See the actual article from January 7, 1957, "Hungarian Freedom Fighter: Freedom's Choice" or on the Time Almanac CD
October 23 - November 4
"The times of that superstition which attributed revolutions to the ill-will of a few agitators have long passed away. Everyone knows nowadays that, wherever there is a revolutionary convulsion, there must be some social want in the background which is prevented by outworn institutions from satisfying itself... Every attempt at forcible repression will only bring it forth stronger until it bursts its fetters."
October 23, 1956: Students hold demonstration in front of the General Bem statue demanding reforms, democratization, and the return of premier Imre Nagy. When students attempt to be heard over Budapest radio, police try to disperse crowd with tear gas, beatings and numerous arrests. The crowd attempts to free the students and the police open fire. The bloody revolution begins as the demonstration turns into a riot and street fighting breaks out. Martial law is declared, a call for Russian troops issued, and, during the night, Soviet tanks and jets are reported used against demonstrators.
Fighting soon spread to other parts of the country as "freedom fighters" took over factories, weapons depots, and many Soviet tanks. Radio Free Europe and the Voice of America indicated help was on its way and encouraged the Hungarians to fight, and they did. The Soviets pulled back. A new free, multi-party government was formed almost overnight, hope filled the air.
But the leaders of the young Republic and others new the Soviets would be back and tried in vain to negotiate Soviet troop withdrawals, even using Leninist language of "equality among nations." The Soviets invited the new Prime Minister, Imre Nagy, to negotiate peace in Transylvania. Nagy and General Maleter were never heard from again as they were executed under a white flag of truce. This barbaric act was repeated all over Hungary as Soviet troops ruthlessly attacked the new Republic.
State Minister Bibo on November 4th, as Soviets continued their massive attack on Hungary: "I appeal to the great powers of the world for a wise and courageous decision in the interest of my enslaved nation and of the liberty of all Eastern European nations. God preserve Hungary..."
Hungary repeated free radio broadcast calls for Western help. But the West never came. November 4th marked the end of Hungary's valiant fight. But marked the beginning of suffering for thousands involved in the fight for freedom. Thousands died, and many more many more jailed. 2% of the population, over 200,000 people, were forced to flee. But Resistance continued. The revolution finally succeeded in the incredible year of 1989. There are no more Soviet troops on Hungary's soil and Hungary will soon be a member of NATO.
The Hungarians have tried numerous times to rid themselves of foreign domination and oppression: Turks, Austrians, Russians and now Rumanians, Slovaks, and Serbs. We can not forget the heroes of these noble struggles. We must support the Hungarians who now live outside the arbitrary borders of Hungary and their desire for freedom and self-determination. Hungarians must also make the "West" remember her forefather's sacrifices for freedom and democracy. Éljen a Magyar Köztársaság!
- One of the finest sites on the 'Net, the Corvinus Virtual Library on Hungarian History, maintains a detailed site devoted to the Hungarian Revolt of 1956. It includes a chronology of events as well as radio broadcasts and interviews.
- See the Time Magazine article from January 7, 1957, "Hungarian Freedom Fighter: Freedom's Choice" or on the Time Almanac CD.
- Visit the Hungarian American Coalition's site and access "Meeting 1956," an interesting set of interviews with 15 people who were sentenced to die following the revolution, but survived. Includes photos. In Hungarian and English.