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1956 - Hungarian Revolution


Title: 1956 - Hungarian Revolution


About: A nationwide revolt against Soviet-imposed policies brought Hungarians out onto the street. However, the USSR would not tolerate any dissent from it's satellite states, and Soviet tanks rolled into Budapest to crush the national uprising.


The problems in Hungary began in October 1956, when thousands of protesters took to the streets demanding a more democratic political system and freedom from Soviet oppression. In response, Communist Party officials appointed Imre Nagy, a former premier who had been dismissed from the party for his criticisms of Stalinist policies, as the new premier. Nagy tried to restore peace and asked the Soviets to withdraw their troops. The Soviets did so, but Nagy then tried to push the Hungarian revolt forward by abolishing one-party rule. He also announced that Hungary was withdrawing from the Warsaw Pact.

On November 4, 1956, Soviet tanks rolled into Budapest to crush the national uprising. Vicious street fighting broke out, but the Soviets’ great power ensured victory. At 5:20 a.m., Hungarian Prime Minister Imre Nagy announced the invasion to the nation, declaring: “Our troops are fighting. The Government is in place.” Within hours, though, Nagy sought asylum at the Yugoslav Embassy in Budapest. He was captured shortly thereafter and executed two years later.


Nagy’s former colleague and imminent replacement, János Kádár, who had been flown secretly from Moscow to the city of Szolnok, prepared to take power with Moscow’s backing.

By November 7, the uprising was over. The armed citizens and elements of the Hungarian army were no match for the Soviet infantry supported by artillery and 1000 tanks. The Russians reduced to rubble every house from which a single shot was fired, and the fighting groups realized that further battles would mean the annihilation of the capital.

The Soviet action stunned many people in the West. Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev had pledged a retreat from the Stalinist policies and repression of the past, but the violent actions in Budapest suggested otherwise. An estimated 2,500 Hungarians died and 200,000 more fled as refugees. Sporadic armed resistance, strikes and mass arrests continued for months thereafter, causing substantial economic disruption.

Decade: 1950s

Year: 1956

Region: Europe

Country: Hungary + USSR

Politics: Revolution
Conflict: Cold War

Type: Historical Event

Impact: 7

Artist: Stas Svetlov 


Group: Genesis

Number: 56/100

Price: 0.7 ETH


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