Larger than a Revolt
One of the “hottest” years in Cold War history was the year 1956. The Soviet defeat of a revolution changed the tide of power dramatically.
Since 1945, the people of Hungary were under the control of Moscow. Even though Stalin had died, the communist grip the Soviet Union placed on Hungarians did not loosen. The Soviet Union took most of their wealth, and re-instated their power by placing thousands of tanks surrounding the country. When factors like bad harvests, fuel shortages and a cold and wet winter came into play, the situation turned volatile.
The people most affected by communist rule were people from lower classes as well as students. With nothing left to lose, they took their frustrations to the capital of Hungary (Budapest), in October of that year. They hoped to remove Russian control through street protests and displays of rebellion. They also issued 16 points, which were rights that they demanded in their country. These points included personal freedom, more food, the removal of the secret police, the removal of Russian control, etc.
At the time, the Soviet Union did not take these protests seriously. They referred to protesters as “hooligans” and even removed the Red army as a gesture to the people. In response, newly appointed prime minister Imre Nagy took the opportunity to publicly broadcast that Hungary would withdraw itself from the Warsaw Pact.
A statue of Stalin’s head is chopped off and crushed in a public demonstration.
Foreign minister Janos Kadar left the government after the prime minister announced the removal. He was not in political agreement with the prime minister and established a rival government in Eastern Hungary in support of the Soviet Union. The new government was backed with soviet tanks and Kadar urged the union to crush the revolt before it got any further. On November 4th, Soviet tanks came to Budapest and killed over 30,000 people in immense acts of brutality. An estimated 200,000 Hungarians moved to the West to flee expected Soviet reprisals. Nagy was excited and Kadar was put in charge. Order was restored and Soviet rule was re-established by November 14th.
America barely responded to the events. J F Dulles, the American Secretary of State said:
To all those suffering under communist slavery, let us say you can count on us.
But America did nothing more.
Watch some history of the Hungarian Revolt by clicking on the link below.
Culture and Other Significant Events
-USSR performed a nuclear test
-The average price of gas was 22 cents
– The average cost of a new car was $2,050.
– The channel NBC started broadcasting
– A fire damaged the top half of the Eifel Tower
-Elvis Presley had his first tv appearance
-Islamic Republic formed in Pakistan
-Dodgers traded Jackie Robinson to Giants for pitcher Dick Littlefield & $35,000 Robinson retired
In review, the year 1956 was one of the hottest years in the Cold War’s history. On a scale from 1-100 degrees celsius, 1956 would be at 90 degrees celsius. The Hungarian Revolution had great historical significance for several reasons.
The first is that the Soviet Union was able to re-instate political and military power over not just Hungary but a lot of Europe. When 200,000 fled it caused a disperse of the Hungarian bloodline and lessened the population immensely in the country
Additionally, many people became upset at America’s withdrawal from protecting the Hungarians. They claimed to protect nations against communist influences and rule and yet did nothing in response. Their inaction led many to believe that the Soviets would instill the Domino theory in every remaining country as well.