One Day That Shook the Communist World: The 1956 Hungarian Uprising and Its Legacy
On October 23, 1956, a popular uprising against Soviet rule swept through Hungary like a force of nature, only to be mercilessly crushed by Soviet tanks twelve days later. Only now, fifty years after those harrowing events, can the full story be told. This book is a powerful eyewitness account and a gripping history of the uprising in Hungary that heralded the future liberation of Eastern Europe.
Paul Lendvai was a young journalist covering politics in Hungary when the uprising broke out. He knew the government officials and revolutionaries involved. He was on the front lines of the student protests and the bloody street fights and he saw the revolutionary government smashed by the Red Army. In this riveting, deeply personal, and often irreverent book, Lendvai weaves his own experiences with in-depth reportage to unravel the complex chain of events leading up to and including the uprising, its brutal suppression, and its far-reaching political repercussions in Hungary and neighboring Eastern Bloc countries. He draws upon exclusive interviews with Russian and former KGB officials, survivors of the Soviet backlash, and relatives of those executed. He reveals new evidence from closed tribunals and documents kept secret in Soviet and Hungarian archives. Lendvai's breathtaking narrative shows how the uprising, while tragic, delivered a stunning blow to Communism that helped to ultimately bring about its demise.
One Day That Shook the Communist World is the best account of these unprecedented events.
Benke’s desperate telephone calls, Géza Losonczy and Miklós Vásárhelyi went to the Radio Building, where there was no shooting yet, but a large crowd was more and more stridently demanding that the sixteen points be broadcast. Losonczy was asked whether he could not pacify the protesters from the balcony, but he did not think that was feasible. They returned to the editorial office of Magyar Nemzet, and later met for dinner with prominent oppositionists in the recently reopened Café Hungaria
Kremlin-appointed Communist leaderships, supported by the presence of Soviet troops, were more or less similar. Equally so were the great stepping-stones on the path to party dictatorship and to Soviet colonization: liquidation of the other parties, nationalization of the economy, promotion of the heavy and armaments industry at the expense of consumers, expulsion of ethnic Germans, arrests of real or alleged opponents (many of whom were executed), as well as economic exploitation and complete
Secretary Khrushchev and Foreign Minister Molotov, attacked their hitherto top man in Budapest with unprecedented sharpness and biting irony. The collective leadership decided unanimously that the fifty-seven-year-old Imre Nagy, deputy prime minister and Politburo member, should become Rákosi’s successor. They broached all critical subjects, from the catastrophic consequences of the forced promotion of heavy industry (naturally on Soviet orders) and the exploitation of agriculture, to the
became victims of the Kádár regime’s retaliation campaign after their return. Legends, rumors, and lies also surround the tragic fate of three women who took part in the revolution, and who imprudently returned to Hungary after their escape to the West. The freedom fighters’ successful battle against a superior force would hardly have been possible without the help of women, who cooked for them, tended their wounds, and supplied their provisions. However, some of them, with weapons in their
circumstances, the only Hungarian politician who showed any determination and vision was Bibó, a jurist and political scientist who had been sworn in on 3 November, that is, only one day before the attack. He remained in the Parliament Building until 6 November. Under the impression that Nagy was being held at the Soviet Embassy, Bibó, as the only representative of the legal Hungarian government, framed a declaration, which he telephoned through that same morning to the U.S. Embassy, and on 6