Wednesday, December 29, 2010

29 December 1956 “Hungarian Revolt”

In October and November of this year was a revolt in Hungary. I have wanted to discuss it for some time, but it is so involved and also so embedded into the framework of where we are now, that I have started again and again, only to find it all so embroiling I could do it little justice.
Suffice it to say, I shall simply show this video of the time. It shows how those in Hungary tried for freedom and the Communism then present in Russia stopped it. Russia was our ally in WWII and little was sad of this whole matter. Yet, at this time in the 1950’s we claimed, as a country, to be appalled by the outrage that was Communism. This went on with no help from us or other parts of Europe, today we are endepted to and continue to participate with one of the largest and most powerful Communist country in the world, China. Have we learned anything or were we simply only taking it what was told us even then, in 1956.
To all those who fell trying to gain freedom and right I salute you, here at the end of 1956. I can do little to write anything poignant to represent you and little was done to help you physically then. To that, I am sorry.
The new year approaches, new resolutions and hopes swim in our view. The light at the end of a tunnel or a light blazing to blind us to the truths of our current world, I don’t know.
Here is a quick synopsis of the revolt:
The Hungarian Revolution of 1956 (Hungarian: 1956-os forradalom) 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. 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, October 23 was declared a national holiday.
I worry sometimes of our future, perhaps that is why the past is such a safe place to live. Where are we going, any of us, as a country and a planet? Are we now living in a time when future people will look at us and wonder, “Could they not see it coming?”
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