The Hungarian Uprising

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1) The Impact of Soviet Rule

a) Comecon:

  • Hungary was forced to do unfair deals with the USSR that damaged their economy.
  • The Hugarian economy was controlled by Comecon. This prevented Hungary from trading with the West. They also could not receive any Marshall Aid.

b) Rakosi's Salami Tactics:

  • Rakosi used brutality to maintain control - killing 2000 and imprisoning 200,000 political opponents. The secret police (AVH) became a hated and feared part of Hungarian life.
  • Rakosi put forward a 5 year plan to transform the economy, but it failed. Living standards fell and in 1952, Hungary experienced it's lowest agricultural outputs.

c) The Takeover (1945-47):

  • In the 1945 election, communists won onlt 17% of votes.
  • Voroshilov (Head of Soviet Forces) set up a coalition with the Smallholders party, who won 57% of voted.
  • Soviet troops occupied Hungary and continued to do so until the end of the war.
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2) Impact of De-Stalinisation

a) Rule of Nagy:

  • When Stalin died in 1953, the new leader of the Soviet Union (Malenkov) didn't like Rakosi. Nagy replaced Rakosi.
  • Nagy thought there was trust between the USSR and USA. He withdrew Hungary from the Warsaw Pact.

b) What Nagy Wanted:

  • Free elections
  • Hungary to develop links with the West
  • To end the one party system in Hungary
  • Freedom of the press
  • Freedom of speech
  • Freedom of worship
  • Free trade unions
  • For Hungary to become a neutral state
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3) The Uprising

a) Events in Hungary:

  • Kruschev decided that Nagy was being too liberal and was leaning towards capitalism.
  • He sent 200,000 troops and 6000 tanks into Hungary on the 4th November 1956. 

b) Soviet Reaction:

  • The soviet army captured airports, bridges and key roads, but Hungarian rebels fought back with guerilla tactics, although rebels were no match for the Soviet army.
  • A cease fire was agreed on the 10th November 1956 but fighting carried on until 1957.

c) US/International Reaction:

  • Hungarians thought that the USA would support them againts soviet troops (due to the Truman Doctrine) but Eisenhower didn't want to intervene with the election as the USA was 'too busy' with the Middle-East.
  • British and French troops had landed at the Suez Canal and Israeli troops had invaded Egypt.
  • USA was keen to remove French and British troops - this was fortunate for Kruschev.
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4) The Consequences

  • The West saw Kruschev's messages of peace as lies.
  • The USSR used Hungary as a warning for other Satellite states as an example of what would happen if they tried to break free from communism.
  • Hungarians fled the country - many became British refugees.
  • Kruschev kept control and Kadar came to power.
  • 7000 soviet troops were killed.
  • 20,000 rebels were killed by soviet troops. 
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