62nd Anniversary of the Uprise of Hungarian People against limitation of their sovereignity

Focus By Ralf Roth*

Focus

The new political leading figure was Imre Nagy. He took over important demands of the protest movement as for example an end of supression. The former government had more than 25.000 inhabitants of the capital Budapest forced to migrate to forced labour camps. Moreover the rapidly growing movement attempted to force government to an end of economic decline by econmic reforms and for a shift back to more sovereignity as for example an end of membership in the Warsaw Pact. This would have established a gap in the iron curtain dividing Europe from the Balkans up to the Finish boarder.

Russian tanks, protesters trying to bloc streets, several weeks of fights between the troops of a super power and spontaneous resistance of people against supression, economic decline and the acceptance of a divided Europe between an East and a West while demanding the freedom to leave the Eastern bloc, i. e. the Warsaw Pact. This uprise was part of the Cold War that was always on the edge becoming a hot nuclear devasting super hot war. In this respect the uprise stood in close relationship with two other crisis of the global order after World War Two. This was the defeat of the French colonial power in Điện Biên Phủ and the Suez Crisis. Both crises showed the weakness of two empires still dominat at the beginning of the 20th century. The outcome of both clashes demonstrated the shift of power to the United States and to the Soviet Union. But at the same time their conspicious limitation of military and political strength came to light.

They could not reach out and integrate the Republic of India in one of these two worlds. Moreover, first signs of erosion forced both powers to unpopular measurements. The United States substituted France as Western power in Indochina followed by 20 years of a dirty war. And the Soviet Union were confronted with serious resistance against its dominance in the Eastern bloc which was then intensified in the 1960s with the division of the camp of socialist countries, i. e. the break of Soviet Union and VR China in the debate about the general orientation of world revolution in 1963. Nothing else showed more clearly the problems Russia had to continue the hegemonie of one sixth of the world.

We have to see the uprise of Hungary in 1956 in the context of this broader panorama. It was a homemade crisis, the reason came more or less from the interior of the Eastern bloc. At the end it had its origion in irritations about consolidation of power after Stalin´s death in 1953. It began with first riots in the Eastern part of Germany about less improvements in working and living conditions. Russian tanks destroyed the opposition of construction workers especially at Berlin´s construction sites in June 1953. Two years later same dissatisfaction on political suppression and economic stagnation and less perspective catching up the economic dynamic of the West, escalated in a violant uprise of mining workers in the Polish province and industrial region of Poznan. Strikes and demonstrations swept away the government dominated by parychief Edward Ochab and contributed to the introduction of a new government under the leadership of Władysław Gomułka a former locksmith. He successfully negotiated the necessity of reforms with Russia in October 1956. His government slowed down collectivization of agriculture and initiated economic reforms in the industrial sector that indeed led to impressively high rates of economic growth in the 1960s. In this context we have to see the incidents that happened in Hungary.

Also in Hungary signs of relaxation after Stalin´s death and following internal struggle about the strategy of the Empire for the next decade between Lawrenty Beria and Nikita Chruschtschow were interpreted as an opportunity gaining back sovereignity. In some respect the internal confrontations repeated the cases of the Soviet Union and of Poland as there the follower of Stalin, János Kádár, lost its party offices, shortly after first mass protests by students appeared in the streets, as a direct consequence of the Polish uprise in direct neighborhood of Hungary.

The new political leading figure was Imre Nagy. He took over important demands of the protest movement as for example an end of supression. The former government had more than 25.000 inhabitants of the capital Budapest forced to migrate to forced labour camps. Moreover the rapidly growing movement attempted to force government to an end of economic decline by econmic reforms and for a shift back to more sovereignity as for example an end of membership in the Warsaw Pact. This would have established a gap in the iron curtain dividing Europe from the Balkans up to the Finish boarder.

The movement became rapidly popular stretching out to the country side and in many regions of Hungary. As in Berlin three years before and 12 years later in Prague Russian tanks rolled down the upheaval, but it needed several weeks for this bloody work. More than three thousand Hungarian people but also Russian soldiers died in heavy street fights. Thousands were captured and imprisoned. No less than 210.000 escaped to the West via Austria to West-Germany for example. Up to 1957 all opposition was suppressed, Nagy was sent to prison and executed in 1958.

The peoples movement had been defeated but the memory continued and became part of the national identity. In the 1980s Hungary became an important tribune for anti Leninist counter culture and the beginning of Westernization of the East. It was in Hungary were the first piece of barbed wire was cut out of the iron curtain in summer 1989 23 years after the uprise.

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Diplomatist Magazine was launched in October of 1996 as the signature magazine of L.B. Associates (Pvt) Ltd, a contract publishing house based in Noida, a satellite town of New Delhi, India, the National Capital.

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