Blood plasma in the Hungarian Uprising

Duration:
28 October 1956 - 28 October 1956
Military personnel:
6
Fatalities:
none
Decorations:
none

During the Cold War, it was the communist party that was in charge in Hungary. The regime of the Hungarian dictator Mátyás Rákosi functioned as a puppet government of the Soviet Union.

Less rigid

After the death of Jozef Stalin in March 1953, the rigid attitude of the Soviet Union towards its satellite states was relaxed somewhat. In Hungary, Rákosi made way for the more moderate Imre Nagy. The new prime minister granted amnesty to political prisoners, abolished internment camps and reversed the collectivisation of agriculture.

Open discussion

The relaxed policy meant that intellectuals and dissidents could openly discuss and debate communism and other world ideologies. The resulting calls for 'real freedom' and 'democracy' met with considerable resistance in Moscow, however. Nagy was, therefore, once again replaced by the more loyal Rákosi in April 1955. The opposition of the Hungarian dissidents to this Soviet intervention was suppressed by the Hungarian secret service.

Support for former prime minister

The Hungarian people, however, had had more than enough of being manipulated by Moscow. On 22 October 1956, a group of students, intellectuals and politicians wrote a manifesto, in which they expressed their support for the former prime minister, Nagy. The dissidents also demanded that Hungary withdraw from the Warsaw Pact. The next day, the people of Budapest gathered for a mass demonstration. The army was ordered to take robust action, but some soldiers took the side of the people, which meant that the demonstration turned into a pitched battle.

Five-day battle

In an attempt to calm things down, Nagy was again appointed as prime minister that same day. It was to no avail. The fire of revolution had spread through the whole country. The people took up arms en masse against the army and the secret service. For 5 days, the major Hungarian cities formed real battle zones. At the beginning of November, the Russian army invaded Hungary and ended the opposition by force.