Cold War (UP) - The Hungarian Uprising 1956


Causes of the Hungarian Uprising 1956

  • Communism was forced on HUN by salami tactics, even though they only got 17% vote in 1945, because they didn't accept Rakosi's gvt (smallholders party = 57%)
  • Rakosi = repressive. He purged 2000, arrested 200,000 and used secret police (AVH) to troture and execute for control. 
  • Censorship was used
  • 1956 - gvt chane to Gero, but it was no better as he was chosen by Khrushchev. 
  • Tito hoped Budapest would ally with Belgrade, not Moscow, to increase influence
  • Religion was suppressed. HUN was Christian but Catholic leaders attacked and arrested priests
  • Patriotism was crusged. HUNs were proud of their history, but they weren't taught it in schools
  • Soviet Occupation by the Red Army continued their unwelcome prescence
  • HUN had a weak economy due to COMECON, which forced Marshall Aid refusal. Therefore, there were food shortages and poor pay
  • Destalinisation meant HUNs thought that they could push for greater freedoms without retaliation
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What was happening in Egypt?

  • The events over the Suez Canal complicated the events in Hungary. 
  • USSR had made friends with EGY leader, Nassser. As a result, USA cancelled loans to Nasser for Aswan Damn. Nasser turned to the USSR for finance to nationalise the Suez Canal (a vital trade route for EUR). This distracted BR, FRA and ISR, who wanted Nasser removed (BR+FRA because he was an enemy to their colonial influence in Africa and M.East; ISR because threatened their desire to gain more territory).Nasser wanted to remove the British Israeli
  • 16/10.56 - BR, FRA and ISR planned to invade EGY. However, BR and FRA did not want ISR to have the Canal either. BR and FRA demanded EGY and ISR troop removal. EGY refused so they were bombed by BR on 31/10/56
  • Khrushchev was convinced that Nasser would be removed. Combined with HUN, this would leave a hole in his buffer zone
  • However, USA backed Nasser. Khrushchev threatened nuclear attack 5/11/56 on BR, FRA and ISR if they did not stop. The ceasefire the following day is therefore credited to Soviet strength, not the true reason
  • This whole problem distracts the west completely from the events in HUN -> they recieve no help
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Events of the Hungarian Uprising 1956

  • Oct 1956, students demonstrated, demanded democracy, and Stalin's statue was pullled down. Soviet troops killed some students
  • Imre Nagy: communist leader from 1953. He convinced Khrushchev to remove troops, free prisoners and promise free elctions and speech. The west approve of Nagy, and put him on magazines
  • Khrushchev attempted to reconcile the situation by pledging more independence to satellite states. Made a declaration to try and agree to Soviet military base. Nagy continued to threaten him by announcing intention of Warsaw Pact withdrawl
  • Fighting between HUNs and Soviets erupted in the countryside. By 28/10, HUNs had control of most of area outside Budapest
  • USA: broadcast anti-Soviet messages, encouraging HUNs to revole. Fearing nuclear war (M.A.D), Eisenhower said NATO would not help -> Suez Crisis = distracted
  • 04/11/56 - 200,000 Red Army soldiers and 6000 tanks entered HUN and there was one week of street fighting. 27000 HUNs and 7000 Soviets die. 200,000 HUNs fled to AUT, where they recieved US aid.
  • Nagy = arrested and removed from power. Hanged 1958 in Moscow. Replaced by puppet leader Kadar - remained loyal until 1988.
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Consequences of the Hungarian Uprising 1956

  • HUN remained in the Warsaw Pact, and was now under USSR control with puppet leader
  • Soviet Union sent a powerful message and warning to E.EUR.  Deviationfrom Communism wouldn't be tolerated
  • Superpower relations worsened. The USA was appalled at brutal crush of democracy. Destalinisation was a lie.
  • However,Khrushchev was pleased the USA didn't interfere with matters behind the Iron Curtain
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Questions on the significance of the HUN Uprising

  • Why was it difficult for the USSR to encourage satellite states to reform? People rejected the reform
  • What technological milestones did the USSR reach in the 1950s and 1960s? The USSR had invented the atomic and hydrogen bomb. The space-race had began in the 1940s, but it was less war-like
  • How did nuclear diplomacy strengthen Khrushchev's position? Threatened nuclear attacks on BR, FRA and ISR if they did not stop. Even though USSR did not possess such rockest, following ceasefire made it look like it was the Soviet Ultimatum, rather than US financial pressure that had saved EGY. Took credit.
  • How significant to Soviet control of E.EUR was it? To begin with, significant. Nagy wanted major changes. Troop arrival made it less significant, although it was met with significant measures.
  • How did it impact the supposed 'Thaw'? What did it reveal about true intentions? Khrushchev's destalinisation was really just another version of communism. Not liberal -> not really 'thaw'.
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