Wednesday, July 8, 2015

1956 Hungarian Uprising

While in Budapest this past weekend we stopped by the memorial to the 1956 Hungarian Uprising at the parliament building.

Crash history course...In 1956, Hungarians revolted against the communist government and Soviet control from 23 October to 10 November.

It began as a student demonstration and escalated across the country.  The communist government collapsed, a new government pledged to withdrawal from the Warsaw Pact and hold free elections.

Most of the fighting ended by the end of October but on 4 November the Soviet Union sent in tanks to crush the resistance.  Western countries never came to aid Hungary.  More than 2,500 Hungarians and 700 Soviet soldiers  were killed.  More than 200,000 Hungarians fled the country as refugees.  Afterwards there were mass arrests, deportation and execution for "counter-revolutionary activity."

Here's a video I found on YouTube that shows newsreel footage of the uprising.  It definitely has a 1950s propaganda feel to it. 

It's interesting to see how Hungarian refugees fleeing Soviet oppression were welcomed across the world.  Much later there were also refugees from East Germany and in 1968 when the Warsaw Pact invaded Czechoslovakia.  Although it's not quite the same thing today with all of today's refugees from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.  I'm not trying to start a big political debate.  It's just an observation.

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