic of Hungary and its Soviet-imposed policies, lasting from 23 October until 10 November 1956.
The revolt began as a student demonstration which attracted thousands as it marched through central Budapest to the Parliament building called out on the streets via Radio Free Europe and a van with loudspeakers on the roof. A student delegation entering the radio building in an attempt to broadcast its demands was detained. When the delegation’s release was demanded by the demonstrators outside, they were fired upon by the State Security Police (ÁVH) from within the building. The news spread quickly and disorder and violence erupted throughout the capital.
The revolt spread quickly across Hungary, and the government fell. Thousands organized into militias, battling the State Security Police (ÁVH) and Soviet troops. Pro-Soviet communists and ÁVH members were often executed or imprisoned, as former prisoners were released and armed. Impromptu councils wrested municipal control from the ruling Hungarian Working People’s Party and demanded political changes. The new government formally disbanded the ÁVH, declared its intention to withdraw from the Warsaw Pact and pledged to re-establish free elections. By the end of October, fighting had almost stopped and a sense of normality began to return.
After announcing a willingness to negotiate a withdrawal of Soviet forces, the Politburo changed its mind and moved to crush the revolution. On 4 November, a large Soviet force invaded Budapest and other regions of the country. Hungarian resistance continued until 10 November. Over 2,500 Hungarians and 700 Soviet troops were killed in the conflict, and 200,000 Hungarians fled as refugees. Mass arrests and denunciations continued for months thereafter. By January 1957, the new Soviet-installed government had suppressed all public opposition. These Soviet actions alienated many Western Marxists, yet strengthened Soviet control over Central Europe.
Public discussion about this revolution was suppressed in Hungary for over 30 years, but since the thaw of the 1980s it has been a subject of intense study and debate. At the inauguration of the Third Hungarian Republic in 1989, 23 October was declared a national holiday.
- Hungary’s Deputy PM: We Turned Our Backs on Jews (israelnationalnews.com)
- Area Resident Tells Story of His Coming to America from Hungary (southcountynews.org)
- Adventure Journal-Freedom Square, Budapest, Hungary (judgelondonsteverson.me)
- Lapid Denounces Anti-Semitic Incidents in Hungary (israelnationalnews.com)
- Hungary-Russia relations enter new chapter at Budapest fair, Hungarian minister says (politics.hu)
- Union of Sound: Hungary (secretlyrad.com)
- Üdvözöljük Magyarországon (Welcome to Hungary) (robbyv92.wordpress.com)